Charleen Ndlovu, Sunday Life reporter
THE only Zimbabwean who was selected for the African leadership University (ALU) student scholarship, Muzingaye Matthew Thaka, a former Cyrene Boys high student has already lived long enough to tell his tale.
In a sheer story of resilience, ambition and determination the 19-year-old says that he never for a moment stopped believing in his dreams, the fact that he knew what he wanted was the driving force that today has catapulted him to the top.
Thaka says he first applied for the Nelson Mandela Scholarship and when he failed to get a place, he then tried his luck and applied for the ALU scholarship where he and 24 other students from Africa were accepted into the university after going through an intense essay writing for screening purposes.
“I first applied for the Nelson Mandela Scholarship in South Africa where 100 students from all around Africa were awarded scholarships, three girls from Zimbabwe got scholarships and I wasn’t accepted which was such an anticlimax in my life.
However, I decided to apply for the ALU scholarship which has a fresh approach to 21st century education. After a while they sent me an email which required me to write an essay averring my past leadership experiences,” he said.
Thaka said that essay writing proved less of a challenge for him because during his high school time at Cyrene he had been elected as a prefect, he was also tennis captain and in both 2016 and 2017 competed in the SAICE (South African Institute of Civil engineering) competitions representing Zimbabwe.
“I was a prefect and also in the debate team and I was a the captain for tennis team, and in 2016 to 2017 I competed in the SAICE and so as I included all that in my essay I strongly believe that all those qualities helped me to get accepted at ALU on a student scholarship,” he said.
“There are two campuses one in Mauritius and the other in Rwanda to study a degree in Global challenges and I decided to go Rwanda, people thought I was crazy for choosing to go to Rwanda because of the genocide history but I had researched and I realised that Rwanda is developing economically and socially hence I saw this as an opportunity,” said Muzingaye.
“I want to serve as a living proof that dreams do come true and also I want to inspire those who do not about such opportunities. As I look back now from where I started I’m still in disbelief however, I’m not surprised because I worked hard for it all.
My life has had some up and downs, I never wanted to go for A-level. I had plans of my own but my parents had the final say at the end. Also having had to change schools a lot during my high school years affected my academic performance but I guess it was fate because when I finally went to Cyrene that’s when I discovered that I had leadership qualities,” said Thaka.