Written by: Kelly Robertson
A young man with a hunger for knowledge and an innate drive for success. This is Mabvuto Nyirenda from Mfuwe, Zambia and this is his story.
Mabvuto is the workshop manager for Robin Pope Safaris, based at Nkwali Camp in his home valley of Mfuwe. It’s an incredible achievement and a position he is extremely proud of. His tale didn’t start off so sure-footedly though.
Mabvuto went to the community school in Mfuwe. His education, like so many of his school mates’, was made possible through the sponsorship and kindness of previous guests and visitors to the area. He speaks fondly of school, saying, “I found all my lessons interesting but became more and more interested in school from grade 10 onwards and the enthusiasm for continuing to study grew in me too.” He matriculated with a Grade 12 at the age of 19 with exceptional results but his sponsors couldn’t continue to help him further his education.
Instead of just accepting this as fate, he decided to approach Robin Pope Safaris for help. They sponsored him to further his education and study electrics.
Rob, one of Robin Pope Safaris’ directors, tells of Mabvuto’s success and drive. “Two years later, after finishing the course with excellent grades, he was offered a full time position here at Robin Pope Safaris. His knowledge and skills were invaluable and a few years after starting with us we put Mabvuto through a refrigeration course. He has also become proficient in IT and last year was promoted to Workshop Manager.”
When asked what he enjoys about working with electrics he lit up and said, “It is like solving a puzzle and I need to put my mind to it. I like the great sense of achievement that comes to me after a project when everything is coming together and working well.” Along with his promotion to Workshop Manager came an instant love for his job.
He says, “I like the day to day challenges and no day is the same. It is very interesting to see how people get on with their jobs and taking an interest in their achievement and pushing them to do more than what they are supposed to be doing. Moving with people and helping in their challenges is something I like but also learning more about management skills is very interesting to me.”
Now Mabvuto, the young go-getter, is a respected and successful member of his community, family and the Robin Pope Safaris team. He wants to pass on his learnings and experience to other young people in Mfuwe. His advice to them is pragmatic and powerful. “It’s about being focused – first on education as it is the key and the biggest investment that you can make into starting your career. Once the focus is there other people will surely see that and will be more likely to help.”
When tourists think of the Zambian region they conjure images of dusty-beautiful sunsets and safari game drives, incredible African wildlife sightings and experiencing the holiday of a lifetime. When asked if he had a liking for the bush and its wild things he answered, “Oh yes! In fact I am not sure how the interest came about but things gradually turned around and I have more and more interest in the valley and the wildlife and their behaviour. It is always an adventure. Plus my family is here and this is home.”