Last week, I went through all the issues of Every Woman that we published the previous year, looked at them as the reader would, trying to glean the precious lessons our cover stories imparted to every woman in Malawi who got their hands on the publication. I picked up quite a few notable quotes from our covers; the kind of words we should cut out and keep somewhere safe so that we can refer to them when the need arises.
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t derive my sense of self from what others say or think about me because there will always be detractors and they come in various forms. There are those who are downright hostile and whose only mission in life is to put you down; then there are those who pretend to like you, yet harbour some deep-seated resentment. So, the way that I deal with critics is that I refuse to acknowledge them; people will only tear you down if you give them the permission to do so. I know what I want from this life and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what I focus on.
Dr Towela Jere, electrical engineer and programmes manager with the Nepad e-Africa Programme.
I take everything I do as a God-given mission, a calling. Until I am satisfied, until I know that I have fulfilled that mission, that I have done everything I can in response to that calling, I will not stop working. I do not even think that I will die until my work here is done.
Retired BLM chairperson Sakkar Sacrannie, founder of Mount View and Central High secondary schools. She runs three real estate companies and is a member of numerous organisations within the country.
As a human being, you have the freedom of choice and I made the decision to be open about my status. Negative people do not find solutions. They enlarge problems and prefer gossip. I told myself that I had to light a match, not live in darkness and let that kill me. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to be one of those people that pretend everything is fine when they are being chewed up inside. I said to myself, “Stop it now! TB/HIV is like any other disease. It is like malaria or high blood pressure so why hide it?”
Mirriam Nyoni, HIV and Aids advocate.
What keeps me going is the fact that I have a long-term goal, which is to make it to the very top of the corporate world. I know what I am aiming for. Therefore, even when I am preparing myself for a current role, I also prepare myself for the future one that I dream of… A strong belief in myself is another key element in keeping me going. As a woman, people tend to belittle you but if you know yourself and your capabilities, nothing will shake you.
Temwani Simwaka, Standard BankÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s head of finance and executive board director.
I do not cry over spilt milk. I forget what has happened and move forwards no matter what. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve met a lot of setbacks in my life, and if I had to turn them over, cry over them or let them hold me back, I would not be where I am today.
Dr Jubilee Tizifa, sociology lecturer and dean of students at Chancellor College, University of Malawi
Motherhood has completely changed my perspective of my body. I am in awe of the fact that it is producing this life. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s simply mind-blowing that this child is growing inside me all the time, every minute of every day. I am seeing my body as a miraculous work of God. It has taken me a lot to get here. I have had my struggles with the weight and I have let peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s negativity get to me but right now, my body is my business. I share it with people because I am a performer but at the end of the day it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t belong to them; I take it home with me, so whatever they say doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter as long as I am healthy and happy.
South African poet, performer, actress and presenter Lebogang Mashile.