Take the second chance


By Patrick Achitabwino:

Any person has the potential to make it great in life. People may have failed at the first onset but that is no proof that they will always end up failures in others. When people that have been downtrodden, broken-hearted and lived through hell on earth come across a second opportunity, they end up being successful at times more than those that never went through any ordeal.

Dr Mike Nkhoma, a lecturer at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, is one of those who, if not given a second chance, would not have been rubbing shoulders with professors. His father was jobless and sick. The family had no money for him to complete his secondary school education. Some students from the College of Medicine, sympathetic for him, left a note that there was a member of staff at Kamuzu College of Nursing in Lilongwe who was looking for a houseboy. To supplement the home living, young Mike had no choice but to consider working either as a houseboy or a guard.


“When I went to the College of Medicine, I met Juliana Lunguzi and she was the one who was looking for a houseboy. She was working at Kamuzu College of Nursing. When she saw me, she felt pity and said that she would employ me only if I agree to complete my studies. I agreed. She sent me to a boarding school. She was paying everything. If anything, I could only work at her home during holidays. Eventually I was selected to the College of Medicine to study Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.”

If it was not for the second chance that Juliana Lunguzi offered the poverty-stricken Mike Nkhoma, there would have been no Dr Nkhoma helping patients at Mlambe Hospital where he worked for a period before tracing his feet to the College of Medicine again as a lecturer.

Do not just discard people based on your first judgement of their performance or personality. They have greatness incarnate; you just have to trust them and support them.


Dr Francis Chinjoka Gondwe speaks highly of his former boss, Dr Rex Harawa of AMG Global. Anytime he mentions Dr Harawa, he says: “He told me, always offer people second chances because if he had not been offered the second chance, he could not have been the corporate guru the world respects today.”

He passed through a troubled life in his career. He even feels that there were moments when he thought he would have been fired but other people came to his rescue, trusting that he was better and could reform.

Dr Francis Gondwe himself also praises her sister for giving him a second chance. He explains: “I was not selected to college. Mathematics was a nightmare subject for me. My sister encouraged me to still study accounting. She even later catered for my studies in the United Kingdom.”

If it was not for being accorded a second chance, Francis Gondwe would not have gone as far as attaining a Doctorate of Philosophy in Business Management. He would not have had the opportunity to serve as the Executive Director of the Christian Health Association of Malawi, Partner at AMG Global and Chief Executive Officer at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi.

You may have probably failed in your first endeavour to achieve your dream; take heart, it is not doom and gloom—look for the second chance and grab it. There are more top executives today that graduated late in life and are highly respected in several spheres of influence. You just have to grab it.

If you are a leader in the office, do not write off your subordinates when at first they do not seem to resonate well with your guidance. Assess their areas of competence, support their skills with appropriate training and appreciative action, and give them challenging tasks such that they are motivated upon accomplishing them. Give a second chance to your family members; they can be great and achieve more than you have ever comprehended.

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