On entering their Mandala Flat, the feeling of a newborn are clear: clean nappies and other clothes to keep the baby warm are neatly piled on a table. As we make our entrance, the baby’s grandmother sprawls on a basket chair. She says hello as we enter, and apparently she knows the purpose of our visit, and she can’t hide the smile on her face when she says: “I am happy to be a grandmother.”
–Article by Jack McBrams–
Happy she was. But, if you could measure joy, her son-in-law Malawi representative at the Big Brother House Africa Code Sangala, smiling all the while, is over the moon with the birth of his first-born daughter with Juna.
Born at Mwaiwathu’s Mphatso Ward in the afternoon of March 12 and christened Jada Cathrina Sangala, the newly-born is, for Code, the greatest gift he ever got.
“It feels great. I don’t remember ever feeling so great. We have a new circle, a great inspiration for me. This is another level for me since Jada’s birth calls me to be more responsible as a father,” says Code, clad in a Khalidwe wear outfit labelled Code at the back, a pair of jeans and seems relaxed with his barefeet.
It is an open secret among Malawians and other African cultures that men expect their first born to be a son.
What was on Code’s mind?
“As a man, you think of a son as the first born. Being Malawian I had the same thoughts, but all that changed when I looked into the eyes of my baby girl for the first time. I saw in her eyes an inner glow and, instantly, we felt spiritually connected. The fact that she is a girl is even more precious,” said Code.
Code, spent 77 days as a BBA housemate to walk into the Malawi and African fame hallway, has since talked on the phone with fellow housemates Richard of Tanzania and Ofunneka of Nigeria. He has also had an e-mail from Bertha of Zimbabwe. All of them, he said, were excited with Code’s becoming a father.
What about Maureen?
“Not yet. Eventually, I will have to get in touch with each of the housemates, including Maureen. This is the genesis of the next level. Life was good, but now it’s better,” says Code.
Talking about his mother’s reaction, Code laughed heartily, before saying: “She was very happy. In fact she noted Jada has the Sangala nose signature.”
Reclined on a basket chair, Juna says she is looking at being a mother on a day-to-day basis.
“The first hours were unreal, I had to adjust a lot, the concept of being a mum was always running in my head. By and by, she turns out to be a sleepy girl, which is very good,” says the 24 year-old.
She denies that Jada is bridging two cultures: with Code, a Malawian on the one hand, and herself a Dutch on the other: “No! It’s not a bridge, we are already tight. It’s just the same as a Malawian from the North would marry another Malawian from the South: there may be some cultural differences, but the bond is there. We look forward to giving Jada the best of education and we would love her to grow into an open-minded person, with respect for the cultures of the world. We want to see her eat nsima in the remotest village of Malawi one day, and eating in an expensive hotel in America or Europe the next day.”
Code agreed: “She would have to appreciate the best of the two worlds.”
For Juna’s mother Cathrina, after whom Code gave Jada the middle name, the baby is a blessing. Being a girl, she is another jewel in the crown of her belief for girl power.
“All of my six children are girls. In our lineage, Jada completes five generations of women, since both my grandmother and mother are still alive. She is my first grandchild and I hope she grows into a multi-cultural world,” said Cathrina, who urged all people to support boys and girls equally.