Chaplin High School

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Chaplin High School Logo

Chaplin High School is situated in Gweru, Zimbabwe, and was started in October 1902.[1] It was started in a building of the Trinity Church, Gwelo and first named as the Trinity Church School (1). The school caters for boys and girls from form 1–6 and has boarders and day scholars. There are two boarding houses for boys named Duthie House and Coghlan House while girls are housed in either Lenfesty House or Maitland House. Maitland House is the sister hostel for Duthie while Lenfesty is the sister house for Coghlan House.


Seven children reported for school in October 1902 when the school was first started. At that time, it was called the Trinity Church School as the building was in the Trinity Church of Gwelo. The first headmaster was Mr Watkinson while Miss Coates-Palgrave was the Assistant to the headmaster. The following January, 16 children moved to the current school grounds.

In 1909, Mr A McDonald was appointed as the headmaster of the school which had been renamed the Gwelo Public School. He continued as the headmaster of the school until 1927 when he retired.

In 1911, the government built a schoolhouse which was the first school hostel in the country. This schoolhouse was later renamed Duthie House after being opened by Mr George Duthie. Also 1911 saw Chaplin playing rugby against other schools for the first time. They lost to both Plumtree High School and Milton High School but were later to improve greatly providing players for both Rhodesia and Zimbabwe.

In 1914, the first school magazine was printed. In 1923, the first girls hostel Maitland House was opened by Sir Drummond Chaplin and the school was renamed Chaplin. In 1928, Coghlan House was opened with Lenfesty being opened in 1950. In 1937, the seniors and the juniors were separated, which was the start of Cecil John Rhodes Primary School. On 7 July 1953, The Queens Gate was opened by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.


Traditionally the school has athletics and swimming in the first term then rugby, hockey, Soccer, Cricket, tennis, volleyball and basketball during the second term. Some of the sports however are no longer being played consistently.


  • 1902–1927 Mr Watkinson
  • 1927 Leonard Ray Morgan (whom Morgan High School in Harare is named after)
  • 1941 H. H. Cole
  • 1946 A. E. Farrell
  • 1952 HC Hamilton
  • 1957 McClean
  • 1965 George Alers (35 years after attending Chaplin as a student)
  • 1982 J.Jones (acting head master)
  • 1983 E.Utete
  • 1987 J Magadzire
  • 1994 mrs r nhemachena

Former students[edit]

  • Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia from 1964 to 1979, was a student at Chaplin from 1933 to 1937 (Duthie) and head boy in 1937. He was the captain for rugby, cricket, athletics, tennis and boxing.
  • Oriel Mtandwa (Duthie) former Springbok cricketer, Rhodesian Hockey, Natal U19 Rugby, Junior Tennis Champion, a headmaster at 28, a successful businessman and, since 1956, married to his Chaplin High School girlfriend.


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