The last time we caught up with Suwi Chibale was when he was at Edinburgh University, but we were recently intrigued to see a photo of him on the Mathematical Bridge* at Queen’s College, Cambridge, as well as a photo of his father with his older brother many years ago.
Here’s the Q&A from the recent catch-up we had with him.
Firstly, what are you doing at Cambridge University?
I am currently a candidate for the Masters in Social Innovation, at the Judge Business School. It is a programme designed for practitioners from the business, public and social sectors who wish to lead innovative solutions to pressing social issues.
Can you share some background on your family being in Cambridge all those years ago?
My family’s roots are in Zambia, but we moved to Cambridge in 1989. My father had received the Cambridge Livingstone Trust scholarship that enabled him to complete his PhD in synthetic organic chemistry. He and my mother lived here until 1993 and during that time my older brother was born. My father was a member of Queens’ College, as I am now too which is extra special. It all feels surreal to be here and that my family has come full circle.
What has your experience been like so far at Cambridge amidst the COVID pandemic?
It has been a great experience so far although a bit different from what I expected. The University and Colleges have laid out strict measures to prevent the spreading of COVID so we are forced to find creative ways to socialise. My college for example has still tried to put on events to ensure we have the “Cambridge” experience.
Do you have any plans to play rugby while at Cambridge if playing is normalized in the UK during the Covid outbreak?
Yes! The Michaelmas term (October-December) is usually the term for the Varsity Match vs Oxford, however, with COVID it has been pushed to March. The goal is to be selected for the team that plays Oxford, at Twickenham. We, unfortunately, couldn’t have our traditional pre-season tour but have been training twice a week.
How have you been keeping active during COVID? What are restrictions like with regards to training?
Gyms are open in the UK so I have been able to get sessions in a few times a week. With regards to training, we practice twice a week for an hour. We were divided into two training groups and have been having skills and conditioning sessions. However, this will change once we know when games can start again. The plan was to swap training groups soon so that everyone gets a chance to train together, but with another lockdown about to start, training will take a break.
Are there any other old Ikey players you are in contact with that live in the area?
Yes. Nick Koster, who captained the team in 2018, is close by and it has been great to be in touch with him. Nick studied the same programme as I am doing, so his insight has been really helpful with settling in.
*The Mathematical Bridge is the popular name of a wooden footbridge in the southwest of central Cambridge, United Kingdom. It bridges the River Cam about one hundred feet northwest of Silver Street Bridge and connects two parts of Queens’ College.
Here’s some pictures of Suwi’s family at Cambridge many years ago: