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History of Roma Secondary School Lusaka

07.08.2023 | Reporter


Roma Girls' Secondary School

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The Religious Sisters of Charity came to Zambia in 1948 initially at Chikuni Mission in Monze. In the 1950’s the Archbishop of Lusaka Adam Kolowiecki S.J discussed the possibility of opening a Secondary school for Girls in Lusaka with Mother Teresa Anthony the Superior General during one of her visits.

The first site proposed was to be at Leopard’s Hill Road and the School was to be called “Namibiro”. This site was abandoned due to non – availability of water in the area. Months of site searching followed until finally a farm of fifty acres with a pleasantly situated house came on the market “ Kavenguti farm”  though the son of the former owner of the farm now living in South Africa visited Roma in June 2022 and informed us that his father build the current Convent which was their family house and that the farm was known as “ Foxdale Farm.

This present site was purchased by the Religious Sisters of Charity situated at the edge of Roma Township. It had water, was reasonably near the city electricity supply, and was only 7km from Lusaka City Centre.

The name Roma Girls’ Secondary School took the place of “Namibiro”. The school was scheduled to begin by July 1963, but by August it still was not ready for habitation. However, the first Headmistress, Sister Joseph Helen Cunnigham was determined to start with the school year, which then began in September. She made arrangements to house the first Form One Class of pupils in Rugambwa Hall the dormitory on the grounds of our other Convent in (Kabwata )Lusaka. The Sisters of Charity gave a classroom at St Patrick's Primary School for 30 pupils for academic subjects and a cookery room for domestic science. So the first Form One Class of Roma Girls Secondary School began.

The school in its present location was officially opened in January 1964 with the first Mass marking its opening on 16 January 1964 by Fr S, O’Connor S.J in the Convent Parlour.

From 1965 to 1966 the school had the privilege of one of our staff houses being occupied by the late Cardinal Adam, Mons, Late A. Mung’andu Archbishop of Lusaka, and Fr. P. Walsh S.J. In addition to their official responsibilities, they looked after the spiritual welfare of the girls and were very attentive to the needs of the school.

Roma Girls continued its tradition as a Boarding School for Girls until 1992. The phasing out of boarding began in 1988 and the last of the boarders passed through its gates in December 1992. Bringing the boarding era to a final close. January 1993 ushered in the new era of Roma as a Day School. 1992 saw the opening of a Primary School for Girls.

Over the years the past pupils of Roma have filled many public offices and have distinguished themselves in many fields – Law, Medicine, Education, Banking, Community Development, Social Services, etc

It is a great joy to all of us to see the fruit of the seed sown in the early days. There are many second-generation pupils attending school and it is both interesting and amusing to listen to them as they relate what their mothers told them regarding the school.

The school succeeded in establishing a high standard of excellence, in academic subjects and became one of the leading schools in Zambia. The academic staff of Roma has always had a high sense of commitment to and concern for their pupils. This follows the tradition started by Mother Helen, the first Headmistress, and continued by her successors.

The Foundress of the Religious Sisters of Charity Venerable Mother Mary Aikenhead always reminded her sisters “To give to the Poor what the Rich get for Money”

Over the years the past pupils have worked hard and formed an Association EROGA (Ex- Roma Girls Association” whose Aim is to contribute to the efforts of the school in educating the Girls. The Association has done a number of projects in the school and is a strong anchor of the school.

Currently, the school enrolment figure is 650, and with the current new classroom Block under construction, our figure will increase by 120 in 2025 bringing our total enrolment figure to 770.

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