Working in an environment where, because of the nature of their work, colleagues – show-horses – hog the limelight at local and international conferences and seminars, it is easy to forget about the auxiliary staff – the workhorses – who toil dusk till dawn ensuring that the show-horses thrive in the arena.
Domiciled in solitude on a desk just by the entrance leading to the offices housing the show-horses at the Radiation Protection Authority of Zimbabwe – retired technical secretary Mrs Ennia Chikhambi watched and greeted each one of them, chatting a bit with this one or that one, as they strutted past her to their offices.
She was not, in the least, bothered by it all.
For the past 10 years, which is the entire life of the Radiation Protection Authority of Zimbabwe, she remained the heart and soul of the organisation, keeping its heartbeat throbbing since its birth.
Transferred from the then Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and thrust in the midst of greenhorns fresh from university, Mrs Chikhambi was one of the pioneers entrusted by Government to ensure that the Authority found its footing.
It was not easy, and in it all, she endured frustrations but she kept on going.
10 years later, as they give touching testimonials of what sort of a person she was to work with, her younger colleagues easily refer to the manner in which she would shout at anyone if she felt her demands were not met.
With hindsight, that bears testimony of her dedication to ensuring that her duties were executed diligently.
She constantly bursts out laughing heartily at the bitter-sweet memories of the decade long service to RPAZ. She surely, will be missed.
There is a lot to learn from her, says RPAZ Acting Chief Executive Officer, Justice Chipuru.
“You will always be close to our hearts. We will remember you as part of this organisation. We will be communicating regularly, tichinzwa kuti zvakamira sei, mapasuro achiuya, tinofara nazvo. As a member of the RPAZ, you need to walk with your held high because with you in the past 10years, the organisation has achieved a lot more than many other similar organisations across the world, including some that started as early as 1957”.
Former Chief Licencing Officer Sindiso Ncube sees in her a fountain of knowledge and information about the operations of the organisations.
“She understood all the facilities that we licensed and inspected better than anyone here. She would tell you who to meet for assistance in your job wherever you went to do inspections. She taught me what radiation is all about. When I got here I didn’t know what this was about but she took me through all the basics. She was more knowledgeable about radiation than many scientists here,” he said.
As she bid the organisation farewell at a party held in her honour, Mrs Chikhambi could not pass the opportunity to impart some wise counsel.
“My advise to you young ones here, work hard. Pray for your management too. There is a lot of potential for growth here. Take it,” she pleaded.
In all the music and dance that followed, it remained, as it shall for a long while to come, very difficult to accept that she truly has retired from the organisation.
Her contribution however remains key as, at 10 years, RPAZ continues to protect the people and the environment against the effects of radiation.