Growing up in Harare, Highfield, New Canaan, with her mother and eight siblings, Patience (Chaitezvi) Munjeri longed to go to college. Reading a newspaper ad, she learned about the soon-to-open Africa University. She decided to apply.
Your support of the Africa University Fund apportionment supports the general operating expenses of Africa University including faculty and staff salaries and vital infrastructure.
“I was accepted,” Patience said, “and that brought joy to my life.” In 1992, she became a member of the pioneer class at AU.
She credits Africa University with emphasizing positive moral values and the importance of working hard to earn a living. “This started with a work-study program,” Patience said. “This was an eye-opener as to what we were going to experience in society.”
Majoring in theology, Patience hoped to become a teacher or a counselor. Graduating in 1994, she began working as a teacher in January 1995 in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland West Region.
Because of financial constraints, Patience retired from teaching in Zimbabwe government schools in 2015. Today, the divorced mother of one son and grandmother of three finds joy in teaching mbira [thumb piano] music in camps and colleges across the United States, as well as giving cultural talks in universities. With a cultural exchange visa, she tours the U.S. and Canada.
“The interesting aspect that I always share is comparative religion,” Patience said. “I mainly compare traditional music and its religion with Christianity.”
She is especially grateful for the life experience of serving with friends from abroad at the Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center in Eugene, Oregon. The center is dedicated to the music and people of Zimbabwe.
According to the center’s website, “kutsinhira” means “to follow one who has cut a path, tilled the soil, put forth a musical phrase.” In Zimbabwean musical tradition, “kutsinhira” is a melodic line that responds to the lead line of a mbira song.
Thirty years after she began her studies at Africa University, Patience continues sharing how the United Methodist school changed her life.
“When I tell people that I studied at Africa University,” she said, “the first question they ask is, ‘Where did you get the money? It’s an expensive university.’” She tells them that her tuition was paid for by people she never met.
“That changed my life completely,” she said.
Today, Patience strives to pay it forward by helping orphans with books, school supplies, uniforms and tuition.
story by Barbara Dunlap-Berg, a freelance writer and editor, lives in Carbondale, Illinois.
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Africa University Fund transforms Africa by educating and empowering students from across the continent through Africa University, the first fully accredited, United Methodist-related educational institution on the continent. The Africa University Fund supports the general operating expenses of Africa University including faculty and staff salaries and vital infrastructure. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Africa University Fund at 100 percent.