by Nkocy Sithole | Nust- ZW @grujicrobinho7
Runyararo Gift Mandaza

The National University of Science and Technology (Nust), is abound with raw talent.

Runyararo Gift Mandaza, a twenty-two-year-old soccer player
is one out of the many gifted youngsters at the institution.

Because of his deft touches in the field and ability to command, the up-and-coming soccer star has been given the responsibility to captain the NUST soccer team.

His teammates appreciate the efforts that he puts in during training sessions and games.

“Exemplary, hardworking and his hard work motivates the team and carries it too,” said Keith Tendai Moyana, one of his teammates.
“He is a very good captain,” added Moyana.

Not only are his teammates impressed by his efforts but they are also in full praise for his ball retention and other central midfielder attributes.

“He has a very long accurate passing range and he retains the ball well in the midfield,” said Clyde Isaac, another teammate.

Mandaza started playing football at a young age and has only had love for one sport. He says he was lured into football at his young age by his primary friends.

“Well I started (playing) soccer at a young age in the streets. It has always been my passion since and I never tried other sports. I grew to love the sport and I hope to pursue this career as a soccer player,” said Mandaza.

“So, my friends motivated me to come and join the soccer team at Ruvheneko primary and that is what unveiled the soccer passion in me,” claimed Mandaza.

The former Ruvheneko Primary School player is a well gifted and also a hard worker player who seemingly posses both Messi and Cristiano’s attributes of talent and hardwork.

“I think I have both attributes, I am naturally talented and at the same time I do train a lot on my techniques and fitness levels,” said Mandaza.

Being a player who is naturally gifted and a hardworker, it comes as no surprise that his role models are people who also fit that billing.

“My role models are Clemence Matawu and Cristiano Ronaldo because I admire their dedication and hard work in the field. I also admire Ronaldo’s determination and the way he concentrates on what he wants to achieve as a footballer. To me this is quite appealing”, added Mandaza.

His only cup win came with Churchill High School where they won the 2012 edition of the NASH U17 soccer tournament.

In 2017, he enrolled with NUST to pursue a degree in Statistics and Operations Research.

Mandaza is a young man who has his life planned out, how he wishes and wants it to be like in future on and off the pitch.

“I do hope to be able use my degree and my talent at the same time after graduation because I have entrepreneurship in mind for the future,” maintains Mandaza.

Mandaza is very optimistic and hopeful of a brighter future for the Nust soccer team.

“It would be a great opportunity for Nust to go back to division one and maybe a promotion into the top-flight league because that will give more exposure to the great talent at Nust,” said Mandaza.

But before all this happens for Nust, Mandaza feels attitude and approach of the university to football matters has to change.

“I think with proper training and humility, NUST may be dominating university in the years to come,” the captain pointed out.

Mandaza still thinks that grassroot soccer in Zimbabwe has to be prioritised so as to be able to identify and nurture talent in the country at earlier stages.

“I think proper training facilities for grassroots would be a start with the aid of talent identification strategies would also help,” Mandaza said.

The NUST soccer captain has set the horizon as his limit for what he can do in the world of football and he is very hopeful of a success story.

“I do hope to play in the national league and also even play internationally in the coming years,” the NUST captain pointed out.


Diary of a Zimbo Studying Abroad: The Trivial First Step That Shapes The Future

Brandon Bwanakocha | University of British Columbia
4 minute read

A significant transition surely takes long to be fully executed,but the decision to stay captive to the desire for positive change is made in the flicker of a single heartbeat. It only takes that trivial first step from one mind state to another to ignite the whole person to move towards positive change.

My coming to the University of British Columbia in Canada from Zimbabwe was the most terrifying experience of my life. It meant giving up a life that took me 20 years to learn how to live, to start a new life in a new country, new culture, new climate. What made it worse was that the abrupt change between these two lives only took place in just two days. Since the change was this abrupt, my mind was still back in the life I had in Zimbabwe. I needed that trivial first step to start accepting that I now needed to adjust and adapt to my new environment.

“…My first few weeks in Canada were characterized by trying to adjust to the new life, trying to understand how the academics at UBC work, and trying to keep up with everyone around me who seemed to speak English faster than my brain could translate…”

Yes! TRYING. Everything was either new or simply different from its equivalent in Zimbabwe, and I had to TRY to adjust. I remember sleeping with the blinds half way up my first night here because I could not figure out how to bring them all the way down, and how my first morning I had a cold shower not because I wanted to, but I did not know how to turn on the hot water.

I am not sure if I was just jet-lagged or  overwhelmed by the abrupt change from 20 years of my life to the next four. I was terrified to face the reality that I was not going to see my family in a long time. It was a nightmare that I needed to wake up from. Luckily, before coming here, a USAP friend told me that the best way to survive is to accept that you have a lot to learn and ask for help every time you need it. I followed this valuable piece of advice the following morning. I asked one of my Canadian floormates to show me how to make the shower hot.

That was how I took my first trivial step into life at UBC. I learnt how to speak. Speak as in ask and ask not as in ask for help, but as in ask for more knowledge. It was as though some flame of curiosity was ignited inside of me. A curiosity that had me initially ask questions as silly as “How do you eat this?” later matured to “Where did the Musqueam people get their name?”. I became confident enough to stop literally anyone and start a conversation with them, which explains why people frequently ask me how I got to know all 50 000+  people on campus whenever I walk with them from one end of campus to another. (NB: I actually don’t know all 50 000 + people on campus). I even became confident enough to approach professors to ask about something I did not understand in class. My transition to UBC was sped up as a result of one step: losing the fear to ask.

As I look at how I manage to balance being a member of an Engineering Design Team, an executive member of the International Students Association, a member of the Table Tennis Club and a member of Rappers Without Borders, with a challenging academic schedule and all in the snow,  I realize that it all started with that trivial first step to get me going.  Lose the fear – just smile and ask.

Brandon Bwanakocha is a MasterCard Foundation Scholar first year student at the University of British Columbia. A USAP alum, he hails from Mufakose 1 High School. 

Disclaimer: This article was originally published on Education Matters-USAP Perspectives: