Kenya:63-year-old who set up school goes to class for the first time

63-year-old Kazungu Kateke, a pupil at Ganze Primary at school on July 13,2016. PHOTOS | KAZUNGU SAMUEL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

HornDiplomat-Mzee was pained when he was barred from committee of school he founded.

A 63-year-old man who started a school in Ganze but was blocked from sitting on its management committee because he was illiterate has gone back to school.

An emotional Mzee Kazungu Kateke said he hopes to fulfil his dream of becoming a teacher. He also wants to return to Kimbule Primary School, which he founded, to sit on the committee.

Built on community land, the school has since been taken over by the government.

Mzee Kateke registered at Ganze Primary School as a private candidate but was placed in class three so that he can learn to read and write.

“I have done a lot of things for the community in Kimbule. I started a school, a cassava processing project, a goat milk project and many more. I did this for the love of my village but some locals are ungrateful and are fighting me,” he said, as he broke down and wept.

He said being left out of the committee of a school he founded hurt him to the core.

Mzee Kateke formed Kimbule Primary School in Ganze in 2001. It was then known as Kimbule Nursery School before it was taken over by the government.

“The Kimbule Primary School you see today is my brainchild. I started is as a nursery school in 2001 until it was taken over by the government. When I requested to serve in the committee, I was rejected because of illiteracy,” he said.

He wants to sit his KCPE exam as a private candidate this year but because he could not read or write, it was decided he joins standard three. The father of seven broke down several times during the interview as he narrated how, on several occasion, he was accused by the community of being a sorcerer.


He said when he first went to school in May this year, the pupils were afraid of him. “None of them wanted to associate with me. But now we are doing fine,” he said.

One of his seven children completed secondary school in 2006. Three others are in secondary school. Another son did not go to school.

He said that he was suffering in silence because he could not read messages from his cell phone and even if someone had sent him some money, he could not know what had been sent.

“It was very tough. I was eager to get education because I was missing something in my life. Early this year, I told my wife that time was up for me to return to school. She accepted and in May I came here. My dream is to be a teacher,” he said.

Ganze Primary school head Anderson Kahindi said he was first shocked to see the old man coming to school but allowed him after listening to his story.

“After his narration, I communicated with the Ganze education officer and we agreed that he sits and learn with the standards three pupils although he is sitting for this year’s KCPE,” said Mr Kahindi.

He said that among other things that forced him to return to school, the old man was fury at losing a chance to serve in the school he founded.

“He did not know how to read and write and that is the reason he missed the chance in the school committee. He also could not ready his phone messages and would often look for people to assist him.

Sometimes people would send him money but could not read and some of the people he entrusted to read for him misled him on some occasions,” said Mr Kahindi.


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