April 24, 2024

Successful women motivate girls’ camp at First Lady’s workshop

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Tendai Rupapa 

Women who have excelled in various fields yesterday participated in First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s career guidance workshop at a week-long camp for girls from the country’s provinces.

The motivational camp is aimed at demonstrating the importance of education and hard work.

The women included Herald Editor Victoria Ruzvidzo, head of TV at ZBC Merit Munzwembiri, pilot Captain Chipo Matimba, Wing Commander Angeline Bosha from the Air Force of Zimbabwe and renowned gospel musician Bethan Pasinawako-Ngolomi.

Also present were radio and TV presenter Tilda Moyo, Chaplain Christine Phiri from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service, police Constable Lizzy Mushata, Sister Victoria Sanyatwe-Kapfunde and Captain Priscilla Makamba from the Zimbabwe National Army.

To add colour to the event, the children had speech and poem competitions where winners got medals.

The mother of the nation, who has a passion for the empowerment of women and girls, implored the children to work hard in school for them to realise their dreams.

“Today, we have visitors who are in different professions. In the Nhanga yesterday, we spoke about professions, about what you want to do and what you want to be when you grow up.

“You all told me what you want to be when you finish school. You told me about your dreams then I said to you these are ambitions. You are dreaming big, but how do you achieve this?

“Now we have drugs wreaking havoc, we are indulging in love affairs while still in school.

“There are girls who even have multiple boyfriends at school,” she said.

Career guidance resource persons join girls attending the week-long boot camp on the dance floor during the First Lady’s career guidance workshop yesterday

The First Lady said the girls needed to dedicate themselves to God and seek the strength to pass.

“Who still remembers what else we talked about yesterday so that our visitors know where to start from?” Dr Mnangagwa asked.

The children said they discussed several issues that made a girl disciplined and well mannered mother of tomorrow.

“I am so happy that you remember what we taught each other. Now today, on top of what you are telling me that you learnt, there are new things that I want you to hear and you have to listen attentively and make a choice.

“Today, I want you to make a choice because what is going to happen today is making your life as you are still in school.

“They (female professionals) are going to impart what they are doing to you. I told you that you have got your name, but we want another name, a professional name,” she said.

The First Lady asked the children to ask as many questions to fully understand what was being said.

Chaplain Phiri shared the story of her life saying she was abandoned on a train by her mother together with her three siblings.

She is an adopted child and a commissioned officer in the ZPCS.

“I am saying this to let you know that your past does not determine your future.

“Today here I am. I soldiered on and didn’t let my background pull me down.

“You can also make it in life if you value your education and listen to the teachings that you get from camps such as these. Education is key,” she said to applause.

Star FM Radio and television presenter Tilda Moyo shares her experiences with girls attending a boot camp during the First Lady’s career guidance workshop yesterday

Ruzvidzo spoke about the benefits of hard work. She also chronicled the story of her life to motivate the learners to dream big.

“Let me start by thanking our mother the First Lady for inviting us and for giving you this opportunity to learn.”

“When I look at her, I get the whole definition of what a mother is and what the word means.

“Thank you Amai, you are such a blessing to us as a country especially us women. From you Amai, we get warmth and learn a lot,” she said.

She added: “I am the editor of The Herald and I urge you all to read newspapers and listen to the radio and we will discuss whether or not you should go on social media though it may be a dangerous ground for you.

“In the olden days, our parents would bring newspapers home. At first we would read without interest until we were fascinated reading them.

“We would even tell our father that he had forgotten to bring the paper home and he would say it was in the car.

“We would be fascinated by pictures until we started reading and understanding what was happening.

“In the media industry, there were two distinct professions. Either you were in the print media like myself or you were a broadcaster.

“Things have now changed as we now have social media and digital media. You have to be a well rounded journalist as an individual knowing about print and digital platforms like X and Facebook.

“Do not waste time there sending nude pictures, but you should share useful information.

“Those platforms are for us to learn and not to abuse. I have been a journalist for over 31 years. I started practicing in 1993 to the present day.”

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa celebrates and congratulates Lisa Ganyani who came out tops in the poem competition while other contestants look on during a boot camp yesterday

She briefed the girls about her career.

“I will brief you about my career just for you get an appreciation in case you choose to become journalists. I started off as a cub reporter who was the youngest reporter in the newsroom.

“I moved to a junior reporter before rising to senior reporter and later desk editor.

“I then became Business Herald Editor before I rose to become managing editor.

“I was the first female journalist to be appointed managing editor as this was mostly a post for men.

“I then rose to be The Sunday Mail Editor, becoming the first female editor of the paper. If I was taking drugs, I would have ended up just being a reporter.

“Last month in March I was then made editor of The Herald, the first female since 1891. This is the history I wanted you to know and be motivated. It, however, does not just happen.

“It is not automatic. Even after studying journalism its not automatic that you will rise up the ladder. It takes your commitment. Your parents send you to school. They choose the school for you and you study and complete.

“You also go to university and college alone and the Government puts in place policies to make things achievable and make personal choices.

“At times the Government also pays fees for you. But at the end of the day what do you do with all these inputs that you will have received from your parents, society and Government? Aspire to succeed. For me it was not an easy road but commitment took me far,” she said.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa joins girls from all the country’s provinces attending a week-long boot camp in song and dance during an interactive and educative First Lady’s career guidance workshop yesterday

Ruzvidzo said her father was a taxi driver and when the taxi broke down, no income would come home.

She said it was a tough time going to school as they would sometimes sell assets for the five of them to attend school.

“Did this pull me back? Did it force me to find a boyfriend? No. Be determined. Know what you want to achieve. Tell yourself I must be the best in whatever I do. Sometimes your best is not even good enough. Look at what is the best in the environment surrounding you and seek to be that kind of person,” she said.

Captain Matimba said she did not wake up a pilot and had to work hard in school to succeed.

“I did not wake up as a pilot. I grew up in the apostolic sect and we would be taunted at school because of our bald heads.

“However, this did not deter me. I was not ashamed of my background. My sisters do you know that you can be the bullet in the family and change your background?

“Those things that you think are embarrassing do not matter if you are focused. It is not the school that you go to that defines you.

“It is what you do in school that defines your future. I was the first girl to pass out as a pilot at the Air Force of Zimbabwe.

“If I drank mutoriro, kambwa or smoked mbanje, would I be able to fly an aeroplane? Now if you start taking drugs at your age will you succeed in life?

“Study hard my sisters. Five Ordinary Level passes are what is needed for you to be enrolled and you should be above 16 years to obtain a commercial pilot licence.

“As I am here, I fly the President, I fly Amai. If I took drugs was I going to be able to fly leaders. Do whatever you do with passion. We cannot all be pilots and everyone knows what they want to be. The dream will come true if you behave and study hard,” she said.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, Air Zimbabwe pilot Captain Chipo Matimba, ZBC head of Television Merit Munzwembiri, Herald Editor Victoria Ruzvidzo, Air Force of Zimbabwe fighter jet pilot Wing Commander Angeline Bosha, musician Bethany Pasinawako-Ngolomi and radio and TV presenter Tilda Moyo dance during the First Lady’s career guidance workshop to girls attending a weeklong boot camp yesterday

Captain Makamba joyfully shared what her job entails.

“Girls do you know that this job is fascinating? Also as a female soldier you can also rise through the ranks just like men. I am a social worker in the army.

“Can anyone tell that I grew up in the rural areas? We would travel long distances but this did not deter me. You need 5 O’ Levels for one to be a general soldier. Twenty-two years is the cut off age for one to join as a cadet.

“Some are recruited as specialists and they should be below the age of 26. Army can help you advance your studies. Women, don’t be crybabies, don’t look for pretty face benefits just because you are a lady.

“Don’t do shortcuts, what a man can do women can do better. I love my job because of my love for this country. You cannot be happy if you don’t have sense of belonging.

“I as a ZNA captain who serves under the Presidential Guard, I’m so proud of myself. There are engineers, journalists, teachers, doctors within the ZNA.

“It’s an opportunity to defend the sovereignty of this nation. You are lucky to benefit from Amai’s initiative. We didn’t have such an opportunity during our time. Some missed this opportunity because of drugs. As kids you should be patriotic and love your country.

“Love your job and do it diligently. I’m also a social worker, which is a broad job. I’m not limited. Thank you Amai for this opportunity,” she said.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, Air Zimbabwe pilot Captain Chipo Matimba, ZBC head of Television Merit Munzwembiri, Herald Editor Victoria Ruzvidzo, Airforce of Zimbabwe fighter jet pilot Wing Commander Angeline Bosha, musician Bethany Pasinawako-Ngolomi follow proceedings during the First Lady’s career guidance workshop to girls attending a weeklong boot camp yesterday

Squadron leader Bosha said she was promoted to be a wing commander last year December.

“I am telling you this so that you see that as a girl child, the sky is not even the limit. Girls can do it too. Today I came with my colleagues flight attendants Sindiso Moyo and Shalom. Sindiso is from Tsholotsho while Shalom is from Masvingo.

“I am happy to let you know that the Air Force of Zimbabwe recruits from all the provinces,” she said.

She gave the requirements for one to enter her profession.

“You need 5 O’ Levels including Maths and English and 2 A’ levels including Maths and Physics. You also do basic military training. There is nothing difficult. You can do it, it is possible.

“We want to thank Amai for her programme. She is preparing you for the boardroom not bedroom. If boys can do it, girls can do it much better.

“Fly high, aim for the moon so that if you fall, you land in the stars. Our mother is saying marriage is not an achievement she wants you to empower yourself first before you think of marriage. Girls you must have mentors and people who you look up to, they will nurture you and show you the way.

“Do not look for friends who will advise you to take drugs, they will kill you, your future. Let us learn and infiltrate in these male dominated fields,” she said.

Ms Munzwembiri shared her tale as a reporter and how she rose through the ranks to motivate the children.

“In sports reporting I realised that as women we are not taking the opportunity to participate in sport even as athletes.

“I was happy when I saw many raising their hands here saying they want to take sport as a profession. A challenge however, comes after completing Grade 7 and they are now developing breasts and they refuse to be involved in sport.

“Because you did not do sport, you then cannot train to be a coach. We end up having men as coaches for swimming and netball even when able-bodied women are there. We have what is called safe sport and safe guarding. Safe sport means every girl must play sport in a safe place.

“Safeguarding is where coaches should not abuse you. How many of you have phones? I have risen to say we need many female sports reporters who will write about women sport so that we succeed.

“Honourable Kirsty Coventry is way up there as a Cabinet Minister. She was a swimmer. Her deputy is also a woman.

“Our Government is giving women opportunities. Even our mother here present said let me put my daughters close. We never had such wonderful opportunities. You have been so lucky to have this opportunity and I believe she has set a good example.

“I always say the challenge with women is that when they succeed, they do not assist others. I was happy that our mother is making those who have succeeded motivate others because as women we are natural managers,” she said.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa celebrates and congratulates Tyra Mbofana who was the overall winner in poem and speech competitions while her 1st and 2nd runner ups look on during the boot camp yesterday. – Pictures: John Manzongo

Sister Kapfunde shared with the children issues concerning her profession and the entry requirements.

“Nursing as a profession you need 5 O levels. A level is an added advantage. Nursing requires three years training such that as you work you will not be filled with fear.

“After training you are deployed at hospitals and clinics. You can also specialise. Myself I am now a midwife. Work hard and pass your Ordinary level.

“Be empowered before getting married. You can even get a doctor to marry as you work. Our mother saw it befitting to catch you young so that you teach others who did not come. Your first love is your career. I now have a title called nurse because of hard work.

“Today I was prepared breakfast by Amai and we shared the meal. This was made possible because I worked hard in school. Had I not worked hard in school, I would not have had the privilege of sharing breakfast with the First Lady,” she said to applause.

Representing the police force, Constable Mushata gave the learners an overview of requirements needed for one to join the force.

“Do you know that the police are friends of the people. To be in the police force you need 5 O’s including mathematics and science. This then requires you to work hard in school.

“When you wear this uniform, your parents will be proud of you because our uniform has honour. In the police force there are different professions so you can advance your education. It opens your mind because of the training.

“I urge you to join the police force so that we can be many female police officers,” she said.

Radio and television personality, Tilda Moyo, said she felt honoured to be among speakers at the event.

“Amai it’s such an honour to be here and we thank you for the love you show to the girl child. I started as a tea girl at a local pharmacy.

“That is when I was told that ZBC was recruiting people and I went for auditions and passed. Anything is possible girls if you put your mind to it.

“You can be anything in life if you stay focused. It is important to learn knowing what you want to be when you grow up. We want to thank Amai for this career guidance programme,” she said.

Bethen Pasinawako said she started off in Mufakose where there were people who played masquerade (nyao dancers).

“My life changed when I went for junior council auditions. I was invited to make a speech. That’s when I was discovered. I want to thank Amai for encouraging me to sing. She played a role in my music career. From Mufakose to the world.

“You need to be educated even if you are a musician because you will need to sign contracts. Tell yourself you are the next big thing in your family. Let’s thank Amai for this opportunity.

“Don’t succumb to peer Pressure, don’t be involved in love affairs, your time shall come,” she said before belting her hit songs.

The children were given the chance to ask questions.

They sought to know whether one needed to start off as a nurse to be a doctor and the number of subjects needed for someone to be a pilot.

They also asked how people got promoted.

In response, a nurse said: “For you to become a doctor you have to enrol at a university for 7 years. You don’t have to become a nurse first, they are two different things.”

A pilot said one needed 5 O’ levels as a civilian pilot.

In the speeches category, Nokutenda Denhere from the Midlands won a bronze medal after coming third, Mayibongwe Mahlazii of Bulawayo won a silver medal for coming second while Tyra Mbofana from Mashonaland West Province came first.

In the poems category, Ashanti Mashaire of Mashonaland West received a bronze medal, Sandisiwe Mada got silver while Lisa was awarded a gold medal.

Overall winner of all the six was Tyra Mbofana, followed by Mayibongwe Mahlazi and in third place was Lisa Ganyani of Masvingo province.

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