Victor Chidziwisano is a great senior teleco-mmunications engineer, working with TNM. He is one of the rare specialists in his field of practice in Malawi and highly sought after by many players in the field [he has previously worked for MTL and also Airtel, among other telecom companies]. This does not come as a surprise to me having known Victor since 1997 when we went to the Polytechnic. For five years, Victor was my classmate in the Electrical Engineering programme. He was an excellent student, always featuring in top-three of the class throughout the five years in college. On top of his consistent performance across many courses, he had a particular aptitude for mathematics and electrical power and machines where he would score near perfect scores in some instances.
Even before coming to the Polytechnic, Victor had excelled in secondary school. At Zomba Catholic Secondary School, he had consistently featured in top-two of his class (with his academic rival and friend Khumbo Kalulu, who was also a great engineering student). At Malawi School Leaving Certificate of Education (MSCE) level, Victor scored around top-10 students in the country. This gave him the confidence and a solid foundation that he leveraged to hit the ground running at the Poly and to sustain great performance.
In college, I saw Victor as a very hard working student. He would start working hard within one week of starting a semester, unlike many students who would wait until academic material built up. Victor never tired to study. He would spend diligent time on all assignments and he would pay a lot of attention to detail in his works. All because Victor wanted to always perform well.
He was a great classmate to have and a good friend, too, even to the very day. What I didn’t know was the fundamental driver behind his studious habits. A few days ago, Victor wrote a touching tribute to his father, exactly 18 years since he passed away. In the tribute, I was able to fully understand what makes the Victor that we know and have known the last 19 years. His dad was the driving force behind his academic exploits. In fact, several of Victor’s siblings have similarly excelled academically. Their dad touched them all with his guiding hand for academic success.
With his prior permission, I publish below the tribute so that many of us parents can be inspired and learn some lessons on the critical role that we can play in shaping the academic success of our children. Next time I meet Victor, I will ask him if he, too, wakes up at 2am to watch his daughter as she studies!
Victor’s tribute to his father read in part:
He would wake us up at 2am to study and he would sit awake on that chair until 4am, just to ensure we were not dosing. He did such ‘sleep sacrifices’ every day in our late primary school years and every day during our holidays for the four secondary school years. He followed us even at school, making consultations with our teachers on our performance and behaviour. I recall my secondary school late Headmaster [Bro Chunga] calling me to his office this other day only to tell me: “Your dad loves and cares for you very much.”
Of course, at that time, in my heart, I said: “This headmaster does not know how strict this man is on us”. But now I totally agree with him and say: “He really loved and cared for us”. As far as fatherly duties were concerned, I am yet to see a man like him. I still recall the 20 golden rules that all his children in the house had to religiously keep and made sure they were kept. At that time, we thought he was being too hard, but looking back we would choose him for a father and that kind of life a million times, if it were by choice.
Exactly 18 years now since his departure, memories are fresh on how obsessed he was for the betterment of his children’s future, literally above anything else! Today, walking that memory lane.