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Ex-Nchezy pupils head to Ndola

Life: What a journeyCHARLES CHISALA
ALL roads lead to Ndola this Saturday, April 14, 2018 where former pupils of Nchelenge Secondary School in Luapula Province will meet to discuss the affairs of their former school and share memories of their days there.
Former Nchezy pupil Justine Mushinge said from Ndola the come-together will take place at Emerald Pub & Grill on President Avenue opposite Autoworld in the central business district (CBD) in the afternoon after lunch hour.
This is not the first time the ex-Nchezy pupils are holding such a meeting.
The last one took place in Lusaka last year.
Mr Mushinge, who is a senior official at Workers Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB), said Luapula Minister and Kawambwa Central Member of Parliament Nickson Chilangwa is expected to attend the gathering.
Mr Chilangwa hosted the Lusaka meeting last year.
Mr Mushinge is hopeful that Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development and Pambashe MP Ronald Chitotela, Mwansabombwe MP Rogers Mwewa and other prominent ex-Nchezy pupils will be in attendance.
“As former students we have a duty to meet and discuss how we can continue our relationship with the institution that shaped our future. It will be a wonderful time as there will be a lot to remember, share and laugh about,” he said.
Mr Mushinge said the meeting will also provide an opportunity to meet former classmates, intake-mates and other fellow former pupils.
“We are encouraging all former pupils of Nchezy who are based on the Copperbelt to make an effort to attend this important meeting. Those from outside the Copperbelt who can manage are also welcome because we want it to be bigger than the one that was held in Lusaka last year,” he said.
The sorry state of the once glorious Nchelenge Secondary School is likely to be top on the agenda.
It was discussed at length by the Lusaka-based ex-Nchezy pupils at the Natives in Kabwata residential area.
Honourable Chilangwa had managed to round up the boisterous bunch from all over Lusaka and nearby towns. And what a sweet family re-union that was! I saw faces I had not seen and had forgotten since I left Nchezy in 1984, after completing my Grade 12. Hon Chilangwa asked us to introduce ourselves and the year we left Nchezy. “The purpose of this come-together is just to meet, mingle and share sweet and bitter memories of our days at our former school, and to come up with some ideas on what we can do to help,” he said.
We all shared our individual and collective exploits while at Nchezy in the 1980s. Some notable names were also recalled and discussed. Some of them were Nelson Ngosa, Moses Kasanga (Uncle Moze), Alfred Chabu, a something Lukwesa popularly known as Tazara, Percy Bwalya, Frank Chikwale, Ivo Makungu, Kalaba Kateule, Chali Muleya, Bibian Mumba, George Mwandia, Ezra Chella, Davy Lord and Albert Bwalya (Zee). We talked about teachers such as Mr Banda ‘Kafwafwa’, the funny English teacher, the ever-smart Mr Mushauko, Mr Chipoka, who used to wear old-fashioned clothes from the 1960s, Mr Muhandu the sports master, Mr Mwape Mungu, the vernacular language genius, Mr Musuwila and Mr Mark N Mutale (Jimmy Young the youngest headmaster). I was happy to meet the diminutive Mr Boyd Katebe. I think he was in Form III when I was in Form I in 1980 and was the cause of the first riot I witnessed, a violent clash between pupils and the local community (the vast Kashikishi village).
I was surprised to see Mr Kabaso Malisa, my former classmate and senior member of the study group I belonged to in Grade 12.
Fani Chirwa was elected interim secretary to coordinate Lusaka meetings and communication via the Former Nchelenge Secondary School Pupils Association WhatsApp group.
The association is a serious organisation registered with the Registrar of Societies and has a bank account.
I am also aware that Mr Shamaoma Musonda at the Times of Zambia created a Facebook page for the Ex-Nchezy pupils.
Last year there were some efforts to raise some money to meet the cost of some activities.
Branded T-shirts were printed which were expected to be sold to the members of the association as a fund-raising venture.
I don’t know how much progress has been made so far because on this initiative because I haven’t been active on the WhatsApp group for months.
But those were noble intentions which should further be harnessed at the Ndola meeting.
Government is overwhelmed by competing needs. It cannot therefore be left to shoulder the burden of salvaging dilapidated education infrastructure such as Nchelenge Secondary School.
This is where former pupils come in handy countrywide.
They should demonstrate their appreciation of the contribution of their former schools to their personal development.
And one way of doing that is contributing to the rehabilitation of the institutions.
Whatever support they may render – whether financial or in kind – will surely make a difference.
Although I have not been back to my former school since 1985 when I went to collect my Grade 12 School Certificate (with 18 points) I have learned from some of my former schoolmates that it is extensively dilapidated.
Some of the pictures a friend showed me left me distraught.
“Is this our beloved Nchezy?” I asked him incredulously.
“Yes, this is how bad things are. Government and the school authorities have tried to improve the situation but it is like the school is just too old. What is needed is to demolish all the structures and build a completely new school on the same land in a phased manner,” my friend Kunda Chibindi, district commissioner for Milenge, told me when I met him in his office in July last year while on a tour of duty.
It is for this reason Mr Mushinge has made a passionate appeal to all the ex-pupils to respond to this invitation.
Government, and the children at the school deserve our support bane! See you there.
For more information contact Mr Mushinge on 0968950420.