SHIKANDA KAWANGA, Mumbwa
A SIMPLE errand to a shop in the vicinity resulted in an encounter that changed Kapande Katongo’s life.
“I was visiting this shop for the first time to get some sugar and was so amazed at the beauty I saw in the shop attendant,” Kapande, 39, says as he glances at his wife, Linda, 33.
At that time, in March 2007, Linda sold groceries in the family store and was intrigued by a customer who seemed to come a little too often to the shop.
The shop was located in Nalubanda Village, where they both lived.
Never did it occur to Linda that the interacting with the customer would slowly evolve into a relationship or even that the pair would become husband and wife one day.
She assumed Kapande only wanted to be her friend.
“I did not imagine that his frequent visits to the shop were because he had fallen for me. I used to get surprised that my new customer would visit the shop many times and would buy one item at a time to strategically increase the number of visits,” Linda said with a smile.
With time, the pair started spending time together during working hours and eventually became fond of each other.
Kapande remembers going to visit Linda at one time and she invited him to visit her parents place whilst they were away so that she could offer him something to eat.
“My lips were looking white because I was very hungry, maybe that’s why she requested that she prepares me some food the next day. Though I felt shy, she insisted and convinced me,” Kapande said.
This must have struck the right chord in Kapande’s heart.
“I feel her humility, hard work and good behaviour are what struck my mind. That is what made me decide that I was going to spend the rest of my life with her,” he said.
Kapande was a farmer at the time and was a Grade Seven drop out, though Linda who was at the time in Grade 10, loved him.
She dropped out of school the following year after discovering that she had fallen pregnant. The two decided to get married.
The decision to marry was not taken well by Kapande’s friends.
“My friends thought I was very young and that I was not ready to marry. I was only 23 by then. For me, I called it premature love because I did not know what I was doing,” he said.
In 2008, Kapande was coerced by Linda’s family to marry, a decision his friends called “stupid” because they had impregnated several girls whom they refused to marry.
However, Kapande did not get scared and went to visit Linda’s family though he was already living with her and was charged six cattle as bride price.
For Linda, Kapande was a caring man who shared the little he had with her and this convinced her he would take care of her.
“He gave me some money from the profits he made from his farming business to buy lotion and it was from here that I began to have hopes that he would take care of my family in future,” Linda said.
The couple had their first child in 2009 and two years later had their second child.
The first hiccup in their marriage came in 2012. A year after their second child was born, Linda conceived again and this angered Kapande so much that he thought of divorcing her.
“My husband started telling me to leave for my parents place so that we could divorce because I had gotten pregnant when our second child was less than a year old,” she said.
Linda refused to leave Kapande as she was against the idea of divorce. She still loved Kapande though he was bitter with her for conceiving whilst she was breastfeeding.
Linda begged Kapande’s family to reconcile them but his family was reluctant.
It took Linda to stand up and fight for her marriage by refusing to leave her matrimonial home for the sake of her children and, most of all, the love for her husband.
She says that this period taught her that tolerance, understanding, and avoiding hearsay are a prerequisite for a life-long marriage.
For his part, Kapande slowly changed his mind and now describes his wife as an angel. He has made up his mind not to divorce her because she has been his source of joy, motivation and strength.
“These children we have are a blessing. I don’t know why I behaved like that when she conceived. I thought we would have pressure but God was gracious enough and they have grown up now,” he said.
He has advised people getting into marriage not to be over-expectant saying marriage is a combination of good and bad times.
“My wife and I have had our own challenges and we have resolved them. God has been at the centre of our marriage. During the course of my marriage, I have learnt that communication and understanding are important,” Kapande said.
The couple has now taken farming as a business. Ten years into their marriage, they have five children.
SHIKANDA KAWANGA, Mumbwa