Plumtree High School

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Plumtree High School
MottoAd Definitum Finem (Latin: To a definite end)
FounderRailway Mission
TypePrivate/Public, Boarding
Sipho Kumalo

Plumtree High School is a boarding school for boys and girls in the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe on the border with Botswana. Founded in 1902 by a railway mission, Plumtree School boards 500+ pupils. The school announced its plans to start enrolling girls as of January 2016.


In 1897 a siding on the railway line between Mafeking and Bulawayo was named Plumtree. It lies on the watershed of the Western Matabeleland Highveld at an altitude of 1389 metres 100 kilometres from Bulawayo. During that time, the construction of the Cape-to-Cairo railway was underway and around 1902 the railway had just come through what was then the Bechuanaland Border.

The school was founded by the Railway Mission largely to cater for the children of the employees of the old Cape Government Railways at work on the Cape-to-Cairo railway who were resident alongside the line between Mafeking and Bulawayo. The first classes were held in a rondavel in the garden of Mr. And Mrs. S. J. Smith whose nine children formed the nucleus of the student body. Subsequently, classes were moved to the dining room of the Plumtree Hotel which doubled as the Station Refreshment room. A little later a large room was made available in the customs house.

In 1902 the school moved to the present site. The original 5-acre (20,000 m2) plot was steadily extended so that the school now occupies a one square kilometre site bordering on Plumtree village.

In 2015, the school was granted permission by the government to enrol girls in order to boost lowering enrolment figures. Although a handful of girls were pupils in its founding years, Plumtree School has been known as a boys school for more than a century.[1]

Notable Alumni

  • Iain Butchart, Zimbabwean cricketer
  • Terry Duffin (headboy; 2000), Zimbabwean cricketer; former Zimbabwe Cricket captain
  • Adrian Garvey, Zimbabwean/South African rugby player
  • Rollo Hayman, Rhodesian cabinet minister
  • Anthony Ireland (1997–2002), Zimbabwean cricketer
  • David John Lewis, Rhodesian cricketer
  • Douglas Lilford, Rhodesian/Zimbabwean farmer and politician
  • Cleopas Makotose, Zimbabwean rugby player; former Zimbabwe Rugby captain
  • Henry Olonga (headboy; 1994), Zimbabwean cricketer
  • Pat MacLachlan, Rhodesian rugby player
  • Tony Pithey, Rhodesian/South African cricketer
  • David Pithey, Rhodesian/South African cricketer and Rhodes Scholar
  • Des van Jaarsveldt, Rhodesian/South African rugby player
  • Lieutenant-General Peter Walls (1927-2010), Rhodesian Army Commander


  1. Sukulwenkosi Dube, [1], The Chronicle, Published: 28 September, 2015, Accessed: 21 May, 2020