by Kambole Kabwe
Monday is usually the most predictable day of the week here at Northrise University. Students first gather around the chapel area, sharing their weekend experiences and at 8:30am they make their way into Chapel, which usually goes on up to10:00am. Thereafter students attend Lab and other programs of the day.
However, Monday, July 13th 2009 was different from the usual. After Chapel ended, no one vacated the auditorium. Students and staff members alike lingered for the next long awaited program: The Zain Africa Challenge (ZAC) award ceremony. The team of students that had traveled to Kampala, Uganda, for the competition and Northrise University itself were receiving awards.
ZAC, sponsored by Zain (a telecommunications company in Zambia), is an inter-university quiz competition among top African universities, which Northrise was privileged to be a part of. Four of our students, Godfrey Chonde, Kambole Kabwe, kanyanta Mubanga and Nyamachai Chipawa, chosen to represent Northrise University competed and won a double knockout national qualifying tournament in Lusaka. The national qualifying tournament brought together 8 Zambian universities of which four (4) were to qualify and represent their university and Zambia in the ZAC Championship Festival held in Kampala, Uganda, between the 13th and 23rd of February.
This year, 2009, marked the third season of this competition in which Uganda hosted seven other countries in Africa (Zambia, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Malawi, Kenya, and Ghana). All Universities that participated in ZAC underwent an open and transparent testing to qualify for a spot in both the national qualifying and international tournaments. The international tournament was a knockout challenge in which the Northrise University team was knocked-out by the East Africa Catholic University from Kenya in their first round. The turn of events was a huge disappointment for the team. “Though we did not win the grand prize, having participated helped put Northrise on the map” said Mr. Laston Hamoonga, the Northrise Business Manager, who also accompanied the Northrise team to Uganda as their Liaison.
Months after the team’s return, the Zain representatives were in the school to acknowledge the performance of the team and the university as a whole. And they finally brought the long awaited prizes. Mrs. Mutinta M. Chikola, Zain Zambia acting managing director North, gave a speech in which she indicated that the ZAC initiative was a creative way of giving grants to the universities. And working for it through the challenge would give the recipients a sense of pride and ownership. “This is what we want all universities that take part in the challenge to feel. They worked for it and they deserve it.”
Northrise received a prize of US$5 000 dollars as a University for representing Zambia. The participating students and their coach, Mr. Ngulube, also won a prize of US$500 each. The prize money for the school was to be received in assets to benefit the entire student body instead of cash. It was decided that more computers be bought for the Library and a photocopying machine, all amounting to US$5 000.
In her vote of thanks that Monday morning, Kambole shared her Zain experience with everyone present. She highlighted how she took advantage of the competition to socially interact with others from different African cultures. She added saying, “it was an unconscious way of connecting the future leaders of Africa together.” Kambole also encouraged other Northrise students to be part of this event so that Northrise University can continue being represented internationally.
The ZAC Northrise University Scholars Club continues to grow. Among other benefits, Northrise University students stand a chance to be exposed to different social and cultural experiences. Such experiences help broaden a student’s outlook on life.