Teenage or­phan tri­umphs over ad­ver­sity as youngest grad­u­ate in Zim­babwe

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - TAWANDA KAROMBO

AMID the gloom of Zim­babwe’s econ­omy, school dropouts and child-headed fam­i­lies, 18-yearold Maud Chi­famba is beat­ing the odds.

She has grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Zim­babwe with an hon­ours de­gree in ac­count­ing, af­ter first en­rolling at just 14.

The teenager, who grew up in an or­phan­age, en­rolled at the univer­sity in 2012 af­ter skip­ping sev­eral grades in high school.

Now, aged 18, she has grad­u­ated and be­lieves ed­u­ca­tion is the best thing that ever hap­pened to her.

“It was not easy to get the op­por­tu­nity to go to univer­sity, but by the grace of God I have grad­u­ated. It was worth it and I am proud,”

Chi­famba said af­ter be­ing capped by Zim­bab­wean pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe, who is also chan­cel­lor of the univer­sity, the vice-chan­cel­lor said Chi­famba was “the youngest grad­u­ate ever in the 61-year his­tory of the univer­sity”.

She grad­u­ated with 3 667 oth­ers, in­clud­ing state in­tel­li­gence unit boss Hap­py­ton Bony­ongwe, Zanu- PF parl i a ment a r i a n Psy­chol­ogy Mazivisa and Stan­ley Gama, ed­i­tor of the Daily News.

Chi­famba re­counted how she grew up in the Hunters re­set­tle­ment com­mu­nity near the Mid­lands mining town of Kwekwe and how she lost her fa­ther at the age of four.

Her mother died in De­cem­ber 2011.

“I grew up un­der dif­fi­cult

I had to

cir­cum­stances and would some­times study on my own with­out go­ing to school,” Chi­famba said soon af­ter en­rolling at the univer­sity.

She said on her Face­book page her grad­u­a­tion was about more than just herself, “but about the un­der­priv­i­leged, those who have lost hope and power to move on”, and about “women and the girl child”.

In 2003 Chi­famba en­rolled at a makes hi f t r e s e t t l e ment pri­mary school with just three teach­ers and couldn’t take her Grade 7 ex­ams be­cause the school was not reg­is­tered. Ear­lier, her teach­ers had moved her up from Grade 3 to 6.

She fi­nally wrote the exam in 2007, get­ting ex­cel­lent re­sults


study on my own with­out go­ing to



Maud Chi­famba has grad­u­ated with a BAcc (Hons) at the age of 18.

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