Kudakwashe Maxwell

Kudakwashe Maxwell

Zimbabwe's Youngest Lecturer, The Gweru Chronicles Part 1- Making History

Hello There!  My Name is Kudakwashe Maxwell and i’ve decided to personally tell you the story of the greatest Milestone of my life and my career so far! Before i begin, i would like to declare that I am a Christian, i say this so you understand that I’ve only managed to achieve what i’ve achieved, only by the grace of God. I mean, where on earth have you ever heard of a high school graduate proceeding to teach University Students? I’ve never encountered such and it can only be by the Grace of God!

Now onto our story!

Part A - Backstory

Kakic Universe, is the name of the Company that i founded and started, and if you had not read up on it, check out this post, which explains Kakic Universe’s first ever public presentation at the 29th Day of the One Hundred Days of Learning. (This post provides some exposition and back story to the this story, so please read it if you have not), here’s the link:

 

Introducing Kakic at O.D.O.L

Kakic Universe's First Ever Presentation! On The 7th of July 2017, Mr Archibald Marwizi facilitated the 29th day of the 100 Days of Learning sponsored by Hivos, Baltan Laboratories and the Dutch Design Foundation. The One hundred Days Of Learning (ODOL) Is an initiative by Age Of Wonderland According to their website, this is the description of what ODOL is about:

By Now You should be familiar with Mr Archibald Marwizi. He was the facilitator for the 29th Day of the One Hundred Days of Learning where I presented KAKIC UNIVERSE, to the public for the first time. He provided and created the opportunity for me to attend and present KAKIC UNIVERSE at that event, and guess what, he plays a very key role in this story!

In Zimbabwe, we host “The Agricultural Show” which started out as a means for Farmers and those in the agricultural sector to showcase their produce and products to the public, but it has since evovled and opened its doors to other industries and sectors of Zimbabwe’s Economy. The Agricultural Show is hosted in the Capital City of Zimbabwe, Harare as well as Gweru and other towns.

Mr Marwizi, being a resident of the City of Gweru attended the 2017th Edition of The Agricultural Show,  it is there that he came across the Midlands State University (MSU)’s Media Studies Tent, where they were showcasing films and productions made by their alumni and current students.

Archibald Marwizi
Archibald Marwizi

After watching a few of the productions, Mr Marwizi Realised that there were no Animated Productions or anything leaning towards that direction and he went on to ask the Gentlemen who were in charge of the Exhibition why it was so. 

The gentlemen explained that the department was interested and wanted to explore that area but had no idea what direction to take and was urgently looking for someone to assist in that Direction. Mr Marwizi then informed the men that he could assist as he knew someone who would be able to help out, a meeting and date was then set up for the nearby future.

Part B - The Interview

Mr Marwizi got in touch with my parents and told them about the opportunity to work with MSU on some projects and we were excited and definitely up for it. For Starters, i had no clear path or strategy to take with this whole animation gig so literally anything would have been good enough, and Despite the Television Interview (link: read here) and the 29th Day at O.D.O.L (link: read here),  I personally was still confused about the future and had many doubts. Also, i had been accepted to Vancouver Film School and needed to raise funds for School Fees, however my plans of Selling my First Professional Production, Untouchable, as a means to raise School fees didn’t work out as it turns out the economy and the TV stations in the country would not permit that to happen. However, i would not be slowed down by circumstances. 

So when this new opportunity arose it wouldn’t hurt trying. I remember travelling to Gweru and praying about the interview, while also thinking about my future. 

As if battling my own doubts and insecurities was not enough, i had to deal with nasty comments from other people who did not approve of Animation as a career path.

Who ever said, ” Sticks and Stones can hurt my bones but words can never hurt me” clearly never met people who had the harsh words that i came across, but thats another story for another time.

I arrived and was hosted by a Pastor from my Church, the Kwangwari’s.  The following day, i met up with Mr Marwizi and we made our way to MSU for our interview.

I won’t lie to you, i was very nervous, shy and whatever little confidence i had i seemed to have left it by the gate.

We made our way inside and were directed to the Media and Social Studies faculty where were to meet Professor Mhiripiri, the Dean of the Media Department at that time. I remember just sitting beside Mr Marwizi and watched as the 2 adults spoke about the department and what it could be. 

Professor Mhiripiri then mentioned that the Department had already interviewed someone and they were very happy with his work and were most likely going to give him the job. My insides collapsed as it was starting to seem as if i had already been denied without even getting the opportunity to try! However, Mr Marwizi was persistent and urged the Professor to at least look at the work. After many minutes of negotiating, Professor Mhiripiri finally agreed to see what i had to offer, I then played to him the Kakic Universe Animation reel version for that time, and at the 15 second mark he abruptly paused the video. Picked up his office desk phone and dialed a number.

These were his exact words,”Hello, stop the lesson, there is something i want you and the students to see!”.

He quickly got up and asked us to follow him and we did so. I was confused at that state but i didnt even know that i had passed the interview without even saying a single word! 

 

The Media Studies Class
The Media studies class

We then followed Professor Mhiripiri to the Film Class of the year 2s . Professor Mhiripiri then explained to the class that the department wanted to introduce animation and wanted to find out if the class was up for it,

We then played the Kakic Universe Animation reel, Untouchable, Jah Kaylite and other videos. Afterwards a vote was called for to determine if the Class would take up animation. With a vote of over 85%, I was to start lecturing this class during their film lessons. 

After the decision was made Mr Marwizi went on to finalise the details of this agreement with Professor Mhiripiri.

And just like that in the next weeks i had started work.

The class was to big for me, and also animation is something that takes a lot of time to master and teach, so virtually we would not be able to achieve much if i was to take on  the full class. So we had to screen the group,

I started by introducing them to the Basics of animation, the principles of animation and keyframes.

Part C - Teaching

So this was a fun experience for me and also one that made me appreciate all the teacher’s i’ve ever had in my life! My class had the typical student stereotypes.

The Cool Kids, the passionate students, The A-star group, The students who try hard but just cant, the decent students and the students who joined the class because they thought it would have less work (also can be referred to as the students you wonder why they are even there in the first place!). But I loved my class and even continue to speak and chat with some of my students on Social Media to date.

We started with learning the basics and then went on to 3d work with the software , Blender, as well as had fun with, the 3d software Moviestorm, for weekly assignments.

We had fun! I actually learnt a lot from those guys and also learnt about University life. When we didn’t have a lesson sometimes we would chill in the studio and have all sorts of discussions. I enjoyed the time i spent with these guys!

Kudakwashe Maxwell Teaching animation at MSU
Kuda during one of his lectures
Animation Students
The Animation Students
Students Work being presented
Some of the work created by the students being presented for marking

Part D - First Ever News Article!

So one day i’m minding my own business when my phone started ringing due to an incoming call from an unknown number. I answered and a kind gentleman started asking me questions, he said he was a reporter and wanted to find out more information about me for a future report, and little did i know that that was the actual report! Next thing i know i’m sharing the front page with the Then President, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe!

Picture of the MSS TIMES
Picture of the MSS TIMES

I mean! For a simple High school graduate, this was amazing success! I remember the excitement and joy all this success brought to my life and family. My parents were beyond proud! My Older brother was showing off to his school and work mates and my little sister continued supporting me with love!

I personally think this was all God’s plan to boost my confidence and silence the naysayers! But the story does not stop here! This is merely Part 1, of the Gweru Chronicles, a time in my life where we made History, 

Understand that in our field of operation, skill and results/output is very important, Organisations, schools and companies would rather higher someone with the skillset and can prove that they can actually produce the required task rather than someone who completed the course, has documentation but has no passion, has no skills and does not produce satisfactory results. And that is the basis of why what happened happened, that and also God’s Grace! 

Before we go on to Part 2 of the story, i would like to give a shout out to the following people who supported me from the start! People who stood with me, when Kakic Universe was merely just an idea and animation as a career path sounded like a joke;

So here’s a list of shout outs to these special people!

GOD ALMIGHTY

My Parents- Mr And Mrs Maxwell; Mom and Dad, i’m grateful for your support, simply letting me follow and go in this direction that is not common ground for many. Also the support you give me is amazing!

My Siblings- Anesu and Lisa

My Best friend, lol, the title doesnt fit him anymore as we grew to be brothers,- Tinotenda Mawunganidze, 

Mr Marwizi- Your input into my life and KAKIC is just breath taking! I’m grateful for what you’ve done for me!

Elder and Mrs Manyika- If you never took the chance to sponsor Untouchable, none of this would have happened!

Pastor and Mama Kwangwari- Thank you for hosting me, during my stay in Gweru!

Kudzi Vushe- My Guy! I can’t believe i still dont have a nickname for you!

Vicky Manyika- Fam, you know! 😁 I don’t have to say anything else😂 you already know!

Nkosie Mkhwananzi- Our Very First and loyal follower on social media as Kakic Universe!

Amanda Mudzingwa, Doctor Zed, (Takudzwa Zoraunye), Simbarashe Mekani

My first Crew (Untouchable Cast)- Peter Masvikeni, Elaine Manyika, Panashe Mutepfa, Tariro Munemo, Sean Paizee, Desire Katanganda, Michelle Mandaza, Ebenezer Maxwell, Thandeka, Kudakwasahe Mtuwa, Tawanda Zhanda, Tinotenda Maunganidze.

My MSU  Animation class and the Media Department staff, – I enjoyed my time with you!

This list is for the people who supported me when others were not sure if Kakic Universe would amount to anything, people who believed in me and my vision before the huge success we experienced. I mean its easy to support a winning team, but true passion and care is shown and exhibited in the tough times. This is not the full list of course but these are just the people who stood out!

 

Now onto part 2! When God takes the story to even greater strides!

Read the next part here!:

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The Gweru Chronicles Part 2

Endorsement from the minister of Education, Exhibiting at GIBF 2017! Growing the team and more!

Kudawashe Maxwell

Founder and Chief Technical Officer for Kakic Universe

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