Zimbabweans still proudly embody the spirit of Ubuntu

DESPITE the harsh economic environment in the country, there are still many Zimbabweans with warm hearts willing to help a fellow countryman in need of assistance

Candid Comment,Faith Zaba

Zimbabwe Independent last Friday carried a feature article, which touched many hearts, about 19-year-old Providence Pangira, who passed Zimbabwe School Examinations Council Ordinary and Advanced level tests with flying colours but is now working as a gardener. He passed O’ level exams with seven As and four Bs and attained an A in Biology and two Bs in Pure Mathematics and Chemistry at A-level.

But because of the worsening economic environment, his dream of enrolling at a university and becoming a medical doctor had been crushed because Providence’s family could not afford to pay for his tertiary education. But now there is a silver lining.

What touched most people was the fact that Providence was so determined to realise his dream of studying medicine that he worked part time as a gardener, ploughing fields around Mutare from a tender age of 13 to raise money for school fees, uniforms and learning materials.

He would study while seated on the concrete floor in the crowded one room he shared with his parents and four siblings up to 11pm and work up at 2am to continue.

At the time when he started Form 1 in 2013, his father had begun serving a prison term and was only released in February last year through an amnesty.

What makes him unique is that Providence never gave up. He could have easily joined thousands who have become part of a lost generation, who hang out at street corners drinking alcohol and taking drugs.

Instead he persevered and scored 13 points in A-Level science subjects — a remarkable achievement, considering his difficult circumstances.

It is sad that the current economic environment is destroying future generations.

Zimbabwe’s tertiary institutions are churning out tens of thousands of graduates with no hope of ever getting formal employment in a country with 95% unemployment.

Despite the harsh economic environment, the story received overwhelming responses on social media. Many called and emailed Zimbabwe Independent editors offering financial assistance to Providence.

These included medical doctors, lawyers, corporates, ordinary Zimbabweans, who were impressed by the way he remained resolute in the face of adversity.

“I live and work in Australia. Look, I struggle to make ends meet, just like most Zimbabweans who live both inside the country and in the diaspora. However, I was so much touched by this young man’s story.

“I do not promise to provide him with everything he might need, but I would like to get in touch with him and see how best my wife and I could assist him,” one well-wisher wrote to us.

From the depths of despair, there is now hope for a brighter future for Providence.

What is left now is to secure a place at a university. The offers included money for tuition, clothes, accommodation and allowances.

Zimbabweans must be commended for displaying the spirit of Ubuntu.