By Style Correspondent
An African American, Brenda Mufuka, the wife of Professor Ken Mufuka, was shaken by her experience at Mucheke High School. One class with 35 students was doing a science lesson without a supervising teacher. The students sat in groups and carried on their assignment is a peaceful manner.
One classroom had yet to install glass windows, but learning was going on all the same.
“Ah, if I can only make my US students appreciate education as much as these Mucheke kids do, I will be a super teacher,” she said.
On returning to South Carolina, she partnered with all kinds of religious groups which provide for pupil support. One group provides brown bag lunches for kids when they leave for the weekend and others adopt a boy or girl for support.
She began to tell them stories about Mucheke High School kids who are thirsty for learning. Over time, her students began to relish the idea.
“Have you really been to Africa? What do they eat?” the students asked.
“If I go to Africa, can I have a baby lion as a pet?”
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So the influence grew and the principal gave her difficult tasks to accomplish. It came as no surprise then when the McCormick County Board of Education accepted the recommendation from the board of examiners that Mufuka was the teacher of the year.
“It is a big deal, because there are opportunities to represent the county in a state-wide competition with fifty-four other teachers,” a former teacher explained.
Elsie Mufuka — dance teacher In the neighbouring state of North Carolina, in Union County, Elsie Mufuka was presented with the Teacher of the Year award. She taught at Benton Heights School for the Arts as a dance teacher.
Elsie started at Hatfield Primary School in Harare before joining her parents in the US. The drum beat remained in her bones. She returned later to spend time in Johannesburg under the tutelage of the greatest Xhosa and Zulu dance choreographers.
In Zimbabwe, she interviewed the manager of Crown Plaza Hotel about their “Mauya” reception area. She was impressed by the idea that visitors who have been away from home for a prolonged period are welcomed back with such pomp like the prodigal son on his return.
The dance formation, she gathered, is called Mauya and can be performed at weddings as well for a bridal entry.
But, as she presented her story to the trustees of the Benton School Board, kids of colour, who lack space and opportunity for expression, can learn to master their tempestuous behaviour by learning to dance.
One board member wrote a cheque of $200 right there and said: “Go and buy, whatever outfits you need. You have a job.”
At first the job was funded by a grant from the US department. But the news began to reach the ears of the authorities that the kids whose behaviour had been more than tempestuous and raucous had been disciplined into a show-off dance group for which kids had to line up to be admitted.
Any misbehaviour or lack of respect would exclude a kid from this show-off super kid group. At first only eight-year-olds with disciplinary problems were allowed. But teenage girls (and white girls) too found the dance group to be a place to express, show off their moves, pose, cut up and do stuff.
It is a big deal. The Charlotte Ballet Company planned a shindig to present North Carolina dance teacher of the year! Ms Elsie.