Hard work pays off for UZ ‘Iron Lady’

10 November 2016 will always be a day to remember for a University of Zimbabwe’s Tourism Department student, Audrey Chidawanyika after she defied odds to walk away with a record five awards at the 2016 Vice Chancellor’s Award ceremony.

Chidawanyika, a 23 year UZ student from Mabvuku vividly recalls the events of that day when she was also conferred as the Vice Chancellor’s Ambassador, a status many students at the institution could only dream of and she is not shy nor apologetic to accept that this was unquestionably her best day in life so far.

Speaking to 263chat in the aftermath of her best day, the Iron Lady, as she prefers to call herself, attributes hard work and her difficult upbringing as the reason why she was also crowned with Entrepreneurship Award, Leadership Award, Effective Communication Award and the Community Service Award on top of the Vice Chancellor’s Ambassador Status.

“All the success I’m achieving right now is a result of the hard work that I have been putting in everything that I do.

“I did not have the best of an upbringing. My parents were not formally employed so we had to survive on vending. I remember back then, I would come back from school and go straight into the streets selling vegetables as part of helping my parents raise school fees for me and my siblings,” said Chidawanyika.

Unlike most children of her age during that time, she did not have much time to play and socialize as she was often busy working to raise money for family survival.

“That difficult childhood motivated me to be where I’m right now. I would just tell myself, I need to work hard and do well for both myself and my family. I told myself that if I survived my childhood, then nothing or no one will stop me from achieving so much more in life,” lamented the vivacious and vibrant young lady.

At a time when most youths are enjoying the comfort of being dependents, Chidawanyika has been busy setting up an organization she named VAKOMA, working towards helping needy children from underprivileged backgrounds.

It is this organization that earned her the Community Service Award.

“During my primary and High school days, I engaged in some charitable works through clubs where we would source funds and food stuffs to give to underprivileged children in and around our communities.

“I then took initiative with me to university where I decided to come up with a charity organization called VAKOMA,” added the soft spoken Chidawanyika.

For her, the sky is the limit and she refused to be just an average and ordinary girl by dedicating her time and effort to serve the underprivileged. She is convinced that after her unforgettable night when she harvested awards, she is destined to go even higher and make a mark at national level.

The University of Zimbabwe’s Vice Chancellors Awards are held annually to reward influential students who are working to make a positive contribution to their communities and Chidawanyika holds the record number of awards collected within a single year.


Audrey ChidawanyikaCommunity Service AwardUniversity of ZimbabweVAKOMA