16 August 2021
Tatenda Magada is a 21 year old first year student set to begin his studies in Business Management in the College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance (CBPLG) in the August 2021 semester with Africa University. The path to higher education has not been an easy one for Tatenda where financial challenges threatened his entire education journey. Now Tatenda has been given the opportunity of a lifetime to attend AU with the award of a full scholarship generously provided by one of the university’s strategic development partners Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe that currently provides scholarships for 5 other beneficiaries , all women, who began their studies in August 2020.
Tatenda ‘s mother and father separated when he was 12 years old after which he went to live with his father. Tatenda said of his upbringing,
” Things were always very hard for me and my family. I recall times where I would eat once a day and other times when there was no food to eat, we would have to beg for sustenance from our neighbors and other well wishers.”
Despite crushing poverty and trying circumstances, Tatenda focused on his studies seeing it as a way out for himself and his family. Hard work and perseverance saw Tatenda excel and achieve top grades in his Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations at Sakubva 2 High School in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Through support from local NGO’s that paid for his high school tuition fees, Tatenda managed to complete this phase of his education but found yet another obstacle placed in his path when he was unable to secure further funding and assistance for university. Limited resources among NGO’s and the sheer volume of youth like Tatenda who cannot afford basic education leaves little to no opportunity for further study.
Tatenda now found himself in a frustrating situation having attained excellent grades but with no money to go further and realize his full potential.
” Despite all that I had managed to achieve, I accepted that a university education was not something I could attain at that moment. My father also passed on in 2020 so emotionally things were very hard.”
He went on to speak of the circumstances of his family and why falling into despair was not an option.
“I have three older brothers and they were and still are unemployed, I also have a younger sister who is in grade 7 so sitting and allowing myself to be depressed about the situation was not going to help. I tried to make ends meet by selling vegetables and this is what I was doing after I left high school.”
According to statistics from UNESCO, the current tertiary enrolment rate across Africa stands at just over 12% – well below the global average of 32%. While in relative terms, enrolment levels of students to universities in Sub- Saharan Africa has improved since the early the 2000’s, demand still outweighs availability as primary/ secondary education improves, and economies shift more toward manufacturing and service sectors creating a necessity for higher skilled and trained persons. What is of more concern is the number of students who drop out of university and fail to complete their degrees due to socio- economic pressures which further sets progress made in increasing access to education on the continent back.
For Tatenda, his academic progression was set back on track when Mutare- born Africa University alumnus Mr. Aubrey Kamba heard of Tatenda’s plight and mobilized other alumni to assist him. Through the university and its partnerships with like- minded organizations whose goal is transformation and positive impact, Tatenda has been granted a second chance at achieving his dreams.
The university’s amazing alumni who have a deep sense of duty to their communities and possess a passion for creating opportunities for the youth have an extensive track record of reinvesting back into their communities and home countries .
” I cannot appreciate and thank enough those that did not even know me but went out of their way to offer their time and their help. After I get my degree, I see myself owning my own business and lifting others up as others have done for me.”