Rotary Club of Bulawayo South

 “Reach Within to Embrace Humanity”  

 RI President: Kalyan Banerjee (India)

9210 DG: Joao Bettencourt (Mozambique)

President:  Sandy Whitehead

Secretary: Buhle Francis              

Bulletin Publisher: Richard Arrowsmith District 9210

Club No. 17333

W/O 152/1968

The speach, below, is extracted from the

Minutes of the Lunch meeting of 22nd August 2011

held at the Bulawayo Club.


Volume XLV No.7

28th August 2011


A time to focus on Rotary's continuing need for growth, to seek new members and form new clubs.

Attendance: 78%


Visitors;   Nontokozo Halahala (our Speaker) and her mother Zandile Halahala   


Our Speaker was Nontokozo Halahala, a 19 year old, ex Student at the Dominican Convent High School. She was sponsored through the latter part of her schooling by the RC Eastbourne, UK.

Here is her story (with thanks to Nontokozo for loaning me her script and to Annah Shonhe’s, PE. Leslie Williams, typist, for typing it all.)

A great philosopher once said “Dreams are the substance of every great achievement but no dream comes true until you wake up and go to work”.  It all seemed just a pipeline dream for a young girl but gradually it has become a reality.

I was born Nontokozo Francisca Halahala on the 18th of February 1992 in Bulawayo.  I am the 2nd child in a family of four and the eldest girl.  I live with both parents, my siblings and maternal grandmother.  My father is a serving member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and my mother a lecturer at the United College of Education.  My elder brother was awarded a Presidential Scholarship and in his 3rd year at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, my other brother is doing his Form 4 at John Tallach Secondary School and my sister is a Grade 7 pupil at Coghlan Primary School.

Growing up in Bulawayo, when I was 2 years old I started attending pre-school at Vukuzenzele.  From what I can recall, it was because I was envious of my brother, I never understood why he could get time out of the house, so that tiny green apron and hat was good way to spend all my time playing on the swings and singing all day like he did but I never realized that sleeping time was part of the package which I totally hated.

I later on moved to Riverside Stimulation Centre in 1995 still at pre-school level proceeding to my Primary School education there.

It is in primary school where I started portraying great academic excellence.  In Grade 5, 2002, I received the Kudzai Mutoti Shield for academic excellence among the school’s Grade 5s to 7s.  I was appointed a Prefect in Grade 6 then later on became the Deputy Head Girl in Grade 7, 2004.  During my term of leadership, I received an award known as the Esprit de Corp for loyalty and dedication to the school.  I am forever grateful to Riverside Stimulation Centre as this is where my sporting and creative talent was nurtured.  In sports I was involved in hockey, tennis, volleyball, netball, soccer, athletics and Rounders being Captain of 5 of the sports.  I took part in drama, choir and gymnastics also being part of the school’s.  I graduated from Primary School in November 2004 attaining a grade points of 5 units with grades 1 in Mathematics, English and General Paper and a 2 in Ndebele in Zimsec Examinations.

Learning at a school that provides an inclusive education system for both children with and without disabilities taught me valuable lessons on equality and full participation despite our physical or mental challenges and to learn to accept people as they are, because often in life we do not see things as they are, but as we are yet most of the times our opinions of people can be limiting.

In January 2005, I was accepting into Dominican Convent High for form 1 into 1A1 class then later on promoted to 1A in the 3rd term after showing good academic potential from my grades.  In high school,

I was part of the school’s choir, Marimba, Human Rights and Ndebele culture clubs.  I was selected into the U-14 and U-16 Basketball teams in 2005 and 2006.  Unfortunately in July 2006 I suffered a knee injury at a National Basketball tournament leading to me quitting basketball.  I then took part in Samurai Jitsu better known as Self-defence and Aerobics.  In 2007 I received the Jolliffe Trophy for the Best form 2 Student of the Year 2006.

At the height of economic challenge in 2007 my future at Dominican Convent seemed bleak as my parents both civil servants could barely afford to pay half of the fees.  When transferring to a less expensive school seemed to be the only option, I was fortunate enough to get a sponsor to fund my education at a time when I used to spend weeks out of school due to unpaid fees.  In all the times I spent out of class, I never stopped attending school so as to keep my schoolwork updated even if it meant teaching myself concepts I missed out on.  I have Mrs. Sandy Whitehead to thank for intervening in my predicament, as she got a sponsor for me which is the Rotary Club of Eastbourne which is still funding my education till this day.  I will always be grateful to them for providing me an opportunity to acquire a quality education.  My perseverance coupled with the Rotary’s commitment has made me the success story I am today.  I continued my ‘O’ Level education till I wrote my final examinations in November 2008 attaining 7As plus, 1A and 1B in both Cambridge and Zimsec Examinations, for which I was awarded the Makan Trophy in 2009 for the 2nd Best ‘O’ Level student.  I proceeded to do my ‘A’ Level doing Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.  During my ‘A’ Level course I engaged in a few clubs and returned to playing Basketball where I was selected into the 1st team in 2009.  I was selected into the Prefect body of 2009 –2010 as a Class prefect.  I was actively involved in Interact, International Climate Champions, Speakers Circle and the Science club.

In interact, I was nominated the club’s Treasury, handling and disbursing accordingly the club’s funds.  

I must say this was quite a challenge as I was never the accounting type.  As challenging as the job was

I managed to do it successfully with the support of my fellow board members and patron.  As the Interact Club we worked closely with the schools’ PTA helping out in most of their functions.  We also held our own fund raising events such as the form 4 – L6 dinner dance or tradition at school for which the proceeds went towards charity work.  We used to visit homes such as Emthunzini Wethemba to donate food and clothing and got the chance to spend time with orphans there.  We participated in street collections and in support of the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns we sold pink ribbons for that cause.  Interact enriched me with life lessons of selflessness and humility and made me caring and more aware of other people’s needs in our communities.

The International Climate champions was a British Council initiative in high schools to create a youthful generation to “Speak Out, Improve Understanding and Inspire Positive Actions” on climate change related issues.  As the Club’s Event Coordinator, it was a quite a challenge to prepare large events especially during school time however my fellow members were instrumental in making our project successful.  Our project was to “Encourage Sustainable Behavior” which was done through awareness campaigns in schools as we believed that youths are instrumental in educating communities as we have more time and we are generally the active population.  On World Environment day, June 4th, we participated in a city clean up organized by the Environment Management Agency (EMA) at Egodini Bus Terminus.  We held a clean up and awareness campaign at TM Hyper with the help of 8 invited schools.  We later on visited the schools for tree planting, planning about 60 trees in all schools.

In August 2010, we did a road show and march as part of our awareness campaign proceeding to the Centenary Park where we held the “Revival of the Centenary Park” event under the theme “Resuscitation the Beauty of our Bulawayo”.  We planted trees and flowers further donating litter bins to the Bulawayo City Council which were received by the City Mayor, Councilor Thaba Moyo.

Outside school, I am actively involved in my Church Youth Group, Chosen Vessels.  My church has an informal Primary School St Columba’s Primary School which provides basic primary school education for the less privileged members of the church and community of Makokoba.

Earlier this year I collected clothes and textbooks from home which I later donated to the primary school.  I am also part of the Matabeleland Anglican Youth Association (MAYA) is actively being the “Keep a child warm campaign”.  It is also involved in educating youths on issues of HIV and AIDs through its organ MAYAP.

I recently attended the Better Schools Programme of Zimbabwe (BSPZ) Bulawayo Central District Awards were I received a shield for being the Best ‘A’ level student in the district, attaining 20 points in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology on getting 3As and 1A plus in the November 2010 Cambridge Examinations.

I have since been admitted into the University of Zimbabwe for a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery Degree programme, beginning on the 31st of August 2011.  I hope to eventually become a Pediatrician in the years to come.  I still aspire to study abroad as I believe it will give me better opportunities and practical experience in a fast changing medical and technological world.

My life experience would not he worth mentioning without acknowledging Mrs. Sandy Whitehead and the Rotarians for being there for me in my time of need.  To my anchor and inspiration, my mother, thank you for being there for me in all the hard times we have endured.  Lastly I would like to thank the Lord Almighty for he has been my Provider and held my hand walking with me in all the days of my life.  With that I thank you all for allowing me to share my experiences with you.  

Thank you.

Nontokozo Halahala,

Our ongoing ‘International Project’

With Sandy Whitehead,

President of the

Rotary Club of Bulawayo.