Many will remember Colin Semwayo as the skilful winger who terrorised defenders in the 1980’s. He played for Gweru United , a team we all knew as ” Pisa Pisa “. The then youthful winger who made a name for himself in the Zimbabwe football fraternity at the age of 17 was nicknamed “Computer ” for his dribbling wizardry. It was a fitting nickname for a player who was known for being nibble footed as well as being a fast thinker on the pitch. He was a thorn in the flesh of many defenders.
Semwayo was among a special breed of footballers who were not only good on the pitch but were also brilliant at school. Gifted with this educational acumen , he completed a four year apprenticeship with Zim Alloys and qualified as an electrical technician. This stemmed from a realisation that football in Zimbabwe was not as rewarding back then just as it is still not a lucrative venture for those still plying their trade in our local league. A plan B is always handy and many footballers like Colin realised that early.
While many were still crying for his silky playing skills on the pitch, Colin left for the United States Of America in 1988 where he acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering before proceeding to attain a doctorate in this field. The man we had known simply as a dribbling wizard on our football pitches had transformed himself into an academic giant. He was living the American dream and was managing several projects and also lecturing and mentoring students in his area of specialisation. His engineering career climaxed with design patents in aviation navigation and communication systems.
Fulfilled ? Well what else could he ask for one might wonder ? And yet for Colin , something was missing!
” I had grown up in a Christian home but with time had strayed from the word of God ” said Colin. ” In 2003 something happened which left me hanging by a thread. I felt the God had a mission for me, I prayed about it and asked God to guide me. I wanted to be sure . I also wanted to study the word of God so that i would not lead anyone astray. !”
Colin left his Engineering career and embarked on new journey , a journey to serve the Lord. But first he had to study the word. This culminated in the attainment of a doctorate in Hebrew Bible And Ancient Eastern Studies. Equipped with this ,Semwayo who is the Lead Pastor and Planter at Radix Church in West Dallas, embarked on his current mission to spread the word , plant churches and uplift the downtrodden. He participates in, “God’s mission to teach the word, do social justice for the marginalised and plant churches.” to quote him verbatim. He is regarded as an authority on the book of Micah and his book : The Concept of Divine Sovereignty in Micah is highly recommended in the study of this Old Testament prophet.
In all this , he has not forgotten where it all began, Gweru. He is the founder member of Zion Huts Evangelical Church in Gweru. Indeed men shall not live on bread alone, so Semwayo seeks to uplift the spiritual life of the citizens of Gweru.
However , he is also aware of the residents of Gweru ‘s physical needs and in pursuit of that he has established a Non profit organisation known as Together 4 Gweru. The mission of the organisation is simple and clear .It seeks to ” bring together skills to help in the development of Gweru. The organisation hopes to build a Gweru where everyone strives ” In pursuit of that vision, the organisation has harnessed the skills of many experts in various areas.
With Rev Dr. Colin Semwayo as the CEO and President, a skilled team which includes Rosa Mwanza, Brighton Malunga, Fadzai Mukonoweshuro, Clemence Jele, Dr. Tendai Charity Nhenga, Esther Muchenje, Ntombizodwa Zoey Sayi, Paul Keta, John Takaindisa, Rodrick Chayamiti, Rev Bothwell Zhuwawo, Nyasha Semwayo and Nicholas Ponde has been put in place. The team is stocked with experts with experience in various fields. A team like this looks invincible but allow me to pursue this football analogy further. A team is nothing without fans, without supporters and Together 4 Gweru is no exception. It needs fans, in fact it needs partners. This invitation is open , anyone can partner in any capacity.
To explain his vision and philosophy, Collin used an interesting analogy.
” In my formative years in Mambo Township, a three course meal was my expected right. My parents made sure that as a family we had breakfast, lunch and dinner. However as boys we were often tempted to poach some mangoes from our neighbour’s mango tree. When it was in season, the tree provided enough mangoes for many of us in the neighbourhood. The more we ate, the more it seemed to replenish ” explained Collin.
I wondered where this story was leading . His further explanation brought clarity to his philosophical outlook which has made him a passionate advocate for the community of Gweru.
” As i reflect on that childhood experience, i now realise that a tree does not bear fruit for its own consumption. It bears fruit for others to feed from it. Life is like that. I am what i am because of others. Our elders has a saying for it, it takes a village to raise a child. I am a personification of this age old truism. Now it is the time to give hope to that boy or girl who has no clue what tomorrow will be. Together 4 Gweru is an initiative to promote social responsibility. We are calling for Gweru citizens and business people to give back to the community. ” he explained.
” Now is the time to uplift our communities and restore those social welfare institutions that shaped us. Everything has beauty but not all of us see it. May we see the good that others did for us and do likewise for others. We need to break the curse of jealousy which stops us from helping others. My prayer for Gweru is ,”Lord , may your will be done to my next door neighbour as it is in heaven. That is my vision !” he concluded.
These are deep thoughts spoken from the heart.
There are many targets that the organisation will seek to accomplish. Youth Club revitalisation, STEM training, Soccer Academy, Feeding the hungry, Mobile health screening, Gafa grounds restoration (the grounds which nurtured many young footballers in Gweru ) and mentoring the youth are all part of the agenda. This looks like a lot to chew and makes the need for partners even more paramount. Everyone can play a part. As Jesus himself once proclaimed , ” The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few “. Together 4 Gweru needs more workers, they need more to come on board.
This is a noble initiative and deserves all the support it can get.
Collin who is married to Florence and has four children, Nyashadzashe, Dananai, Dadayinashe and Itayinashe said, ” We seek to uplift !” That statement sums his passion and vision , his organisation’s desire to ” Build a Gweru where everyone strives !”
I say long live to the vision and i know Colin’s clarion call will fall on fertile ground !
For further information, visit their website www.together4gweru.icu