Mrs Emily Tatisai Mpuriri founder of Gweru’s popular early childhood school, Mickey Mouse, died on July 14, 2021, at the age of 71 years after battling with COVID-19, according to her family.
She was buried at her rural home in Mhondoro and is survived by three children Francisca, Samson (Jnr), and Shepherd Sekenhamo.
Popularly known as Granny, Mrs Mpuriri was loved by her students and parents and was described as a committed teacher with an “infectious laugh”
She attended both primary and secondary school in Mhondoro Ngezi, and went on to train as an Early Childhood Development (ECD) teacher at St Nicholas in Harare before moving to Gweru where she got married Samson Sekenhamo, father to the City of Gweru’s director of health services.
During her early days in the city, she worked at Chipembere Hall in Mkoba 2, Anglican Church Pre-School, Mayfair Pre-School, and lastly St Theresa Pre-School.
In 1995, she partnered with the late Mai Mutsure and the two started their Tongogara Pre-School in Mkoba 17, before relocating to Church of Christ premises in the same area.
She managed to acquire a stand in 1998, where she built her first owned Mickey Mouse early childhood Center in Mkoba 17, Gweru, she acquired a stand in Windsor Park in 2008, the building of the second school was 80 percent complete when she died.
Many residents remember her moving around in a yellow school bus branded Mickey Mouse picking young children as early as 6am, in areas like Senga, Lundi Park and Riverside among other areas in the city.
“Mrs Mpuriri was a mother of all mothers, she was a mother at the pre-school after mothers drop their children, a mother at church as she taught the youngsters Godly way of life, mother, in the community as she assisted the less privileged,” said a former student of Mickey Mouse.
Teacher of all teachers, she was the first to make children sit in class and know what school is, “Catch them young for a sound future.
Godfrey Madzonge said, “Today many of us lost one of our heroes, perhaps the most inspiring person many of us have ever met. I wish that I had taken more time to show that appreciation to her and those at Mickey Mouse school. I hope all former pupils and parents in Gweru can join us now and show her family how much Mickey Mouse and her dedication to young children’s welfare have inspired us all.
Her love for young children will forever be cherished by Gweru residents and former pupils.
Among other things she is well known for being a Sunday school teacher at Anglican Church as well as AFM where she was now attending church until the time of her death.
Under the Mickey Mouse group of schools, Mrs Mpuriri donated clothes to the cyclone Idai victims in Midlands through the Office of the Minister of State, Cde Larry Mavima.