History of Hillcrest College

Hillcrest College was founded with the intention of providing for the community a high standard, low fee, broad based secondary school education in an atmosphere conducive to harmony and understanding between the different ethnic groups. The college is a non-racial, Christian and co-educational institution. The venture had one object in mind; that is, to supply an educational establishment for children of Manicaland that offers an education for them that is as good as can be obtained anywhere.

The College was conceived as a community project involving a great many people and businesses in Mutare. After having established a company called Hillcrest Schools (Pvt) Ltd, which had successfully established the Preparatory school in 1983, the company turned its focus towards construction of the college. Plans for the first 6 classroom block of timber were submitted to the Ministry of Education for approval in October 1984 and the costly work of laying electrical and other services to the undeveloped land of twelve hectares commenced. After overcoming initial bureaucracy, shortages and discomforts, in January 1985, the College opened its doors as an ‘Upper Top’, a Rural Day Secondary School. The college started with two classes of twenty-five Form 1 pupils.

First College Staff
Mr. J.A. Cowan    - Master in Charge, Science
Miss J.L. Hogan    - French, History, English
J.P. Hopkins        - History, Geography, Physical Education
G. Rondozai        - Shona
Mrs W.R. Scott    - Mathematics, History, Guidance
Mr. G. Yiend        - English, History, Art

Part time staff    
Mrs G. Baker    - Afrikaans
Mrs F. Yiend    - Music

Administrative Staff
Mrs C. Haiden    - Bursar
Mrs F. Lewis    - Secretary

First Parents Liaison Committee
Mr A. Went (Chairman)
Mr H. Boswell-Brown
Mr P. Zambellis
Mr P. Lawson
Mr T. Harvey
Mr A. Flote
Mrs H. Miller
Mrs A. Hilton
Mrs F. Lewis
Mr H. Knaggs

The Hostel
The establishment of the College in 1985 also raised the need for boarding.  A group of farmers formed their own company, Farmcrest Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, with the sole purpose of managing the hostel for their children and pupils from rural areas. Farmcrest raised its own funds and purchased two properties about three kilometres from the main college campus, recruited its own staff and generally ‘did its own thing’. However, the parents of the boarders later on resolved that Farmcrest be absorbed into Hillcrest Schools (Pvt) Ltd.

The School Motto
Simba Mate’ is a Shona expression which has been given a number of possible translations. The first Hillcrest College Shona teacher, Mr. Gilbert Rondozai, gave it a more detailed translation – ‘the strength that we have is inexhaustible, one can give freely of one’s talents and strength to society and other people without loss to yourself’. Simply put, the motto translates to ‘energy to serve which is inexhaustible’.

The history of Hillcrest College would be incomplete without mention of the following people, whose labour of love is a testament of the school’s founding principles.

A.G. Bhadella, H.B. Coventry, B.A. De Buys, Senator J.T.N. Dhube, F.J. Heyne, P. L. Genari, D.A. Knight,  J.C.J. Lewis, Bishop E. Masuko, D.G. Meikle, Bishop A. C. Muchabaiwa, E.G. Stockil, A.H.R. Went, H.M.Knaggs