Award winner and University of Zimbabwe 2023 actuarial science graduate Ivan Chuma got 50 distinctions and paved a path of success that will be difficult for other students to follow.
Chuma was born on 29 July 1999 in Kwekwe where he initially attended Emthonjeni Primary School for Grades 1 and 2.
In 2008, due to his mother’s illness, relocated to Bikita and continued primary education at Muvuti Primary School, completing Grades 3 to 6 by the second term of 2011.
His early exposure to science and mathematics, through his uncle’s O Level materials, sparked his interest in these subjects.
Despite concerns from his family about potential harm to my brain, he thrived academically. The family conflicts led to his transfer to Zishumbe Primary School in Masvingo district, where he excelled in mathematics and became the head boy in 2012.
Upon completing Grade 7 with outstanding results, he faced the challenge of finding money to fund my secondary education.
Despite financial constraints, he enrolled at Mazare Secondary School, a rural institution, facing additional challenges such as early morning farm work and limited study time.
Despite these hardships, his academic performance improved, leading to his promotion from Form 1 to Form 3 based on the recommendation of senior staff.
In Form 3, he developed a passion for actuarial science, adding Commerce, Statistics, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry to his studies in Form 4.
Despite being voted as the head boy for 2015, the school staff appointed another student to the position to ensure his focus remained on academics.
The O Level results reflected his dedication, making him the top student at Mazare and in the satellite schools in Masvingo district, with a remarkable number of A passes.
Continuing with A Level studies at Masvingo Christian College in 2017, he faced new challenges, including conflicts between relatives and teachers.
Despite interruptions during his second term, he returned to complete his Form 6 studies, commuting long distances, and occasionally walking up to 30km on challenging days.
Chuma said he had a unique and somewhat challenging family background. His father passed away in 2004 when he was very young and as a result, his memories of him are quite limited. He recall two specific moments: one when he sent him to buy his cigarettes, and the other during his funeral.
On the other hand, his mother played a pivotal role in his life. She was an embodiment of patience, kindness, and boundless love. Even during her struggle with serious illness in her final days, she continued to shower him with affection and support.
In Grade 7 at Zishumbe Primary School, he scored 5 units. Moving on to O’ Level at Mazare Secondary School, he achieved an impressive result with 8A’s, 2B’s, and 1C. At A’ Level at Masvingo Christian Secondary School, he scored 18 points.
He went on to say choosing actuarial science was driven by a combination of factors that stemmed from his passion for mathematics and the recognition of a rewarding career path.
After completing his A’ Level studies, my uncles and cousin brother played a crucial role in guiding him through the application process.
With a strong background in mathematics and statistics and a keen interest in applying mathematical concepts to solve practical problems, he applied for Actuarial Science programs at both NUST and UZ. Upon receiving the responses, he was offered a place in BSc Chemistry at NUST but was pleased to receive an offer for Actuarial Science at UZ, aligning with his career aspirations.
Consequently, he accepted the offer from UZ and declined the one from NUST. To further immerse himself in the field, one of his uncles assisted him in applying for a bursary to attend the Actuarial Society of Zimbabwe (ASZ) 4th annual convention in 2018 at Meikles Hotel.
Fortunately, he was granted the bursary, providing him with a transformative opportunity to connect with fully and partly qualified actuaries from Zimbabwe and beyond.
Meeting industry leaders like Ms Marjorie Ngwenya, Mr Douglas Hoto, and Mr Prosper Matiashe at the ASZ convention provided him with a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies and real-world applications of Actuarial Science.
Chad said during his academic year 1 semester 1 at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), his uncles from my mother’s family provided crucial assistance by covering both tuition and accommodation fees.
Facing family issues during the start of his first year semester 2, he had to temporarily drop out of university and return to his parents’ home in Kwekwe.
He added that it was during this challenging time that one of his cousins reached out and offered to help with tuition fees.