Children from Kuwadzana Extension frolic along Bulawayo Road every morning on their way to school. The need to be educated and have a better future gives them the urge to walk the long distance to schools in the neighbouring residential areas.
No matter how hard the situation is, these children have one great goal in mind "to be responsible citizens who will positively contribute to the development of the country".
Kuwadzana Extension was established in the mid-1990s. The first residents were allocated houses around 1996.
Today, 5 000 households make up what is officially known as Kuwadzana Extension suburb with an estimated population of 17 000. The school-going age group constitute the bulk of the population. This, however, has resulted in rising demand for schools, yet there is just one primary school that serves Kuwadzana Extension and the surrounding areas and no secondary school.
"The school has around 3 000 pupils which makes it one of the largest primary schools in Harare. This has compromised the pupil-teacher ratio; we enroll children at their own risk. The school staff will obviously be strained with overload and many children will be left behind," bemoans Mr Rodwell Chimedza a resident of Kuwadzana Extension. Fortunately some have managed to pass through this very difficult stage. The real problems begin when they think of enrolling at a secondary school as there are none in the area.
The nearest schools are Dzivarasekwa 1 High School and Kuwadzana 1 and 2 high schools, which are about 7km and 9km from the suburb. Children are forced to walk long distances in search of education.
"To produce good grades at school under such conditions is a challenge. All the energy that one is suppose to use at school is wasted during walking and you get to school exhausted and find it difficult to concentrate.
"Imagine having to dodge the traffic, speeding along the highway and bracing the harsh weather of the rainy season to go to school every day and still expect to do well in school," complained Tafadzwa Tomu, a former Dzivarasekwa 1 High School student.
Bulawayo Road is one of the busiest roads, and is not safe for pedestrians. Children always risk being run over by vehicles as they try to negotiate their way to reach school on time.
A Form 3 pupil at Dzivarasekwa 1 High School who lives in Kuwadzana Extension told of the ordeal that befell his friend.
"Last year one of our friends was hit by a vehicle along Bulawayo Road on his way to school. Precious life was lost as a result of something that can be avoided by constructing a secondary school in our area,"
Girls always face double trouble and some succumb to temptation to find free lifts.
Girls have fallen prey to commuter omnibus operators and rank touts (mahwindi) who make the children pay in kind for free lifts.
"The situation has put many girls at risk as they end up being exploited by those who will offer them free transport. Since 1996 the year we started living in Kuwadzana Extension, one wonders what is in the minds of the responsible authorities," said Mrs Marowa another resident of Kuwadzana Extension.
Only time will tell if one primary school will be able to educate such a big community.
Let aside the absence of a secondary school as this is a clear sign of negligence on the part of the responsible authorities.
There is an incomplete secondary school that was suppose to serve the area, unfortunately it is still under construction since 2003. Over the period only three incomplete blocks that are beginning to deteriorate due to neglect mark the location of the school.
The buildings for too long now have been left at the mercy of weather conditions and vandals. Part of the roof was blown away and the windows are breaking if not already stolen.
"Tremendous hopes and expectations of having a secondary school in our community have been frustrated. The collective effort we made as residents in trying to redress the situation failed to scratch the surface of the problem," said Mr. Zinhanzva.
For the past decade residents have been patiently waiting for the completion of the school, unfortunately all hopes have come to naught. Until now Kuwadzana Extension is lagging behind. The school is not the only development that has stalled. Word that shops would soon be built in the area was nothing more than a rumour.
"Besides the problems of schools, residents have to endure many problems that make life very difficult. This is one of the suburbs that do not have tower lights. Considering the period that people have lived in that area it seems as if they are now used to the darkness.
"Walking at night is a challenging undertaking that can result in loss of life," said Tich Makina. A walk along the dust streets of Kuwadzana Extension will show that there is an inefficient drainage system. There are no culverts or drains for storm water and floods are a major threat.
Mosquitoes always find ready made breeding spaces as there is stagnant water everywhere. People risk contracting water-borne diseases if there is no action to drain the area.
"Many people think that these problems are only associated with the remote parts of our country. But the problems have manifested themselves in our area which is located right at the heart of the capital city," said Guide Mutwira.
The geographical location of Kuwadzana Extension prevents people from noticing the extent of these problems. The problems of poor drainage are now a common in and around Harare and residents of Kuwadzana Extension have found it meaningless to continue complaining, and so are silent.
Each year the announcement of an impending council budget brings hope only for the spirits to be dampened as there are no direct benefits for the residents.
Residents keep on looking at the horizons expecting someone to come with a solution that fosters development in their community.
Responsible authorities really need to take up their responsibilities and take into consideration the genuine needs of this forgotten community.