Investment in quality education is the key to unleashing learners’full potential says Francistown Deputy Mayor Godisang Radisigo. He was speaking at the 120 Anniversary of John Mackenzie School (JMS) in Francistown under the theme, ‘Ti tji Muzila.’
JMS deputy principal Clement Mpofu said the school would never fail to provide quality education to people from all walks of life. He said the theme, ‘Ti tji Muzila’ resonated with the fact that although the school boasts a rich history of perennial achievements, it is still on the way to the top.“Within this warm environment a well-qualified staff helps to provide sound academic learning, a positive approach to work, the establishment of sound values, the recognition of individual differences, and the spiritual development of every pupil.”
He also said at JMS, high priority is placed on individual guidance, pastoral care, the development of leadership and co-operative skills, as well as that of personal growth and development.
“Through the academic, cultural and sporting programme, provision is made for the development and growth of individual talents and skills and the enjoyment of academic, cultural and sporting activities.” Mpofu appealed to former learners of the school to join the Alumni Hall of Fame. Spaces are available for a small fee.
The festivities on the day included a walk through the JMS walk of fame and tour of the museum – which are both heritage sites situated on the school premises. The JMS parent body did a dikgafela demonstration in keeping with Botswana’s culture while learners showcased fashion from 120 years ago. There was also entertainment by Ntogwa Dance Troupe. JMS was founded in 1899 when Reverend Nelson Fogarty of the Railway Mission became anxious to start schools in Plumtree, Francistown and Palapye.
He envisaged about 12 children at each station and considered it “terrible to think that there are about 120 children on the railway line growing up without any education whatsoever.”
His wish for a teacher was realised with the arrival of Edgar Lloyd from the UK in 1899.
Lloyd started his school in the church hall, later to become St. Patrick’s Church, on August 16th 1899 with two children and by September 28th the number had increased to 12. The school changed its name from Francistown European School to John Mackenzie School in 1958, in honour of the first Deputy Commissioner of Bechuanaland, an area north of the then Cape Province and south of the Molopo River. He was a missionary with the London Missionary Society and was largely responsible for Bechuanaland becoming a Protectorate.