Morris Mtisi Post Correspondent
Enter Moses Mukoyi: Do we describe him as great, eminent, distinguished or celebrated? Enter Johnson Madhuku. What do we call him if all the adjectives fit Moses? Well, let us try notable, renowned, prominent and outstanding. Or put all the adjectives together and shower them on both!
Masvingo Province boasts all the glory of Pamushana High School. Anyone who does not know this centre of academic equilibrium does not live in Masvingo. Likewise Manicaland boasts the grandeur of the indomitable St Faiths— the feted Fisco. Anyone who does not know this beacon of academic excellence does not live in Manicaland.
Away from the high performance records of these two great high schools there is more intriguing tales about the two distinguished headmasters. Both are pint-bodied, handsomely diminutive; both size-3 suits, indeed like this reporter-not much to talk about above five foot tall. Both are distinguished leaders of the National Association of Secondary Heads (NASH), Moses Mukoyi being the Secretary General and Johnson Madhuku, its president, of course president with a small-letter ‘p’…be warned! These portfolios or offices have brought the two headmasters closer to each other beyond their schools. And the two have inevitably become very close friends.
Both believe in an open-door policy in their school offices. Because the two headmasters are distinguished, prominent and…all that, one would not be wrong to think they must be unapproachable and untouchable, impervious, unreachable. That is what a lot of headmasters are known for: towering beyond human size. Mukoyi and Madhuku are very approachable and down-to-earth.
A woman who knows the Pamushana headmaster fairly well had this to say about him. “I got to his school one day. I did not know him. He was walking about in the school flower gardens. And when I asked him if I could see the school head, he showed me his office. I slowly walked to the office and sat outside on a bench in the corridor. The door was wide open. When the man I had talked to came, he asked, “Why are you seated outside madam?” I answered that I was waiting for the headmaster to come. “Anyway, the headmaster has come. You can now come in.” I was pleasantly shocked.
On one of this reporter’s visits to the school on an assignment to cover the official opening of the school library by the then Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, ‘retired’ Lazarus Dokora, he asked Johnson Madhuku, “You have beautiful spacious classrooms and well equipped Science laboratories and other buildings in this famous school…now a state-of-the-art Library. Why is the headmaster’s office slightly bigger than a prison cell?”
“First things first Morris. Students’ interests first,” said Johnson Madhuku. “Their dining halls, their food, their books, their dormitories…their library, the list is very long. The last thing I will build in the school is my office,” he said. The office was as orderly as the man himself…very tiny office but speak and span, almost running short of display space for the numerous cups and trophies the school won almost daily for its excellence in various activities in which the school took part.
What does that say about Madhuku? Different, full of humility, unassuming, self-effacing! A lot of school heads build small-heavens of offices for themselves and ignore refugee-status toilets and dilapidating classrooms…falling teachers’ houses.
Moses Mukoyi has recently become big-brother to St Faith’s Primary School located a spitting distance away from his school. He sponsored the first Speech and Prize-Giving Day for the little school in 32 years. This reporter saw the most moving guest speech here delivered by a flaming guest speaker to an audience of orphans and physically challenged pupils, one Lawrence T. Chisango of Konica Minolta-Zimbabwe. He literally donated every prize given to the winning pupils on the day. He spoke from heart to the hearts of listeners and promised the poor little school to be never the same again.
Thanks to Moses Mukoyi.
Here is a headmaster who sees beyond his school. He cares and is concerned about what goes on in the community around his school to an extent of becoming big brother to a poor neighbouring little primary school. He believes no school is a school without the community; without the hearts and minds of those around it.
How many school heads are like these two eminent and distinguished heads? How many achieve so much in academic excellence and philanthropy and remain normal, unpretentious and down-to-earth?
How many school heads work for other heads, not only around their own schools but engage in national programmes that benefit literally all heads in the country, in sporting, school leadership and administration and other organised activities within the teaching and learning business?
This tale of two distinguished headmasters seeks not to compare and contrast and come up with who is better than the other in any sense. Instead it seeks to illustrate a narrative of noteworthy paradox between intelligence and character; between knowledge and conduct. These two headmasters are heroes and models. They are champions of administrative logic and essence that give education direction and meaning. No wonder they are at the top! This tale of two heroes places them at par, not one inner and the other outer.
It was Mark Twain who said, “Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.” This speaks to legacy…what people will remember you for when you are gone.
Some people confuse legacy for heroism or noteworthiness. Mukoyi and Madhuku are busy intimately building an indelible legacy; not a legacy which they think, wish or want people to remember them for; but indeed what we will, all who love or hate them, intimately remember them for, whether they like it or not; namely models of the best of school heads in every sense.
Let us now look at the histories or records of their remarkable, unrivalled, unsurpassed, unmatched work on the A-level examination results for the past three years: Remember the wise words of William Adam Ward.
He said, “We can choose to throw stones, to stumble on them, to climb over them, or to build with them.” If learners were stones, what do you think Moses Mukoyi and Johnson did and do with them?
For me the only real difference between them is that one set came from an Anglican Diocesan High School and another from a Roman Catholic Diocesan School.
You have studied the sets of these wonderful results. Do not judge the two headmasters who commanded the war of excellence by the harvests they reaped only, but also by the seeds they planted. Well done Moses! Well done Johnson! You always make Zimbabwe proud. The Manica Post wish you many more years of the best education stories to write. I will talk to Professor Mavima to extend your retirement age from 65 to 95!
Of course how stupid it would be to forget the teachers and students behind these two sets of miracles! Well done all! Makorokoto! Amhlope! Congratulations!