An entrepreneurial and self-motivated Rhodes student¸ Tafadzwa Mutengwa who is a master’s student studying maths statistics, is running a bar at Gavin Reilly Postgraduate Village to relieve the financial pressure on his family.
Mutengwa also works as a graduate assistant tutoring second year students, has been a house committee member since last year which entails organising functions and liaising with the warden to ensure that students’ issues are attended to, as well as short-term jobs during SciFest Africa and the National Arts Festival. He runs the bar in his spare time while somehow managing to juggle all of these duties.
Mutengwa uses the profit from the bar and his salary as a tutor to financially aid himself and his sister, Tendai who is a third year pharmacy student. Neither have scholarships and are supported by their mother who pays their tuition fees.
“In operating this business I am able to relieve her of some of the financial pressure,” said Mutengwa.
Mutengwa points to the fact that he has only three double periods a week which gives him enough time to study and prepare for his tutorials.
“The bar opens three times in a week, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and on those days I utilise all the time I can get during the day to study and I work in the bar in the evening,” he said.
He describes the bar as a place where postgraduate students and lecturers can relax and have academic conversations away from the more central venues which tend to be taken over by undergraduates.
The bar is sometimes used as a venue for student parties. A highlight for Mutengwa this year was the term-end party and karaoke night that he organised for the residents of the village.
“Residents came and socialised, relieving themselves of the stresses of research and supervisors,” said Mutengwa.
According to the sub-warden, Loti King’ori, Mutengwa is an asset to the village. He said that there have never been any mishaps, fights or negative behaviour reported at the bar.
“Postgraduate students are mature, self-disciplined and self-motivated and we encourage them to use the bar to unwind,” said King’ori.
Yohanna Gandu, a PhD student thinks having the bar in the village itself is a good thing from a safety point of view as residents can have a drink without worrying about having to travel far to get home. They can just walk back to their rooms.
Prepping for the future
Mutengwa would like to secure a job in investment banking when he graduates but is also still interested in pursuing his own business interests as a sideline.
“This has been a good starting point for me as I am used to the stress and can do business while working,” he said.