Blessings come in all forms. Celebrate every one of them. During struggles, draw from the positive, yesteryear accomplishments, joyful memories with loved ones and having faith.
I wrote this speech in 2009 for a scholarship banquet and after unearthing it from my archives, I had to share. I hope to uplift others to relive experiences that make you realize how fortunate your journey has been in this maze we call LIFE.
Thanks for your time.
Dr. Ball, Honorable Guests, Sponsors, Faculty and Students, thank you for the opportunity and privilege to address you this evening.
Last April I was sat in an interview for an entry-level position at a multinational financial organization at their Upstate South Carolina branch. The intimidating interviewer posed a question:
SonofGuruve, so what separates you from the rest of the applicants?
I paused and knew this was an opportunity to market myself, so I responded with the following, “Sir, I am living an African Dream and pursuing an American Dream.”.
I am living an African dream, pursuing the American dream.
This statement has been my mantra the moment I realized I was coming to America through the support of the Mufuka-Mashura Scholarship in Spring of 2007. Since then, I have never looked back.
Having grown up and raised in the illustrious, great nation of Zimbabwe, Africa, it is home to 12 million with an unemployment rate of about 80 percent. In the last decade, Zimbabwe has been riddled with shortages of basic commodities, political discord, and harsh realities – Ladies and gentlemen, if you didn’t know it’s also an African Dream for some having the opportunity to leave and seek a better future for oneself.
Before every school term throughout my elementary and high school years my father sat my brother and I and said,
Sons, there is no substitute for hard work for one day you will be rewarded – maybe not today but certainly tomorrow.
Zimbabwe’s economy had continued to plummet before my parents decided to relocate to the UK pursuing more lucrative economic opportunities. I had no idea where I was going to university. Applications to universities in South Africa and the UK were successful, but all required financial resources that my parents would find difficulty supporting. Through the Salvation Army in York Corps, I found out about a Scholarship in the SC, United States and decided to apply. I contacted Dr. Mufuka with my High school certificates and a letter of application. Documentation and visa processing was smooth sailing and in no time I was on my journey to the USA to study an Accounting degree.
My youthful, curious mind was extremely excited and I didn’t know what to expect. I just knew I had to work hard and make my family proud. I wanted to confirm that Dr. Mufuka was not making a mistake in granting me the scholarship. I was stunned to realize I could be granted more scholarships and so I hit the ground running from day one. In my first semester I was offered the Business Freshman scholarship, and later offered the Harris Francis P Business scholarship. In my sophomore year I got the opportunity to go on a College and Business and Public Affairs Achievement program in Greenville, SC where I got to meet industry executives and enjoy some networking.
I WILL ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL FOR THIS PRIVILEDGE AND HONOUR!
I became heavily involved in Extra Curricular Activities including Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Lander Professional Business Society and the International Student’s organization. Lander has provided me the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds, friends from all over the Palmetto state and beyond. My cultural capital has increased and I have received invaluable advice from the superb Professors and faculty here at Lander.
I am so grateful, so indebted that words cannot express how I feel about the assistance the scholarships have given me.
Perhaps this might help: An old Swahili saying emphasizes,
Giving is a matter of the heart; don’t say it is a matter of wealth.
To all sponsors I want to tell you that your giving is not just of the heart, but that it touches my soul and others. The support you have provided to all the students PAST AND PRESENT will go a long way AND WILL stretch beyond your imagination. The doors you opened shall open even many others. The seeds you sowed will germinate, grow and bear fruit for Humanity. My scholarships have fuelled my aspirations to become an Accountant and one day I would like to contribute to the Lander Foundation because I am a firsthand account of what it achieves. It builds character and a willingness of the student to dig deep and achieve his or her best. I can stand here and tell you that my scholarships have given me a constancy of purpose every day. They have built the drive and determination that steers me through my classes each and every day.
I STAND HERE AS A BENEFICIARY AND HOPE THAT THE LANDER FOUNDATION SPIRIT WILL LIVE ON.
My journey continues.
Watch me as I do me. As for you, Do you.
©️ SonOfGuruve 2018