After I passed my end of year exams in grade 8 I was sent to a secondary school in Lusaka province in Zambia. I joined a class where one of the optional subjects was computer studies. Because I came from a middle class family, I didn’t have access to devices like computers due to their high cost. Because of this I didn’t know how to use this technological device and so I used to have challenges with computer studies, even though I did well in the other subjects. As a result, I ended up hating the computer studies as a subject.

One day during our mathematics class the headmaster entered the classroom with two tall men dressed in black suits, white shirts and red neck ties with an identification card around their necks. One of the men had a hat on top of his head. The headmaster greeted the class and then said the men would introduce themselves. The man with the hat on his head stepped forward and said in a big and loud voice: ‘Hello class!’

He said his name was Mr Lungu and his co-worker was Mr Dube, and told us that they they were from a company called Horizon. They had come to tell us a mathematics competition that was going to take place. He said that the person who came first in the competition would be awarded a laptop. I was so amazed by what the man said since I always wanted to own a computer. But I also knew it would help me improve my results in computer studies. I thought to myself that while I was not good at computers, it was lucky that the competition was about playing with numbers!

I went home that day feeling very excited and I immediately started preparing for the competition as I wanted to ensure that I could win. After a week of hard work and practice, it was finally time for the competition. We were given a test to write. The following Monday morning, the school held an assembly to crown the winner. Mr Lungu came up on the stage to announce the winner.

“The winner of the competition is… (silence for some seconds) Williams Bimael Tembo!” shouted Mr Lungu.

I remember my legs shaking and everyone looking at me. I went onto the stage and received the award. Everyone was clapping and shouting my name (Williams! Williams!). I felt so excited, it was as if I was a celebrity.

A month later after hard work and practice I knew how to use the computer and everything changed at school. I started getting better grades in computer studies. So I always believe my computer to be a special thing for it changed my grades, put a smile on my face and lit the candle in my academics.