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Angolan is first deadly victim with covid-19 in Washington school system

Former Angolan combatant Zoao Makumbi, 75, and a psychologist at a school in the United States, was the first deadly victim of the covid-19 in the public school system in Washington City.

: Carl Cox
Carl Cox  

Zoao Makumbi was admitted this month to the Community Doctors Hospital in Prince George County, the U.S. capital, and died on Thursday, the family said, quoted by the Washington Post.

A spokesman for the public schools in the U.S. capital confirmed Wednesday that the psychologist was the first official to die from complications associated with covid-19.

Born in Congo, son of Angolan refugees, he studied psychology and taught other Angolan high school refugees in the same country.

Together with Uncle Sebastian Pinto, Zoao Makumbi was a "freedom fighter" in the 1970s, in the struggle for independence in Angola, which was then a Portuguese colony.

For several years the psychologist had been telling his family that he was retiring, but his eldest daughter, Florie Matondo, couldn't believe it, because "the job was too important" in his "dream job," writes the Washington Post.

Zoao Makumbi's journey, before becoming a school psychologist, spanned five decades and two continents.

Zoao Makumbi was a school psychologist for 25 years and ended his career at Houston Elementary School.

"He loved his work so much, I think he would have worked until he was 80 and 90 years old," said Florie Matondo, adding that behavior was the most interesting subject of study for his father, who said that "human beings are the most complicated things.

Sebastian Pinto described that Makumbi became "one of the main officials of Angolan education in the Congo," which welcomed many refugees from the Lusophone country.

Became head of a US factory in the Congo, Makumbi supported children to get scholarships or paid for other students' tuition with his salary.

Zoao Makumbi moved to Michigan, USA, in 1983. When the factory where he worked closed, the Angolan "pursued his dream of becoming a psychologist" and did his PhD at Howard University, his daughter said.

Sebastian Pinto added that his nephew "loved people and loved to educate," because "he felt that people are the same everywhere.

Makumbi's colleagues remember him as "kind, very informed and opinionated," and a person who liked to "debate everything" from educational politics or international relations to the "follies of standardized exams.

Makumbi's office colleague for six years, social worker Darryl Webster said the Angolan believed in the potential of any student.

According to the social worker, Zoao Makumbi looked at many of the needy black children he worked with and believed it was his mission to help them get a high quality education.

For Darryl Webster, Makumbi's psychological assessments of the students were "longer and more complete" than any other psychologist he knew, and the way he analyzed the assessments for the students' parents was "poetry.

The two would take the car and visit a student's home if they could not get in touch with their parents.

Webster recalled a particular situation where Makumbi gave a test to a student who was frustrated by not being able to get any answers right.

The psychologist touched the student's head and repeated "you can do it, I believe you", suggesting that he go get a glass of water.

After returning and saying he was ready, the student completed the test and left. When Webster asked the psychologist how the test went, Makumbi smiled and said, "That boy is a genius".

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