Eagle School, Umtali
Eagle Preparatory was a private boarding school founded in 1948 with 22 boys, in the picturesque Vumba Mountains, near Umtali, Rhodesia (now Mutare, Zimbabwe.) Journalist Geoffrey Nyarota described it as a “prestigious institution for wealthy white boys.”
Besides Rhodesians, the school also attracted students from neighbouring Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia.
The school had excellent sports facilities and participation was compulsory in rugby, cricket, soccer, and athletics and swimming. Our rival schools were Chancellor, UBHS, Carmel, Baring, Vumba Heights and John Cowie. There was also a tennis court. The school was divided into 3 sporting houses – Swifts, Swallows and Martins.
Horse riding and music were optional activities, and various clubs such as archaeology and young farmers were meant to keep us out of mischief.
French, Latin, music appreciation and current affairs were compulsory subjects and Saturday mornings were spent in the classroom with the last hour before lunch set aside for detention.
Between 1948 and 1976 there were only 4 headmasters:
Frank Cary 1948-1953
Claude Mellor 1953-1968
Dick Moore 1968-1973
Mike Hammond 1973-1976
As the war crept closer, it was not unusual to see staff in camouflage brandishing an FN rifle on their way to a camp or training. The school finally closed its doors in 1976 due to the border closures and the war and its pupils integrated into Springvale School, Marondera. The school site was subsequently taken over by the Elim Mission Society. On the night of June 23rd, 1978 12 members of the mission were murdered.
Today the school is used as a training camp for the Zanu PF youth brigade and off limits to curious ex-pupils.
Regular updates can be found on their Facebook Page.