Mr. Clement Pangapanga dedicated 32 years of service with honour as a senior Laboratory Assistant at Sokoine University of Agriculture
You couldn’t stay for a short or long period at the SUA Pest Management Centre without noticing the presence of a slightly thin guy, with receding hair on his head and a beard under the chin that was never allowed to be too long , very talkative and friendly, but most of all hard working: This defines Mr Clement Pangapanga who after 32 years of service at Sokoine University of Agriculture, specifically at the Pest Management Centre, retired with honour in May 2021.
Mr Pangapanga started his career at SUA in 1987 when he was recruited by the Tanzania-Belgium Research Project on “Rodents as crop destroyers and disease carriers”. His assignment then was to skin rodents and prepare the skins for taxonomic studies as well as for museum collections. He was particularly good at skinning and preparing the skins either as flat or as stuffed specimens. When the Tanzania-Belgium project ended in 1989, and a Rodent Research Project (RRP) was established, he was recruited as a messenger/laboratory cleaner under permanent pensionable conditions by Sokoine University of Agriculture. This position allowed him to work in the lab, assisting researchers and laboratory technicians and was given assignments that did not require very high skills or training. However, he was able to participate in field excursions for rodent population surveys, taxonomic collections, etc. With these new assignments and gained hands-on experience and later after undertaking a course in laboratory skills, he was re-categorized as a Laboratory Assistant for which he excelled and got promoted to the position of Laboratory Assistant II, the rank he held at retirement.
Mr Pangapanga could be considered as part and parcel of the transformation of the RRP to SUA Pest Management Centre and now the Institute of Pest Management. Thirty two years of service isn’t a short period. It could be considered “a half-lifetime of an old man” in Tanzania because we get classified as old at the age of sixty years!! Those of us who have served SUA for such long periods, know how the university and the specific departments /centres/colleges where we have been working have changed over the years and that we were part of, and contributors to those changes.
As we reflect on the services that Mr Pangapanga provided to the RRP. SPMC and IPM, and SUA at large, it is necessary to know that money, good buildings and equipment alone do not produce good accomplishments and excellence for a centre or an institute like ours. They only help to facilitate those accomplishments. The human dimension is so important in this case. That is well trained staff at all levels that in totality make up what we call human resource. Mr Pangapanga was part of this human resource that transformed the RRP to IPM. He invested his time, energy and expertise in this transformation process and as he has retired with grace, he can look back and every achievement that he will see along that long journey of 32 years will make him proud that he was one of those who served for the betterment of the University.
Now that Mr Pangapanga has retired, we are no longer going to see him along the corridors of the IPM, or see him cracking a joke or two and making the rest of us laugh loudly. Neither are we going to hear his piercing voice calling other colleagues from the other side of the laboratory building as he used to do. But for sure we are going to miss his presence a lot. However, Mr. Pangapanga is still in town, and we know for sure he isn’t going to move away from Morogoro. So when you meet Babu Pangapanga, or Mzee Pangapanga as most of our young researchers and students used to call him don’t forget that for 32 years he served the most successful academic unit at SUA. He was, as most of us know, one of the best staff in the IPM labs.
Finally, but not least ,Mr. Pangapanga cannot be forgotten for his hard working habits, diligence, respect for others and being very charming. There is a lot to learn from him, but most of all the important lesson is not just to work hard, but to work hard with diligence for a purpose. What a better purpose than changing the work place and the institution to make it the best in whatever it does. Mr Pangapanga had this vision and we congratulate him for the good service to achieve this goal.
Now that Mr Pangapanga will be his own boss, never again working up early to be in the office at 7.30 am and leave at 3.30 pm or beyond, he can command his own life and make decisions that do not have to be filed and reviewed for promotion! He can now have more time with his wife, his children and grandchildren. It’s a new chapter in his life! Let us all wish him the best of life and good health after retirement.