The youth often play a key role in shaping the prospects of a nation’s development and grow up tasked with the mandate to take their communities to the next level. It is quite refreshing of late to note that apart from catchy cliche slogans, the youth are rising to take their stand in society.
Today we celebrate one of the emerging youthful leaders who are not overwhelmed by the burden of expectation but take proactive initiatives to create a better tomorrow. Our Person of the Week has been making waves in academia and enterpreneurship circles, seeking positive inclusion and sustainable empowerment solutions for all.
Tatenda Zuze has achieved a lot in his relatively short career and the prolific blogger is the co-founder of TradeKern, which he founded with a friend. TradeKern is an organisation mainly dealing with the production and distribution of agricultural products and consultancy services.
Zuze is a young man who is passionate about development and explained how the formation of TradeKern came about.
“I witnessed a lot of struggles whilst growing up in one of the most populous high density suburbs in Harare. I spent parts of my childhood in Chitungwiza and Mbare whilst going to school, so it has always been my passion to be part of the problem solvers. One of the best tools to solve problems I fell in love with was entrepreneurship as a way to be a development driver,” he said.
“The knowledge I have gained on the structures and development of value chains plus the expertise of my partner as an Agronomist, will be able to act as a decent foundation for the development of the Tradekern vision.”
Tatenda Zuze’s story has been somewhat of a slow burn than an explosion as he has been quietly but effectively going about making a change. His leadership qualities and passion for empowerment came to the fore during his university days at the Midlands State University (MSU).
During that time Zuze was actively involved in initiatives with Enactus; an international non-profit organisation that works with leaders in business and higher education to develop skills in emerging young leaders.
He went on to attain several awards for his efforts including the Chevening Scholarship in 2018 which allowed him to go to the UK to pursue a postgraduate degree specializing in International Trade and Industrial Policy Development at the University of Manchester.
“I learnt about Enactus at MSU in 2014. It was a platform which gave my creative mindset the chance to formulate ideas that can change the lives of people around me whilst allowing me to nurture that ability to constantly find solutions to problems. Since then, I managed to work with a lot of people and organisations such as the BOOST Fellowship. BOOST is instrumental in working with university students who are passionate about development through social entrepreneurship,” said Zuze.
“I also got an opportunity to work as the PA to the Permanent Secretary of the then Ministry of Macroeconomic Planning and Investment Promotion. The role offered me an opportunity to understand the Macroeconomic policy side of development. All these roles combined, solidified my interests in entrepreneurship and development policy work. Such a background influenced my postgraduate degree choice as well which further solidified my passion for development and entrepreneurship.”
The Chevening Scholarship proved to be a major shift for Zuze who describes it as a life changing electric experience. Besides the obvious scholarly benefits and exposure, Zuze; a soccer enthusiast also got a chance to work with the two Manchester Clubs, City and United. At the time he also stacked up his writing output and engaged a number of people on various projects.
“I managed to absorb a lot of new ideas and systems that I felt can be incorporated in my personal and entrepreneurial journey. I figured I could use them to make considerable positive impact in my country as well,” said Zuze.
“Apart from that, I enjoyed the Manchester footballing atmosphere. Having 2 stadiums of the biggest clubs in the English Premier, in one city was something else. I really enjoyed watching football and working for these big clubs. I watched matches and worked part-time for both clubs in an unforgettable experience.”
As the young scholar looks on to the future, he also reflected on major highlights in his life which he attributes to 3 key events. In 2016 he won an intense election for the Students Representative Council at MSU before leading the MSU Enactus team as President to victory in the National Championships.
“The SRC election in 2016 was highly competitive and demanding. That’s when my ability to contain pressure, lead and coordinate resources was put to the test in a matter of hours. It will always remain a memorable achievement for me as it was my first major competitive event,” he said.
“The Enactus National Championships was also intense. I had the burden of leading a team to the Nationals victory, an achievement that had not been done before on the day of competitions. It is something we subsequently achieved after a lot of tears, arguing and sleepless nights. I was awarded the Team President of the Year and BOOST Fellow of the Year as well and had the opportunity to serve as SDG 11 Ambassador at the Enactus World Cup Global Goals Forum.”
” The Chevening Scholarship is the third major event that shaped my aspirations. Despite my doubts and fears I made the cut and it turned out I was probably the youngest of the 2018 cohort and to date, that remains one of my major achievements.”
Tatenda Zuze is but one of the many young Zimbabweans striving to secure the future with excellence and will no doubt be back on the scene again with more news. His words of encouragement to anyone chasing their dreams are simple and sincere.
“Nothing beats hardwork and humility.Nothing ever come easy, you need to work hard. Do not be caught up with the mentality of always trying to prove a point to everyone. So many times, people will look down on you and so many times you will be criticized, sometimes deservedly so and sometimes not. How you handle such situations will determine the type of leader you can become.”