Morris Mtisi Post Correspondent
It was Katie Miller who said, “Don’t wait for the perfect moment, take a moment and make it perfect. That is exactly what happened on October, 13, 2017; the place — St Augustine’s Mission; occasion-2017 Speech and prize-giving Day.
SDC chairperson Mr Maregere showered a plethora of praises and appreciation to former St Augustine’s students who continue to support the school that made them who they are in life today. He revealed that in the recent past they have renovated the Geography Room and Form 4 Block. “Now they have donated 100 chairs to the school and the days of pushing and shoving for chairs are over. They have no children attending school here but they owe their lives to Tsambe,” he said.
The SDC chairperson announced that the same alumni spirit has pushed the former students to supply material to renovate the Form 3 Block. “The material is in the school and work could begin anytime,” said the SDC chief. He thanked the hard-working teachers, ancillary staff and parents for each doing their bit to raise the giant Tsambe from slumber. Most pleasantly unusual was Mr Maregere’s appreciation and understanding of the new curriculum and how the great Santa is geared to do its best to comply with transformative implementation of the new-look education drive. SDC members hardly talk about the revised curriculum.
The Mutasa Schools District Inspector, Mrs Chipo Mlambo, added icing to the cake when she opened more showers of praise and appraisal of the Genesis of Excellence. She applauded both the sporting and academic achievements of the school proudly recognising the remarkable, slow but sure journeys to the top. She touched every strand of achievement, applauded both the teachers and students and ended her ode to Tsambe on a short and sweet poetic innuendo: “Shine St Augustine’s-Shine!”
The new school head, one Reverend Sydney Chirombe, hardly one year old at the iconic school, visibly shared the historic glory of this monumental centre of Christianity and learning. He proudly boasted the pleasant leap forward of the Form 4 average pass rate from an average 90 percent to a new high of 94.4 percent; the ‘A’ level record from an average 99 percent to 100 percent.
Mr Chirombe deservedly boasted winning teams in Rugby, Netball, Darts, Debate, Soccer Athletics and many more; boasted the resurrection of The Floodlight Magazine which died a natural death twelve years ago but now is back to life, showcasing a new lease of the genesis of excellence.
“We are here today celebrating the history of success spanning ten years,” said the man of God and headmaster. “The once sleeping giant is woken up.”
He listed several success stories of school projects, like piggery, school vegetable garden, poultry and others which he described as “reducing unnecessary school expenditure.”
Mr Chirombe invited pleasant laughter and chuckles from the audience when he described the school bus as a chicken-bus resembling a moving museum.
“Despite the legendary and glorious status of the school, our chicken-bus attracts attention as it drives though the CBD of Mutare, like a moving museum.”
He cited countless breakdowns the ramshackle-bus encounters on its struggles up and down the Christmas Pass and how even the traffic police are now so familiar to the interesting bus on their road blocks where he said, they often detain the Tsambe vintage-bus for long hours on end.
Still reciting the school’s challenges, the Tsambe headmaster remembered to lament the shortage of teachers’ houses and appalling state he said needed urgent renovation. The guest of honour, Zimbabwean-born Barry Brown was notably short and sweet in his speech delivered under the theme: Motivation Towards Excellence, Our Collective Responsibility.
“Motivation is the psychological part we require to reach a goal or objective,” he began his speech adding that the want of driving that car or owning that house were motivated by money. He said for students they may be motivated by the desire to succeed and go to university. But the motivation I want to talk about today, is one that comes from within; it’s the cheapest, it’s not tangible, it costs nothing; it’s not one that money can buy,” said the young enterprising businessman of the Metro-Peach & Brown Wholesalers brand.
“This is the hardest motivation to discover,” he added and told a true story about how a long time ago he was employed for no salary at all somewhere at a dilapidated zoo in Argentina. He worked here for eight months without a salary but helped its manager to resurrect a literally dead zoo into a thriving tourist attraction which attracted again many visitors to the old jaguar-centred attraction.
The short story in Argentina was the hub of Barry Brown’s wise counsel. “We all have a responsibility,” he said. “…to ourselves, to our peers and a motivation towards a common goal; positive energy and motivation built on each other goal. We must hold on to high standards. The zoo manager had not failed because he did not know what to do or did not love the zoo.
‘‘It was not I who was responsible for the turn-around per se. He was motivated by knowing he had comfort in that he had a team around him. Let us not be too quick to criticise each other. We need team work; to accept each other’s weaknesses and look for strengths. Take pride in your school and country.” Thus ended Barry’s story!
It was Elvis Presley who said, “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.”
It is every sensible person who listened to Barry Brown who must continue to hear what he said long after he is gone. For he spoke wisely and truthfully! This great school, once a bastion of academic glory, a factory for candidates for heaven and future leaders of this country, has for a long time needed such words from an ‘outsider’ who understands in a profound way, motivation for success, and that that kind of success requires quality and genuine collective responsibility.
Mr Barry Brown donated US $5000 to the school to distribute amongst needy students towards their school fees. He promised a cordial relationship with Tsambe which, he said, could lead to exchange programmes with overseas friends. The Manica Post wishes the great Tsambe greater days ahead; days driven by prudent leadership and genuine team work from amongst everyone who hates making St Augustine’s High School and Mission a humiliating ruin and mockery of its heroic past.
Remember the blood of a valiant selfless freedom fighter, Tendai Pfepfere, was spilt at the centre of the school on 5 August 1979. He died to allow students to live and allow the cause of education to prosper. How many schools in Zimbabwe stand on such pride of history and heritage? Lest we forget!