Simba1My name is Simbarashe Nembaware. I was born on the 12th of January 1994 in Mutare. I am the eldest in a family of four. I grew up in Tafara; a high density suburb in Harare. My father is a sculptor and my mother is unemployed. Life wasn’t easy back in the day, my mother used to travel to South Africa to sell different goods for the up keep of the family. Whilst she was away (for nine months in a year), at the age of ten till I was twelve, I had to ensure that my sisters were all fed, our rented two-roomed cottage and our clothes were all clean and, at the same time, be in school. Despite all these responsibilities at home, that did not stop me from becoming the best student at Tsinhirano Primary School. In addition, I was a school prefect for the last three years of my primary school, a peer counsellor, leader of the district quiz team and captain of the school’s volleyball team. Apart from passing with flying colours at grade 7, I was also the best volleyball player in the district in 2006.

Through my mother’s hard work, she managed to send me to Mutambara high, a boarding school in Mutare. At the school, I became the best student and received so many awards in Mathematics, History, Geography and Science. Moreover, I was the Scripture Union Evangelist, a member of the Chaplain’s committee, hostel representative and part of the school’s first volleyball team. Unfortunately, in form 2 (August 2008), due to financial constraints, my parents couldn’t afford sending me back to school. My sister also stopped attending school at the same time. After staying home for ten months, my aunt knowing how talented I was, decided to take me in and I continued straight into form three (June 2009) at Mufakose 2 High School. I became one of the best students at the school, a member of the Debate and Public speaking and quiz team. I did my O-level courses in one year and six months and through the help of family and friends, I managed to register for my O-level exams and obtained 7As and 3Bs. In October 2010, I was one of the six students who were chosen at my school to apply for the Makomborero Zimbabwe Scholarship. Penniless, hopeless, not knowing how I was going to continue to A-level, on a Wednesday at 10.35am, a call came through from Mark Albertyn – “Congratulations, you have been awarded a full scholarship. Can I meet you today at 2.00pm?” No words can explain the joy, relief and the undeserving favour I felt on this day except that ‘through the grace of God, I stand amazed.’

Life at Makomborero Zimbabwe

No words can begin to explain the joy of sleeping in your own bed, having three meals a day, no worry of being sent back home because of unpaid fees and wearing a blazer for the first time since 1994 – that was me at Makomborero. In a matter of hours from that 10.35am phone call, my life was changed. From having three siblings, fifteen more were added. From having a mother who I only see once in 3 months, there was Mrs Banga – a mother who is always there just to listen and attend to your needs. They called it ‘the boarding house’ but I called it ‘home.’ A home where dreams are made and come true; a home where every problem had a solution.

The boarding house was a place where one could discover hidden talents. I learnt to play a descant recorder and qualified for the final round of the Maths Olympiad. Talents I didn’t know existed within me. My life got better each day. Through hard work and unlimited availability of resources, I passed my A-levels (Mathematics A*, Biology B, Chemistry A) and applied to study a Bachelor of Pharmacy Honours Degree at the University of Zimbabwe in 2013. Still through all this, I still stand amazed.

School of Pharmacy, UZ

I am currently studying a Bachelor of Pharmacy Honours Degree at UZ, where I have been excelling in every course. I am now a final year student graduating next year in June. What can one ask for? At UZ, I am a member of the Zimbabwe Pharmaceutical Student Association and Pharmacy Mentorship Group.

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Giving back

One of the important lessons of life one learns at Makomborero Zimbabwe is ‘giving back.’ Through holiday revision schools, visits to St Joseph Home for the Boys, this principle became a daily living activity. Every year since 2013, I participate in Pharmacy Week held in different major cities in Zimbabwe with pharmacy students. We carry out free cholesterol, BP, BMI and blood glucose checks to all age groups. In addition, as part of the UZ-SDA association we carry out health expos in different cities, on campuses and visits to old people’s homes and refugee camps in different parts of Harare, helping the needy in cash or in kind. Through this work, we have been given a consulting room at the UZ clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays focusing on the non-pharmacological treatment of diseases.

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All that I have achieved is through the grace of God and all the challenges I have faced I regard them as stepping stones towards my success. Still up to now I am scared that all this will be a dream that I will wake up to one day because there is nothing else I can ever wish for than to be a Makomborero product.