A Sad Beginning
The history of Kakumbi Basic School is a sad one as it suffered many setbacks its establishment in 1944. Just two days after its initial opening the only teacher died and the school was closed. It was another two years before the school reopened when Chief Kakumbi moved its location from Kapanzi to Kaloma Village. Then, a year later the school closed yet again when the single teacher took his own life.
A school called 'Punishment'
In 1949 an Anglican priest reopened the school and changed its name to to "Chilanga", meaning punishment in the local language. One can't help wondering what life was like at a school with such a name.
Seven years later the school got its first permanent structures; two teachers' houses which are still occupied. Later a 1 x 2 classroom block was added plus an additional house. In 1964 the Government took over the school and added a further 1 x 3 classroom block. These structures are still in use today but require considerable refurbishment. In 1968 the school changed its name to Kakumbi Basic School in honour of the local Chief.
Rebuilding and reroofing
In 2007 an uninhabitable house on the site was almost entirely rebuilt with funds raised by the Project Luangwa managers and Chipembele Wildlife Educational Trust. In December of the same year the roof of a classroom was serverely damaged during a gale rendering it unuseable. PL managers arranged for its replacement but the following Christmas another roof was blown off and had to be replaced.
The problems today
Kakumbi School still faces many difficulties. The classrooms and toilet blocks are in a poor state of repair and the whole school urgently needs refurbishment. There are 475 pupils and space is limited. There are too few desks and not enough textbooks and teachers face an uphill struggle trying to do their best for the school with very little funding. Kakumbi Basic teaches from Grade 1 to Grade 9 in just 5 classrooms. Out of the 475 enrolled pupils, 115 (2012) are orphans or classed as vulnerable.
In 2010 a group of volunteers visited the school and made some improvements - click here to see what differences they made.
Read letters from the Kakumbi teachers describing the problems of teaching in such a remote and neglected school.
Click here for the Kakumbi Basic School Gallery.
If you would like to see Kakumbi Basic School for yourself contact Project Luangwa and we will arrange for you to visit the school.