St George's College, Harare

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St George's College
St Georges College Ex Fide Fiducia.jpg
St George's College
Ex Fide Fiducia
Out Of / From Faith Comes Confidence
3 Borrowdale Road,
Borrowdale, P.Bag 7727, Causeway
Coordinates 17°48′05″S 31°03′31″E / 17.801507°S 31.058498°E / -17.801507; 31.058498Coordinates: 17°48′05″S 31°03′31″E / 17.801507°S 31.058498°E / -17.801507; 31.058498
Established 1896
Sister school Dominican Convent High School
Rector Fr Chiedza Chimhanda SJ
Headmaster Mr Kevin Atkinson
Colour(s) Red and white
Mascot Dragon
Nickname Saints , Wolves and Dragons, St. Gorgeous
Newspaper The Chronicle
Saint George's College – Harare, Zimbabwe

St George's College, is a private Catholic boys school (Form One to Upper Six) based in Harare, Zimbabwe. It is recognised as one of the best secondary schools in Africa.[1] The school motto, in Latin, is, Ex Fide Fiducia (From faith comes confidence).

It is arguably the oldest formal school established in Zimbabwe, with its Sister School Dominican Convent High School, laying its claim too. The school is a boys-only school, young adolescents enter – 'Salvete' and leave the college – 'Valete' as young men. In the 1990s, young women from the Dominican Convent were enrolled for the senior years (Lower Six and Upper Six) for Physics classes.

The school is located in a Harare suburb, Alexandra Park. The land was donated to the Jesuits. This led to the relocation of the school site from Bulawayo to Harare. This was the beginning of Saint George's College. On the same site, a preparatory primary school was established called Hartmann House. This site is next to the official Zimbabwe State House, and the Official President's House called Zimbabwe House, the home of the Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

St. Michael's Preparatory School (Grades 1–3) in Borrowdale often starts a pupil's journey to St. George's. Boys attend kindergarten there before joining Hartmann House, where they complete (Grades 4–7).

Saint George's College is a competitive School as an entrance examination has to be taken to enter Form One. Students coming from Hartmann House are not exempt from these exams. "A" grades at ordinary Level are necessary to enter the Lower Sixth Form. Those students who do not attain the necessary grades (those already at the school) are not allowed to return into the Sixth Form. Religious Education is compulsory throughout the six years.

The school has a family-oriented approach to academic and extracurricular studies. It has a collegiate (house) system which consists of four houses which are identified by colour – Hartmann House – Navy Blue; Barthelemy House – Dark Green; Gardner House – Red; Johanny House – Yellow. Every student belongs to a house, and there is a housemaster who is assisted by other members of Staff, the House Captain and House Prefects. The names of the Houses are obtained from Jesuit fathers who played an instrumental role in establishing and developing the school. The house system is also applied to Hartmann House Preparatory School. St. Michaels has a four house system but does not correspond to those of Hartmann House and St George's College. Its houses are St. Patrick, St. Joseph, St. Michael's and St. Francis.


The school was founded in 1896 by a French Jesuit, Father Marc Barthélemy, who opened the doors to a small corrugated-iron, two-windowed hut to admit the first six pupils to Bulawayo Boys' School, with its location in Bulawayo, the second largest city in Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia). In 1898, a more permanent building was erected, and in December of that year, at the first prize-giving, the school assumed the title St. George's Boys' Public School. In 1899, Fr. Francis Johanny joined the staff and set up the Cadet Corp. Three years later, Fr. Thomas Gardner, the first English Jesuit arrived. In the same year, 1902, the first Rhodes Scholarships were awarded in Rhodesia, and they went to St. George's boys Albert Bisset and Woodford Gilbert. In 1912 the first permanent buildings were completed and opened by Earl Grey.

St. George's College moved to Salisbury (now Harare) in 1926. The architect of the buildings was Fr. Louis Leboeuf and the main builder was Br. John Conway, SJ. The Beit Hall was opened in 1935 by Sir Robert Stanley. In 1940 the library was built, then the 'Monastery' and later the 'Priory'. In 1955, the new Dormitory Wing and Laboratories were built, and later, in 1973, the permanent Chapel was erected.

In the years before Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, the country's government schools were segregated, but St George's, as a private school, was allowed a limited black intake, and was multiracial. It had admitted its first black pupil in 1963.[2]

Saint George's College Boys during break-time in school uniform

The house system[edit]

The houses at St. George's College are named after the four prominent Jesuits, who were among the founding fathers of the School in Bulawayo.

  • Fr. Marc Barthelemy – first Rector (1896–1913)- Dark Green Vests.
  • Fr. Thomas Gardner – first English Jesuit, an anthropologist and a champion of the Cadets -Red Vests.
  • Fr. Andrew Hartmann – Chaplain to The Pioneer Column in 1890 – Dark Blue Vests.
  • Fr. Francis Johanny – Second Rector in 1914 – Yellow Vests.

The house System started in 1938, with three houses, Barthelemy, Gardner and Hartmann. Johanny was created in 1983, with the increasing number of pupils in the school necessitating the creation of a fourth house. Each boy inherits the house of his previous relatives and 'new' boys are allocated on a random basis.

Rhodes Scholarships[edit]

There have been over thirty Rhodes Scholarships awarded to those who once donned the Red Blazer.[citation needed]

World wars[edit]

In the First World War, 198 Old Georgians (OGs) volunteered and 26 were killed. In the Second World War 438 OGs served and 58 were killed. The names of the deceased are displayed in the Boarder's Chapel (in the main building).


St George's College has a large number of sports available. A large proportion of Zimbabwe Age-Group teams include boys from Saints. The College sporting facilities include:

  • the First Team rugby pitch, called Weaver
  • the First Team cricket pitch – Madden
  • an athletics field – Ford

The other sporting grounds are Ganley, Connell and Landreth. In summer, all grounds are used for cricket, and in winter, they are shared between hockey, rugby, and football. The First Team rugby pitch lies dormant in summer, and pupils, apart from the First Team squad may not set foot upon this field, at anytime. There are two squash courts, eight tennis courts, three basketball courts, three volleyball courts, a shooting range and a large swimming pool, where waterpolo is played. The Beit Hall is used for badminton.


The College follows the Cambridge International Examinations syllabus at "O" level and "A" level.

Notable alumni[edit]

In 1921, the Old Georgian's Association was formed; its first president was Mr. D. Blackbeard.

Alumni, known as (Old Georgians) include Rhodes Scholars who attended Oxford University, Cambridge University and Ivy League universities. Alumni who donned the Red Blazer, achieving the difficult task of attending St. Michael's, Hartmann House and St. George's College, are known as Old Michaelians (Reds). St. George's has been recognised as one of Africa's leading schools.[3]


The Chronicle has been published every year since 1933, with the exception of a few years during the Second World War. In 1996, to mark the 100th anniversary of the College, a book by Terence McCarthy was published – "Men For Others".


External links[edit]