The 1970s: Bioscopes, Guava and refugees

Continuing our fascinating series about childhoods of people with connections to our Church in the different decades covering the Queen’s life we move from the 1960s to the 1970s and to a different part of the world. Admos grew up in Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia, in the 1970s, years when the country sought democracy and a new future.

The church in Gweru, Zimbabwe where Admos was an altar server

The church in Gweru, Zimbabwe where Admos was an altar server

Admos began school aged 7.  Because people didn’t always know the precise age of their child, the children were tested on the first day to see if they were able to reach over the top of their head to touch their ear.  Admos failed but fortunately his father was able to evidence his age.

School was a very competitive and regarded as highly important, with weekly tests in order to check your position within the class. Children learned by rote and rhymes and school uniform was compulsory. The school day began with the Lord’s Prayer.  The children enjoyed Scripture Union, club which was run by missionaries, and visits from the local clergy.

Admos spent his spare time playing creatively with his mates, making wire cars to drive, out in open countryside, gathering fruit, role playing and games of rounders.  There were few youth clubs, no TV and no cinemas as such, only bioscopes that screen public information with still pictures and no sound. Admos and his friends enjoyed sharing and trading American superhero comics.

School holidays we spent at the family farm helping his mother tend the fields.  There was no electricity or running water; water came from the well and they used paraffin lamps. The children helped with all the jobs such as milking and slaughtering goats, planting, harvesting and storing the grain.

Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo in the 1970s

Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo in the 1970s

Admos recalls eating porridge often cooked with peanut butter and goats’ cheese.  Fruit such as guava, avocados, mangos were locally grown and plentiful.  Soft drinks were a real treat.

Christmas time is remembered as a time of plenty and generosity; it was the only time you had new shoes and clothes.  Christmas day you could eat as much as you like.

The civil war came at the end of the 70s.  The countryside was no longer safe and Admos’ grandparents came to live with them in the city. Admos recalls very unsettling times of fuel shortages, bombings, the mission school being closed and many refugees.  These became fearful times.

For memories of the decades see: 1990s,  1980s, 1970s, 1960s, 1950s, 1940s, and the 1930s


About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community where people of differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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