Members of the Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe are marching to defend rural education in the country. Their walk, which started on the 15th August, covers 200 kilometres and culminates in the capital, Harare. Among a list of ten demands formulated by the teachers, are an end to violence against rural teachers, a proper allowance for the difficulties of working in rural areas and spending on infrastructure which is often in a deplorable condition.

The teachers have been joined by community members and parents en route and have been stopping at local education offices to hand in petitions outlining their demands. However along the way they have been harassed by security forces. On Wednesday their camp was raided by intelligence agents who told them that they were enemies of the state and must leave the area forthwith or be 'heroes in the graveyard.' Several marchers were arrested on Thursday and the President has been kept in prison on remand until September. Nonetheless the teachers have vowed to continue their march, starting tomorrow (August 22nd)

One teacher on the rural teachers' facebook page describes their lives: 'Zimbabwe’s much acclaimed academic prowess comes from the selfless dedication of men and women who live in houses without windows, with broken roofs and often times lack basic potable water supply. These heroes of Zimbabwe’s famed education system wake up in the small hours of the morning to write their lesson plans and scheme books under candle light and even write lengthy notes on chalk boards long before the start of their working day at 0730hrs.'

As well as the rural teachers, their colleagues in towns are also fighting to be paid their salaries in a timely manner, many have been left unpaid for several weeks as the financial crisis in the country deepens.