Mbudzi’s foot­prints in ed­u­ca­tion will re­main in­deli­ble

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which did not re­quire any fees.

It ex­plains prob­a­bly why he was so close to his last born daugh­ter, Rumbidzai, who then lived her fa­ther’s dream by train­ing as a med­i­cal doc­tor.

Mr Mbudzi al­ways said he was happy that his young girl achieved what he wished to achieve but cir­cum­stances would not al­low him.

Rumbidzai and her sib­lings de­scribed Mr Mbudzi as a “He­li­copter Dad” as he was al­ways over­pro­tec­tive when it came to the wel­fare of his chil­dren.

Mrs Mbudzi’s younger sis­ter, Wil­lia, once ac­cused Mr Mbudzi of be­ing over­pro­tec­tive and too firm. She said she had to sneak out ev­ery time she wanted to meet the man who later be­came her hus­band, the for­mer Di­rec­tor of Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Or­gan­i­sa­tion, Hap­py­ton Bony­ongwe.

I first met the man Joyce Mbudzi in Fe­bru­ary of 2010, just a few days af­ter join­ing Kwekwe Polytech­nic’s Na­tional and Strate­gic Stud­ies de­part­ment as a lec­turer when he sum­moned me to his of­fice to as­sign me the role of en­sur­ing that I come up with a plan to build the im­age of the in­sti­tu­tion.

His ma­jor aim was to see an ag­gres­sive mar­ket­ing of the Bach­e­lor of Tech­nol­ogy de­gree in poly­tech­nics, the first of which was started by him at Kwekwe Polytech­nic.

I am proud that I was up to the task, from the day I as­sumed the new of­fice in the de­part­ment of in­for­ma­tion. I au­to­mat­i­cally be­came his de facto Press of­fi­cer, tasked with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of see­ing that his vi­sion to trans­form the in­sti­tu­tion got a wide na­tional and in­ter­na­tional ap­peal.

I am con­tented that as Mr Mbudzi lies silently in his grave, he is a happy man af­ter see­ing the suc­cess in our pub­lic­ity plan with the polytech­nic de­gree pro­gramme at­tract­ing in­ter­na­tional ap­peal and recog­ni­tion which re­sulted in him scoop­ing so many awards both lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

In my in­tro­duc­tory meet­ing with him, I quickly re­alised three of his ma­jor qual­i­ties that I will never for­get. He was a vi­sion­ary; he was a brave goal get­ter who was very ag­gres­sive in achiev­ing his vi­sion. His lead­er­ship was re­sult­sori­ented; he had a sweet tongue and sharp brains.

He was not apolo­getic for what he be­lieved in. I re­mem­ber at­tend­ing an Em­ploy­ers’ Con­fed­er­a­tion of Zim­babwe (Em­coz) meet­ing with polytech­nic prin­ci­pals, vice chan­cel­lors of universities and other mem­bers from the Min­istry of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion where they grum­bled af­ter he de­liv­ered his pre­sen­ta­tion on the role played by poly­tech­nics in de­vel­op­ing the econ­omy through import sub­sti­tu­tion.

He told the meet­ing that univer­sity de­grees were use­less, ar­gu­ing that most univer­sity grad­u­ates were sell­ing air­time on the streets while polytech­nic grad­u­ates were com­ing up with tan­gi­ble so­lu­tions for the de­vel­op­ment of the econ­omy. His words did not go down well with his peers but he was was not de­terred be­cause he be­lieved in what he was say­ing. He was un­pop­u­lar with many peo­ple for say­ing it as it is.

In our first strate­gic plan­ning meet­ing fa­cil­i­tated by mo­ti­va­tional speaker Mr Mil­ton Kamwendo at An­cient City Lodge in Masvingo, Mr Mbudzi told his man­age­ment team that ev­ery­thing was achiev­able if one puts his mind to the task.

He said: “I brought you here, to the Great Zim­babwe mon­u­ments which has ac­quired world her­itage site sta­tus but were built by or­di­nary men so that you see that ex­tra­or­di­nary things are done by or­di­nary men.”

I was to see the mo­ti­va­tional speaker Mr Kamwendo tak­ing mo­ti­va­tional notes from Mr Mbudzi as he ad­dressed the del­e­gates.

I am very sure that many lec­tur­ers who had a chance to work with Mr Mbudzi de­vel­oped aca­dem­i­cally as he al­ways chal­lenged them.

To­wards the end of his ca­reer in ed­u­ca­tion, I was tasked to do a doc­u­men­tary on his life and work. In one of the in­ter­views, for­mer ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes di­rec­tor in the Min­istry of Higher and Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion, Science and Tech­no­log­i­cal De­vel­op­ment Mr John De­wah said what he will miss most about Mr Mbudzi was his abil­ity to speak his mind re­gard­less of how his au­di­ence would re­ceive it.

His ac­tual words were, “Our meet­ings will never be the same with­out him. He would say out his mind with­out fear.”

In another in­ter­view, Ta­fara, Mr Mbudzi’s first born son de­scribed his fa­ther as a car­ing and lov­ing fa­ther who was al­ways home to spend time with his fam­ily.

His foot­prints in the Min­istry of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion will re­main in­deli­ble for hav­ing pushed against all odds, for the adop­tion of com­pe­tency based train­ing in Zim­babwe and also the in­tro­duc­tion of de­grees in poly­tech­nics.

Mr Mbudzi was one bold risk taker; he took down any­thing in the way of his vi­sion. I re­mem­ber when he was ap­pointed the act­ing di­rec­tor of qual­ity as­sur­ance in the Min­istry of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion, in no time he sin­gle­hand­edly and boldly so, changed the whole polytech­nic cur­ricu­lum mak­ing prac­ti­cal course­work to con­sti­tute 60 per­cent and fi­nal exam 40 per­cent, a sys­tem still func­tional in poly­tech­nics to­day.

Strangely, be­hind that bravado, ag­gres­sive­ness and as­sertive­ness of this aca­demic lay a lov­ing, kind and car­ing soul but only vis­i­bly to those that were close to him. Whether it was kind­ness or cow­ardice of him, many lec­tur­ers knew that they could only win Mr Mbudzi if they con­fronted him in his of­fice but they had to do so re­spect­fully.

Mr Mbudzi will be re­mem­bered for his in­tegrity, com­mit­ment to duty, his drive for Tech­ni­cal Vo­ca­tional Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing (TVET) and love to see the up­lift­ment of the un­der­priv­i­leged.

He was stern, as­sertive, ar­tic­u­late, self­mo­ti­vated and sharp.

Rest in eter­nal peace Com­rade, you fought a good fight “Dr TVET”, you will for­ever be re­mem­bered.

Mr Joyce Cephas Mbudzi

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