By Gibson C KAMANGA.
Over the years, most young Malawian females have harbored this common negative attitude towards non-traditional careers like carpentry, engineering, and brick laying among others. To them, such programmes are too masculine for ladies. Hotel and catering, secretarial studies, teaching, just to mention a few careers opposite to the female folk.
This attitude has been amplified by the cultural norms that quantify some chores as masculine, and others as feminine. It is no wonder that the mere mention of science subjects send shivers onto some female students in primary or secondary school levels. It is crystal clear; science subjects, are a menace to most female students.
Such mentality is one of the origins perpetuating the underdevelopment status of Mother Malawi. If and only if – Malawian youths, females to be specific, dared all to peruse such technical careers equally, then there could be a change.
And that is not all, if female students could rise above the visible cultural demarcations and develop a passion for nontraditional courses that have been culturally confided to males, then that will be the genesis of Malawi’s advancement.
This is the message from local female reggae artist, Sangie visiting various secondary school-going students from all across the country, in her role as the ambassador for STEP Ngwazi Zazikazi.
My Tsogolo Magazine is running the CDSS tour, which aims at championing continuing education and opportunities for youth in technological colleges with Technical and Vocational Training Authority, TEVETA.
Sangie, through My Tsogolo Magazine, has been visiting various secondary schools enticing Malawian young females to venture into non-traditional vocational trainings such as carpentry and engineering.
To her, the only difference between males and females is their biological make-up; the rest are just fallacies. From her observation, most girls of secondary school going age, have low self-esteem and undermine their own capabilities.
“Throughout this tour I have observed that indeed most girls have negative attitudes towards nontraditional careers. They look at these careers as very challenging and difficult,” she observes.
She therefore believes it is her major role in the campaign to change this a mindset.
“My major role in Ngwazi Zazikazi is to act as a vessel to relay the voice of confidence to these young secondary school girls so they can take on the challenge of participating and enrolling in courses which are considered as male dominated. Not only being enrolled but also to apply and get jobs which are considered as male jobs.” She enlightens.
According to Sangie, she is poised to succeed because she has qualities that the local young ladies can easily relate to.
“I believe that it’s very easy for a young person like me to convince other young people to change their mindset because they can relate. The young girls will have the confidence that if a fellow young girl that has a model from a similar status. It’s actually possible to do (so if she can do it, why can’t we?),” she says.
It was because of her character that My Tsogolo Team decided to engage this confident musician into the tour. According to My Tsogolo Magazine manager, Terry Huang, Sangie has unique traits of a role model for this noble cause.
“Sangie is a positive model for Malawian youth. She has what it takes to change this mentality.’ Huang reveals.
A trust has been bestowed upon her, coupled with her musical background that have fueled this energetic conscious artist to strive for success in this endeavor.
“As a young lady, I will use the best ways possible to reach out and convince fellow young ladies to accept this idea and change their mindset about themselves. I feel this may be possible since most female students know me as a musician, and their fellow youth as well,” she said.
So, having interacted with various secondary school students during this tour, Sangie is convinced the motivational talks are paying dividends, and in the long run, the country may stand to benefit big.
“After the motivational talks that I’ve been conducting, it’s plain to see that most girls have realized that everything is possible and non-traditional careers are not as difficult as they seem to be,” she observes.
Although Ngwazi Zazikazi CDSS Tour project is mainly targeting secondary school students, by the end of it all, this conscious reggae artist believes her music career is also going to take another new dimension.
“My mission in music is to be an agent of change in the society and country, and if the country thrives to advocate for women and girls’ empowerment. Therefore, this role is in line with my mission and vision hence will support my musical career and take it to higher heights,” she testifies.
Above all, the ambassadorial role she is playing is no mean feat for her.
“It’s a great feeling to be an ambassador for such a crucial role because it is of national concern. Besides that, at the end of the day, I will not only change the mindset of the average young Malawian girl on nontraditional careers only but I am also going to learn a lot and in regards to nontraditional careers,” she says.
So, as the project progress, and by the time this project is going to be completed, the Ngwazi Zazikazi ambassador believes it shall bare the desired fruits. It is her wish, therefore, that she would like to be remembered as one of the soldiers who fought for the emancipation of our ladies from mental slavery of looking down upon themselves.
“Upon successful completion of this campaign I want to be remembered as an agent of change in breaking gender stereotypes in regards to young girls and non-traditional careers,” she says.
UNESCO is championing the three year NGWAZI ZA ZIKAZI project sponsored by the European Union, and My Tsogolo Magazine has been entrusted to conduct the project’s CDSS tour.
So far, in the tour My Tsogolo team has visited 6 secondary schools across the country; Chichiri, Zolozolo, Katoto, Chigodi, Chingombe, and Chinsapo CDSS.
Based in Lilongwe, My Tsogolo Magazine is an initiative that is promoting reading culture and career guidance amongst Malawian students.