“Uchandifunga, uchanditsvaga, uchandishaya” (you will remember me, search and not find me) is the unforgettable motivational phrase that our former math teacher at Highfield Secondary School often says with captivating, unmistakable humor and a very deep Ndebele accent ( now Highfield High 1), the President of the Highlanders, Ndumiso Gumede, who died last Wednesday in Bulawayo.
He taught me Form 1 and Form 2 in 1970-71 along with many other surviving and deceased sporting and corporate greats who, when reunited, repeated the phrase originally used to encourage us to work hard and pass math, an important one Requirement for many jobs even on this day.
Gumede was a big influencer, including other students whom he did not teach directly during his time at the school between 1969 and 1975.
As a football coach and referee, the renowned football administrator promoted many of the greats of the past who later rose to become top teams of the then Rhodesia National Football League, such as Oliver Kateya (Dynamos) Shakeman Shacky Tauro, Peter Augustino (Caps United) and the doctor Rodrick Muganhiri (Black Aces) late, which I had the privilege of covering on national radio commentary when I teamed up with the late Jonathan Mutsinze, Jackson Sithole, and later Lisbern Nasasara in what was then the African Service of the Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation (RBC) in 1974.
“He was such a good teacher, coach, actor and musician who was so full of energy until his death as his opinion on SRC / Zifa and Fifa Spiegel shows,” said Laban Kandi, another Highfield Secondary graduate and former Dynamos goalkeeper.
In the corporate world, Gumede taught and influenced many of the prominent executives of “PaSecondary,” as the school was affectionately known as it was the only one that accepted senior grades from over a dozen elementary schools in the Highfield High Density suburb.
In our O-level WhatsApp “Class of 1973” chat group, informally run by Michael Mataure, a former Chimanimani lawmaker, we have auditor Freeman Kembo, the owner of a huge, thriving Harare clothing factory who regularly has several who donated branded tracksuits and press jackets to our former teacher.
There is also the economist and former diplomat Mutsvene John Marangwanda, whose company Longden Steel built the steel mills of the Mbuya Nehanda statues in Harare’s central business district, not to mention former banker and businessman Ignatius Pamire, a former chairman of Dynamos, and Charles Murove ., a renewable energy engineer.
Pretoria-based Dr. Simbarashe Sibanda, a renowned agronomist and international researcher and probably one of Gumede’s top math students at the time, said, âThis is a terrible year.
He’s the best math teacher I’ve ever had. “
Gumede believed in simplifying his subject through everyday illustrations and stories, all the way down to Shona, which he was still studying after joining the school in 1969 at Gwelo Teachers’ Training College, now Midlands State University.
âIn math class, he turned a boring, boring subject into a fun and exciting subject.
He was joking every day before our math class. Sometimes he taught us to sing popular Ndebele songs, ârecalls Jacob Chisese, who later became general manager of Zimpapers Harare Branch, chief executive officer of Modus Publications, editor of the Financial Gazette and chief operations officer of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe. Editor of the Daily News.
“He was funny, entertaining, and most importantly, a knowledgeable teacher.”
Other former students such as broadcaster Felix N’anjo, writer and social commentator and PR manager Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana, former St. Giles social worker Beauty Mushipe all remembered her versatile teacher Gumede for his teaching skills and humor.
Others who were our seniors but benefited from many of the after-school activities that Gumede led include veteran journalist Davison Maruziva and David Mwenga, former Air Zimbabwe PR manager.
âNot much interaction during school, but later when Jets Football Club was in the Premier Soccer League and during my time as a television reporter, he was a sociable man with an infectious, booming laugh.
He loved isiNdebele, his mother tongue, but in conversations he seamlessly switched between English, Shona and Ndebele without leaving you behind if you couldn’t speak his language, âsaid Mwenga.
Maruziva said he remembered Gumede as a popular fun-loving and colorful sports champion.
âHe loved and lived his work in every way. He would put on his sports gear at school and at the Machipisa mall, much to the amusement of the students and other onlookers. He was always full of life and surprises.
He was very close to our fellow student Sylvia Gumede from Mufakose, the daughter of his late brother and broadcaster Agrity Gumede. “
To the Highfield residents of the time, he was a “secondary” teacher who lived in the prestigious Highfield housing estate on the outskirts. He was also fond of tight safari suits and got around in his toy-sized Solex motorcycle, which he took to Bulawayo by train when he was transferred to Mzilikazi Secondary School in 1976.
One day when our Shona teacher, the late historian and author Aeneas Chigwedere, who later became director of Goromonzi and Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, had a bereavement in his family, Gumede showed up in our class and when we were taking out our math books he shouted in his usual unmistakable Ndebele accent: “No, no, no, I’ll take you with me for Shona, since Mr. Chigwetere (sic) is gone. Tichaita ngano.
“Kare Kare Matombo Achiri Manyoro, Chibhage (sic) Chihiri Kufamba, Banhu Vachiri Kudla Bamwe (Sic), Kwakanga Kuripo Tsuro Na Gudho (Sic).”
We burst into uncontrollable laughter until Gumede suddenly said, “Back to our topic about right triangles,” and it started with reading the Pythagorean theorem while secretly moving from wall to wall.
He really enjoyed reciting theories and replacing English musical texts with Shona and Ndebele words, much to our delight as learners.
In addition to Chigwedere, Gumede taught with another historian, Maurice Tagwireyi, who later became the Ministry of Local Government’s first black Secretary of State under the late Minister Eddison Zvobgo, and the geographer Ian MacCausland, who later co-founded the Girls College in Bulawayo.
He also mentored our former math student at Gwelo Teachers’ College, Dr. Daniel Sithole, who later ran Allied Timbers in Mutare.
But seriously devastated is our former science teacher Kingston Rudenya, who was once mufacosis No.
2 Secondary School and is now completely blind and lives in the UK.
He also coached the Highfield Secondary Football team with Gumede.
âI am so sorry to hear that my best friend, teacher Ndumiso Gumede, is no longer. We sat next to each other in the staff room and told many stories. We were still in contact by phone, âsaid Rudenya.
Author and publisher Barbra Makhalisa Nkala could only say, âOh no, he’s rested.
We played as the Ncube and Madawu parents of Thandi (Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana) in the Isaac Mabhikwa-directed film More Time after making part-time continuity announcements together in the 1970s at the former Radio Mthwakazi studios in Bulawayo. “
My last contact with Gumede, who also appeared in radio plays such as Harry Nleyas Sayijeni Gatsheni and Sakhelene Zinini, took place in mid-September.
âMasuku, I’m in Harare and I’m seeing you on national television right now. We are here to officially accept the sponsorship of Highlanders from a well-known energy company. “
Unfortunately, due to our very tight schedule at the time, I couldn’t meet ‘Yours Truly’ on our last farewell, but I will always be happy to address’ Mr. Gameed ‘, as he jokingly called himself when he walked into our classroom over five decades ago.
l John Masuku, a seasoned radio and television journalist and media trainer, is a former student of Ndumiso Gumede at Harare Highfield Secondary School.
Send him an email at [emailÂ protected] Twitter @ john-masuku