Keep pushing, young man



I strongly believe that successes and failures in life have their pedigree in simple experiences. Here are momentous life lessons from one contemporary friend that I shared a great time with before he was called to bask in Allah’s eternal glory on December 31 2016.

Gift Matewere was Ntcheu Police Station public relations officer. Unlike other publicists and potential news sources, Gift was readily available for everyone, particularly reporters seeking information. He was selfless and had a sense of otherness which earned him a notable space in both print and broadcast media, placing Ntcheu Police Station in the limelight in the process.

Gift was involved in a road accident one weekend when a minibus he was travelling in from Ntcheu to Balaka overturned, killing many in the process. Luckily for him, he survived but with an injury to the spinal cord that left his legs paralysed forever. The painful reality was that he had become physically disabled and crutches became his new means of mobility.

Just when others in similar situation would give up on their dreams, Gift did not quit. He pushed through pain and hardships and made it to Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, to study a degree in communication and cultural studies.

Hanging around this intellectual was not a waste of time, but rather beneficial, academically and socially. Despite his physical condition and other challenges, Gift worked hard. Of course not the type that will always be in the library studying from sunrise to sunset. He knew how to manage his time well. He always kept his head high and didn’t compromise business with pleasure and vice versa.

He participated in class work to the maximum. Gift loved advancing intelligent arguments and questions and always stood for what he knew was right as per his perception of things. His physical condition was not a call for justification to miss lectures and assignment deadlines.

Apart from school and his status as a civil servant, Gift did not just sit idle. He was a renowned entrepreneur on campus. He engaged in different commercial dealings that brought something on the table for him. He could buy and sale laptops, mobile phones and cars. In one of our usual small talks, Gift confided in me that he did not want his wife and daughter in Ntcheu to suffer simply because he was at school. Hence, the only viable way for him to sustain himself and support the family was through this small business. This promoted his enviable persuasion skill, an acumen lacking in many of us.

Albeit being a police officer, Gift had clear plans of what to venture into after college. He opened his heart to me on his desire to open a public relations consultancy. He said he needed to boost his ambition by having technical know-how of the broadcast and print media. True to his words, he applied to do internship at Chanco Radio and was taken on board. He took great pleasure and pride in what he learnt daily. He enjoyed the experience of spending time on air and interacting with listeners who later christened him the alias ‘puyapuya’, meaning greatness.

From Gift, I, thus, learnt to keep trying no matter the odds. In addition, I also learnt that fear is just a state of the mind. If one succumbs to fear and never tries at all, then they are bound to fail.

Just when the country is rocked with high unemployment rate among the youth, let us feed our minds with positive thoughts and venture into something that will make us self-reliant. Crying out loud when no one seems to care will take us nowhere. There are lots of business ventures around. Let us look around and explore what best we can do to sustain ourselves. If not sure, getting insights from those already in the field is not a bad idea at all. That’s how great entrepreneurs are born.

Finally, we should not be limited by our situations but always aim to turnaround our dire circumstances to best moments. n


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