Thursday, 13 October 2016

41 Year Old Kitwe Mother In Grade 12 Class With Teenage Son

Given (left) and her son Chishala (right)
By Paul Shalala

Her day starts at 05:00hrs like any other mother.

She sweeps the surrounding of her house and washes plates.

Given Mwila is a 41 year old mother of Kitwe’s Chimwemwe Township.

She is not just a mother, but also a school-going pupil.

She has three fully grown children and lives with her husband who at first did not believe she would ever go back to school.

Interestingly, Given is in the same class with her 19 year old son Chishala at Parklands Secondary School.

On every week day, they prepare for school together and leave home at around 06:00hrs.

Luckily for them, a neighbour owns a public service minibus which takes them to school.

He picks them up just outside their house at exactly 06:15hrs.

On this 20 minutes ride, they do not pay as the bus owner has made it a policy to help them out.

The duo usually arrives at school at around 06:35 ahead of class which starts at 07:40hrs.

Her decision to go back to school was not an easy one as school authorities had hesitated to accept her.

“I stopped school many years ago because I wasn’t interested. But a few years ago I decided to go back. Initially, the school refused but they later told me that I needed to start from Grade Nine. So that’s how I enrolled and wrote the examinations. I passed and continued until today,” said Given with smiles on her face.

Against all odds, she desires to become a nurse.

“I came back to school so that I can study to become a nurse. I have always wanted to be a nurse since childhood.”

Being a prefect and the oldest pupil at Parklands Secondary School, Given has become a darling to many pupils who are over two decades younger than her.

“I do not mind her age, we joke and talk a lot of stuff mostly about school,” said Fewdays Kalimu, a male classmate who identifies himself as Given’s best friend.

Another pupil said she treats Given as her mother due to her motherly advise on academic issues.

When this blogger went to Parklands Secondary School on Tuesday morning to conduct an interview with Given, he was shocked to see her mobbed by both girls and boys who took turns greeting and cracking jokes with her.

With her trademark smile, Given, who wears a green shirt for prefects, hugged the pupils in return and lovingly responded to their greetings.

Her son Chishala, who stood next to her during the interview, said he does not mind being in the same class with his mother.

“I have been learning with my mother for three years now. I treat her like any other classmate. We do home work together and I do not feel intimidated by her presence,” said Chishala.

However, the mother jokingly says she intervenes if her son misbehaves in class.
Given cleaning her surrounding before going to school

“If he misbehaves with his friends in class, I just point a finger at him and he behaves,” said Given as her son burst into laughter.

And school authorities have disclosed that they decided to appoint Given a prefect in order for her to continue being an inspiration to the young ones.

In an interview, Parklands Secondary School Headteacher Elizabeth Chumpuka praised the 41 year old pupil for her zeal to upgrade her education.

“We saw her maturity, determination and hard work that’s how we chose her as a prefect,” she said.

Given’s story has also been commended by Kitwe District Education Board Secretary Kezala Mwale.

“The young lady is an inspiration. Her decision to go back to school decades after dropping out is a signal that government’s re-entry policy is working. I wish to urge other girls to emulate her and go back to school to complete their education,” he said.

The re-entry policy Mr Mwale referred to is a government initiative which allows female pupils who drop out of school on account of pregnancy or early marriage to return to class after delivery or when they deem it fit. 

Given’s dream of becoming a nurse is just a few years away from being realised.

This year she is seating for her Grade 12 examinations and she is confident of pulling through.

Her determination is amazing and it is expected to make her a role model in a society where adults rarely go back to school.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was also aired on TV1's Newsline program on 14 October 2016 and it can be watched here: 41 Year Old Mother In Grade 12


  1. Wow I was really touched by that woman's story I pray she passes her exams and her dream of becoming a nurse realised,may God bless her and bless u too Paul for this great job that u are doin.

  2. Thanks alot Mrs Sishekano. Appreciate so much. She is indeed an inspiration

  3. Wooow this is inspiring, its high time more ladies joined the few that have gone back to school, we need consented efforts together to see it become more realistic. By the way, i love the comment "When this blogger went to Parklands Secondary School on Tuesday morning to conduct an interview with Given, he was shocked..." Keep on researching and informing us of latest matters in our nation.