CALL him a genius, wonder or whiz-kid.
He commands exceptional math skills, unique reading, writing abilities and cursory knowledge of science.
Welcome to the world of Tinotenda Mutauto, an exceptionally gifted, but disadvantaged orphan from Makumbe High School.
Tinotenda (20) attained 5As (25 points) in Maths, Mechanical Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology in the November 2020 Zimbabwe School Examinations Council Advanced Level exams.
He is appealing for help to pursue medicine studies at the University of Zimbabwe.
Tinotenda’s father died when he was 12.
His school fees and associated educational needs were being met by a local teacher, Mr Jephison Mushandu, since Grade Six.
He attained five units at Grade Seven, the highest at Makumbe Primary School, and was enrolled at Makumbe High School.
“My father died towards the end of 2012 due to a snake bite. Since he was the bread winner, it spelled doom and gloom for me until Mr Mushandu came to my rescue.
“He also adopted our family, meeting our basic needs like food, clothes, stationary and medical care since my mother is chronically ill and always in and out of hospital. She is unable to fend for the family,” said Tinotenda.
Mr Mushandu later partnered with one Mrs Podzo, now a lecturer at Dutch Reformed Church University in Masvingo; Mrs Mandudzo, Mr Rugare and Mr Herbert Mangwanya, to lessen Tinotenda’s academic burden.
In 2016, he was offered a scholarship by Capernaum Trust and he did not waste the opportunity.
He attained 11As in Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Building Studies, Accounts, Shona, History, Combined Science, Agriculture and a B in English.
“I studied very hard and burnt the midnight oil studying. The death of my father and my poor background motivates me to work hard. I am motivated to transform my family background for the better.
“I want to study medicine, but I do not have the means. I am appealing for help,” said Tinotenda.
Mr Mushandu said it hurts to watch a talented student being pulled back by their financial background.
“He grabbed my attention due to his work ethic. Capernaum Trust later came on board with a scholarship, but we continued meeting additional costs like stationary, uniforms, clothes and other stuff that was not covered by the scholarship,” he said.
In 2018, Tinotenda participated in the Ordinary Level provincial Olympiad examination and came first with 100 percent in Maths.
Unfortunately, the National Olympiad exams were later cancelled due to a Cholera outbreak.
“When he was doing Form Five, he would assist those who were doing Form Six. The boy is well disciplined and very humble. Getting five As at A-Level was not by accident. He has undisputed traits of excellence.
“He wants to be a medical doctor and needs a lot of things in preparation for his university education. He needs clothes, shoes, money, a laptop and data, among an assortment of other learning materials,” said Mr Mushandu.
Provincial education director (PED), Mr Edward Shumba, described Tinotenda as a national asset.
“We are appealing for sponsorship for that exceptionally gifted boy. He has defied all odds and demonstrated that poor rural day scholars have talent. The boy is a national talent worth investing in,” said Mr Shumba.