She is a pastor’s wife and mother. Nevertheless, she is career woman who is relentlessly advancing her career not just in the church but outside as well. This is different since we are used to have most pastors’ wives being confined solely to the duties of mai busa or if they are enterprising at least run a business. This is the story of Chikondi Chigamba as told to DUMASE ZGAMBO-MAPEMBA.
Who is Chikondi Chigamba?
I am a pastor’s wife born on 21 November 1976, the sixth born in a family of eight. I am working with the Reserve Bank of Malawi. It’s been eight years now. I have just returned from the United Kingdom where I studied a Master of Science Degree in Banking and Finance at the University of Wales under my employer’s sponsorship. I am a Senior Payment Systems Analyst.
Describe what your job involves?
My job involves analysis of risks in the financial infrastructure of the economy; preparing oversight risk assessment reports on compliance of payment systems to local and international standards among others duties, all relating to the financial infrastructure in the country.
How did you and your husband meet?
I met David in 1998. We dated for five wonderful years and got married in 2003. We have two boys aged eight and three and one girl who is five years old. I am so proud to have a husband who genuinely loves and supports me in all my initiatives. I also love being his noble wife and a loving mother to our kids. Currently, my husband is a senior pastor at Biwi Pentecostal Church. He is in full time ministry, but is a businessman, on the other hand.
Tell us some of the highlights of your recent studies?
With the help of God, my husband and kids, whose moral support and prayers helped me work very hard, coupled with sleepless nights studying, I managed to pass my master’s degree with a distinction. While in the UK, some of my professors thought some of my course assignments were exceptionally good and so they had them referred to external examiners, as the University’s way to brag about the quality of students they have. Another highlight is when I was asked by one of the professors to co-write a journal article with him for publication. I believe education is the greatest investment one can ever make in addition to being a God fearing person.
Have you always been good with school?
Unfortunately, that was not always the case. In my primary days, I was very playful and did not study hard despite growing up in a family where my parents encouraged proper education. My siblings were excelling in their studies. Nevertheless, with encouragement from loving parents and brothers, I also started to work hard in school. I did my first two years of secondary school at Namulenga MCDE from 1991 to 1992. We had no electricity; no proper sanitary facilities and we literary slept on the floor. Though these were difficult conditions for me, they did not deter me from working hard. That’s why in 1993, I was selected to Madisi Secondary School where I did my forms three and four. From 1996 to 1998, I studied Public Accountants Examination Council (PAEC) Diploma at Malawi College of Accountancy. Shortly afterwards, I was selected to Chancellor College in 1998 where I pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences, majoring in Economics. Meanwhile, am studying the last subject towards ACCA accounting qualification.
Did being at MCDE affect you in any way?
My being at MCDE made me even work hard because the fact that my siblings were at government secondary schools made me believe that I could go there as well. I come from a family where my parents, brothers and sisters are very ambitious, always wanting to progress.
What exactly is your role as a pastor’s wife?
The most important is that I give my husband moral support, pray for him and cheer him on as he does his duties as a pastor. I also give counsel on spiritual, financial and life issues to those in need. I pray for the sick and do charitable work.
What opportunities do you have as a pastor’s wife?
Being a pastor’s wife provides me with special opportunities to speak to the youth and women at various forums and provide advice which has worked for me over the years concerning spiritual, boy-girl relationships, career issues, Christianity in the home, budget and resource management and communication skills, among others.
How do you juggle your career and being a pastor’s wife?
It’s a lot of hard work. Often times, I wake up at 2 am sleeping again at 5.00am and wake up at 6 pm just to read and write things relating to my career and as a pastor’s wife. But I like being a pastor’s wife and using your own resources just to reach out to someone. I help out with school fees, pocket money to youths who approach me for assistance. Being a wife, career woman and a mother means a lot of church activity participation, and attention to husband and kids. It takes hard work and determination to satisfy all of their needs. My husband also has been a great impetus behind me over the years and often times talks highly about me and I get so encouraged to work hard.
Why did you decide to be a career woman and not just a mai busa like most women are?
I met my husband when the desire to advance my career was already there and fortunately, he has been very supportive over the years and has assisted in many ways including financially, morally and emotionally. The fact that I am a pastor’s wife even gives me an advantage to serve the different kind of women with different careers that are currently in the church. It makes me understand and serve career women better.
How do you look at women empowerment?
Any woman can become what they want to be, provided they work hard and not wait for perfect conditions to start moving towards their goal. With God on our side, there is absolutely nothing that can take away our destiny, which is a bright one. I believe women are special people but can also be delicate. If a woman is consistently being told they are nothing by significant others like husband, father or brothers, then they feel exactly that – useless. It follows that adage; garbage in, garbage out. However, if a woman is empowered, they can be such a powerful force to reckon with towards
What makes me stand out is that I am among the few women pursuing a career dominated by men trying all my best to do well. I am also a good writer, sometimes giving advice to the nation through newspapers.
What do you do in your free time?
I like to read, write, ride my bicycle and spend it with my family.