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Mentorship Unplugged – Provoking, Inspiring and Igniting Thought and Action

Vimbai Chiwuswa



I joined the Connections2Communities (C2C) initiative as an ordinary member after paying US$30 being the annual membership fee.  I expected outcomes from being a member including linking up to other members.

C2C is an initiative supported by the Pan African Business Forum (PABF), Banking on Africa’s Future (BOAF), the 1983 FM, and the 1873 Network which seeks to build community power in collectively solving problems that are encountered by people in their communities.

After joining, I volunteered to be part of the administration team and from that, I took notice that many of the people who joined the initiative, were doing so in order to have proximity to Mr. Mawere, who is also a paid-up member of this initiative.

Although Mr. Mawere has repeatedly made the point to me that he is not and should not be the reason why the initiative exists and operates, as an aspiring person, I also wanted to get the tips and tactics to get ahead in my life.

As such, I directly asked him for mentorship since the DNA of the C2C initiative resonated with me personally.

As a volunteer, it became my calling to request Mr. Mawere to include my name as a possible mentee.

The response I got from Mr. Mawere was what I did not expect. He spoke of the retail versus wholesale mentorship program and naturally I had no clue as to what he was talking about.

But before I could go deeper on what retail or wholesale mentoring, he asked me whether a shared understanding exists on what mentoring is and is not.

He further challenged me to find an address where people go to for wisdom on what mentorship is and is not, let alone on what a mentor is and is not.

As I thought more on this subject, I could not help but acknowledge that this provocation by Mr. Mawere inspired me to learn more about what is said on the mentorship question.

As a forward leaning person who is living and working in the diaspora, I was ignited to pause and reflect on what mentorship is and why it is important in the business of building community power in order to solve problems of life more efficiently and conveniently.

In my search on what is mentorship, this definition spoke to me: “It is a valuable tool for turning one’s ideas and ideals into some reality or concrete outcome. Mentors are expected to guide and advise their mentees, helping them build a successful career or gain a solid foundation within a certain organization. Typically, a mentor has one mentee at a time and can focus on shaping their trajectory.”

However, when I shared the above definition with Mr. Mawere, my paradigm on mentorship was indelibly shifted.

He observed that it is not possible for another human of flesh to guide and advise another human being on what is yet to happen or the future. He made the point that life is linear and has no provision of reversing or reliving it.

He quoted George Washington, the first President of the USA, who was known to be saying this: “I walk on untrodden ground,” before he was inaugurated into the office in 1789.

Being the first president, Washington had to find an efficient way to run the United States. Washington had to balance power, but not have anarchy or become a dictator.

Many expected Washington to know how to lead and exhibit excellent stewardship of the government.

When he said that he walked on untrodden ground, he meant that he was not worthy of being called a leader because he could not escape the limitations imposed on all human beings of being incapable of walking on trodden ground.

In other words, all the members of the WhatsApp group that I and Mr. Mawere belong to, have no mechanism of leading others when life itself is about motion from birth to death without knowing what the next second brings or could deliver.

With respect to mentorship, it became to dawn on me that it was irresponsible for me to expect another living person to guide me when life permits no such guidance.

I also learned that no one including Washington could be helped to become craft competent in relation to a job that is defies any rational description. What does it mean to be a leader before addressing the question of craft competence?

I have learned that one may look up to a person as a role model but it would not be correct to misconstrue the role of such an icon in relation to defining and shaping the best way to unlock opportunities that exist in the world.

Mr. Mawere also asked to examine the practicality of the one-to-one mentorship proposal because there exists no special time allocated to the world be mentor.

Myself, just like many who joined C2C, do so in order to precisely tap on Mr. Mawere’s wisdom yet he has always remarked that he possesses no such wisdom about life and its prospects.

I felt let down when he said that he would not like to mislead me into thinking that he is the leader of C2C as he believes that the group belongs to all who choose to be part it even though he has been generous to share his own ideas and insights to the mentorship question.

He believes that story telling is the best way to share experiences and he holds the view that the history of human civilization has always celebrated story telling yet many people expect history to have a memory.

He has made the point that he cannot share what is yet to happen because he knows nothing about what will happen in relation to anyone’s career or life.

I have accepted this and have been persuaded to see virtue in a wholesale mentorship program that promotes story telling.

More-so, I have learned that everything that Mr. Mawere shares including threads of his conversations with others contains many lessons for me and this has also inspired me to share threads so that others may draw lessons.

The thread below is taken from the OWNARADIO4R500 WhatsApp group that I am privileged to be part of:

[9:30 AM, 11/4/2020] Mutumwa Mawere: Do you think this kind of mentorship is beneficial to you rather than a classroom setting.

[10:01 AM, 11/4/2020] Mutumwa Mawere: [11/4, 10:00 AM] +263 77 374 1244: Thank you for the share, it’s quite informative. I’ve learnt that when we forego facts, we twist reality with lies and the consequences of that can be dire. When we tell the truth and learn to accept the truth as is, but not let it distort our vision for humanity, we can definitely make progress towards a shared vision of the pursuit of happiness. Thank you for the share.

[11/4, 10:01 AM] Mutumwa Mawere: You are welcome

[10:01 AM, 11/4/2020] Simbarashe HOVE: 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

[10:02 AM, 11/4/2020] +263 77 752 5423: it’s beneficial, I believe acquiring knowledge in this informal setting is a powerful tool. A lot of case studies with divergent views are brought up which aid knowledge acquisition, performance – extraordinaire!!!I sum up the Setheo case in the following words “it’s a spirit of persecution, discrimination, and bad faith”. Thus how I have learnt.

[10:19 AM, 11/4/2020] Mutumwa Mawere: If one had to ask you questions, would you be prepared to comment on a publication that can be shared widely to raise awareness of what the real cost of corporate illiteracy is?

In conclusion, I would like to encourage you all to be part of this wonderful initiative.

If you also wish to be among the 100 mentees under the C2C initiative and be part of a community that learn from Mr. Mawere’s stories on his lived experiences, please contact me on: # +44 7493 697945

Vimbai Chiwuswa is a Life Coach based in the United Kingdom (UK).

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