Columnists

The Mutales: From study mates to marriage

THE couple with three of their children.

How we met:
MIKE MUGALA, Lusaka
IN HIS 20 years of marriage, Kafula Mutale has learnt that it is necessary for a couple to sacrifice for each other to sustain a marriage.
He describes marriage as a good thing and looks forward to a time when he will grow old with his wife and see their grandchildren.
“Commitment and understanding are important in keeping a marriage. We all have to sacrifice for one another to avoid stepping on each other’s toes. People need to compromise to accommodate their partner,” Kafula said.
And his wife, Zelipa Mtumbi, thinks that respect, commitment, love and trust and above all, the fear of God, are cardinal to the growth of a marriage.
Zelipa says every marriage has challenges but it is up to husband and wife to make it work.
Kafula and Zelipa met in early in the 1990’s at the Zambia Institute of management in Lusaka.
The pair was studying Integrated Management Information Systems (IMIS) and Kafula was a year ahead.
Zelipa had challenges with programming projects and Kafula offered her private tuitions.
“She came with a friend and was looking for solutions to the course, nothing crossed my mind then. I cannot remember how the relationship started. I think it was during the course of the tuitions that we got so close and maybe this is where our relationship started,” he wondered.
Zelipa shares the same thought, “Maybe it was just a strange relationship. I do not even remember us being real boyfriend or girlfriend. We would go out together as friends, the next thing I knew, I was being proposed for marriage.”
Even after Kafula got a job at Zanaco Bank, the pair would make arrangements for Zelipa to go for tuitions.
It was during the course of their interaction that Kafula developed interest in Zelipa and made up his mind to propose for marriage.
“Her calmness, focus and humility convinced me that I would spend the rest of my life with her. I think we dated for five years and we got married on August 16, 1997,” he said.
Though it was not strange to her, Zelipa was excited when Kafula proposed for marriage.
She was excited because it was clear to her that Kafula will be her lifelong partner.
Kafula does not subscribe to the notion that marriage is a shipikisha club as purported by some sections of society.
He is of the view that marriage is how people make it and every couple has its own way of addressing issues.
Kafula notes that loss of culture in some marriages is causing disintegration and breaking up families.
“People want to fuse a foreign culture into their marriage. We have a rich culture and must always uphold our norms to prevent incidences of divorce. We tend to look down on our culture and think divorce is fashionable. Our culture is meant to hold our families together,” he said.
Zelipa said people in marriage must accept and respect their partner to avoid stepping on each other’s toes.
She added that people in marriage must not pretend but tolerate and understand each other for the benefit of the marriage.
“I cannot change my husband and he cannot change me either, but we are both individuals who need to respect each other. There is need to allow each person be who they are, compromise is important in marriage,” Zelipa noted.
Kafula advises young men to take their time before they embark on the journey of marriage.
He also said young people must not go into a marriage when they are not ready to handle what comes with it.
Zelipa believes that marriage is a life journey which is built on love, faithfulness, respect, honesty and commitment.
“We don’t go into marriage to divorce, but to build a strong bond and grow together. A young lady must be ready to face challenges that come with marriage because it is a combination of thorns and roses.” she said.
Zelipa prays that her marriage will grow stronger in future and that she will raise her grandchildren together with her husband. The couple has four children.
Kafula is a councillor for John Howard ward three and Zelipa works for Stanbic Bank.

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