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Zim-born academic scoops top ICT award in South Africa

A Zimbabwean-born academic and chief information officer (CIO) at Wits University in neighbouring South Africa, Dr Stanley Mpofu, has scooped the visionary leadership award for ICT at the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa.

CITE this week, reached out to the ICT guru who could not hide his joy and excitement over the achievement.

“I feel humbled that my peers in the profession nominated me to start with,” Dr Mpofu told CITE.

“It also confirmed that success does not happen to individuals in isolation. There is an ecosystem of life at work involving my own family, my ICT team, the leadership support, and all stakeholders who contribute to one’s success. If one of these is dysfunctional success may just be a dream.”

He said the accolade was significant to him in that he started his career as a PC technician and rose through the ranks to the pinnacle of ICT as a CIO.

“I possibly did all types of roles in the process and learnt a lot which left me grounded in my competence culminating in the award,” he said.

“I have always been passionately visionary in my thoughts about all aspects of life and this award confirmed it. It also proves that your past cannot define your future because it’s all about desire, commitment and focus once there is an opportunity to improve.”

Dr Mpofu said nothing is impossible in life as long as one is determined to succeed.

“There are no boundaries either if you want to succeed,” he said.

“One needs to have the right attitude and attributes. Success does not fall from the sky but through working hard and focusing on your objectives.”

He said it was important for one to define their own future and not use excuses of the past and their history to justify their lack of making it in life.

The academic said he remained ready and committed to contributing to the development of Zimbabwe through the skills and knowledge you have acquired in the Diaspora if ever requested to assist.

Born 57 years ago in Mabale, Matabeleland North, Dr Mpofu attended the local primary school up to grade to 3 before moving to Chireya and Gokwe in the Midlands where he completed his primary education.

The award-winning academic did his Ordinary and Advanced Levels at Sobukhazi and Mzilikazi High Schools respectively.

“What pushed me was experiencing growing up rather poverty-stricken walking barefoot to school with no lunch and noticing how educated people lived their lives,” he said.

“My late father in his illiterate state kept emphasising education to me in most of our conversations despite not attending any formal school himself. When I realised he could read, write and even got a driver’s licence, it became clear he was smart and I thought I must prove beyond reasonable doubt that any desire can be achieved.”

He added: “I wanted him to be present in my progress but he left me when I was young and I think of him every time I make a step up. I ask him jokingly “Are you watching your boy” then I thank the clan through my traditional way and pray to God that I make a difference to some and become a role model for others.

Asked what his message was to other Zimbabweans working outside the country, Dr Mpofu said: “Work hard and be a shining beacon through excellence.”

He said technology was the future, adding there was no need for people to be afraid of it. “Anyone can learn how to use technology and it is not “Rocket Science” as most people perceive it to be,” he explained.

“It requires investment to reach a digital world and technology does not wait for those people or countries that are poor. If you stay too far behind the inevitable will happen and you become one of the stats of those that may never catch up.”

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