Zimbabwe’s Sungura Maestro Alick Macheso, who turned 51 yesterday was a gambler, a bully and troublesome pupil, a former classmate has said.

His childhood friend and classmate Karungo Gwaripo opened up about Macheso’s past last week at Enterprise Primary School in Shamva where the singer is set to build an Early Childhood Development (ECD) classroom block as part of giving back to his former school.

“I was in the same class with Macheso in grade four and the two of us were naughty and bullies who spent most of our school time doing punishment.

“We planted most of the trees that you see here as we performed our punishment and the late headmaster Mr Mukubvu would give us corporal punishment but we remained hotheads despite his efforts,” he said

Karungo said he was confident his friend would become a top musician as he used to entertain pupils during break time.

“Macheso would bring his home-made banjo which he used to hide on the banks of Mutete River and he would then bring the guitar during break time where he used to entertain us.

“We would come late for lessons after break as we watched Macheso performing before a group of students and he would get punished for bringing the guitar to school.

“I’m proud of Macheso’s wayward behaviour then because we managed to contribute something to the school meaningfully by planting most of the trees you see in this schoolyard.

“Each time I come here and see these trees, I’m reminded of the past and to me it’s a triumph in disguise because we have left a legacy to be cherished for years here,” he said.

Macheso brought joy to many underprivileged children at his former school, Enterprise Primary in Shamva during a visit there. The musician pledged to pay school fees for 109 pupils who are not covered under the government’s Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM). He also pledged that he would build a new academic block for the ECD learners.