My father did not want me to go to school – Magande

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Ng’andu Magande

Former Finance Minister Ng’andu Magande has revealed that his father did not want him to go to School.

In his memoirs, Magande who some people rate as the best Finance Minister in Zambia also shares the only ‘leakage’ in passing an interview he used.

“In the olden days, between May and August of each year, the school teachers toured villages to recruit new pupils as not many parents were interested taking their children to school to learn the three R’s. They felt that traditional knowledge imparted by the community was enough for survival,” Magande shares.

“In May 1954, when the opportunity for me to sit for the enrolment interviews was presented by Teacher Molly Kazwida during a visit to our village, my father objected. He argued that I was still too young and that I would fail the interview. After a short quiz in arithmetic and questions on other subjects, teacher Kazwida insisted that I attend the interviews as, in his own assessment, I was a clever young boy.”

He narrates: “I did not accept being a herd boy as my ultimate aspiration. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I pleaded with my mother to lobby my father to allow me to attend the enrolment interviews. After some heavy lobbying, my mother was granted her wish for me to attend the interviews.

“Uncle Aaron took me for interviews, by the only bicycle in the village, to the school, which was some fifteen kilometres from our village. Apart from a test in arithmetic, which was easy for me, one other test was to extend one’s right arm over the middle of the head. If the middle finger reached the left ear, then one was considered old enough for admission in school.”

He continues: “Teacher Kazwida gave me some hints during his visit to our village on how to achieve this feat by positioning the arm slightly to the back of the head. I remembered this extra tutorial during the interviews and easily passed the test. Some older boys, with longer arms, did not manage and were rejected. I still feel guilty that this is one moment in my life when I passed a difficult test by an examination leakage!”


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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31