By Samuel Kalimira
Two weeks after we published a story in this paper and on Times TV about four children who have been living alone in Zolozolo Township in Mzuzu after their parents abandoned them, their mother reappeared this week.
The children, Precious, 16; Anita, 14; Hope, 13 and Dumisani, eight were dumped by their father Emmanuel Chavula in April this year and they have never communicated since then.
The children also told us then that their mother left while they were young.
On Monday, September 5, the mother, Victoria Kanyinji, resurfaced.
She said she came to take the children to Mzimba boma where she is doing a business of selling dry fish.
In an interview, Kanyinji said she was shocked to see the story of the suffering of her children on Times TV and in The Sunday Times.
Kanyinji, who has since remarried, said she was not aware that her children were suffering as she left them with their father.
‘I was not at peace’
“I first saw my children on Times TV one morning. It made me stop taking my breakfast.
Later, people brought the newspaper where the story of my children was also published. I felt sorry for them.
“I was not at peace as the matter was everywhere. It was shameful because even at church people kept on showing me the newspaper and others asked me about the TV program.
That is why I quickly sourced money and I am going to take them to where I stay,” Kanyinji said.
She also said that when she was divorcing her husband, Emmanuel Chavula, the father of the children, years back, he blocked him from taking the children with her.
The children were seen happy after seeing their mother. The eldest one, Precious, said he could not believe to see his mother finally after years.
“She found me while eating nsima. I stopped and hugged her. Her face was down but for us we are happy that one of our parents has come back to us,” Precious said.
On the mother’s decision to take them to Mzimba, Precious said he had no problem with the decision, but said he was worried if they were going to be taken care of and continue with their education.
“Our step mother who dumped us before our father left also said she would take care of us and our education. However, this did not work. Now, our mother is married and we are not sure if our step father will take care of us,” Precious said.
‘They are our brother’s children’
But there was drama at Zolozolo Primary School where the mother had gone to collect some of the children.
Two people came in claiming that they were relatives to Chavula and that they would not allow the mother to take the children away with her.
The two, Mavuto Chavula and Magrete Chavula, said the children’s father, is their young brother but they do not know his whereabouts.
They said the family agreed to take the children when they finish sitting for their end of term examinations.
The Chavulas claimed they have been supporting the children with food but they admitted that it was wrong on their part that they left the children to be living alone.
“We are saying that we are going to keep the children so that they can continue with their education.
“This was already planned and we are not comfortable for them to go to the village where their education will not be good at all,” Mavuto Chavula said.
Zolozolo Primary School Head teacher Mary Chawinga questioned the coming of the Chavulas now, three weeks after the children’s suffering was publicised and at the time their mother had come to rescue them.
“These people say they stay within the city but they have never come to my office and showed themselves to us that they know the children.
“They are coming today after they have heard that the mother wants to take the children. This is not fair to the children because they have been struggling while they have guardians within the city,” Chawinga said.
Donations in response
She said after Times exposure of the plight of the children, well-wishers came in and donated clothes, food items and money which the school was keeping for the children.
The school has since handed over the donations to the mother. She and the children left Mzuzu on Thursday.
In our earlier story, we found that it was Precious who was fending for his siblings through piecework after returning from school.
Noting their struggles, Zolozolo Primary School exempted them from paying school fund. It was the school’s way of ensuring that the children, who have been showing potential in class, do not drop out.
The police and social welfare office had promised they would investigate the abandonment of the children when we exposed it. They are yet to produce a report on their investigations.