MARGARET CHISANGA, Lusaka
‘I WANT to become a lawyer,” is what a Grade 10 pupil at Kasisi Girls Secondary School wrote on a coloured flash card during a rare one-day opportunity of interacting with members of the Stanbic Bank board of directors in 2010.
Today, seven years later, 21-year-old Nsatusile Mgode is a third-year law student at the University of Zambia with a burning dream and passion to become the first Zambian-born United Nations Secretary General.
Prodded if she was not scared of the dream killer ZIALE exams, her response is emphatic and unapologetic: “I have interacted with people who have made it on first attempt, I’m not scared of ZIALE at all.”
Where does an inexperienced 21-year-old get such audacity to dream big? I asked Nsatusile.
21-year-old Nsatusile Mgode.
In response, she traces this rare “can do” attitude to a series of life changing events that happened seven years ago during a special mentorship programme for girls organised by Junior Achievers Zambia, in partnership with Stanbic Bank.
While in Grade 10 at Kasisi Girls in 2010, Nsatusile became one of the four girls picked to represent her school to compete in an explosive public speaking battle of words.
“There were girls from all provinces of Zambia and we stayed at the Common Wealth hostels at the University of Zambia for a week and I remember my debate topic was ‘television has brought more harm than good’,” recalls Nsatusile.
After a series of debates, the girls were treated to VIP status and given access to very high profile corporate personalities as part of the mentorship programme.
“During a segment called Building Bridges, I interviewed Beatrice Nkanza, who was the chief executive officer of the Lusaka Stock Exchange at that time. Looking back, that career talk was perhaps the most important part of the programme for me. Mrs Nkanza made success seem so easy,” says Nsatusile reminiscently.
The girls were later hosted as special guests of the first family at State House for an entire day of mentorship with the First Lady. Nsatusile says having an opportunity to rub shoulders with the then Republican President Rupiah Banda and the First Lady, Thandiwe, caused a major paradigm shift, which made Nsatusile believe that in life, anything was possible if you believe in yourself.
“Junior Achievers Programme made me to become more assertive and daring to grab opportunities. That’s why I’m not scared to pursue my dream of becoming the first Zambian United Secretary General,” she enthusiastically.
As if reading from a well-rehearsed script of how she will walk in the New York- based corridors of power, the young law student plans to pursue Human Rights and International law with a bias for conflict resolution.
She thanks Stanbic Bank for seeing the value to invest in such a life changing programme to build Zambian leaders of tomorrow.
Since inception seven years ago, Stanbic Bank has supported the Junior Achievers Programme, which has been hosted by consecutive three First Ladies annually starting with Mrs Banda, Christine Kaseba and currently, Esther Lungu.
Apart from diligently studying for her bachelor’s degree in law, Nsatusile is practicing leadership by chairing a youth organisation called Ice Breakers Network, which she co-founded with her friends from the University of Zambia and Copperbelt University.
The aim of the organisation is to make an impact by motivating the generation of young people to speak out about issues that have the potential to affect their lives and future such as HIV and AIDS.
The determined young Nsatusile also serves on the media committee of the University of Zambia Law Association and is a regular voice on the campus radio station, which features a programme called Law focus every Thursday between 18:00 hours and 19:00 hours.