By Bennie Mundando

BORN Doraze Banda on June 2, 1997 from parents Azel Banda and Dorothy Musonda Chikonde Banda, I am the first born and I have only one sibling, a young brother.

From preschool to 7th grade (2000-2009) I was at Ndabeni primary school in Avondale, Lusaka. I did my Grades 8 and 9 at Namwianga Christian secondary School in Southern Province (2010-2011) and was the best pupil in the Grade 9 final exams that year.

From Grade 10 to 12, I was at Munali Girls Secondary School (2012-2014). In 2015 (which was my gap year), I was at SOS Vocational Training Center studying Fashion and Design/Tailoring for a whole year and attained a TEVETA level 1 trades certificate as a Fashion designer and Tailor. After high school, I had no idea what I wanted to study I was passionate about justice but I didn’t want to study law and I loved science but the famous medicine and or medical-related courses etcetera, were not what I was interested in.

Dad suggested we wait for my GCE results to help determine how broad my career options would be. When my results were out, he was pleased with my performance and asked if I had looked up forensics and if I was interested in studying forensics which I was especially since it was even a perfect combination of science, technology and law.

I started pursuing my bachelor’s degree in forensic science in January 2016 and sadly at the end of my first year in December I lost my dad. After my dad’s demise, I was taken in by my aunt and uncle who in all honesty genuinely took good care of me until I completed my four year study in November 2019. In my time at school, I faced a lot of negativity from people (family, friends, fellow students) that thought studying forensics was a waste of my time.

I had some family members suggest I stop studying forensics and re-apply at UNZA to study a more recognised course and many others that said I was better off switching to something that was common on the job market such as Biochemistry or nursing etc.

The ridicule of this sort has continued till date but….despite it all, I stood my ground knowing well that I was lucky to be studying a course that my late father approved of and one I enjoyed and was passionate about.

In my third year of study (2018) I did my attachments at Zambia Police Force Headquarters and was the first student to be accepted there for attachments. I reported in each sub-department for a minimum of two weeks and was exposed to the work environment that aided the advancement of my practical knowledge in forensic science.

After completing my course I worked for a month as a secretary at a university (job on training as one standing in for somebody that had gone on leave). I stayed home for 8 months applying for various job vacancies both related and unrelated to my area of study until finally in October I found a Job as an assistant manager for Palm Kalash Resort in Chelstone where I was in charge of Human Resource, marketing, advertising, sales, customer service, front office tasks, and supervised the daily works of more than 30 employees of all ages from various departments.I am no longer working for this company and I am job-hunting.

My ambitions are to contribute practically to the advancement of forensics and technology on the work market in my country, study my masters degree and specialize as a criminologist, crime scene investigator and or psychologist, own a design house, own a security and private investigations company and be a females mentor/motivator among many others.

Read her vote of thanks on the day of her graduation on December 18, 2020 at the OYDC in Lusaka on behalf of her colleagues:

Director of ceremonies,
The guest of honour, Honorable Elizabeth Phiri, Minister of Gender,
The chairman of the board of directors,
The chief executive officer,
The vice chancellor,
The deputy vice chancellor,
Senior academic staff,
Senior government officials,
Distinguished invited guests from sister universities,
Parents, sponsors, and students.

On behalf of the graduating students, all other students present, and indeed on my own behalf, I present very warm greetings to you guest of honor and the distinguished guests. Allow me madam, at the outset, to recall the words of one Neil Armstrong, the first human being to step on the moon,(I quote) ‘this is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.’ (end of quote).

This graduation is an acknowledgment of our small accomplishment, from the time of study that we have been in the university, yet a giant leap for some of us, who have patiently waited for this day.

The Gideon Robert University challenged us to study and pass and we responded with the testimony we bear today. we are leaving fond memories of an institution that stands proud in the central business district and has defied all odds in this competitive enterprise. the nights have passed, the morning has come, and with it joy. It was a worthwhile investment by our sponsors and parents. It was a worthwhile interaction with our lecturers and tutors.

Furthermore, I wish to call upon the Government of the Republic of Zambia, especially the father of the nation. H. E Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu to extend student loans to private universities also, noting that these institutions are contributing to the development of human resource by educating Zambians just like private universities do. There is need for equity in this sector too.

I wish to acknowledge all Government and Non-Government institutions that allowed the attachment of students to their various institutions for practical experience.

Further, I extend my gratitude to the board, management, and staff, especially academic staff, for their personal commitment and hard work.

Lastly, and not least, I thank you most sincerely guest of honor as a mother and leader for your kind words and encouragement. God bless you and thank you very much.

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