Wealth tends to create more wealth, but a rich background is not the only way to the top. Chawezi Sibongile Banda, daughter of Malawi’s former Finance Minister, the late Aleke Kadonamphani Banda, may have born with a silver spoon in her mouth but she started out her own journey from being ‘dirt poor’ to a ‘wealthy person’.
Chawezi, who is well known on social media by her alias ‘Chacha’ is based in United States of America (USA) and owns ‘Chacha Care Home’ in Richmond, in the State of Virginia.
Chawezi Sibongile Banda is renowned for her opulence and flashy lifestyle, as depicted in her photographs that she fondly and regularly shares on social media.
Recently, the socialite’s 42nd birthday celebration drew attention amongst Malawians when she shared photographs of her, a friend and family members aboard a private jet celebrating her birthday anniversary.
She shared pictures of her and guests airborne, in a private jet flying from Richmond to Atlantic City and back.
In the flight, she was accompanied by her daughter and only child Fleuper, sisters Jessie and Hanna Banda, Ellen Zimba as well as her bestie from Scotland, Zione Teresa Campbell.
Although the rich do get richer, Chacha prefers to say her story is that of rags-to-riches.
“I feel proud of my achievements. The painful struggle is that I had a child at the tender age of 16 and raised that child; it was God’s blessing. I have ever since been preoccupied by focusing on my daughter; before, during and after her birth right up to now,” Chacha says.
She explains that she left Malawi in 2001 when her father was still an influential cabinet minister in the Bakili Muluzi administration as well as owning a newspaper giant, Nation Publications Limited.
Chacha says she did not leave Malawi as an economic migrant to US but wanted to experience new challenges in life.
“It was painful to leave my child behind but I knew there would be some light at the end of the tunnel and I just had to go,” she recalls.
At the time of leaving for US, she was a single mum and held the sole responsibility of raising her daughter.
“When I arrived in the States, I stayed with Ellen Chiku Kankhwende who took me in like her own sister and treated me so well but I had to find a way of becoming independent .
“I humbled myself and worked as a nurse for a short time. I later landed as a housemaid for a Nigerian family in Washington DC. It was the best of jobs one could cherish but I just hard to do it to fend for myself and the young one. When I prepared food for them, I had to wait until they eat before I also had my food. They could not allow me to eat with them at the same time.
“I just couldn’t believe I could go as low as being a housemaid, especially considering that when I left Malawi, my dear late dad rented a big house for me. I had a security guard and housemaid. But now here I was, working as a housemaid in the US,” recalls Chacha.
Chacha says she was scared to inform her father about the kind work she was doing in the US because she strove to be an independent young woman and that working as a housemaid was the foundation of that independence and better life in the future.
Later, Chacha left Washington DC for Richmond in Virginia where she stays until today. Chacha says when she moved to Richmond, she picked a job as a waitress in restaurant and lived on a minimum wage and ‘tips’ from customers.
“So I saved money I got from the tips and I used to send my daughter almost anything she required for her comfortable livelihood. I felt that great sense of happiness and satisfaction,” she says and adds she later moved on to work in a sandwich eatery.
“I eventually left that place to pursue a nursing course in order to get my nursing license. That’s when I seriously worked in this industry I am in now. I was running a care home for a lady for ten years . I was taught to be resilient and had working. My daughter joined me in US and we stayed there.
“When my daughter graduated from university, I opened my own business. The beginning was rough but if God had blessed you with something no one can take that away from you” says Chacha.
Chacha says her business has become extremely successful and she attributes that success to resilience and hard work.
She says sometimes she skips meals and sleep because she has to work hard at all cost in order to ensure that the business succeeds more.
Chacha’s story is a perfect example that through determination and a bit of luck, anyone can overcome their unfortunate circumstances and achieve extraordinary success.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :