celebrated the Mother of Tanaka Makuvaza, the student that received his award for being the best fourth year student at the UNAM Faculty of Science this year.
She had joined her son onto the podium. Tanaka was there to get his trophy from the dean of the faculty. There they were, congratulated and photographed. And when leaving back for their seats, the Mother acclaimed what I want to repeat and what each and everyone in the Gym Hall could hear:
-He is my son!
These four words captured the lifelong love, belongingness and shared road of the two. The pride. The goals, determination, and finally the achievement that the trophy stood for. The four words were a symbol for all that a mother can experience in and by her son. Simple words, content beyond expression.
I had been invited to the annual event by my colleague, Dr Kauna Mufeti, the associate dean of the Faculty and the head of the School of Computing. The formal program consisted of speeches and music. The best students of each module, of each subject, and finally of the whole faculty were recognised.
What really impressed me most was the excitement, encouragement, and mutual care of the students and their loved ones.
One student, of Statistics, could not help but run to her Mother right from the podium. Another one, a young biologist, got hugs from his girlfriend (well, I suppose so), and the girlfriend got his medal as an exchange. A student from Mathematics – well, you know, mathematicians are usually a bit reserved in showing their emotions – received an award in all the categories, and with each one, the smile of his Mother got wider and wider. Yet another student, from Physics, burst into tears, only to be consoled by her head of the department who gave her award.
That Physics professor also told the audience how all achievement starts from the love for science. In some way, the students’ love, for science but also for the extended learning community, concretised in the event.