Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Meet our former Teacher and Deputy Headmistress of Choma Secondary School

Ms. Ruth Hamunyanga
Mr. Raphael Kumwenda
Ms. Ruth Hamunyanga (1968 – 1979; 1981-1996)
Interview report compiled by Hachizibe Raphael Mudenda (former pupil of 1988 – 1992)


Ms Hamunyanga did her form 1 and 2 at Chipembi Girls Secondary School in 1958-1959. She later trained as a Primary School teacher and she taught at Jembo and Siachitema Wesleyan Mission Schools. Having been an intelligent and dependable lady, the Wesleyan Church sponsored her to do a Bachelors’ Degree in the USA in 1964 just before Zambia’s independence. She majored in Geography with a minor in Psychology. The church wanted her to teach at Choma Secondary School upon completing her training. She started teaching at Choma Secondary in 1968.
A number of times, government wanted to move her from Choma Secondary to Curriculum Development Centre in Lusaka but she rejected the offer because of her compassionate for young people. Helping young people through teaching and ensuring that they grow as responsible and well behaved citizens of Zambia was her desire. She felt she was needed most at Choma Secondary than at Curriculum Development Centre. She was also in the group of the first Zambians involved in the examinations marking.
In 1979 she went to do her Masters in Geography in the USA. She also studied administration while in the USA. She taught for one year in the USA but she says she never enjoyed teaching there because young people didn’t seem to appreciate the help offered to them of administering discipline for reformation and good behaviour. She came back to Choma Secondary in 1982.

She liked the unity that existed between the two churches running the school (Brethren in Christ Church & Pilgrim Wesleyan Church). She also liked the cooperation and the working together among teachers and the administrators. This cooperation among teachers resulted in good class performance and good behavior of pupils. Ms Hamunyanga thinks one of the reasons why, many government ministers, senior government officials, prominent business people in Choma and outside Choma including Asians and Whites brought their children to Choma Sec Sch was because of the excellent class results and well disciplined pupils due to good administration. During her time there was a mixture of teachers (Whites, Blacks and Asians). 
However, Ms Hamunyanga remembers some teachers who gave her a lot of problems whom I will not mention their names. She thinks some teachers didn’t have the skill to teach therefore they just spent time making jokes in class for time to pass. She also had pupils that gave her real hell such as Victor Mbindo and Raju Nayee (Choma Garage). Victor gave her a lot of problems in school, but she is happy that Victor is now a born again Christian and doing very well in life. Raju Nayee used to miss her geography class by hiding in the bush until when the geography class was over. Raju now is a prominent businessman in Choma and very responsible.
Ms Hamunyanga regrets that some parents never appreciated the disciplinary measures taken against their children because they thought their children were just being harshly treated, but could not understand the rational for disciplining their children, to help them reform and become better and responsible citizens. 

Ms Hamunyanga says she moved with a shambok to ensure young people were well disciplined and adhered to regulations of the school at all times wherever they were in school. When beating a pupil she didn’t mean to “kill” but to help reform or remind a pupil of the school rules. She thinks the shambok in a “kirk” envelop helped many.

Her best times at school were when she helped a young person reform or change for the better. She decided to remain at Choma Sec Sch to just help young people receive the best education and help they needed. 

She hated standing in the sun waiting for the former President (Dr. Kenneth “Wamuyaya” Kaunda) to come and visit the school. She feels this was a great torture on teachers and pupils.

She is so grateful to God for the love He has been showing her and for how much he has been blessing her life. She also appreciates the cooperation given to her by all teachers at Choma Sec Sch when she was a teacher as well as Deputy Head. She also appreciates the love and care shown to her by all her former pupils.

1.     Iron Lady – for being tough on offender pupils
2.     Sunday Girl – for being clean and smart (always looking beautiful)
3.     Margret Thatcher – former British female president (for being sharp)
*If you know any other nickname for M Hamunyanga, please feel free to share with us*

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ray Munsaka's life at Choma Secondary School - 1984 to 1988

Ray Munsaka
It was afternoon. The day, a Monday. The date was 5 March, 1984 - 30 years ago! That was when I arrived at Choma Secondary School with my suitcase to begin my secondary school course. As the photo shows, I was a then a cool young dude. Wasn't I cute then? Twaali bantu asweyo. Don't be deceived by what time has done to me.

I had never been away from home before and even if Choma Secondary was very familiar territory for me, there was a sense of deep anxiety within. Among other pupils who arrived on this day was Luundu Mwaanga, who by this time I had known for over five years. This gave me some moral boost and we started chatting right away. A few days later I met Austin Bhebe. Luundu and Austin became my close friends in the last three years of my stay here. 

I paid ZMK105 (unrebased kwacha) which covered school fees, boarding fees, 2 pairs of uniform, a hymnbook and a bit of toiletry. Later on one of the prefects, Saboi Lufwendo (now a prominent lawyer) took me to his hostel and later on to supper (nsima with boiled kapenta!). This was in the Zambezi dining hall. The following day, supper was much more pleasant - nsima with kasune (beef). After supper that Monday, he took me to my assigned bed space - 3rd Hostel Junior Wing, Luangwa House. This was to be my "home" for two years before I moved to ZALUKA (ChomSecians know what this is) at senior level.

There are many ways in which Choma Secondary is special to me. At least three of my sisters and a brother went to this school long before I did. My father preached there from time to time before 1984. The Pilgrim Wesleyan Church would hold its national conferences here and I remember attending one or two and hearing various singing. We would come for CYC (Christian Youth Crusaders) every Sunday where I learnt a lot of spiritual truth in song and teaching. We would also come to see my sister, but more interestingly the motorcycle race by Brooks farm (Mambushi Motor Cross). 

My memories of this great school as a student are still fresh and warm. It was a place I learnt to look after myself. I knew how to do a lot of things for myself but now I HAD to. I even learnt some trade - selling sugar at 1n/teaspoon!. I was introduces to menus, some of which I had never imagined before. Cigolo (sugar-water solution), mixing that with roast peanuts, kago (crust at the bottom of the pot after cooking nsima), adding a bit of sugar to beans to make taste like baked beans,... Needless to say, I cannot stand these dishes anymore. I quit some of them even before I left the school (by grade 12, I could only take cigolo if made with hot water). 

I enjoyed the lessons from A to Z. Deciding, at the end of grade 8, on whether to take up commercial subjects or industrial arts was a tough choice but settled for the the latter. I loved TD! Then at senior level doing the pure sciences! Sometimes I think I learnt all the physics I know at Choma Secondary School. University was just repetition with depth and application. Of course other subjects as well but I mention physics because my career is built on it.

Of all that I got from this great school, none is as glorious as the the experience of the night of Friday the 13th in 1987. It was at this school on this day that I was converted. And you thought Friday the 13th was bad! If this experience of God's salvation is all I had got from this school, it would still have been worth an infinite amount of all the money that was spent on me there. 

Not only was I brought into the kingdom of God's Son at this institution, but also learnt to be active in the church here. I was part of the student church leadership of the PWC and also in SU leadership. I preached my first sermon at Choma Secondary School. A number of Christian disciplines were inculcated in me at this school.

I will always cherish my time at Choma Secondary School.

By Ray Munsaka