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Everisto Chabalanda was born and raised in a small village outside Livingstone, Zambia. For the first nine years of his life, he was raised by his beloved grandmother before he moved to stay with his mum and step-dad on Muchenje Farm a few miles away from Victoria Falls. It was here that he was able to attend a charity-funded school called Tujatane Tongabezi Trust school for the first time at the age of 9 years old as his previous village was just too far away to travel to school on foot at such a young age.

Tujatane Trust school was a safe haven for Everisto and many other village children; they were not only given a free quality education here but were also provided with two nutritious meals a day and is and will always be close to his heart as a place that made such a positive impact on his life and in the community.

He continued with his schooling career at Tujatane until the end of his seventh year whereafter he attended Kingswood College in Grahamstown through the generous sponsorships of The Graham & Rhona Beck Development Trust and Oscar-winning actress, Susan Sarandon. From then on, Susan Sarandon continued to sponsor his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Rhodes University in Grahamstown where he obtained his BCom accounting degree and Postgraduate diploma in accounting.

He then went on to complete his SAICA articles at OHS in East London with the support of the Kingswood family. It was here, that he was given the amazing opportunity to attend the Find Your Voice Leadership Programme in 2020 – an initiative to grow and empower future leaders within the firm. “I will always be grateful to OHS for the opportunity as the experience of the Find Your Voice was priceless, I am a proud Alumni member” said Everisto.

“The key learning point I took away is that everyone has a story and perspective that is worthy of your time. We learnt about leadership fluencies which included communication and diversity fluencies being key competencies.  At the end I came out realising that I want to become fluent human – being able to fully communicate my humanity and understand other people’s humanity”.

Through the years, Everisto has had numerous role models who he has looked up to and inspired him to become who he is today. One of these key individuals was Watson Sichuundu, a fellow accountant at Tongabezi Lodge situated near his former school – Tujatane Tongabezi Trust School; the other is his dearest mum who raised him and his two other siblings on her own without having a formal education (she has since completed her grade 12 and is looking forward to getting her teaching diploma). Yet another is Vanessa Parker, wife of the founder of Tongabezi Lodge, who started Tujatane with 15 students to support and teach. They have all been exemplary role models for the people of Zambia who have selflessly given back and invested in the community for the benefit of future generations.

Dr Ian Knott-Craig, his housemaster at Wood House, was another huge inspiration of Everisto’s that exemplified true leadership, as is Jonathan Goldberg who has continued to be his trusted mentor over the years; and last but not least, his life partner, Takudzwa Saburi, who has been by his side every step of the way.

He remains forever grateful to all these wonderful individuals and opportunities that helped shape who he is today. Everisto Chabalanda is now a qualified Charter Accountant working at a top London firm, PKF Littlejohn, as a financial advisor – proof that any dream is attainable if you apply yourself and have the right support base around you steering you onwards towards your purpose.

“I would like to sincerely thank the Gately Rotary Club for the Find Your Voice platform, which was an important part of my leadership journey and had a powerful impact on me and my fellow delegates.  Thank you for allowing me to express my story and many others like me as we continue to grow and inspire others as young leaders”.

You can view Everisto’s final presentation HERE