She is a woman who did not allow circumstances to take the best of her. Single mother Mwai Kabula fell, picked herself up and dusted her way to a bachelor’s degree against all odds. Falling pregnant while in school made her stronger and she believes women ought to borrow a leaf from her experiences. She shared her story with CHIKONDI KASAMBARA.
Who is Mwai Kabula
I was born and raised in Lilongwe’s Area 18B in a family of five, three boys and two girls. I am 29 years old. I did my primary education at Chatuwa Full Primary School and later did my secondary at Mkwichi Secondary School from where I got selected to pursue a Journalism course at the Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi. When I fell pregnant while in my second year, it became a heavy blow to me and I remember thinking that was the end of the world for me. It was a bitter pill to swallow, too, for my parents who were strict in my upbringing and had invested so much in raising me in a God-fearing way. Just like most parents react to pregnancy news of their children-in particular out of wedlock, they were mad at me and I was not sure what was going to become of my education. My partner, who was a final year student at the same college, together with his family, showed no interest in both my welfare and responsibility of the pregnancy. Luckily, after sometime, they got over their anger and accepted my fate. That’s when I went back to school.
How did you perform at school after the predicament?
It was only because I told myself that I went to college to get a degree and not babies that I succeeded, otherwise it was not easy. I left my daughter with my parents when she was just two weeks old and it was not an easy decision to them either. I had to write supplementary examinations which I unfortunately failed and had to repeat a class. I made headlines in the campus gossip magazine for all the wrong reasons and I became a laughing stock. I lost a lot of friends because of the situation I was in. I remember only one friend who stood by my side and encouraged me to hold on to my faith. I persevered and I am now happy because just like the rest of my family members, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree. I might have messed up along the way, but it is comforting to know that in the end, I still did myself and my parents proud.
How does it feel to be a single mother from a tender age?
I owe it to God and my parents who have helped me a lot in the upbringing of my daughter Wezzie who is nine years old. I must also indicate that I do not regret being alone. In fact, I am very proud and happy now that I am independent to raise and provide for my child. As single mothers, we sometimes feel isolated and overwhelmed, but it is the same experience that brings out the best in us. Sometimes having a man around makes us over dependent and lazy, but knowing it is your show, you know your value and requirements and that gives you no time to be involved is useless and worthless battles let alone time for bitterness. Since I graduated, I have worked in different organisations to support my child because the worst mistake I can make right now is to continue burdening my parents with my daughter when I can make it on my own. I have worked with Young Women Movement, Galaxy FM, Safe Motherhood and I am currently a revenue officer at the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA). I leave no stone unturned in pursuit of financial freedom.
With a Journalism background, how did you end up in the tax office?
I told myself never to practise journalism even though I am a qualified journalist because I get carried away with issues so much so that I put all emotions in writing, especially about politics and human rights. My objectivity in reporting is questionable; this is why I thought before I landed myself in trouble. Of course, I still practise journalism in the tax field because I meet and interview people of different classes. The only difference with main stream journalism is that my work is not publishable. By the way, I’m currently doing a Masters in Business Administration.
Do you have time for yourself with such a busy schedule?
Free time is a luxury because I am extremely busy making ends meet. I nevertheless create time for my daughter so that at least twice in a month we go out for lunch and dinner together. I never miss the important opportunity of advising her to grow into a responsible citizen while avoiding mistakes I did while I was young. I will be disappointed if she walks the path I did so I invest so much in preparing her life for the better.
What is your advice to parents whose children fall pregnant?
A pregnant girl feels ashamed, scared and emotionally lost. It is her parents’ responsibility to help her through the predicament and turn her to God for help. Pregnant girls are still precious to God and this is the prime time for parents to help them in a Godly way unlike disowning, neglecting or forcing them into marriages. Conversely, the girl will be able to make wiser decisions about her future and her baby if she can rest in her parents’ acceptance and loving guidance. I understand how painful and how much shame a pregnancy outside wedlock brings to the family, but parents can resolve the matter better than disowning their pregnant girls. On the other hand girls ought to be taught about the dangers and risks of pre-marital sex and facts of life by their own parents in their early stages of life to avoid unwanted pregnancy.
Any word to young girls who get pregnant while still in school?
They should go back to school, period. Once you are educated, no one can push you around and toss you like a coin. My heart goes to orphaned girls and the poverty stricken ones who engage in sexual activities to alleviate their conditions. No-one considers their plight and many turn a blind eye. Instead of plying such a trade, they must consider staying in school.
What are you ambitions?
I dream big. I want to succeed financially and as a mother. I am still single and will settle down once I meet Mr. Right. The obvious question people ask is; how I will know when I have found the right man. Well, he will freely show how he feels and prove it consistently. That is what all single mothers and women should look for in a man. A man that knows your worth does not need to be told how to treat you, that is a given fact. His motives are unquestionable, so until I meet such a man, I will not settle for anything less.n