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why i am a journalist

The choice of journalism as my life career dates back to 1992 when I lost my father who was a pilot by then .My mother still had her job but life for me and my siblings changed for the worse. This is the time that I came to know who were my true relations, my family and people I could turn to in times of trouble and those that I could not bother to ask for help. Life became unbearable for me and my family after my father's death. We lost our property because my dad's relations took away almost everything from us. My late father's businesses were taken away by his brothers and sisters including the land that we used to keep for farming.

They told my mother to choose between her children and the property. What a tough decision my mother was given by her own in-laws, people she knew and trusted when my father was still alive. Which woman can give up her children for wealth or property?

Well , my mother with tears rolling down her cheeks told the gathering of relations at my dad's home village that she would keep her children and leave the property - she told them they can take everything from her but not her kids.

My uncles from packed all our belongings that we had from the house, sold cars and the land in our village too and shared the stuff among themselves. Since then I never saw these people again, they never wanted to come and visit my family, not even providing any form of assistant.

Life became really tough for me and family. We had to change schools from a private school to a public school because my mother could not afford to raise school fees that my dad used to pay.

Yes my mother had a job but it was difficult for her to make ends meet on her own. I remember, a few months later, my mother was asked to choose a man to get married among my dad's brothers so that he could keep the family name and in Malawi it is known as CHOKOLO (widow inheritance) - its a traditional custom. My mother refused to remarry and since then we have been together , with no disturbances from my dad's relations. They abandoned us because my mother refused to choose a man from the village,. instead she went ahead with her work and thanks to her two brothers who used to assist us whenever we needed support.

This situation made me stronger than ever and encouraged me to work hard in life and school so that I should be able to fight for the rights of women around the globe who are abused in similar ways - their property grabbed and forced marriage. This practice is rampant in many African countries like Malawi, especially when a man dies in a family. Such acts are dangerous because they also increase the spread of HIV/AIDS among communities.

I told myself to move forward and work hard to change the world through my work and I thought journalism was a suitable career to assist me achieve my goals. I've always worked to tell stories of women who are victims of domestic violence and advocate for action against such malpractices. I believe journalists can help women voice out their concerns and hardships - In doing so those with authority would act to ensure the world respects women as human beings and women's rights are recognized but also bring to an end domestic violence.

Joining World Pulse is now helping me to share with other women and young girls who will be reading my articles what they/we can do enhance our livelihoods.

Lastly, I find World Pulse so supportive and important to me as a female journalist, as it stands for uplifting of people's lives especially women through journalistic stories. I do believe that am in the right place at the right time despite what happened in the past. I am now assisting to change the world not only for the betterment of my life and my family but also for millions of millions of women out there who will be reading some of my work.

Life can be tough at times but with dedication and perseverance women can become great achievers.

sibongile.

Comments

MaDube's picture

Dear Sibo

First I am happy to see you here. You share the same name with my beloved sister, the first born in my family. She is also called Sibongile. But you are from Malawi, no? How did you get a Zulu/Ndebele name?

I am sorry for your terrible experiences. Your story resonates with many experiences I saw in Zimbabwe too where relatives just took everything after someone died. Fortunately for us there has been reform in the Laws on succession to say that the property that a married couple bought during their marriage belongs to the remaining spouse and the children. The distribution of property will vary depending on whether the spouse is a second wife or second husband and whether the children are from the first or second marriage and so forth but always the property remains with the family. Has Malawi made any such changes to its law and is the law respected? If they do not have that law then I think use this space to advocate such a law as it would change the fate of other people who could end up in your situation. If the law already exists then you could see if it is being respected and embarrass those who disrespect it.

Good luck.

Best,

MaDube

sibongile zgambo's picture

Reply

Danube, the laws in Malawi are there but some of them that protects a women's rights have not been fully gazetted. So we are slowly getting there, with more women organizations fighting for women's rights every day. Meanwhile, men who are found abusing their wives are being arrested and given stiffer punishments that can take some up to 15 years in jail for abusing their spouses.

Thanks for the encouragement lady.
sibo.

WendyBoneAbroad's picture

Thank you

Dear Sibongile,

I am so sad to hear about what happened to your mother and you as a family. Your mother sounds like such a strong and inspiring woman--you must be so proud of her. I know very little about life for women in Malawi and other African countries, and I thank you for sharing and teaching me something new today.

Peace,
Wendy

Ify Onyegbule's picture

whats a culture

Dear Sibo,
I didnt know this practice still existed in parts of africa and its sad that in-laws can be this heartless, here in my country Nigeria, we still face issues of inlaws who wont let their brothers wives and children breathe but its really not rampant because women are now getting to empower themselves even before the unexpected happens. good to have you share with us here.

sibongile zgambo's picture

Reply

Thanks Onyegbule dear for taking your time to read my story. The practice is so rampant in Malawi despite women's activists fighting for an end to such customs. I know it sounds awkward to some people who have never faced such things in life but these things are on the increase and they have to be stopped. When we write such articles , our voices as women can be spread across the globe so that women can stand up for their rights to stop such abuses.
sibongile.
bye.

Stella Paul's picture

Best wishes!

You are in World Pulse and your voice is travelling further than you can imagine. Its travelling across the seven seas, where women can hear and relate to your stories. Keep talking, sharing and you will definitely hear echoes, plus shout of support!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

sibongile zgambo's picture

Thanks stella i hope my some

Thanks stella i hope many women out there will be encouraged with my story on world pulse and try to move forward no matter what they meet along way. I do believe that some day, women will be free and enjoy the world just like men do.
Good things come to those who wait.

Thanks for taking time to read my article .You r encouragement is what i need most.
sibongile.

Greengirl's picture

Hello

Your story is very touching. It further adds credence to how much prejudice women suffer across communities. I am glad you made it through and even using your story to stir up a wake up call for more women rights activism.
God bless your cause!

Olanike

Nezed's picture

This is what makes you the

This is what makes you the beautiful woman you are... Keep shinning!

I do not aim for Perfection; Just excellence!

sibongile zgambo's picture

Reply

Thanks dear, you are pretty lady too and hey when is the wedding day Love?? I envy you so much. How do you celebrate your wedding day in Nigeria, i hear its very hot and nice.
sibongile.

Nezed's picture

Am so flattered! Thanks...

Am so flattered! Thanks... wedding in Nigeria is colorful and flamboyant! Great spending too.. Its Oct 1st and not to worry, will invite you over some day (If you like) to Nigeria.. Great post once more!

I do not aim for Perfection; Just excellence!

sibongile zgambo's picture

Reply

Okey dear would like to see the beautiful Nigeria that i have always seen in the movies and cherished. Am gonna be there if you invite me. So your man , is he from Nigeria as well? And which tribe, coz i know of the IBO culture only--hhaaahaa don't laugh at me at least i know some words. Like Chineke, and what does TUNFWAKWA MEAN.

How do you say hellow in your local language?

As in Malawi, we say MULI BWANJI , MEANS HOW ARE YOU?

REPLY----TILI BWINO--MEANING AM OKEY AND HOW ABOUT YOU.
SIBO.

Nezed's picture

OMG! Am also Ibo and same as

OMG! Am also Ibo and same as my husband. Where did you learn all these words? From Nollywood movies huh? Very nice effort!

Tufiakwa: God Forbid!;

Chineke: God

Hello: Kedu

I do not aim for Perfection; Just excellence!

sibongile zgambo's picture

Reply

Hey, from Nollywood movies and i have some Nigerian friends here in malawi , the two guys are medicals doctors. Their names are Ibe and Chinedu, they live in my neighbourhood. Yea i watch your movies, they are so entertaining and give out many lessons for our society. They are so good. So what do you do on your free time?

Jasmine Linabary's picture

Thank you for your story

Sibongile,

Thank you for sharing the powerful story of your background that helped influence your life path. I so appreciate your drive to effect change and to lift up women's voices through journalism. My own background is in journalism and you're right -- it is a powerful tool in that regard. Keep at it. I look forward to reading more of your work.

In friendship,
Jasmine

sibongile zgambo's picture

Reply

Thank you so much my dear for the encouragement. Will keep sharing with you what i have down here. Once again thank you so much for taking time to read my article.
sibongile

CindyColes's picture

You are an inspiration

Hi Sibongile,

Thanks for sharing your story. You and your family are very brave!

I can see your motivation to become a journalist started at a young age, and for very personal reasons. No surprise you have accomplished so much.

Keep sharing - you are an inspiration!

Cindy Coles

sibongile zgambo's picture

Reply

Thanks dear for taking time to read my story.

Sibongile.

Lilith784's picture

Sigh.

I should know better by now, but your story shocked me. That's powerful writing. I'm sorry your mother had to face such a tough situation, and kudos to her for putting her kids first. It's impressive that you look beyond your own family and want to use your knowledge and strength to improve the situation for other women in your region, too. Keep moving forward!

Andrea

sibongile zgambo's picture

Andrea

Thanks Sigh for your encouragement, am still moving forward to carry things in my country. Yes with Pulse Wire i know i will achieve much.
Much Love,
sibongile.

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