Felicia Susan Ngoma represented Malawi at the just-closed Big Brother Africa (BBA) Amplified show in South Africa and she has formed her charity mission called Felicia Dream Youth Empowerment and Self-reliance. Albert Sharra caught up with her to learn more about her life, the experience she had in the BBA house and the charity mission.
Tell me about yourselfÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
I am Felicia Susan Ngoma, an open-minded person who is always smiling, lovely, and accommodative, and likes interacting with people of all backgrounds. I was born on 28 August 1987 in Lilongwe. I have grown in a happy family of four children and I am the last born. I have a lovely son by the name Deshawn who is four years now. I attended my education at various schools in the country, but I obtained my highest qualification in accountancy at Malawi College of Accountancy (MCA) in Lilongwe.
What memories do you have of growing up?
I remember growing up as a normal Malawian kid, spiritually strong and loving. I remember loving to attend church service every Sunday with my family and I have grown up loving watching television. However, I have been so ambitious that when I saw some characters on television, I wished it were me and this character has moulded me into a hard-working, courageous and ambitious person.
How did your parents and people around you mould you into what you are today?
My parents have always been supportive of my success despite a lot of hiccups. They have taught me how to love, care, accommodate others, working hard to become what I want to become and above all knowing God.
Every person has weaknesses. Do you know yours? If so, how do you work on them?
From my point of view, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have serious weaknesses, the only thing I know is that I am always smiling even before enemies, a condition that makes them capitalise on that to advance on me and most people donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take me serious in most things because of this. However, I have a strategy which I am using to control this. I have built a character with a business face and the other of pleasure so that I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mix up business and pleasure.
You recently represented Malawi at Big Brother AfricaÃ‚Â Amplified. How did you feel when you were nominated to represent the country?
To be sincere, I was totally overwhelmed and excited and felt so special and favoured. It was something great to my life and it built confidence and courage to my life which also helped me during my entire time in the BBA house.
You did not live long in the house. Why?
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see any major reason for my early eviction, but you should know that, BBA is a game in which everyone goes in for the top prize and it is your character that keeps you in long or leave the houses earlier because there are two things, first you may get early eviction because you are boring people or you are a strong character and your friends want to eliminate you to increase their chances. So itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a game and I cannot blame anyone.
There was a lot of talk when you revealed to your friends in the house about your physical feelings. Why do you think this is the reason?
Culturally, Malawians believe that anything to do with sexual feelings is not for public and they believe in talking about this behind doors. But to me, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not the case, I like speaking about my experiences and get advice right there and I did not see any problem with discussing that with fellow housemates. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s typical of me and I like interactions, exposing my concerns and sharing ideas with friends and relatives.
What has been your experience in the house?
It is a lifetime opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and live together for days and be able to interact with them successfully.
Has being in the house benefitted you in any way?
Definitely yes! I have learnt a different life and a lot of experience. The house gave me an opportunity to meet with people from 13 countries and each of us brought in our own cultures and beliefs and it was a nice experience to share them. The house has also taught me how to accommodate other peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s views and how to behave among people whom you are meeting for the first time. Not only this, I have learnt a number of talents from other housemates which among them include painting, making sculptures, design and tailoring.
The competition has been there for a number of years now. Do you see it yielding anything on the continent?
Exactly, apart from entertaining the fans, the competition is closing the gap which I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think would have been reached without such events. There is only one thing in Africa. Most Africans donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t travel for pleasure to appreciate other cultures in other countries and this tradition has left us apart for many years. But I think with such shows, we are now able to appreciate and learn other cultures. This is great and I see a lot being achieved in the next years particularly in exchange of cultures.
Any future plans?
I have grown up willing to serve fellow youths and upon my arrival in the country, I set up a national youth charity mission in partnership with Nyimbo Music Company called Felicia Dream Youth Empowerment and Self-reliance. This is where I will spend much of my energy and time.
In addition to this, I want to upgrade my education by pursuing journalism. I am now fully in entertainment and pursuing journalism course would help me acquire some knowledge that can help me prosper in all my projects.
What is this charity mission all about?
It is a mission whose main objective is to give the youth a platform for their success in life by talking with them on the challenges that affect their day-to-day life and give them tips on how they can survive amid the challenges and succeed in their lives. It is a well-established mission with good funding. We have started it as a Central Region initiative, but soon it will go national and we will establish centres where we will be meeting the youth. I also have strong plans of reaching rural women through my charity mission project if all goes well in the near future.
What do you think are the major challenges facing Malawian women?
There is still something more on a poor note particularly to rural women. These are gender discrimination and lack ofÃ‚Â self-reliance and I am sure that these would be my priorities to work on if I succeed in starting up a women programme. I want to boost confidence in women, fight discrimination, talk about the negatives of gossiping and envy among themselves.
Do you think there are some ways of solving these?
Of course yes. I think what matters most in these problems is accepting that women have all the capabilities like a man and also the women to feel that they can do it and live independently.
I have learnt that you are a business-person. Tell us about it. I am a purchaser for a family business. I usually go outside the
country to buy various items which I sell back in the country. There are also some minor businesses which I do within the country.
What are some of the things that you absolutely love and cannot do without?
I love being fashionable and at the same time being a role model. I believe in being confident about myself and to me looking good is just a lifestyle. It boosts my confidence.
While I was searching for an industry where one can actually show all these qualities, BBA came in handy. I believe I am in the perfect place and I truly believe this will encourage all those who doubted themselves. If you know that you are good at something itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s better to make it big so that even others can learn from you at the same time you are also cashing your cheques.
In the BBA house, you were busy designing garments. Are you a designer?
Of course yes! But I am not a professional designer. As much as I love my designer outfits, I still design my traditional outfits and other dresses for specific occasions. If I want to look unique at a function, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t waste time googling shopping websites, IÃ‚Â just put pencil to paperÃ‚Â and next thing, youÃ‚Â know is my getting all those lovely super compliments on my self-designed outfits. My recent outfit the one in the picture (far left), I produced it while in the BBA house.
What have you learnt from lifeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s journey, and how do you apply this to your life right now?
Life is a journey not a destination. Hope, love, forgiveness, acceptance are found in a relationship with our creator through Jesus Christ. Whenever I face a problem, I first confront God and He either solves it or shows me where to get the help. Psalms 23 comes to mind. Just like everyone else, I have had both good and bad relationships with people and I have learnt how to respond to them with kindness.