Do you ever reflect on what the university of life looks Iike?
It comes in many unpredictable forms, right?
Family tragedies, mental or emotional hardship, financial debt, loss, bereavement, betrayal and even pregnancy. We are sometimes unprepared for the real expectations of life even after completing a chosen field in tertiary education.
Not many were there to prepare me for a rental lease, a mortgage application, how to address to police officers as a young black man, apply for a credit card and how to maintain composure even in the most hostile of situations.
This is the synopsis of many foreign students across the American landscape, so the above mentioned experiences are surprisingly first-time occurrences for many.
I speak about these experiences because I am a product of this lack of education or exposure. As the only member of my family to come to the United States for university, I had to ‘figure it out’ as many of my peers did.
It’s was and is a riveting and adventurous experience, but if not guided, it can lead to teething problems that haunt your credit, dating/marriage life or even job prospects without you realizing.
Prior to college in America, I was fortunately able to take some classes at Sarikosi University well before I even travelled for the first time on an aeroplane.
Growing up in Zimbabwe, oral tradition paints potent stories of your ancestors which cannot be looked up in an encyclopedia or Google. You are propositioned to listen carefully and guard each of the stories in your heart. As your life moves on, you have to be very aware because at some point you will need them. After reflecting on one of the most memorable stories shared at Sarikosi University, I smiled. I smiled because it’s many years later lessons from the stories shared proved to be true.
Twelve years later, I enrolled at Bearcat University after receiving the Mufuka-Mashura Scholarship to get training necessary to enter the business world and give back to my country. One man took a chance on me and I am eternally grateful. His name is King Kenny Mufuka. It was a remarkable three and a half years of tough studies, classes and warm experiences. My infant or newfound success was attributed to Bearcat University.
So what did I learn?
I learned about internal controls, accounting, risk, writing a resume, contemporary art and writing a business letter very well. I also learned the art of customer service by providing campus tours and working in admissions with fellow students. I also learned how to troubleshoot software and hardware problems in the school’s computer lab. I also got my first ‘celebrity’ experience by serving as a campus leader and as a distinguished member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity (Blu Phi). Serving the local durisdictin of the college campus gave a me a preview of what it is to be a leader, while creating programs and planning parties for the student body. This is Bearcat University in sunny conservative South Carolina.
GRADUATION came in a sudden hurry I had to use my lessons from Professor Wood to ensure I landed gainful, legal employment. It worked out.
So what happens when you finally get that job you always wanted? Real life ensues and you have no time to slow down and refer to your notes. You are chained to your desk for 40-50 hours a week and only have two days to recover, but you probably have to work on Sunday to ensure you’re caught up. Growth slows down unless you punish yourself with hardworking hours of continuing professional study to keep up with your industry. It’s then that I had to refer to the classes of twelve years while growing up at Sarikosi University.
So where is Sarikosi University?
It’s located at Gota Village, Guruve, Zimbabwe and precisely where my father, uncles and aunts learned tough and strenuous lessons to make them the people they are today. If it wasn’t for Sarikosi University, they would have dropped out of the quest or game of life a long time ago.
One of the most successful sons became a huge success in the Human Resources arena in not only Zimbabwe, but the World. One became an illustrious pharmacist, another an Insurance professional, another a Church Pastor and a City Planner, and one a Biblical Scholar.
The others became successful customer service professionals while bringing up the kids or freshman of Sarikosi University. I am one of those freshman so it isn’t surprising that I think I’m doing well in my 34th semester at Sarikosi University.
Who is Sarikosi?
Sarikosi is the Father of Gota Village and specifically my paternal grandfather who is the founder of Sarikosi University. Every Christmas the family would congregate at his compound to learn lessons and chapters required the pass the examinations that life renders.
He was such a faithful man, he would wake up at 4am to pray to the ancestors for the rain. He helped Zimbabwe’s liberation heroes as they made their journey through the hills and valleys to seek freedom from political racial tyranny. He owned a grocery store in Guruve. He owned tractors, tobacco, land and an American GMC truck that my father crashed mischievously.
I distinctly remember his roundtable discussion every time his students or kids rather, were in the same location. He was a giver and generous, faithful man who settled on the values of his African ancestral customs and those of the Salvation Army Church. He had the gift of prophecy, the heart of a lion and a gentle giant. His beloved first wife Clara sadly passed by the time I met him for the first time.
I often think about how Sekuru predicted so many things. How did he know? Who told him? Who was guiding him? All I can say he was truly a man of faith who was relentless in his pursuit of the preserving and serving humanity. He impacted thousands and I believe if there was list of one hundred people who contributed to the freedom of colonized Zimbabwe, he’d be in the top 100.
Simply, I’m trying to indicate that Mr. Sarikosi Manyika was a great man. He did what he said he would do. He led with distinction. He taught us to always give back and never forget where we came from.
Sarikosi sadly passed away while I was at Bearcat University, but his spirit helped me reach my goal of graduating with honors. Part of why I write this blogpost is simply to honor him because even though he didn’t visit America, his name will one day live through a scholarship.
I was asked to serve on the Bearcat University Alumni board and identified as a potential leader. With alarming excitement, I instantly began to contribute and learned that I could start a scholarship just like anyone else. It didn’t require privilege. It didn’t require specialized knowledge,m, but the spirit of generosity. I can honestly say, I’m glad I took the leap to serve and learn at the same time.
Our goal will not only be to fund the scholarship, but to make it permanent and endowed for centuries to come. The Sarikosi Scholarship is a seed we’ll plant to give back to the next generation and will hopefully be administered by Bearcat University officials.
One day I’ll be asking for you to contribute gifts as small as $5 and up to $500 until we reach out goal of $10,000 and beyond. The goal of the scholarship will be to assist a full-time African student who meets the following criteria:
1. Student who is a citizen of an African country.
2. Student meets the academic standards to earn and maintain and 3.0 GPA.
3. Student meets one of the following:
a) Athletics involvement.
b) Campus Leadership.
c) Community Engagement.
Now that I have shared the essence of this blogpost, let me share the story or myth that Sarikosi shared decades ago.
He said, “In life you can’t talk too much. Be careful what you release into the wind because there are evil spirits and you can’t control the wind. You are not God. You don’t know where the wind will take what you release into the atmosphere.”
It’s only now, I truly understand what he meant. I have made the error of sharing myself with too many people in the past because they handled my words in their own distasteful way. I am still learning as we all do and hopefully I can pass this year’s class at Sarikosi University.
SonofGuruve © 2016-2020