Home » Education » Never Be Afraid to Find Your Own Path

I’m a teenager and a student. I’m also a poet, researcher, designer, artist and teacher. A real Jack of all trades! I am in Upper Six at Speciss College where I am studying Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. I’ve had one aim in everything that I do – to pass my A-levels and take the first steps to a prosperous and happy future. So far I have been successful, as I have been able to pay at least $1 200 per year towards my fees through my work.

It all started in 2011 when one of my relatives offered to sponsor my studies and help me get a place at a British university. I worked really hard and passed all the six O-level subjects I wrote in MayJune 2012. However, plans to get to a British university didn’t materialise. Meanwhile, I continued looking for a place to do Cambridge A-level and enrolled at Speciss College.

In October I started enrolling younger students for extra lessons, and by mid-November I had seven pupils. They did exceptionally well in their end-of-year mock exams and by early December more people came.

By early January 2013 I had raised enough money to help my parents buy my school uniform.

But I knew I could do more. I thought of a way to combine my creative and artistic talents to raise further funds. I had written more than 100 poems and I started designing pictorial backgrounds and putting my poems in front.

I sold my work to individuals, churches and companies and also approached different gift shops.

One of my poems was about a totem, and it sparked off the idea to research different totems and to compile information about the totem for customers.

I had a busy schedule every day. I had to teach, sell my poems, research totems and conduct my own personal studies.

My mother gave my poetry business the name TinMike Poetry from my first and second names: Michael and Tinotenda.

I sold my poems at different public places like Zindoga and Mereki. I faced a lot of challenges because many people criticised my work and some would give me orders and then refuse to pay the deposit.

I was earning about $60 from teaching and about $40 from my poems, but getting the $100 in my hands every month required a lot of hard work.

In mid-August I decided to exhibit my work at the Harare Agricultural Show. I used all the money from my students and poems to pay for a table.

Many people liked my work and I gave out a number of business cards and I was thrilled at the end of the show when I had sold more than 20 different poems.

During the show I made contact with a senior officer at Zimbabwe Prison Services. I went to his office and showed him my work he was very impressed with it and gave me an order to do a poster of his totem.

He also linked me up with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority where they said my work was suitable for the Sanganai Hlanganani Travel Expo.

Since I did not have money to acquire a table, I applied for and got a complimentary stand.

On my way home, I saw a poster of a Methodist revival which was going to be held in the Harare Gardens, so for five days after school I would carry about 60kg of portraits from Market Square to Harare Gardens, leaving at around 10 o’clock every night.

I sold portraits worth more than $100 during the last service and I used this money to make portraits for the Sanganai Hlanganani Expo and to pay those who had helped me make the portraits.

I was the only youngster exhibiting, and my company was the smallest among the different ministries and parastatals.

On the last day of the Expo, the ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke came by my stand and was delighted with my portraits and he bought all of them.

After Sanganai Hlanganani I opened a savings account and used part of the money to pay for my November fees.

I also approached Meikles Hotel with a sample portrait and one of the managers was delighted and told me that they were going to call me when they are refurbishing one of their hotel wings.

I also had a meeting with the chief executive of Speciss College, who placed an order that was a bit different in the sense that he wanted to know more about his historical background.

He sponsored the project and I went to different rural areas, the University of Zimbabwe, the National Museum of Zimbabwe and National Archives of Zimbabwe to find out as much as I could about his totem.

After two months I completed the research and produced a documentary.

I also did a similar research project for another business executive and I used the money I got to pay part of my exam fees.

At the moment, I have exempted myself from doing any work until I write my final exams in OctoberNovember.

I realise that there are many opportunities in Zimbabwe. You just have to look for them!

I have learnt that hard work pays and I believe I can achieve anything I want through the guidance and provision of the heavens.

After A-level, I am looking forward to starting a business and continuing with my research work and poetry so as to raise money to go to university in 2015.

My dream is to own a shop one day where I can market my work.

I would also like to go to national, regional and international exhibitions so that I can get exposure.

When you find your path, you must not be afraid to take it. You must have sufficient courage to make mistakes, learn from them, and carry on until you achieve your goal.

Source : The Herald

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