United States-based educator, Phithi Ngcobo, who hails from rural Tsholotsho, Matabelaland North province, says his upbringing in his village prepared him for his journey from Zimbabwe to the United States.
Ngcobo, who is now a high school Math teacher in the US state of Maryland, has made his educational footprints at the University of Zimbabwe, Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom and George Washington University in USA.
Ngcobo, who calls himself a rural boy at heart, says he has been privileged to impact his communities at home and abroad through his teachings. He says his humble up bringing shaped him, although he wasn’t always proud about where he grew up.
He said, “I wanted to be city; I wanted to talk about MacGyver, you know, wrestling, Shawn Michaels, I didn’t want to talk about Tsholotsho stuff … but as I became an adult I started to realize how much blessed I am to have been brought up in the village.
“This actually came strongly when I was in England, and I remember saying to myself, ‘from Tsholothso to England’, and I was talking to myself as I was walking in Oxford and I said to be myself I should be proud.”
Before first making his way to the United Kingdom after receiving a scholarship in publishing at Oxford Brookes University in England, Ngcobo worked as a publisher with a Zimbabwean-based publishing company.
He then made his way to the United States through an internship with the World Bank in Washington D.C.
Since he began teaching, Ngcobo says he is working on making an impact on his students, and also students and fellow teachers back home in Zimbabwe.
His next mission is simple, and near to his heart - advocating for rural children, especially those who want to follow his similar footsteps.
“As I establish connections at universities here in the U.S or in the UK, because I was also a student there, I want to say please consider those who went to rural schools, when people apply for scholarships check which school they went to.”
Ngcobo says as a rural advocate he wants to show rural children and the world that there are more than capable to make it from their humble beginnings to the big stage.