Battle of the Nerds

By Namandla Mpunganyi


So it was a normal Thursday morning and I was on my way to my day job. I got there and did a little housekeeping. All i could thinking about what when the day would end and that Friday would arrive and the weekend would’ve dawned on us. Apart from that i was already sort of done with this week. So I was a bit down and sought for refuge from my phone and it was as boring as it can get. I was about to get really frustrated until I saw a message pertaining to an event that I was supposed to attend. Not dressed for the occasion and well, unprepared I wasn’t sure If i could go, but hey, why not try. To cut the long story short I found myself at the Stikenor Eastgate Cinema in a room filled with delegates from various institutes (Pearson Institute, The Mandela Trust) and Ministries ( Primary and Eecondary Education, Women affairs and Health and Information and Cyber Security) not to mention countries and different Provinces in Zimbabwe. All gathered in one place for one sole purpose, to celebrate the NSQZ SADC Regional champions. Music from the Prince Edward School Band gave such an amazing vibe I was suddenly glad that it was Thursday the 15th of February 2018.

Allow me to introduce you to the mind blowing world of NSQZ, an abbreviation for National Schools Quiz Championships. Students are tested on their knowledge of Science, Geography, Technology, History, Mathematics and General Knowledge, and guess what, without the use of any electronic gadget whatsoever, including our much loved calculators ! How many of us remember the guys and girls who sat alone at the back of the class holding a book, reading it diligently too amidst a circus of noise in the class? Or the guy who always used to carry a bunch of extremely heavy books to and from class each day? What about the girl who sat front row in class and always had her hand up to answer all the questions posed by the teacher, and get them correct each time? That guy who used to sit at the same spot, alone too in the library each day? The students who could prove that the Mathematics teacher’s answer was wrong? Come on, we all had those. They were the kids we hated cause they made us look bad whilst all our parents would’ve loved for us to be them. The kids we all spoke in silent tones about, whilst others even made fun of their excellence and yet we all knew deep down we wanted to be them.

The NSQZ is an Academic Sport that seeks to make some noise for the nerds. Yeah, you got that right. They have war cries sung for them and marching bands coming out to celebrate their genius. We live in a society that sadly does not acknowledge that intelligence is a gift that can work for you and take you places. A society that laughs at the nerd and only celebrates him the moment they get a scholarship to the most prestigious universities, thats when we all start hearing the “ i went to school with her”’ and the “ we wear roommates at some point” or something like “ thats my neighbours child” and yet when they were actually putting in the work we were scornful. Because again the system of this world, as others have depicted is such that the most intelligent study medicine and law and are hired by the average students who study economics, whose jobs depend on the ones who just managed to pass and all of them bow down to a Papa who was a school dropout.

The founder of NSQC, Mr Ian Venganai, popularly known as Ian P addressed the audience with a powerful vison, one that he has given at least a 1000 years to live. He’s planning for the future generations to come, something I believe we should be doing too. Cause in 3034 he will be gone, but his legacy will still live on and live for him. A vision to see every child, from every school get an equal chance to showcase their academic background inspite of where they come from. Like Ms Cythia Chirinda Hakutangwi said ” we are all torn from the same clothe and it is our duty as the ones that have been washed to wash the remaining piece of clothe” It was astounding to watch and listen to a young man who’s still in his A level talk about how much they’ve gained from the experience brought by NSQC. This is a young man Takudzwa Caitano knows a whole lot about everything and he actually uses it to do something with his life. He’s made lifetime friends and connections. NSQC has pushed him to be a budding young eentrepreneur. How many of us would have thought of that at such an age? The great exposure he’s had has pushed him to be a foundeoffounder something great. Like he says in his own words ” I don’t want to be an empoyer but I want to employ” instead of sitting around and complaining about the economy this young man is making a difference with his company Globe Connect Tech.

Kuwadzana high 2 received the spirit award a shield and R20 000. This school provided transport for 4 other schools on their bus. This goes to show that NSQC isn’t just about the brains but is also all about embracing Ubuntu, Hunhu, Humanity. Taking care of not only tourself but caring for your neighbour too. Other schools that received awards were Goromonzi, 2nd runner ups and Marist Nyanga, the 1st runner ups and former SADC Regional Champions. The winners and regional NSQC were St John’s Emerald Hill, and this was their first try at the tournament. They managed to win the competition despite having been stuck in the elevator for a good one and a half hours. They received a sum total of R850 000 worth in scholarships awarded to Victor Manyeruke, Siphosenkosi Ndlovu, Hanid Chidavose and Tanatswa Mapfumo(who got 25 points in his 2017 A level exams) to study any degree of choicet the Pearson Institute in South Africa. They also got tablets and R5 000 for each teacher. Other schools that received certificates of recognition were Prince Edward School, St David’s Bonda, ZRP High School, Monte Cassino Secondary School, Dominican Convent Harare, St Faith’s Mission, Regina Mundi Gweru, Hartzell Secondary School and St Ignatius, because at NSQC, everyone is a winner.

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