By Alan Megahey
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Extra resources for A School in Africa
At the first moves by Snell to recruit local talent, he came on board, as the chairman of what at this stage was simply called 'The Committee'. Another member was Geoffrey Ellman-Brown, Southern Rhodesia's Minister of Transport, and an accountant with extensive business interests. The important link with the Ruzawi Group was represented by Laurence Smith. He was Rhodesian-born; private secretary to Godfrey Huggins before the war, he had joined up and was on Lord Mountbatten's staff. He was awarded an MBE in 1947 and in that year became the local secretary of the British South Africa Company, and was also secretary of the Ruzawi Schools Ltd.
He suggests that 'a large proportion of the boys at the private secondary schools ... would probably be found to have parents who belonged to this group'. This was not simply snobbery; it was a product of habit and upbringing. There was a high proportion of men in this group who had themselves been educated at the public schools in England or South Africa; they naturally thought of sending their own sons through a similar institution. Maybe the same urgings can be seen in the problem of 'accent'.
One was just north of Troutbeck Inn at Inyanga, part of Charles Hanmer's 37,000 acre estate. Fred managed to assemble a powerful local committee, including Hanmer and Herbert Macllwaine, the founder of Troutbeck. But he was realistic enough to admit that the Hanmer land 'might easily make a splendid school site in fifteen years when good communications have opened up the Eastern Districts', and that meanwhile a portion of it could be used for a school camp - which is precisely what happened. Another powerful committee, including Sir Ian Wilson, the Speaker of the Federal Parliament, and several members of the Meikle family, was established at Umtali, near which was the preferred location for the new school.
A School in Africa by Alan Megahey