SUNDAY PROFILE with MATHEWS KABAMBA, Nakonde
MOFFAT Chisanga is making his mark as a clearing agent in the bustling border town of Nakonde, Muchinga Province. Through his business, Moffat provides financial support to his single mother in Lusaka.
After enduring a rough childhood, he is now excelling in his craft. His eyes become teary when he begins to narrate the struggles his mother went through in raising him and his two siblings.
Born on November 5, 1989, Moffat missed out on his childhood. At five years old, his life as he knew it was turned upside down when his parents separated.
â€œI had a rough childhood. I started my Grade One in 1994 at Garneton in Kitwe, but the following year, my parents separated and everything fell apart in my young life. My mother struggled and I quit school because my father stopped paying school fees,â€ he says.
Owing to the challenges of raising children as a single parent, Moffatâ€™s mother sent him to the village in Chinsali in 1995, making the picture of his life even gloomier.
â€œIn the village, I had lost all my hope. It was hard for me to come to terms with how things changed drastically in my life and that of my mother. Life in the village was only centred at picking wild fruits and going to the fields,â€ he says.
He says he feels like he was robbed of his childhood because he was trained to start reasoning as an adult at a relatively young age.
Accustomed to village life, a ray of hope began to dawn in Moffatâ€™s life in 2002 when his mother found a job at a salon as a hairdresser in Lusakaâ€™s Mtendere township.
The same year, his mother raised enough money and sent some for him to return to Lusaka so he could go back to school.
He was 13 years old when he relocated to Lusaka and enrolled in Grade Two at Vera Chiluba Primary School.
â€œI dreaded school, because I was fresh from the village, coming to town and being placed in a class where most of my class-mates were way younger than me. And despite being the oldest in class, I was not able to read. I became a laughing stock in my class,â€ he says.
Fortunately, Moffat qualified to Grade Eight in 2008 at Mahatma Ghandi Primary School. He later proceeded to Kabulonga Boys High School for his senior secondary education.
Things in his life at this point seemed to have taken shape until he reached Grade 12.
â€œA day before I started my Grade 12 examinations, I experienced a sharp pain in my spine. The pain was so severe that I could not sit for my examination. I was devastated because I felt like I had let my mother down after spending a lot of money on my education,â€ he says.
Moffat says he had hoped that successfully completing his Grade 12 was one hurdle he needed to overcome to improve his familyâ€™s lifestyle.
That, he said, would have been his golden ticket to a good tertiary institution and subsequently a better-paying job.
â€œI felt it was a spiritual attack from the devil preventing me from reaching my goals in life. The illness derailed my progress, I missed my examinations and when I look back to this day, I cry,â€ he says.
With the help of prayers from family, friends, and church members, Moffat recovered in 2012, but it was too late, he had missed his examinations and there were no funds for him to re-sit.
As though that was not enough trial in his life, his mother stopped work at the salon. She then relocated to Nakonde to start a business, leaving Moffat by himself in Lusaka.
â€œI failed to cope with life in Lusaka. I was not employed and it became difficult for me to sustain myself. I decided to join my mother in Nakonde at the end of 2012,â€ he says.
In Nakonde, Moffat met a clearing agent by the name of Sam Chiyani, an encounter that altered his lifeâ€™s journey. Chiyani is the one who introduced Moffat to the clearing agency business.
â€œSam had a great impact on my life; he taught me the ropes of being a good clearing agent. He took me through the processes and in 2013, I cleared my first car. This business has sustained me ever since,â€ he says.
Moffat, who describes himself as a fighter, says he has seen the hand of God upon his life.
A devoted Christian, Moffat says the business of clearing agency is a good one despite its negative reputation in the eyes of the public.
â€œIt is a good business, that is, if you are not doing short-cuts. It can pay you dividends and you will not be in conflict with the law, but this business has a bad reputation,â€ he says.
As a Christian, I aim to conduct my work with integrity. I can boast that I have never swindled anyone. My motto is that if I clear a vehicle, that person should come back for my services as well as recommend me to prospective customers,â€ he says.
Through his business, Moffat now manages to pay bills for his mother, who has since relocated to Lusaka. He has also bought himself a plot that he intends to start developing next year.
Furthermore, he has started the process of setting up his own company called Femosang Zambia Limited and he has since registered it with the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA).
The core of his company will be clearing and forwarding.
With his life seemingly back on track, he only has one resolve: to go back to school. His ultimate dream is to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
â€œI have unfinished business with school. Next year, I am planning to obtain my Grade 12 certificate; I still believe in education. Later, I want to enrol in Bible school.
â€œManâ€™s ultimate purpose in life is to serve God, and that is what I want to do. Moreover, God has been very good to me. When I look back where I came from, there was no way I could have made it without God,â€ he says.
SUNDAY PROFILE with MATHEWS KABAMBA, Nakonde