The name Uchizi Chinula might not be familiar to many but hers is a story of love, joy and encouragement to many. She is on the path to success, following dadâ€™s footsteps. When many parents are discouraging their children from doing the same profession as them. Mr. Allan Chinula has been the source of inspiration and behind Uchiziâ€™s success and today, the daughter is a lawyer just like the father. Our reporter Yvonnie Sundu talks to the two.
Give us your backgroundâ€¦ 7
My name is Uchizi Loveness Chinula. I am the first born in a family of four, two girls and one boy since the other boy Dumisani passed away in 1993. I am 28. I grew up in Lilongwe. I attended Tukombo Girls Secondary School before I left Malawi soon after my MSCE for South Africa. I attended Midrand Graduate Institute and upon completion of my University foundation studies my parents decided to send me to the UK for University.
Which university did you attend?
I went to University of Hertfordshire and BPP Law School in the United Kingdom. So, I followed in the footsteps of my dad Allan Chinula. I am a lawyer by profession. I am not a practicing lawyer though. I lecture Human Rights and Administrative Law at the Catholic University.
It is my dream to obtain a Master of Laws in International Development Law and Human Rights.
Why are you not practising your legal profession?
I did my legal studies in the UK and I am currently waiting to be admitted to the bar in Malawi. But still more, I am doing things to do with my profession. For instance, I am part of the Women Lawyerâ€™s Association of Malawi where I sit at national executive meetings. I voluntarily give legal advice to women and children regarding their rights as well as advocacy.
Why are you interested in Human Rights Law?
I am especially intrigued by how people assert their rights and usually neglect the responsibility attached to the enjoyment of those rights. It appears to me that many are misinformed about this very topical area that is pervasive in life. I love working with people and have done voluntary work which has also influenced my decision to obtain a post graduate degree in Human Rights.
What is your daily routine like?
My availability on campus [at the Catholic University] depends on whether or not I have classes or staff meetings. So, I am mostly working at home. In my spare time, I like to share my passion for cooking and baking via my blog www.izzycooking.blogspot.com. I share different recipes, tips and tricks for the kitchen among others. I also like reading Christian motivation books and magazines. But most of all looking after my 20 month old daughter, Isabella Tawina.
How did your father mould you into what you are today?
My father (together with my mother) taught me to stand on my own; to fight my on battles; and to always accept that in life – nothing comes easy. He has taught me the value of good personal and professional relationships. He has also shown me what parental sacrifice means, by giving up so much in order to provide for me and my siblings.
What are some of the challenges you faced while growing up.
The biggest challenge for me was dealing with the death of my brother. I was nine when he died.
You followed the footsteps of your father, was that your dream while growing up?
When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a nurse and not a lawyer. It was only after high school that I decided I wanted a career in law. I admired the people in a TV series called LA Law. The way they spoke and dressed, as well as the fancy cars motivated me. But the biggest motivator was my father starting his own practice. He started William Faulkner Attorneys at Law working from home. He was so determined to succeed and the passion he had for what he was doing moved me. [Hence, my] decision to follow in his footsteps.
What has your relationship with your father been like?
For my relatives and people who know me, I am dadâ€™s girl. He is my protector, my bow and arrow and I look up to him so much. He is always there for me with personal and professional advice. He is always my go-to guy. My relationship with him is rock solid, and I have a lot of respect for him.
In other words, he is your role model?
Perfect. I want to achieve what he has in life. In future, I want to be part of William Faulkner Attorneys at Law. I must continue what my father started. God forbid but I wouldnâ€™t want to see the law firm die together with my father!
You look young and reserved; does this not put you in an awkward position with your students?
[Laughs] you are very right. I am an introvert. I donâ€™t like going out. I like my peace at home. My students are always polite. When people make negative comments about me, I simply ignore them. The thing is; I am very confident about myself. In fact, one of my motto is Dynamites come in small packages.
As a woman, are you happy with the role that Malawian women are playing? What would you want to happen to them?
I think the Malawian woman deserves a lot of respect. We have grown as professionals in different sectors. I am especially proud because we see more and more women delving to professions that were male dominated. I want women in this country to continue to dream and try different things. They should also not be afraid to assert their rights as private and professional citizens, because only then can they secure the future of their children.
Well, for me, itâ€™s not about what one has done but the second life that one gets from that. Of course, I wish I could have done certain things better.
Interview with Allan Chinula
How do you feel to be in the same profession with your daughter?
I am always proud to have a daughter who is a lawyer just like me. We talk, debate and argue on the same wavelength professionally: and that just tickles me. But let me hasten to say that it was Uchiziâ€™s choice to be a lawyer and that I did not force it on her. As a parent, I donâ€™t believe in forcing my children into a career they donâ€™t want. I was very surprised when after high school, she said, “dad I want to be a lawyer like you”.
What is your relationship like with Uchizi?
Am close to all my three children but Uchizi is dadâ€™s girl. She has grown up getting certain things from her mother through me. I am proud to say I have always been there for my daughter and I have given her all she has ever wanted in her life. I pompously say I have achieved all that Uchizi wanted. And I know I am her role model. I have never let her down and I thank God for that!
Is it your wish to see your law firm William Faulkner taken over by Uchizi in the future?
Oh yes. It is my dream that she takes over and push whatever I have set up to greater heights. I know she will make it. In that way I shall rest in peace.
What words do you have for parents, especially fathers, as regards to their role they play in the upbringing of children
Fathers have a very key role to play in the life of children. They must make it a point to always be there for their children, it creates a bond that can never be broken. Itâ€™s not just about fathers but both parents.
What about in their career choice?
Again, fathers must encourage their children in the choice of their career. Like I have said, because I let my daughter Uchizi choose what she wanted in life, and I gave her the best support, I am always happy that I fulfilled my role as father in her life. I have always wanted the best for her and I am glad I achieved it!