BULAWAYO MEMORIES

Dominican Convent


Dominican Convent Primary School (also known as Convent or DC) is a Catholic, independent, preparatory day school for girls in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The school was founded in 1895 by the Dominican Sisters, laying its claim to being the oldest school in Bulawayo and in Zimbabwe. Initially co-educational, the institution become a girls' school in the 1950s, when St. Thomas Aquinas Primary School was opened to cater for the boys.

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Matabeleland's First School
(Written 1956 N.S Ferris)

In October, 1895 Sister Sebastian and Sister Pancratius, from Kingwilliamstown, arrived in Bulawayo to open the first school in Matabeleland. It started with ten pupils. By the end of the first term the number of pupils had increased to 35 and accommodation had become a big problem.

The Matabele rising occurred the following year. Sister Pancratius helped with the nursing of the sick and wounded in the hospital while Sister Sebastian carried on the school. In spite of all difficulties, the school progressed and the need for a Convent building became urgent. The cost was estimated at the sum, large for those days, of £4,000. By thriftiness on the part of the Sisters and generous donations from parents and friends, £2,000 was raised and the Government offered the loan of another £2,000, later converted into a gift.

The foundation stone of the Convent was laid by the Hon. Mrs. Arthur Lawley wife of the Administrator, in 1897 and those present contributed £253 on the spot to aid the good work. Expansion has continued ever since the small single-storey building was opened in 1898, until we have the large and hand-some buildings of to-day. The nursery school opposite the Convent was completed in 1952, while the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Boys' School is also helping to cope with the ever-increasing demand. The first small total of ten pupils has now increased to nearly a thousand; at the Convent there are 770 pupils, including juniors, and at St. Thomas Aquinas there are 220.