Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
IT easy to adopt a victim mentality and give up on life when parents fail to raise fees for one’s education.
After dropping out of school, some especially in the country’s southern region, simply join the great trek to South Africa or Botswana to look for jobs.
However, a few industrious people have embraced various empowerment programmes both at household and Government level to join different sectors of the economy.
Even fewer people who dropped out of school have realised that above everything else education is key and gone back to school.
Mr Christopher Lucky Mufakwadzi (43) of Victoria Falls who has been nicknamed Chris Strong Walls or Mntaka Khristu because of his resilience to life’s challenges, is one person who has soldiered on in life.
His story is that of resilience, focus, and attests to the old adage that age is nothing but a number or that where there is a will there is always a way.
Born in a family of six and raised by a single mother, Mr Mufakwadzi became a kombi tout at the age of 11 while in Grade Six in Bulawayo’s Nkulumane 11 suburb.
The need to help his struggling mother and grandmother to fend for the family forced him to look for the job and would on a daily basis join older colleagues touting for passengers after dismissing from school.
Unfortunately he could not proceed to Form One because of lack of money and at 13, he fled from home with a friend to look for a job in Botswana but was deported two weeks later. Life was hard, but after not giving up, he is now the managing director of Lines of Grace Construction Company which he founded with his wife Ms Ntombizami Ncube who is Victoria Falls Municipality town planner. The company employs about 20 people.
He has been chair of the Mosi-oa-Tunya High School Development Committee since 2014 and is also founder of Zimbabwe Hear Them Out Youth Association, an organisation that seeks to empower youths. He is also Zanu-PF chairperson for Masiyephambili District in Victoria Falls and Secretary for Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment for Matabeleland North in the Zanu-PF Youth League.
He passed his Ordinary Level at the ripe age of 35 in 2012.
Having a vision and pursuing it doggedly paid off for him as he recently graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce Honours Degree in Human Resources Management at Lupane State University (LSU).
“We grew up in our maternal grandparents’ family where my mother and grandmother were the breadwinners. Life was difficult and we would join my mother and grandmother to sell vegetables at the street market after school.
“I looked for a job when I was in Grade Six aged 11 where I would load kombis after school and get $1 at the end of the day. I remember being sent home from school for non-payment of fees when I was in Grade Seven and I took the money I had kept and paid fees. I finished Grade Seven but couldn’t go to Form One because there was no money,” said Cde Mufakwadzi.
He decided to go to Botswana at 13.
“My family didn’t know that I had skipped the border into Botswana. I left with a friend called Henry and we got jobs in Gaborone. Unfortunately we were arrested while at work after only two weeks and they deported us after thoroughly beating us.
We walked for 60km on our way from Plumtree to Bulawayo after being deported and I could hardly walk when I got home,” said Mr Mufakwadzi.
He once again tried his luck in Botswana a month later but returned home after failing to get a job.
He started selling vegetables at Bulawayo’s Basch Street terminus popularly known as Egodini during the day and in the evenings he would sell cigarettes at Madlodlo Beerhall in Makokoba.
He relocated to Victoria Falls at the age of 17 to stay with his elder brothers who were working at a local casino.
“I was 18 when I enrolled for Form Two at Mosi-oa-Tunya. Initially I couldn’t get a Form One place then I lied that I had done Form One in Bulawayo. They enrolled me and I skipped Form One.
“I dropped out of school again the following year because of money. I then joined Mbelebele Music and Dance Group where we would perform at hotels. I used the money to re-enrol for Form Three in 1997. Unfortunately the group relocated to Kariba and I pulled out of school because I moved with the group. I only came back to write Form Four final examinations because I had already registered but unfortunately I failed all the subjects,” narrated Mr Mufakwadzi.
He was a vendor between 1998 and 2011 when he enrolled for a Learners Professional Hunters guide which he didn’t complete after failing one subject.
By then he was already married to Ms Ncube who was a holder of a degree in town planning. She kept encouraging him to go back to school.
Mr Mufakwadzi finally passed Form Four with five subjects in 2012 and two years later attained five points in A-Level. He also sat for three more O-Level subjects in 2014 and passed.
He enrolled with Solusi University for a degree in Business Administration but discontinued his studies and enrolled with LSU before graduating recently.
Mr Mufakwadzi is also a holder of a certificate in poultry production which he obtained at Esigodini Agricultural Institute in Matabeleland South.
“I became active in politics in 2000. I wish to develop my political career to help the community. That’s partly why I soldiered on with education after realising that education is key in politics. A politician’s thinking should be inspired by education to be able to debate and if all goes well I want to start my Master’s degree in January next year,” he said.
Mr Mufakwadzi is grateful to his supportive wife, Mosi-oa-Tunya School teachers particularly the head Mr Roland Sibanda, Shearwater Adventures spokesperson Mr Clement Mukwasi, twins Pastor Pinias and Mr Piniel Sibanda and Twelve Apostolic Church members for encouraging him to soldier on in school.
Mr Mufakwadzi said his vision is to make Mosi-oa-Tunya one of the best learning institutions in the country.
Under his chairmanship the school has expanded in terms of infrastructure and won some awards.
Mr Mufakwadzi said he is glad to have graduated with his first degree before his first born daughter who finished her Advanced Level studies last year and is waiting to go to university. — @ncubeleon