We are pleased to introduce to you Make Stella Feremenga (Mrs Mutukumira), one of our first year students. Her story is powerful and inspirational. We hope you are inspired as we are.
Stella Feremenga (Mrs Mutukumira) is my name. I am Mozambican but have lived in Zimbabwe all my life. I heard of African Christian College from friends, neighbours, and former students of Manzini Bible School, the Nyahores. They noticed my interest in reading and passion to study the Bible, and encouraged me to apply to ACC. They even gave me the application forms. When word went around that I wish to apply to go back to school, I received many different responses. Many of them were, “She is crazy! What does she want to do with schooling at her age.” I took this as a challenge because I did not see what age had to do with education. Yes, I knew, if accepted, I would be in class with students who are my daughter’s age, if not younger, but this did not deter me. I resolved that this is my life and not anybody else’s.
Not all responses were negative, though. I also received encouragement. My children were very excited about the idea and told me to go for it. Sekuru and gogo Gwini encouraged me a lot and gave me hope. My minister, Brother Kanchefu, was a great encourager, and he did everything in his power to make sure my forms were sent. He made all the follow-ups and gave me the great news of my being accepted. I’m so grateful to the 7th Ave Jubilee Church of Christ leadership.
When I heard of ACC I was encouraged to apply by the fact that I could work for fees. This made my dream come true. Prophets of doom, having found out they could not use age to discourage me, tried another angle. They told me I would not last a month because the work was hard, working in macadamia orchards. I simply told them to show me a grave of anyone who died because of hard work. I always remind them … I’m still here. To those who seriously wish to further their education, do not be discouraged, there are other areas where one can work and learn so that when you go back home you do not bother people about support. You can DIY (do it yourself) out there after graduating from ACC.
I wish to major in Counselling. My great encouragement was that I have lost people so dear to me in circumstances which I feel, if they had had professional counselling, things might have turned out differently. I wish to study counselling so that I can go back home and work with my people. There are people who are being abused but have no one to talk to because of stigma. Many are hurting and bleeding inside but cannot find anyone who can lend an ear. I wish to be a voice of the voiceless, a friend to the friendless, and a confidant to that person who needs a shoulder to cry on.
I wish to express my heart felt, sincere thanks to ACC staff for giving me this opportunity. It has not been easy, going back to school after so many years, the brains were rusty, but I’m so thankful to my lecturers who have been so patient with me. My thanks goes also to some of my classmates who have been so helpful and assisted me in many ways. I don’t feel the age gap. Thank you.
Finally, to those out there giving themselves age as a barrier to their dreams, remember age is just a figure. Take a chance while you still can. Fees cannot hinder you either, ACC is the answer. Pursue your dreams. It’s never too late to try. Better late than never.