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Meet 2019 Zimsec O’Level 17As WhizKid

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Tasimba Shawatu

Tasimba Andrew Shawatu affectionately known as Tasy by his family and friends is a 16 year old visionary and dreamer.  He is without boundaries, born and raised in Mutare. Tasy is a Zimbabwean by birth and Global Citizen by living. He is the last born in a family of 4 kids (2 girls & 2 boys). Tasimba is a Christian believer. He completed his Grade Seven at Mount Melleray Primary School in Nyanga in 2015 with 4 units. His philosophy of life is,

“Live to fulfill your life purpose and be the best version of yourself.”

He attended his O’level at Nyanga Boys High School Marist Brothers.  The school is just a few kilometers from Mount Melleray Primary School.  These two schools were known and are famous for producing WizKids. For his Ordinary Level he studied a total of 20 subjects.  Can you believe it 20 subjects?  I hardly managed to do my 6 subjects back in 2015. 20??  This young man is a star; a shining one.14 teacher taught and 6 self-taught he did namely: Agriculture; Combined Science; Mathematics; English Language; Shona Language; Heritage Studies; History; Geography; Computer Science; Physics; Chemistry; Biology; Literature in English; Economic History; Family & Religious Studies; Business & Enterprise Skills; Economics; Commerce; Principles of Accounting and Statistics. The subjects he adored the most were Computer Science; Statistics; Economics and Business & Enterprise Skills. He went on to obtain 17As and 3Bs making me the 3rd best student nationwide.

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Earlier on in 2017, when he was in Form 2, he obtained 2 Distinctions in his HEXCO examinations, one in Computer Operations & Packages and another in Ornamental Horticulture. Outside the classroom, he was involved in vast extracurricular activities i.e.LEO Club; Ray of Hope; Christian Life Community; Creativity; Quiz plus Debate & Public Speaking.  He had become a regular volunteer at Mount Melleray Orphanage and Clinic under the mentorship LEO Club, Ray of Hope and CLC. Tasy holds the 3rd position nationally in the 2017 Ozone Layer Essay Writing Competition. He won the NAC AIDS Quiz National Championship in 2018 plus NAC AIDS Quiz Provincial Championship in 2018 & 2019.  This kid is making history and I am out-challenged.  Tasimba is born a champion, a conqueror and a winner. Wow!!!

Currently, Tasy is on a gap year and he will commence his academic studies in January next year specializing in sciences and commercials.  Rome was not built in a day or a split second.  Like any other person, he encountered challenges along his way up especially in high school. The greatest challenge he succumbed was a lack of support from some teachers at his former school. They told him that he was like a flying ostrich aiming for the moon.  This demotivated him instead of giving him a pillar of strength and hope to lean on. The second challenge he faced was that of the incompetent teachers. There are some subjects he did which were taught by under-skilled personnel and those who were also not prepared to deliver effectively to the litany of the learner’s understanding. The last challenge he faced which is also affecting the majority of Zimbabwean students is lack of internet access, minimal access to electronic gadgets and shortage of power. He strongly believes that Wi-Fi is a need rather than a want in the 21st-century world for the internet is a vast bank of knowledge.  It has all the exposure needed to make learning much easier and more fun.

His dear parents were really the people who were his pillars of strength in this journey together with his caring siblings. Thank God for the blessing of a wonderful family. Bongani Mwonzora is also one person who supported him and was a source of motivation.  What a great friend Bongani Mwonzora is?  Indeed, birds of the same feather flock and tweet together.

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Tasy is motivated by the knowledge that he has a unique purpose he was created to fulfill on this planet and that he can be anything he wants to be:

“I can do anything I want to do and I can go anywhere where I want to go. I also get motivation from multiple problems of this world. These give me the internal drive to strive hard to change the world for the better and leave my footprints on the sands of time like Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter sang in her musical masterpiece “I Was Here”. I am passionate about Youth Empowerment; Writing; Public Speaking; Education; Art; Leadership; Innovation; the Environment, Business; Humanitarian Work and most importantly the intersection of Technology and Entrepreneurship.”

Tasimba with his friend, Bongani Mwonzora at Star Leadership Academy

Coach Mallvine: How did you manage to get 17As?

Tasy: Achieving such a massive academic took a fusion of different elements. Firstly, I managed because I planted positive thinking in me and refused to see obstacles for Albert Einstein quoted, “Obstacles are things you see when you set your eyes off your goals.” The other element was strategic planning and smart intensive studying. I also made wise use of ICT which I believe is a crucial learning aid if handled properly. Greatest of all was the God factor in his life for horses are made for war but it is the Lord who grants victory so at the end of the day all credit goes above.

Coach Mallvine:  Now that you have 17As what is the next step?

Tasy: I can say the 17As is just the starting point. They are just a minute fraction of the greater vision I behold. Now his focus is less on academics and more on his personal development, advancing his technology skills, improving his emotional and social intelligence, spiritual growth, physical wellness, expanding his network, polishing the Tasimba Shawatu brand, entrepreneurship, and humanitarian work. His plan is to write a book, produce a documentary, establish a tech startup and a non-profit organization, all this year.

Coach Mallvine: What is your advice to the other students out there who failed, those who failed and parents/guardians?

Tasy: Firstly, what I can say to all the students is that failure is not the end of life, life happens to everyone even the successful. The only trick is to be able to get back up to your feet when life and continue with the fight when life knocks you to the ground. Failure is not a death sentence but a learning point. I encourage them to embark on a self-discovery mission so as to find what they are good at apart from academics and capitalize. There are many very successful individuals in the world today like Simone Biles, Rihanna or Cristiano Ronaldo who did not reach far in terms of academics but are currently richer and more influential than most of the well-educated people on the planet. His word is “Don’t Give Up”. Secondly, those fellow students who passed I would like to start by congratulating them on successfully completing a phase of life and crossing over to another. His word to them is to continue keeping their eyes on the ball like what his beloved father always preaches to me. I would like to remind them that life does not reward you for what you know but for what you do so they should not dwell much on the number of As but focus on creating solutions to problems and bringing about change.

There is much more to life than excellent grades or the number of degrees earned. The world is craving action, not concepts. 17As alone will not bring an end to the problems of mankind which is why Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are billionaires who changed the world regardless of being university dropouts. Lastly, to the parents, his nugget of advice is to stop trying to live your dreams through the children. I encourage parents to allow kids to follow their desired paths of life and offer 101% support to the young ones. I also advise parents to mentor and nurture their kids constantly because of one of the reasons why Africa is where it is now being that children are just left to grow up instead of being raised up. Parents should also try by any means possible to know and understand their children.

Coach Mallvine:   You mentioned Cristiano Ronaldo, Rihanna, Albert Einstein and many other people.  Who is your role model?

Tasy: I take a little bit of something from quite a number of people worldwide but there are 3 people I set apart as his role models I look up to. The first one is the late legendary co-founder & CEO of Apple Incorporated Steve Jobs.  He was a visionary who was not ready to give up on his dreams and arguably the highest-rated entrepreneur to ever walk on this earth. His second role model is Dr. Strive Masiyiwa, the founder of ECONET Wireless because he has an excellent head for business and is an epitome of resilience exuded in the history of the formation of his telecommunications firm in the 90s. He is also an outstanding philanthropist involved in development work, something I greatly cherish. His dearest mother is his third role model. This is because she is a hardworking woman of steel and a lioness mom. She is one of the most dedicated Christian believers and most giving I have ever met in the 16 years of his life. She is also very talented and has good business acumen which I adore.

Coach Mallvine:  It seems you have got a lot on your mind so what are your aspirations?

Tasy:   His dream is to get admitted to Stanford University in the USA and study Robotics Engineering, Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence concentration), Statistics and Business Economics. I wish to establish a technology firm that will make use of artificial intelligence to provide enhanced solutions to problems in different sectors. Afterward, his dream is to establish a special hi-tech economic zone in Zimbabwe called “Zilicon Valley” in order to redeem our country from peril for I believe that technology holds the answers to everything.

We should not just sit around complaining while waiting for Silicon Valley in California to solve our challenges for us yet we have the brains and raw talent to be our own saviors. Apart from that, I aspire to be environmental; human and investor rights activist. I want to be a professional motivational speaker and author. I also want to nurture the African youth entrepreneurship and servant leadership for Africa suffers from the cancer of incompetent leadership. In addition to that, I wish to revolutionize the education system of African states. His dream is to make sure that his life is an inspiration to the present generation and many other generations to come. I want to make the world a better place for his children, their children and their children’s children which is why I want to be a philanthropist and set up nonprofit organizations involved in humanitarian and development work across the globe.

Coach Mallvine:  What then is your dream job or career?

Tasy:  To be a Technopreneur, Investor, Businessman and Social Entrepreneur.

Coach Mallvine:  Can you a bit eavesdrop about the school you enrolled in this year 2020?  Tell me what really happened and the choices you made?

Tasy: On the 2nd of February this year 2020, I enrolled on a full merit scholarship into STAR Leadership Academy which is a Masiyiwa family and Higher Life Foundation initiative. The school offers a three-year program. This first year which is gap year where I am specializing in Agriculture, Technology, Business, Social Entrepreneurship, SAT Preparation, Travelling, Personal Development, Spiritual Growth, Physical Wellness, Travelling, Hebrew, Servant Leadership, Volunteerism, Basketball, Karate, Grooming and Etiquette. Afterward, I will graduate and proceed to any of their partner schools i.e.: Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa in Eswatini, Saint George’s College, Watershed College and Dominican Convent Harare where I will spend two years of either International Baccalaureate or Cambridge Advanced Level then complete high school.

Coach Mallvine:  Thank you Mr. Tasimba Andrew Shawatu for the succulent and motivating interview. I learned important life principles and the advice you gave to the people out there is a pinpoint life-changing message.

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Zimbabwean Born Harvard Graduate Launches Hitch-Hiking App

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tuverl app

Hope was born and raised in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and he did his A level at Mpopoma High School and O level at Ihlathi High School. Apart from his academic successes, he was also a multi National Chess Scholars Champion winner. Hope later on received a scholarship to go and study at the Harvard
University and just after college he went on to found Tuverl which has to date received several awards and recognition. They recently came out first at the Georgetown Africa Business Conference Pitch Competition which was
held in early February 2020 at Georgetown University in Washington DC. Tuverl also won the World Bank Youth Summit Pitch Competition in early December 2019 held at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC.

In mid-December 2019 Tuverl also won the YouthConnekt Sustainable Development Goals Video Competition. They have also participated in several pitch competitions, winning the Fan Favourite prize at the RevRoad Pitch Competition in Provo, Utah, and finishing 3rd place at the Harvard China Forum Pitch Competition in Cambridge, Massachusetts in early April 2019. Tuverl participated in the Mass Challenge Accelerator Boston Cohort in 2018 and were part 10th cohort of Halcyon Incubator Program from January – June 2019. Tuverl is also a recent Startup Battlefield 2020 finalist, the pitch competition was held virtually in September 2020.

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Problem Statement

It can’t be innovation without problem-solving and Turvel application is there to solve or address a wide range of problems. In most African countries, Public Transport is an industry that is run by private companies; millions of small to medium enterprises and individuals, whose buses, minibusses, and individual cars operate without any schedules or timetables. This makes Public Transport very unreliable to commuters, who lose valuable productive time while waiting for transportation or in transit, as a result. Drivers also waste time, fuel, and man-hours trying to locate
commuters along their designated routes or park in one place waiting for commuters to find them.

This is highly inefficient. The Covid-19 era came with new and many
challenges for commuters as Public Transportation was grounded by the government to minimize non-essential movement and reduce the risk of exposing the public to the Coronavirus. This left people who do not own their own personal vehicles with few to no options for safe essential travel.


While some have welcomed the reintroduction of ZUPCO as the sole provider of Public Transport, there have numerous complaints about long lines at bus stops, too few buses in circulation, and the general lack of social distancing while in transit.

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Solution

After assessing these challenges in the 1st few months of the covid19 pandemic, Tuverl went on to develop its intercity carpooling service that is meant to make travelling safer, easier and cheaper during the Covid19 pandemic. After downloading and signing up on the Tuverl App, commuters can search for peer-to-peer trips that originate from a city or town of their choosing to another city or town in Zimbabwe. They can pay for these trips using mobile money payments, such as Ecocash, OneMoney and Telecash.

We plan to support more payment methods in due course. On the Tuverl App, users who have their own personal vehicles can register to be drivers.
Once registration is complete and their profiles have been verified, drivers can create trips from one city or town to another. Drivers have control over the pricing of the available seats in their vehicles. As such drivers can make
extra money during a trip they were already planning to make. Picking up passengers along the road, when drivers travel on pre-planned trips between cities and towns is an old practice. Most Zimbabwean commuters know this as hitchhiking or simply hiking.

Tuverl has found a way to make it a lot easier for drivers to find commuters or passengers, by adding a technology layer that makes it faster for drivers to connect with commuters. As the economy opens up, Lockdown regulations are relaxed, and travel restrictions are removed, it is important to give commuters more options for travelling safely. Commuters and drivers can download the Tuverl App on the following links.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?
id=com.tuverl.android .

People who are interested in our work can follow
us on the following links.
Website: http://wwww.tuverl.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tuverl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tuverl
Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/
store/apps/details?id=com.tuverl.android

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UZ Student Wins the Lighter Competition.

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A university student by the name of Aluwaine Manyonga was graced at Lux Award as the winner of the Society of Light and Lighting Young Lighter of the Year for 2020.  Aluwaine Manyonga is a fourth-year electrical engineering undergraduate at the University of Zimbabwe who works with Emmanuel Consulting Engineers in Harare, Zimbabwe.

For the first time, the SLL Young Lighter final was held online with all four finalists delivering their presentations virtually to an international audience. Manyonga delivered his presentation, Offgrid Solar Lighting, and Chigubhu Lantern, Africa’s Education System Game Changer, during the 2020 LuxLive Digital Festival.

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The factors that led to his win are that his proposal not only supports the introduction of solar-powered lighting systems but seeks to tackle plastic and electronic waste through the re-use with the ingenious Chigubhu (Chigubhu is a Shona word for plastic container or water bottle) Lantern. His presentation outlines the resources required, set up, and ongoing maintenance with a methodical and informed approach.

Manyonga’s projects seek to utilize competitive pricing of solar-powered solutions, developing a clean and reliable light source to positively impact the education system. The advantage of the project is that the ingenious Chigubhu Lantern uses plastic waste to create low-cost housing for solar-power LED luminaires.

Looking at the concepts stated above and more he presented, the judges were all very impressed by the social value of Aluwaine’s project. “We thought he showed immense initiatives, as well as technical know-how, using limited resources to create something that will improve the lives of a huge number of people in areas with insecure electricity networks. Aluwaine’s work reminds us of how lighting can make the world a better place.” This was a window of Aluwaine’s success and winning the competition as it revealed young talent.

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This year’s finalist included Aleix Llenas with his project, Spectrally Tunable Lighting for the Real World: A UK Case-study in Tracking Human Behavior and Implications for Future Technology; Giorgia Rossi with her project, Open Beams: A laser Lighting System for Future; and Dipali Shirsat with her project, Redefining the Image of a city: Lighting for Disabled Spaces. You can watch the presentations on the Lux Review website.

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Engineer Creates WhatsApp API That Runs Your Entire Business Line

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Sabelo

The Covid-19 lockdown has been a bad time for most of the people and it was a dark cloud that continues hovering among many of us but still to some they never quit on their goals, they remained or at least came out of the lockdown with innovations, products, ideas, etc. I was engaging in one of the Twitter posts on what people had done and achieved during the lockdown and going through some of them, I was caught my attention with one and I could not hesitate to reach out for more and possibly for a feature in the magazine. It is all about inspiring others and sharing African success stories.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, imagine the amount of business that is going on WhatsApp and the amount of work and time needed to respond to the ever-coming messages and inquiries. Can’t we think of an innovation and solutions to this, and thanks to Sabelo who utilized the Covid-19 lockdown to fine shape his idea of creating a Whatsapp API that can run your entire WhatsApp business line?

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Speaking on what inspired him, he had this to say, “The idea was to build an AI model to interpret African languages so that we can type them on google and social media without autocorrect then it hit me that chatbots are becoming a thing and every business has a WhatsApp line. So I figured why not build an API that can run your entire WhatsApp line for businesses.”
The WhatsApp API is the brain-child of 26-year-old Sabelo Gabela from Durban in South Africa. He did computer engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of PSG Technology. Sabelo is an all-around tech guy who can build all forms of hardware and software technology.

Sabelo seems not to be looking back and has bigger plans for his startup projects, “From next year onwards, I will do a rollout for all social media platforms so that even influencers can have someone to filter their DM’s and be able to know when big brands are trying to get in touch with them. This would also help big companies manage their customer care lines on social media”


Speaking on the timing of his API had this to say, “Well I think I built it in the most un-certain time possible, during the pandemic. A lot of people like it but they don’t understand it since it’s a very new thing but I’ve managed to get 3 customers for it but I’m also in talks with a lot more and I’m steady working on it because the model is a bit far from completion”. Three customers seems a good start especially for someone who is running on a low budget and marketing and in most cases possibly using his own personal finances. Currently, he has got 2 clients who are currently using his API, a medicine delivery business, and a live video streaming platform.

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The engineer is driven by passion and big dreams to provide solutions and simplify things. Speaking on the main reason for the WhatsApp API, Sabelo had this to say, “The idea was to have a WhatsApp version of uber, deliveries and job portals. I even made a smart home version where you can control appliances using WhatsApp. I’m building a small ‘Apps must fall’ movement. I feel like there are way too many apps out there yet the most valuable app on people’s phones is WhatsApp so why not focus on that.


And also considering that sometimes people search and type in colloquial, slang, and mixed languages it will not be always an easy task building something that factors in everything but the engineer seems to be dedicated to improving the efficiency of the API in that regard. “Language has been a big factor and coming up with a way to train the model with slang and processing it right has been tough. I’m constantly juggling between that and keeping the business going. I run a startup so it has its own challenges. I wish I could take on more but equipment is an issue so I’m also looking at funding institutions and investors to help with that.”, Sabelo added.


As Eleanor Roosevelt once said: The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams, Sabelo seems to be a man of faith and action and undoubtedly he is going to get the future he desires. “My wish is to have a foothold in African tech, I think we will be at a point where we have a large enough network where it can have a huge impact on society at that time. I am working with other startups to create cool products so in 2 years I think we will start seeing the impact of them and how it is of benefit to society. I also want to have a number of young aspiring developers under my wing who are going to also create products that will put Africa on the map. I’m hoping to start collaborating with tech companies within the African continent by then”, said in closing.

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