WATCH: Zimpapers staffer retires after 45 years of service

31 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
WATCH: Zimpapers staffer retires after 45 years of service Bulawayo Branch Operations Manager Mr Prosper Dube (right) bids the Production Manager Mr Zenzo Ngwenya farewell on his retirement on Friday

The Sunday News

Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter

HAVING served the country’s biggest and oldest media organisation — the Zimbabwe Newspaper Company (Zimpapers)’s Bulawayo branch for a loyal 45 years, Mr Zenzo Ngwenya who was the production manager has retired.

Mr Ngwenya assumed service as a printer on 1 March 1979 with the then Rhodesian Chronicle newspaper and served diligently until he clocked the legal retirement age of 65.

On Thursday last week the company held a farewell party for him.

Born on 23 March 1959 in Bulawayo and hailing from Nkayi District in Matabeleland North Province, Mr Ngwenya has seen it all in the newspaper production’s changing systems.

He has witnessed the transformation of the printing press from using basic and simple machinery like the Linotype Machine to print the newspaper to a more complex and digital way of doing things, a change he said was inevitable.

Mr Ngwenya kicked off his education during the “Sub” era. He moved to Regina Mundi Mission in Tsholotsho in 1969 when it was still a girl’s school.

“We, boys could only go up to Grade Seven and from there I went to Empandeni Mission in Mangwe District, it was a boy’s school by then. I studied up to Form Four in 1975 and later went to Mgandane now Mzilikazi High School up to Form Six.

In 1979 I responded to an article from the Rhodesia Chronicle so I joined on the 1st of March that year. We did our City and Guilds apprenticeship in printing and completed it after four years,” said Mr Ngwenya.

During that era, there was a lot of racial segregation and the country had not gained its independence. He said he was a victim of that segregation.

“It was a white-dominated place, we had a hell of a time, in the canteen. There were separate tables for black people and white people, and we had separate tea times too,” he said.

Mr Ngwenya said he went through all the evolving processes of printing a newspaper.

“We started with hot metal, then we came to Bromide and from there we went to the computer to film, and now it is printing from a Computer to Plate (CTP) machine. It has been a long journey. I have gone through 10 general managers here, the first ones were mostly white then came Mr Mudzengi, Mrs Ncube and the last being Mr Marks Shayamano. I have also gone through several editors like Geoff Nyarota, Stephen Ndlovu, Stephen Mpofu, Brezhnev Malaba, Makuwerere Bwititi, Paul Mambo, Limukani Ncube and the current editors, Lawson Mabhena (Chronicle) and Hatred Zenenga (Sunday News),” he said.

He, however, acknowledged that in any workplace situation, one is bound to step on other people’s toes.

“If I stepped on some people’s toes, I hope they find it in their hearts to forgive me. But I have also made a lot of friends here. It has been a joyful ride and this has been my second home for the past 45 years. The company has faced challenges but it is the co-operation between management and workers that has kept it afloat,” he said.

Mr Ngwenya said he was grateful for the support from the Production Department where he was manager over the years and also from feeder departments.

Asked about the biggest lessons learned in the 45 years he served the company, working with many managers and members of staff with different personalities, Mr Ngwenya said it taught him tolerance.

“Tolerance, we make mistakes also, people have also been tolerant with us as a department, advising us a lot. I have also learnt that a stranger is a friend whom you have not yet met. I have met a lot of people here and though they were strangers they became my friends. I learnt a lot also about management from my seniors. I think wherever I go I will be able to use that knowledge and apply it and I am very grateful to my senior managers, similarly, I have learned a lot from the editors,” he said.

Mr Ngwenya said he rose through the ranks from being a printer to a night shift foreman and later a day shift foreman up until he became the production manager.

As an elder in the field, he had some wise words for the younger generation that he is leaving behind.

“They must respect authority, I see these young people when they come here, they come with an ego to say they know better but no, experience also teaches a lot. We blend as a team rather than trying to show that you are better than others.

“Teamwork is very important because ultimately we have the same goal at work. Follow company rules, this is why I am retiring today, I have never been called for a disciplinary hearing in my 45 years here.

“There is also this thing about drinking alcohol at work, it will destroy your career, there is always time to drink after you knock off,” he counselled.

Mr Ngwenya encouraged young people to invest and also to diversify their skills so that they can be able to adapt to situations that arise in the workplace.

“Some jobs are dying literally and children find themselves on the streets. Being computer literate is very important,” he said.

Mr Songolo Mathe, a long-time workmate and friend of Mr Ngwenya said he was a great work companion.

“I met Ngwenya in 1985 at work and he was one of the people in the technical division which is now the production department.

“He put us under his wing when we arrived, he was very accommodating and had an open-door policy. If one had a problem, he would come down to their level and find a solution together. He never made you feel like you are inferior, he has always been a fair man,” said Mr Mathe. – @NyembeziMu.



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