Recently, I was invited to the UMOZA* youth club in Malawi, which has a very special program of rehabilitating former street children by providing counselling, creative activities, sports, technical and life skills and educational support. The club requested for their favourite Zathu character, “Annetti” (herself a former street child), to come and see them, and I was only too happy to go and give them some words of encouragement, answer their questions and hear their thoughts.
Our Zathu brand ambassador Atupele visits UMOZA at least twice a week, during which the club members listen to and discuss the Zathu Pa Wailesi radio show, as well as dance and sing along to our music and videos. It turns out they love the show so much that some of them wrote their own songs about Zathu, friendship, and chasing their dreams. Others were even brave enough to share their personal stories.
The moment I entered UMOZA club the boys and girls cheered with excitement and some even called out “Annetti!” However, not everyone knew what Zathu was, as there were new members joining the club every week. So, when my time came to speak, I first introduced myself and explained what Zathu means to people, as well as my character’s background. After that I shared words of encouragement I had prepared, including how it is important to stay positive and refrain from violence no matter what bad words people call them or if we’re feeling unheard or alone. I also highlighted how important it is to stay at the club because that is where they can learn helpful skills and make good friends who will support them and will be there for them in their time of need – and they can catch our show at the club every single week and share their thoughts about it!