One amazing feature in college is the ‘meshos’ (roommates) we shared laughs and stories with. In the first year, I had three meshos in the off campus accommodation: Noel Tomoka, Gift Kawamba and KizitoNyirenda. When I see these ‘meshos’ do well in life, I become so happy. Noel Tomoka remained my roommate until the third year. In the fourth and fifth year, Charles Chivundu became my mesho.
Chivundu chose academia as his career path and with his business administration background, he lectures in agribusiness at Bunda College, which is part of Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar). He has recently successfully defended his Viva Voce for a PhD in international business in China. I want to publicly congratulate my ‘mesho’ for this major feat. Chivundu has played a big role in my life and has greatly influenced me and inspired me by believing in my ability and potential all the time.
As I congratulate Dr Chivundu, I want to share with you his amazing talents so that you can not only get inspired but also learn the powerful lessons from instincts and other attributes. His biggest talent is definitely his intellect. Everyone who knows him will attest to the fact that Dr.Chivundu has very sharp intellect and a rare grade of long-term memory. He can tell all the stories and most content of primary history and geography even today. But that is besides the story. The real story is Chivundu’s unique instincts and talent at reading trends. I will illustrate this through a couple of college time events and stories below.
I remember the time when the Minister of Finance introduced the cost sharing policy that led to an increase in fees from K1 500 to K46 000 per student per annum. I was barely two weeks into the office of student union president on campus. Chivundu and I, like the rest of the students, heard this breaking news from the 6 am MBC news bulletin.
As I was preparing to go to the cafeteria for breakfast and onward to my lectures, Chivundu told me to leave behind the academic material and advised me to wear the engineering students workshop boots. He told me how following that news, students would immediately go into an ‘automated eruption’ of serious protests and that potentially the college could be closed the same or next day. He predicted how the media would be all over the campus and he helped me prepare some lines of statements to be used during media interviews and so on.
Chivundu went on to advise that we compute the percentage increase in the fees and round it off from 2 967 to 3 000 percent to make it sound ‘outrageous and devilish’, a trick that proved so useful in our fight against the prohibitive fee hike.
Almost all the predictions of Chivundu happened except the closure of the college, which the union fiercely defended when the heads and deans had made the resolution to close the college.
The second powerful anecdote of Chivundu’s instinct was his vision on how China would quickly become dominant. In the late 1990s when we were mere undergraduate students, one would not easily see those trends let alone interpret what they mean at a personal level. I do not even remember anyone going to China for postgraduate studies or there being any Chinese scholarships. However, when Chivundu was pursuing his master’s degree in Scotland in the early 2000s, he told me that he had taken up Chinese language as an optional course because in the future, the Chinese language would be far more useful than even French. To cut a long story short, a few years later, Chivundu won a scholarship for his PhD studies in China and he has now realised his dream – all because he was able to read the signs of times in time.
As I congratulate my meshoDr. Charles Chivundu, I urge you to listen to your instincts, to read the signs of times and most importantly, to translate those perceptions into personal strategy and action that makes you a winner and to rise and shine. Good luck!