To the South of Zimbabwe, which was by then known as Rhodesia, two Salvationists had a dream; a dream to bring education into the world of the Africans who lived in that area, and that dream came to reality and is what we now proudly call Usher High School.
In partnership with his wife, James Henry Usher set out to teach the African inhabitations of that area, though there was no properly organized programme until the arrival of Major Salhus in 1933. James and his wife Jessie founded the school in 1906 and when a small start was made for a more formal plan of teaching in 1933, the first class of five boys and one girl was formed.
By 1935, the students had risen to thirty-four and in 1939 a new classroom block was opened with an enrolment of 101 students. Boys were taught essential practical subjects such as Metal work, Gardening, animal husbandry and carpentry while the girls learnt needlework, cookery, child line and domestic sciences. The school continued to grow both in size and prestige. To perpetuate the names of the Salvationists whose example deserved to be remembered, the institute was named Usher and one of the girls’ dormitories was named after James’ wife Jessie, “Jessie Stuart.”
In mid-1950 Captain and Mrs. Morton came to Usher Institute all the way from Australia. Captain Morton was made principal and his wife established a post standard six course in Domestic Sciences in 1956. They did, of course, encounter some difficulties in setting this programme but at the same time went on and the Institute began to attract pupils from Mashonaland and Matabeleland. Major Brigadier Lavinia Benson was appointed the Headmaster of the first Boys Secondary School and was later transferred to Mazowe. She commenced the school and was made principal of Usher Secondary which had come to be as a result of the successive years of high percentages of examination passes under her leadership.
Eva Burrows succeeded her in 1966 and her term ended in 1970. In 1976 Lieutenant Diane Thompson and Sharon Slaindell were brutally murdered one night when armed men invaded Usher and terrorized those that were living there. As a result, the school was closed and re-opened in 1980. There were many applicants but only those with a solid background of English, Mathematics, Shona and Ndebele were accepted. There were altogether 320 students from Form one to Form four.
Years went by and in the year 2000 the first A’ Level block was built with the first A’ Level class in 2001. The history of Usher High is marked by people like our lady Vice-President Joyce Mujuru, paying the school a visit and opening the Japan Usher Library in 2000; and also the likes of Vice-President Joseph Msika and Phathisa Nyathi. Usher High School, located approximately 50km from Bulawayo is well known for producing good results at both O’Level and A’ Level and has been rated one of the best schools in Matabeleland South. It is now what it is because of some notable Salvation Army Officers like Colonel Phillip Rive, Colonel Jean Culdwelly, Brigadier Rosemary Gardener, Commissioner Lyster and Major and Mrs. Stan Morton