Africa University’s 2019 Graduation Valedictorian; Her Story in her own words
As l look at how far the Lord has taken me, all l can do is look up to the heavens and smile. It was a hectic journey but with a fruitful ending .My name is Jackie junior Katunga and l am 23 years old. I am a Zimbabwean and l live in Mbare a very popular location for the wrong reasons. It is a place where if one mentions they live there many people get many misconceptions about them .I am from a very humble background and in the area where l live not many people have made it as far as O level, many girls end up with unwanted pregnancies as early as 15 years old. Which is mainly due to lack of funds to go to school and also due to peer pressure.
I was fortunate enough that my father tried all he could to look for funds to see me through my education. During my A level l didn’t do that well and l thought all hope was lost ,but when the night becomes really dark it is usually close to dawn. One of my uncles advised me to try AU and luckily they accepted me and gave me hope that was my beginning of my journey at AU. I came to AU with a low self esteem like wondering how was l going to fit in but it welcomed me with open arms and it became more than a home. I still remember the day of our faculty orientation they said something that l still vividly remember and sparked something in me. They told us we were supposed to tell them why we came at AU, what were hoped to achieve at AU and what were our dreams. At that time l just said maybe l just want to graduate with a first class degree but l hadn’t really thought about it, when l went back l started asking myself really burning questions what really do l want to achieve here and do l still really want to be the same from what l was in high school. That day was the start of my turning point and on that day something stirred in me ,making me come into terms with reality.
My studies were very demanding and most of my time l spent it in the library and l could rarely sleep before midnight. With all of that l was happy and contented because AU was a fun place to be ,it made me meet many different people with different personalities and opinions about life. As the school has people from different nationalities l got to learn and appreciate different cultures. l wasn’t a very outgoing person, l was more of a shy and reserved person but l got to make real lifetime friends who pushed me and motivated me to be where l am today and l wouldn’t have made it without them. In my years of learning at AU l learnt about Ubuntu, its together that we can conquer, because l cannot say it was through all me that l excelled .It was through sharing information and having discussions with my peers that l sharpened my ideas and got to widen my intellectual scope. The frequent class presentations that l had helped me build my confidence and made me believe in myself and uncover my potential which l didn’t even know l possessed.
When l got a call from the school that l was the best overall undergraduate student and l was supposed to give a vote of thanks, l thought this was a joke or something. l couldn’t believe it but at the end l believed it is at AU where dreams come true and where my dream for graduating with a first class degree during my faculty orientation had come true. My mother cried during my graduation with tears of happiness and me l was even too shocked with the thought that l had achieved all this to smile or laugh. I kept asking myself, was it really me that me that has been awarded 14 awards.
In my family and community l am a living testimony and a motivation to all my peers that it doesn’t matter where you come from or how many setbacks you have had you can still make it at the end of the day if you only have faith and work hard. It really does not matter how you start but what really matters is how you finish at the end of the journey. I then decided to get my open practising certificate for a year in Zimbabwe and then apply to be a medical doctor as l initially wanted to be that, since l was young l always played with our banana trees and tried to heal them. l noticed it is a passion to cure people and see their happy faces after they recover ,they can never be a better reward than that .With wherever l go l will always carry Africa university’s motto, that the dream is alive as it is at this place that my dream became a reality.
VICE CHANCELLOR’S prize for the best undergraduate student in the Department of Health Sciences
VICE CHANCELLOR’S prize for the best undergraduate student in CHANS
MUTARE GARMENT MANFACTURER’S prize for the best undergraduate student with the Highest CGPA
MUTARE GARMENT MANFACTURER’S prize for the best undergraduate student in the Department of Health Sciences
NICOZ DIAMOND INSURANCE prize for undergraduate student graduating with the highest CGPA
AU ALUMNI DRC CHAPTER prize for undergraduate student with the highest CGPA
CIMAS prize for the best undergraduate student in the Department of Health Sciences
HARVEST MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC prize for best undergraduate student in medical laboratory sciences
MENARD MUTENHERWA prize for best undergraduate student in the field of blood bank
LEC-BIOTEC (Pvt) Ltd in Partnership with Zimbabwe Science Laboratory Technicians (ZSLT) of Zimbabwe prize for the best undergraduate student in medical laboratory sciences
CLUSTER DIAGNOSTICS (PVT) LTD prize for the best undergraduate student in medical laboratory sciences
VC VALEDICTORIAN prize for valedictorian
EMERITUS REINSURANCE COMPANY prize for best all around undergraduate student at Africa University
BIO+ECH HEALTH GROUP prize for the best undergraduate student in the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Sciences Honours Degree