Wonder girl Maud to start university at 14
A girl who has enrolled at the University of Zimbabwe at the tender age of 14 is the child of the moment in Zimbabwe.
Maud Chifamba has stolen the thunder from other topical issues, with the talk around Harare about her and her achievements in the face of adversity and hopelessness.
When University of Zimbabwe students return from break in August, they will find little Maud among them, pursuing her dream of becoming an accountant.
"I have always wanted to be one of those professionals and this is a chance I will grasp with both hands and cherish," she said. "It's not everyone who is fortunate enough [to have this opportunity]."
It has been a remarkable journey for Maud, who attributes her success to God.
Growing up in the Hunters resettlement community near the Midlands mining town of Kwekwe, Maud lost her father in 2002 when she was four. Her mother died in December last year.
"I grew up in difficult circumstances and I would sometimes study on my own without going to school," she said.
In 2003, Maud enrolled at a resettlement primary school, which had just three teachers.
Her hopes for a better education were dashed when she was unable to sit her final Grade 7 class examinations in 2006 because her school was not registered by the ministry of education.
Her teachers, who noticed her aptitude, had accelerated her from Grade 3 to Grade 6.
But she wrote her Grade 7 examinations in 2007 at the age of nine, obtaining excellent marks in all her subjects.
Her fight for a first-class education continued when she had to study on her own towards her O levels, having skipped the first two years of high school education.
University of Zimbabwe vice-chancellor Professor Levi Nyangura said: "There was no financial support for her to undertake her secondary education. Maud read on her own and still managed to pass her O levels in two years."
Maud's brother, Gilbert, said his sister had "withstood the test of time" when she could have instead "lost her mind".
Platinum mining company Zimplats came to Maud's rescue in 2010, agreeing to pay her fees at Sandringham High School in Mhondoro for her A-level studies. Last year, she attained 12 points, enough to enroll at the University of Zimbabwe.
University spokesman Dennis Rwafa said Maud was a "remarkable" young girl.
"Her perseverance and her achievements are amazing. Now she will study towards an honours degree in accountancy.
"We felt we needed to protect her and so we brought in the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority," said Rwafa.
The Revenue Authority, through the Commissioner General's Charity, will pay Maud's fees until she graduates four years from now.