Since the beginning of the month of August, Zimbabwean intellect has been on global display across many platforms.
Young men and women were ambassadors of a country which has recently fallen victim to bad press, obviously influenced with underlying politics.
Four separate groupings of local students made the nation proud as they shone, showing the world the depth of Zimbabwean mental proficiency.
Three Zimbabwean universities participated at the 27th All African Human Rights Moot Competition at the University of Ghana in Accra.
Out of 60 universities which participated the University of Zimbabwe came fifth, Great Zimbabwe University sixth and Midlands State University came eighth. One of the students who travelled and raised the Zimbabwean flag high, Fourth Year Bachelor of Law Honours Degree student Catherine Ndoro from Great Zimbabwe University (GZU), recounted the race they ran.
“Moot court is more or less like a real court. We are given a fictional case and we stand in as legal representation. We prepare arguments on behalf of the parties and we get to deliver (submit) before a panel of judges,” Ndoro said.
“We were being judged on both the manner of delivery as well as the content we delivered, knowledge and understanding of the law as well as its correct application, which is the primary assessment criteria,” said Ndoro.
In one of the competition’s stages, they met with another Zimbabwean college, MSU.
“Competition was very stiff and we also had to face one of our very own MSU in one of the rounds. Overall the competition proved that the quality of legal education in Zimbabwe is exceptional as all the Zimbabwean teams which attended made it to the top 10,” said Ndoro. Besides the competitive side in which Zimbabwean universities did well, there were extra benefits they got from their sojourn to Accra like mentorship workshops and networking opportunities.
n North America, the Zimbabwean flag also flew high.
A team of five high school students, namely Bennedictus Chingiodza (St George’s), Tamuda Chimhanda (St Ignatius), Danai Hakata (Tynwald High School), Gabriel Matemba (Harare High) and Letticia Vanganayi (Harare High) went to the First Global Robotics Challenge in Mexico.
Also known as the Olympics of Robotics, the competition is an annual robotics challenge where high school students converge to compete and test their acumen against global peers.
The team which was representing Zimbabwe won five out of eight games and came fifth in Africa. Tadzoka Pswarayi who travelled with the Zimbabwean team as its manager said Zimbabwe left a mark to be remembered at the global stage.
“Teams were placed into alliances and each alliance had three teams (countries). The game field stimulated a plant using green energy. There was solar, a wind turbine and a combustion plant. The object was for the players to power the plant by delivering solar panels, turning the wind turbine and powering the reaction plant,” Pswarayi said.
Pswarayi added; “This year’s competition theme was ‘Energy Impact’ as topics such as climate change have an impact on the sustainability of the world. The mini-robots which were being used by the students are prototypes that can be turned into large scale machines. The design aspects and coding and the engineering are apt.”
“I was really excited about going to Mexico and it was a great experience, meeting many people from different nations and cultures was absolutely amazing,” Hakata said.
The Robotics Olympics gave an opportunity for students to create technological solutions to real issues.
“From the Olympics I learnt that it is not about winning the competition only, but it is about working together to solve a global problem, which was how we can get more green energy.
Each team had a unique robot, all built from the same kit that made me realise how important it is to always think outside the box,” Hakata said, promising to help the next team when they build their robot. According to the students’ coach Charles Matanga it took the team four months to build the robot at Impact Hub in Harare where the programme was being coordinated.
Currently Zimbabwe is ranked 51 out of 193 in global high school robotics.
Another show of Zimbabwe’s intellectual range was shown when Thandeka Tshuma, a student at John Tallach High School in Matebeleland North was a runners up in the SADC essay competition.
Tshuma’s essay titled; “The role of the private sector in developing industries and regional value chains in the SADC region” was only beaten by one entry. For her impressive effort Tshuma walked away with US$1000, a Samsung Galaxy phone, a laptop bag, flash disk and a key holder from SADC.