Tatenda: From Mberengwa to Castleton University

By: 
Castleton Spartan

TATENDA Shumba walks through the villages of Mberengwa and Rusape, Zimbabwe where his parents grew up and is taken back. The villages have no electricity, and the only water supply is a mile away. Huts in which his parents  lived in contained only buckets of water, and a fire in the center for cooking purposes. As he walks, emotion floods his head realizing how tough his parents had it.

Since then, Shumba and his family have been on the move, living in three different countries where he learned three different languages. His father, Owen Shumba, works for the United Nations, which demands constant moving.

Shumba grew up in Zimre PArk, just outside Harare and lived there for about 10 years of his life. He attended school there, and for fun would play soccer as well as cricket with his friends. Zimre is a suburb that is about twice the size of Castleton, but still has problems with things we take for granted like water and electricity.

“It wasn’t one of the best areas, you wouldn’t have electricity all the time, you wouldn’t have water all the time, but it was there,” said Shumba describing what Zimre was like.

At age 12, Shumba and his family moved to Switzerland. It was in Switzerland where he learned how to speak French. The nickname “Ten ten” came from friends he had made in Switzerland because they couldn’t pronounce “Tatenda.”

Since then, the nickname has stuck here in Castleton where everyone knows him as “Ten ten.”

 It wasn’t until after his freshman year of high school when he moved to Tenafly, N.J. Even though it wasn’t by choice to leave and learn a new language, this wasn’t the first time Shumba had to adapt to a new culture.

“When my parents would ask me a question in English, I would reply in Shona (Zimbabwe Language), because that’s how much I hated English,” said Shumba. “After a while though I improved, and it was much better,” he quickly added.

Now at Castleton, the 20-year-old business major has made quite a name for himself. He is a member of the men’s soccer team, and ironically is number 10.

“Ten ten is one of those kids who has a positive, and contagious attitude you want in a teammate,” said junior defensemen Pj Phillips.

Shumba is energetic on the field, and off the field as well, according to Head Coach John O’Connor.

“He’s a great person. There’s not a day that goes by that he’s not smiling,” said O’Connor.

When asked what he was going to do after graduating from Castleton University, he said he’s not sure what his first move was going to be. Starting a couple of small businesses in the U.S. or Zimbabwe, or to further his education in Switzerland and attain his masters are possible ideas according to Shumba

“Education in Switzerland is much cheaper than here in the U.S.,” Shumba said with a smirk on his face.

For living a much more privileged life than some of his friend’s back home, Shumba remains very humble and respectful

 “His cultural background really helps him here at Castleton, and as far as his personality, I just think he’s a great addition to the community,” said O’Connor.

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