Category Archives: Shared Experiences

How I almost founded a School and what I learnt in the process.

The School

I was fresh from High School having done a few terms of being a relief teacher at some Rural Government Schools.  Most of my High school mates had gone off to University, which I couldn’t afford because of my financial situation.

I needed money. The easiest way to get it was to use whatever skills I had. I could teach, I had done it before. I invited a group of friends, approached a local primary school and negotiated to use infants classrooms since they finished at 12 noon. I printed fliers and posters advertising for Ordinary Level Lessons.

They told us we were operating illegally since we had no certification.

The events that followed surprised me. In a month, we enrolled 200 students. Our school had attracted everyone who was seeking to resit their O’ level exams in the area including grown-ups who couldn’t attend conventional school. I became an employer of 6 teachers.

After a single term, The Ministry of Education Officials knocked on our door. They told us we were operating illegally since we had no certification. However, because we were meeting a great need they said, they would help us formalise our private college. They gave us textbooks through a UNICEF programme that was running then.

Things were happening so fast. I had set out to make a few coins helping individuals pass their exams, I was on the verge of founding my own Formal Private College.

Our first group of students went on to write exams that year. We had an 80% pass rate! Later I closed the school when I secured a formal Job.

Many people, like me, have given up dreams that would make them so successful for comfort that would see them die yearning for more.

The Lessons

1. SometimesYou do not need money to start a money-making business

Many people seeking to make money ignore their own skill sets, in search of complex business ideas. An entrepreneur looks first at what he/she has and sets out to meet a need.

2. Lucky is for the prepared.

If I hadn’t started this school, UNICEF through the Ministry of Education wouldn’t have given us textbooks. Lucky is when opportunity meets preparedness.

3. The best thing you can do is:  Start.

Many projects die before they are even born. Perfection is a killer disease. Business plans and budgets are good but the reality is often a different game altogether. Start your project, learn and adjust your sails as the boat floats on. Read about  The Lean Start-Up

4. Big Organisations are still People.

If you have a dream, there will be companies, organisations and people you will need. Fear of rejection may stop you from reaching out. Do not be afraid, in every company or organisation, decisions are made by humans, and, humans can ethically be persuaded.

5. Employment is a dream slayer. 

Employment is comfortable. You do not worry about capital, human resources, company bills and industry policies. Many people like me, have given up dreams that would make them successful for comfort that would see them die yearning for more. Hold on to your dream.

Respect Musiyiwa : Social Entrepreneur

When stories of pursuing dreams and passions are told Respect Musiyiwa’s story will arguably make the list and serve as an inspiring elixir to the coming generations of African young people

Respect Musiyiwa is a college dropout. After the death of his parents to the Aids pandemic Respect did not have enough resources to see him through the four years of University life.

Respect felt dejected having failed to further his education. He however chose not to settle, together with a group of friends he began to do something for the community. He founded a youth organization called Youth Network (Y.Net). The organisation brought together youths of his community so they could tackle local problems. Y.Net did not survive as it prematurely succumbed when Zimbabwe’s politicians mistook it for a political party.

Respect did not give up,taking lessons from the blow he founded Youth Initiative Against Marginalization (YIAM). With this new organization he was able to undertake many projects. He went around village wards of his local province training youths and women on mushroom farming to eradicate poverty, malnutrition and lack of employment.

With practical experience gained, Respect saw the necessity of moving from a mere CBO to a more improved organisation which would have national impact. He founded Centre For Agro Entrepreneurship and Sustained Livelihoods (CASL) which he registered as a Trust in 2013.

CASL has been rewarding to Respect’s resilience. Through CASL he has partnered with bigger organisation such as UNDP, FAC, YETT, BOOST FELLOWSHIP among other notables.

Pursuing your passion is rewarding. When your passion becomes your life, great things will surely follow.

Respect Musiyiwa

Respect is currently studying at Earth University in Costa Rica under a Mastercard Scholarship that he earned through his work with CASL. The Trust has had a great impact not only in his life but also on his community. The Trust trains youths to become Agricultural Entrepreneurs.

Casl Trust won the sole rights to host Zimbabwe’s Future Agro Challenge in 2017. In 2018 Respect’s organisation was awarded the GIHUB Green Innovator facility for harnessing solar energy for agricultural food processing.

Respect Musiyiwa dreams of a future where young people aren’t afraid of coming up with solutions for their local communities and implementing new ideas for a better Africa.

Do you wish to connect with Respect Musiyiwa ?


My YALI Experience

“I advise that you empty yourself and accept to learn because here; in this room we have seen a lot of egos crush!”

Derrick Manyisa YALI RLC Southern Africa Curriculum manager

Those were the words that greeted me on orientation day at YALI RLC Southern Africa .

I am glad I took the words to heart because nothing could have prepared me better for the four weeks that followed these remarks.

I found myself among 135 young Africans with astonishing energy levels and an intimidating unfettered will to express themselves. They represented 14 Southern African countries!

I soon realised in the first week discussing cross cutting issues that I had a lot to learn and unlearn about my society, Africa and the world as a whole. Slowly I uncoiled out of my shell, started asking myself uncomfortable questions and thus, began my journey of self discovery and leadership growth.

I came face to face with  another side of me that I was not conscious of until I came into the program. Pressure brings out strengths and weaknesses we often never knew we had. I am grateful YALI’s environment was safe to make mistakes and grow.

Leadership is about embracing diversity. For the first time in my life, I listened to a member of the LGBTQ community opening up. It was enlightening because where I come from, any other sexual orientation other than heterosexuality is criminalised. I appreciate the young people who dug from their  experiences to share and help us grow.

YALI also taught me the joy of volunteering. On 18 July,  celebrating Mandela’s 100years we visited a children’s home. As I painted the buildings the brush also painted the walls of my heart with satisfaction. I carry the paint to this day.

Volunteering at a children’s home on Mandela Day 2018

I was in the business development and entrepreneurship track. I was taught how to start,run and sustain a business venture. In  intense yet fun filled sessions we dissected what it means to be an entrepreneur.

They say your network is your net worth, I believe YALI made me rich in this regard. Networking was the highlight of the program.

You may be reading this contemplating of applying to the YALI program, my advise is go for it! This is   a life changing leadership training.

I would like to thank YALI RLC Southern Africa and it’s partners for affording Young African Leaders an  opportunity to become equipped to transform Africa.

My Testimony

Without a college degree, professional qualification nor a single connection, in a country where you need either of these to make it or get a job,God took a special interest and helped me to secure a stable and decent job. This is my story…

I lost my mother sometime in 1999 and my father followed in 2003. With this loss also came the loss of my financial muscle to make it to University let alone finishing my High school.I hoped from one relative to another till I completed my A Levels.

The period that followed was the hardest in my life.Even though I was now staying with my brother that did not lighten my situation. I mean how do you make yourself useful after everyone has left and gone to work?How do you receive a plate of food ,chew it and have it digest in your system when you know you did not help in any way. I took up teaching classes at a nearby High School during the day and by night I worked as a security guard for a brick company just outside Harare. All in a bid to lighten up the load I had become on my brother’s shoulders.

Over 20000 graduates are released from universities every year, to compete for the few jobs that can be found in a country where unemployment is rumoured to be above 70%. You can imagine how difficult it was to even dream of competing for a decent job. I had no qualification to think of! With nothing but hope and faith in God I distributed my “skeletal” curriculum vitae to different companies. I searched the streets whenever I had a chance, looking for anything that could pay enough to sustain me.

I am a testimony God answers prayer

I prayed to God every night and day.I promised him that if he could give me a decent job I would learn sign language and preach to the deaf. I stand to testify that God answers prayer.

When I least expected it I was called for an aptitude test at a very reputable company. We went in two groups of twenties. I remember failing to answer questions with marks totalling twenty-five yet one had to score 75% to make it into the interview. I passed with exactly 75%! Eleven of us made it into the interviews and of the eleven I was the only one from my group and the only one without an undergraduate degree. I went on to pass the interviews and landed my dream job.

I later realised when I was posted to a country branch that God indeed works in mysterious ways. The congregation there already had sign language tutorials in progress. I am progressing well in learning sign language so that I can preach to the deaf, at the same time pursuing my Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Qualification.

When I reflect on all this I cant help but feel like Hannah when she proclaimed in 1 Samuel 2:2

There is no one holy like Jehovah;there is no one besides you ;There is no rock like our God.