Zimbabwean int’l student wins speaking accolade

Published 24/08/2022

A former international student from Zimbabwe has claimed worldwide recognition after winning the Toastmasters International Public Speaking Championship.

Cyril Junior Dim, who gained his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Wrocław University of Science and Technology in Poland, beat thousands of contestants from over 100 countries with his speech “Ndini”.

“In Zimbabwe, we speak Shona – and in this beautiful language, we have a very important word… Ndini. It’s beautiful. It means ‘this is me’,” Dim said in his award-winning address.

In his speech, Dim talked about his experience as a student in Poland, a land that couldn’t be further away from his experience growing up in southern Africa.

“Before I knew it, it was 2018 and I’d landed in college, not in Zimbabwe, not even in Africa, but in the heart of Eastern Europe.

“It was clear who grew up in the snow, and who grew up in the sand. I had never been this different before. The fly in the milk. It felt like I had taken one step forward, and 10 steps back,” he told the audience in Nashville, US, where the final was held.

He told delegates about another “fly in the milk” he had met – Nick, from Congo – and how his friendship with Nick made him feel like he was 18 again, listening to Nick take full ownership of his original, birth-given, African name.

Dim recanted that Nick said, his name was “gift from a grandfather” – and he liked it.

Dim proceeded to tell the audience that he knows many in the world will, at some point in their life, feel “uncomfortable being who they are” – Ndini, as Dim coaxed the audience to repeat multiple times during the speech, is the best way to proclaim who you are and be proud of it.

“I was born Cyril Junior Dim – and this is me. Ndini,” he said at the end of his address.

“I’d landed in college, not in Zimbabwe, not even in Africa, but in the heart of Eastern Europe”

This is not Dim’s first accolade in public speaking – he also holds the European Toastmasters’ title from 2020.

As well as his public speaking, Dim describes himself as a “lifelong student, engaged problem solver and avid conversationalist on modern technologies”. He currently works as a business intelligence specialist at Credit Suisse.

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