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Zimbabweans win awards in the US!

An African American, Brenda Mufuka, the wife of Professor Ken Mufuka, was shaken by her experience at Mucheke High School.

Brenda Mufuka (right), the wife of Professor Ken Mufuka and her dance groups
Brenda Mufuka (right), the wife of Professor Ken Mufuka and her dance groups

One class, with thirty-five students was doing a science lesson without a supervising teacher. The students sat in groups and carried on their assignment is a peaceful manner.

One class room had yet to install glass windows, but learning was going on all the same. “Ah, if I can only make my US students appreciate education as much as these Mucheke kids do, I will be a super teacher.” She said.

On returning to South Carolina, she partnered with all kinds of religious groups which provide for pupil support. One group provides brown bag lunches for kids when they leave for the weekend and others adopt a boy or girl for support.

She began to tell them stories about Mucheke high School kids who are thirsty for learning. Over time, her students began to relish the idea.

“Have you really been to Africa? What do they eat?” The students ask.

“If I go to Africa, can I have a baby lion as a pet?” They ask.

So the influence grew and the principal gave her difficult tasks to accomplish. It came as no surprise then when McCormick County Board of Education accepted the recommendation from the Board of Examiners that Ms. Brenda was the teacher of the year.

“It is a big deal, because there are opportunities to represent the County in a state-wide competition with fifty-four other teachers.” A former teacher explained to me.

In the neighboring state of North Carolina, in Union County, Elsie Mufuka was presented with the Teacher of the Year award. She taught at Benton Heights School for the Arts as a dance teacher.
Elsie started at Hatfield Primary School before joining her parents in the US.

The drum beat remained in her bones. She returned later to spend time in Johannesburg under the tutelage of the greatest Xhosa and Zulu dance choreographers.

In Zimbabwe, she interviewed the manager of Monomotapa Hotel about their MAUYA reception area. She was impressed by the idea that visitors who have been away from home for a prolonged period are welcomed back with such pomp like prodigal son on his return.

The dance formation, she gathered is called MAUYA and can be performed at weddings as well for a bridal entry.

But, as she presented her story to the Trustees of the Benton School Board, kids of color, who lack space and opportunity for expression, can learn to master their tempestuous behavior by learning to dance.

One board member wrote a check of $200 right there and said. “Go and but whatever outfits you need. You have a job.”

At first the job was funded by a grant from the US Department.

But when the news began to reach the ears of the authorities that the kids whose behavior had been more than tempestuous and raucous had been disciplined into a show off dance group for which kids had to line up to be admitted.

Any misbehavior or lack of respect would exclude a kid from this show off super kid group. At first only eight year olds with disciplinary problems were allowed.

But teen age girls (and white girls) too found the dance group to be a place to express, show off their moves, pose, cut up and do stuff. It is a big deal. The Charlotte Ballet Company planned a shindig to present North Carolina Dance teacher of the year! Ms Elsie. Zimbabwe Standard

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