“You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” - Steve Jobs
1997 was a defining year for me at Morgan, I wasn't a bad student but being raised by a single mom took its toll. The freedom turned into waywardness while mum was away from home fending for her children. The day God allowed the soul of my father to depart this earth was a defining one. Kenneth Hagin sums up well how his heart felt for his mum in one of his messages, the feeling is mutual.
So it happened that one day I was late for school with one guy who was in Form 4B2 called Kuda, to avoid punishment we went to Mukuvisi bridge which was close to the NRZ yard, we chilled there reading some magazine, bags on the floor looking into the water. One guy called Luberto a brother to my classmate Michael Luberto grabbed my bag and Kuda hassled his from him, we wanted to make a run for it but he quickly checked my bag saw a book with my name and class then said I'm brother to Michael and a member of the School Dev. Association, let's go to the Headmaster, I tried negotiation but this guy wouldn't budge. Kuda refused so we went, taken to Gundani Senior Master, lucky Nyaruviro was out as he was the Deputy at the time, Masanganise was on leave. Gundani gave me 3 canes, I refused knowing who the form 4 guy was, just said we met near the gate.
I was told I'm being suspended and must come back with my parent, I could not tell my mum this as it was too much. I went home and said levy arrears are needed and I must come after only I paid. My mom was broke so I had to stay home; it was about 3 weeks before school term ends. If I had not returned by closing day I would consider myself expelled from school. A classmate Givemore stayed close to my home in Chitown, he was sent with an ultimatum letter 7 days from closing day, I opened it and shred it to pieces. My form teacher Mr. Chikwanda was also not in good books with me, he was ecstatic, this was payback and he couldn't wait to rip me to shreds, Gundani also was happy that one of the naughty ones was caught offside, I was ready for the slaughter but not as a lamb but guilty as a fox cornered by sheep.
The money for levy was finally gathered but my mom wouldn't lose a day of chasing much needed money to attend some petty levy issue. I look back at these events and thank God, it's a major reason I turned to God and always insist on faith because I know what Grace looks like, how Grace operates and the how Grace does not condemn. I wouldn't say it was down to my wit that events turned out the way they did. On the day of closing school, I went with my sister to meet Gundani & Chikwanda, I was prepared for any eventuality, I was broken, scared and scarred, and I had resigned to fate. It so happened that we arrived late I think about 12 midday, saw a few students who grinned knowing my plight and marvelled, some had that look, "so long sucker, your luck ran dry". You see Mr. Nyaruviro had been telling classmates I was caught at Mankis Paradise, it had been reported earlier that students from Roosevelt, Cranborne and other schools were meeting at some places in Mukuvisi to have sex and do drugs. So the story was I was caught there with some ladies busy in drugs. This is one of the 2 reasons I never indulge in drugs because I was out to tell my story, to write my history which was already in tatters.
It turned out Mr. Chikwanda and Mr. Gundani had decided to leave early for home or were holed up somewhere in meetings, so it was straight to Mr. Masanganise the Headmaster. The story of levy was recited to him, my sister innocent as a nun busy parroting my line, if God was merciless, He would have sent an angel to rebuke me and tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth. The truth sets us free indeed, but the Grace of God qualifies us where we fall very short of qualification. Mr. Masanganise, bless his soul may he rest in eternal peace. He accepted the story, enquired, "is it why you have been suspended?” I muttered yyes sir. He said the case is solved; you can come back to school next term.
I was off the hang man's noose, declared not guilty! I said there must be a greater power up there. Went home and told my partners in crime that I'm sorted now. They could not believe it. You see the devil can drive you into a corner, see your life from the future and do all he can to derail it because when I join the dots looking back, many see a mess, I see Grace. Third term came, first day at school I was seated in my class and boy the classmates were having a go at me, asking about the drugs the girls and how Mukuvisi was. This world is cruel and many judgmental people are out there, if I was the violent type that day in B23 I would have committed murder or maimed some that I would have found myself back on suspension. Mr. Chikwanda came and ran his eyes over his class, saw me and wore a wide devilish grin, the Grim Reaper type, white turned into a probe, "urikutsvagei muclass mangu?" I said the Headmaster allowed me. He said no way under hell is it possible, declared it a lie. So was told "follow me" as the demon possessed classmates chuckled in glee, so down the corridor, down the stairs and right outside his door was Mr. Gundani, he was equally happy to see this hapless soul. He like Mr. Chikwanda dismissed my story as bullcrap.
The headmaster did not help my cause, pardon his old age, he had no recollection of seeing me on the last day, so off I went to bring evidence that I was there, my sister and when the Headmaster saw her he said I remember now, yes I solved this case he can go to class, I had won a match played in hell, Chikwanda was dejected. But this was my route to recovery, some months later I was receiving my O Level results, I had managed some As and Bs and few Cs, I had done better than most who had written me off. Life is tough, the people in life make it tougher but that also toughens you up. The struggles we go through eventually define the people we become. Steve Jobs was right about the dots, one day they will all connect and we can give back to the schools of hard knocks where we were knocked into the right paths.