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» » » The che guevara of Education is gone



Herbert Chikosi

When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more.
Only a heavenly based language is capable of conveying this message.
Mr Celestino Nheya Rwambiwa  25/11/1938-23 /04/17, touched some of our hearts ,my heart included ,in very extraordinary ways that we can under no circumstances, ever accurately or fully explain with the mere tools of these earthly written words.
Although decades have passed since we all sat in his class, that feeling we had when he greeted us back then has not faded a bit from our collective memories. Although I sometimes can't recall how many whips I got from him, Mr  Rwambiwa created this effigy  atmosphere in his class for 44 years.
It remains forever quite vivid in the parts of our brains that experience pleasure. There is no tapering off of our recollections when it comes to matters involving this particular teacher. He was as strict as they come and funny as they depart. Catholism ran in his veins like the purgatory prayer, having attended Silveria and Gokomere mission high schools respectively for his education.
He was straight as a die and did not mince his words for his desire for results.
For me my first meeting with him dates back to 1987 as our school headmaster and my grade 2 teacher. Memories in his classroom are still fresh and very painful. Like what they say human beings tend to hold on to the best memories of our childhood and Mr Rwambiwa was most certainly a big part of our best memories.
One great writer once intimated that no significant learning can occur without significant relationship. I had a stammering speech and Mr Rwambiwa gave me confidence, imbued my self esteem by appointing me the class monitor as well as a book packer in his tiny and dingy headmaster's office. The office he had occupied since 1978. It was an insurmountable dispensation during that time. He would always encourage me by saying intellect is in your head not in speech, shape it and you will not miss it. For sure, to his credit I now have extra patents to it.
 He was indeed . . . and will always be . . . a timeless icon in our lives.
To call him a civics geek would be an understatement.  To be sure, his classes were not easy, there are many students who fretted taking his class.  He was upfront about the challenges he posed and told us he thought we were smart enough to not deserve a dumbed down education.
I elect not to remind you that he was a disciplinarian which most students would read otherwise but he remain etched in our success epitaphs.
Mr Rwambiwa would begin his assembly address in hush sparklingly voice reminding all in sundry their sole purpose at the school. To him, Rwambiwa Primary School was Oxford University, the citadel of academic excellence, to  his many students he was the gerrymandering baker, meant the bake the best grades, with an adjective hand of heat .
 With that setting the tone for the school, the man who began teaching in 1959,would engage and inspire students and also colleagues. Many remember him as a mentor who taught not only English "Chirumbi" in his soprano Duma accent,but also greater life lessons that guided them to success.
When I heard the news of his passing, the educator for 44 years, there were so many thoughts and memories that raced through my head. I thought about the last time I saw him.
To give an idea, i had met him during our Rwambiwa Old students Association (ROSA) which he was the patron, AGM on the 18th of April, how painful it is. The man who never showed any slide of infinity, the man who spoke so passionately about the school. Little did we know it was a kumbaya my lord oracle.
We maintained eye contact during the whole course of the meeting, I observed a dash of happiness, a natter of fulfilment in his inner voice   to see his handwork speak in those big grammars, vacating from the harsh hush vernacular pudgy. Like a coach looking at his best players he remained seated and satisfied.
The man was in high spirits and like any teacher, the success of your students is something to marvel at, and for him as we traverse to and from the semantical ladders and stretching the grammatical biceps in fashionable way during discussions. It was a ureaka moment for him, I could read his satisfaction.
 The moment will tie our last moments with him.
But, one thing that I did not think about was his passion to see his former school doing very well, which shocked me, considering he had swapped interests from being an educator to a farmer.
Politically, he was a left winger and a diametrically opposed to my centre -left position, or he was a humongous fan of the status quo, while i remained obvious. At the end, our political persuasion did not matter; he would always say that we agree to disagree, never letting things get out of hand.
At the last event, we found ourselves sitting at the same table and he spoke passionately about his commitment to the development of the school. I tried to engage with him in political debate. He shocked me when he said he repudiated that, but changed the storyline. This completely blew me away, as he would not miss a chance to engage in one during our many meetings. He later told me that he had his time and could not compete with new ideas. The reversal of roles came easily to him. I was now his chairperson and he did not have any problem whatsoever. The spirit of instinctual and intellectual succession had naturally transmogrified without any hassle.
He was with us, he has left us and we are proud of the moments we had with him. We celebrate his life which he shared with us. The trumpet of the Lord had sounded and The Roll has been called up yonder.
Mr Rwambiwa as we play the UB40's Blue eyes crying in the rain, we say some day we will stroll hand in hand again in land that know no parting .To your beloved wife, and your 6 children and grandchildren we share the same grief.
Mr Rwambiwa was born in 1938,in a family of 9 boys and  educated aat Silveria and Gokomere high schools in Masvingo. He began teaching in 1959.he retired in 2001 and he was now an A2 farmer in Chiredzi specialising in sugarcane, maize and tomato production. He is survived by his wife a retired educator as well,five daughters and 2 sons with a compliment of 14 grandchildren ..
We will meet Yonder, RIP educator
The writer is the Chairperson of Rwambiwa Old students association, journalist cum demographer.local

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