Earlier this month, Mulomba Mutakwa sat for her grade 12 examinations.
With 12 of her fellow students, she arrived at Kabwe School for Continuing Education, ready to take her history test. Like her fellow students, she was anxious about the test, but had prepared what she could and was eager to take it. The Director of Home Health Education Service in Kabwe convinced her to sit for the examination, and she reported back that she did her best.
“I was very anxious but I am happy that I wrote the paper. It has motivated me and I am encouraged. I feel I can do it.”
She intends to go on to university to take a course that intrigues her.
In any other context, Mutakwa’s story is unremarkable, even mundane. Until you learn that she is 73, and the oldest person in Zambia to sit for her Grade 12 examinations.
Mutakwa is a grandmother of four, and a role model for them and the nation, on the importance of an education. While she never had the opportunity to complete her education as a child, she still went on to become an educator – teaching at the primary school level. And her story is a reminder of one of the basic truths of life – that it is never too late. It’s never too late for each of us to achieve our goals – to take that photography class, to learn another language or to change careers. And for our students, it’s a reminder that the power of education continues throughout their lives. That what they learn now will stick with them during the many stages of their lives. And that they can inspire and be inspired by other generations before them. We often hear stories from our parents and communities that our scholars are bringing what they learn home – teaching the alphabet to illiterate parents and grandparents, writing numbers with younger siblings. We should never underestimate their potential.