7 April 2018

Zimbabwe: Marist Nyanga's Inspirational Wonder Maverick . . . the Boy With a Sweet Madness of Intellectual Pursuit

Photo: The Herald
Kuziva Mahwire.
column

Very few have encountered him personally.

To many, he is an O-Level results slip that is doing rounds on Facebook and WhatsApp.

Some few have heard about him and most of you have heard about what he has achieved. Others have seen his handsome face on DStv and made the cliché statement, "That's him".

Either way Kuziva Mahwire stands out as one of the true inspirational stories of what a 17-year-old can achieve.

Yet behind that results slip is a tribute to a lifetime of hard work, energy and tireless dedication.

Kuziva Mahwire first popped up in my face as an adjudicator in the DSTV Eutelsat Star Awards competition and immediately struck me as the winning entry. Sadly, my colleagues did not agree and elected another winner. The eventual winner went on to fail dismally in the continental competition and I was not surprised.

So when his name popped up with the iridicuolously "perfect" results slip: a priceless string of O-Level A's, I did not flinch.

For the rest of the nation, Kuziva first made news after amassing an emphatic 18 distinctions in the November 2016 Zimsec examinations. Even the idea of someone registering for 18 subjects left many unbelieving and in awe.

"Even my parents did not know I was registering for 18, they thought it was 16, even though my conservative father was sceptical about endorsing the initial 16 subject decision," says a modest Kuziva.

He remembers how almost everyone met the idea of him and his friend Takudzwa Caitano writing 18 subjects, 5 of them being self-taught, with scepticism at best and criticism at worst.

"I have always believed in stretching my potential to the extremes, which is why I am even doing 7 Advanced Level subjects."

Kuziva had the privilege of being honoured by minister Sithembiso Nyoni at the results launch before Minister Supa Mandiwanzira, who also doubles as the Member of Parliament for the constituency from which his school hails, also came to congratulate him personally at the school.

Just recently in February Minister Paul Mavima acknowledged his excellence at a quiz award ceremony at Ster Kinekor. He is currently a Joshua Nkomo scholarship beneficiary and received a scholarship from an unnamed private school in April 2017 which he denied, preferring to stay at what he calls "arguably the best school in the nation."

But Kuziva argues he is not purely academic.

He is a nationwide renowned debate and quiz member. He believes in being complete and well-rounded although he doesn't do sport.

"I tried football and athletics but unfortunately I couldn't find the magic to make it to first so I resigned indefinitely" he explains.

For him it is either the best or nothing. Kuziva has won various debate competitions under NASH (National Association of School Heads) and EMA (Environmental Management Agency) banners, the biggest being National Best Speaker in 2016 at the NASH national debate tourney.

Under quiz, the accolades are galore and he has helped his school to countless accolades, the most notable being the National Schools Quiz Tournament (NSQC) SADC Regional Championships in 2016 and second runners up in 2017. He has since been made an NSQC ambassador and appears on their DStv adverts.

Kuziva however, says he has done all that through two things; God's grace and hard work.

"There is no substitute for hard work," he says, and he believes that good time management and surrounding himself with people who share a vision with him like Takudzwa Kaitano (YYGS and YYAS alumni) and Mose Mazanhi ( YYAS alumni and African leadership Academy finalist) has helped him immensely.

After all, in Proverbs 13:20, Solomon, the wise-guy, wrote: "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."

They also say "show me your friends and I will show you your future!

Asked about one time when things didn't go his way, Kuziva explained his ordeal of how he failed to attend a Yale Young African scholars programme in Rwanda despite being accepted, due to personal constraints.

Kuziva wishes to attend university in the US, preferably at Harvard he says and has started the application process. He trusts that Harvard, like Marist will be able to unlock his potential fully.

"I see myself being an entrepreneur in the near future and I am still deciding on which path to actually take even though I have a passion for numbers. I believe not much is being done in schools to teach career guidance" he says.

The world, no doubt though, is his oyster!

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