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Chido Chigwedere

Degree:

MBA

Year:

2020-21

By Chido Chigwedere

Chido Chigwedere on completing the Oxford MBA

Life has come full circle. When I found out I got into Oxford, the first person I phoned was my grandfather to ask which school I should choose out of the offers I had. He said, “The decision is yours to make, but if it were up to me, I would choose Oxford.” Here’s why:

When Zimbabwe was still Southern Rhodesia, only the top 25 black students could be admitted to the University of London, College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (the leading local university) every year. In 1962, my grandfather was one of the top 25 to be selected. He excelled, and in 1964, while wearing the blazer in the picture, he was offered a full scholarship to read for a DPhil in African History at the University of Oxford. He accepted but deferred because he wanted to finish putting his siblings through school before pursuing his dream. He deferred until the offer lapsed.

He later accepted the same offer from Columbia University in 1971; but on his way there, he was arrested in Malawi under the suspicion that he was a liberation fighter. He was deported back to Southern Rhodesia where he eventually earned an MPhil through distance education with the University of London.

My grandfather always regretted not being able to attend either university, but he would have regretted not sending his siblings to school more. He spent the rest of his life helping others fulfil their dreams through education.

And now here we are! Where he was not able to reach the Ivy League school he was admitted to, my cousin graduated from Harvard University three months ago; and where his commitment to changing our family’s narrative meant he had to give up going to Oxford, I have reached the end of my MBA journey here.

I dedicate this win and everything that led up to it to the man who gave me my slightly asymmetrical smile – my Sekuru. Thank you for doing everything you did to make us everything we are.

This article was originally posted on Chido’s LinkedIn profile.

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