Memoirs of Innocence & Experience: Through the Eyes of a Village Boy
I was born Innocent Murambiwa Hondo on 11 January 1961, in Chinyemba Village, Glendale, Mazoe District of the then Rhodesia. I had an official change of my maternal surname ?Hondo? to my paternal surname ?Chirawu? and acquired the middle name ?Blessed? in 1983. Since my childhood I have always aspired to utilise every opportunity that helps me help my fellowman best. I was brought up in colonial Rhodesia which was dominated by ?divide and rule? politics in favour of the white minority population. As a result the black child?s school was far inferior compared to his white counterpart?s. There was also a deliberate public policy to provide the average black child with an education only adequate for him to perform a subordinate role to his ?white master? and only 12% of the black children were expected to proceed to secondary education. These would form the ?elite? part of the society taking up occupations like nurses, teachers, clerks, agricultural extension officers and others.
I was very fortunate to fall into the category of the ?elite? group, who made it through the bottleneck system into secondary education ? Salvation Army?s Howard Secondary School which was a syndicate examination centre for The University of Cambridge whereby GCE ?O?Level examinations were set and marked at that reputable university. I sat for those Exams in November/December 1978 and passed with grades B and C in 8 subjects including Maths, Science and English ? thus obtaining a University of Cambridge GCE certificate in First Division.
I later on proceeded to a private institution, Ranche House College where I did my English and Sociology at Advanced level. My first job after school was working as a bank clerk for Standard Chartered Bank from May 1980 to Sept 1981. I then intercalated from banking to study for my Diploma in Theology at the International Bible Training Centre (Lagos) in 1982, resumed banking for a stint then did my initial teacher training from 1984 to 1987. I then taught Woodwork, RE and English in Zimbabwean secondary schools for 11 years, during which period I rose through the ranks of being an ordinary class teacher, head of department (Religious Education & English) and deputy head teacher. While in full-time teaching, I managed to study for a degree in educational administration, planning and policy studies as well as a part one in BA Media studies through Zimbabwe Open University ? the latter which was interrupted by socio-politico-economic problems in Zimbabwe that time. I was doing all those study programmes paying the fees from my salary and without a penny of assistance from the government. In Zimbabwe switching from being a teacher to being a journalist for the independent press was and still is, like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
In April,1999, I then joined the Daily News, the then Zimbabwe?s once most popular and best seller tabloid later banned and defunct from 2003-2010, where I served as a subeditor-cum-proofreader until the time I migrated to England in December 2001. By the time I left Zimbabwe there was every sign that the future of my colleagues, our newspaper and I was very gloom. After the bombings of our offices and printing press, our then editor-in-chief, Geoff Nyarota announced that due to the political situation and the hostility that time we were experiencing, he could not guarantee our safety anymore. So, I had no choice but sell my family property, buy a ticket, flew into self exile in England, and I have always lived here since then. Later on I called my family over to join my stay in the country.
My grandmother, my childhood mentor
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