When we are younger, we dismiss our mothersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ lectures and long-winding Ã¢â‚¬Å“old peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s talk.Ã¢â‚¬Â As we grow older, we dig deep into mumÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s advice and teachings to find gold nuggets as we try to navigate the world as adults. Suddenly, most of the things our mothers said begin to make a lot of sense. Five women, each making great strides in their chosen path, share with us the most valuable lessons learnt from their mothers and some of the traits they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to carry forward.
Natasha Nsamala; Malawi Blood Transfusion Service CEO
I learnt two very valuable lessons from my mother. The first is that nothing is impossible. She herself started her career as a secondary school teacher. She was among the first group of ladies to graduate from Chancellor College. She left teaching in 1980 to join the then Department of Human Resource Management and Development and rose through the ranks to become deputy director; a post she held until her retirement in 2003! The second thing she taught me is that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. She always used say this. On some of the aspects that I would not want to carry forward; nothing comes to mind.
Helen Buluma Magombo, policy advocacy coordinator, Oxfam
My mother has taught me quite a number of valuable things and it is extremely difficult to come up with just one! I guess the two most prominent are patience and a respect for other women. My mother has always been a very patient person. When we were children, she always taught us that in everything we do, we need to invest our time, our plans and wisdom from other people. She told us to be patient enough to let our plans materialise after making those investments and that if things did not work out, we should be patient enough to take another course of action. This has helped me a lot today because I am aware of what is required to get to a certain level in society, the financial ladder and career development. I know what I have to endure, invest and sacrifice to get to a certain level. As a child, my mother also taught me to always respect others, be it people on the street, our house-help, schoolmates, workmates and friends. I respect peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s perspectives and treat everyone with humanity. This has helped both my career and social life. I realise that I have already carried forth the one trait I did not want to inherit from my mother! You see, she is a very outspoken person; she sometimes communicated things without reflecting on them and this sort of bothered me! I always thought she was too blunt for the Malawian society. I am outspoken too but because I have become aware of it, I try to control it and I try to think before I speak!
Lebo Mashile, poet, author and TV presenter
My mother, who is also my manager, is a skilled, educated, professional and intuitive woman. She is a good judge of character and a spiritual person, so, she keeps me rooted. She treats people with dignity and humanity. Even if she is having a disagreement with a person, she will do so professionally. I get my work ethic from her. She has taught me to look back at the end of each day and ask myself Ã¢â‚¬Å“what have I accomplished today?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Wendy Harawa, Musician
My mother is wonderful. The most valuable thing she gave me is her support. Through everything I have done in my life and through all that I have been through, she had always been there for me. She never gave up on me, not matter what. Instead, she was always ready to comfort and encourage me. As a mother myself, I plan on raising my child the same way my mother raised me. The one thing I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t emulate about my mother was her softness. She was too kind and too lenient and sometimes people took advantage of that.
Jubilee Tizifa, dean of students, Chancellor College
My mother taught me a lot of things which I still hold dear. I think the most valuable of these is that life is not easy and that things do not come easily. Because of this, we should always put in hard work into everything that we do. She not only told me this, but she taught me to understand the concept; each time I asked her for something, she never handed it to me on a silver platter. She always told me to work hard for whatever I wanted and figure out the best way to get to my heartÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s desire. I believe that through this, I have grown to become a strong-willed and very determined person. One thing that I would not like to carry forward is the rigidity that was in my mother. I believe she was too harsh at times. However, she brought out the best in me and am proud of that.