They say life has no rehearsal. You live each day as it comes by. Some days are too long while others one wishes why they come to an end. The day Winnie lost her husband Patrick Mawanda was such a dreadful day. Everything changed.
Winnie is a teacher by profession. She was in the classroom for only four years before she decided to quit. A twin mother, one of her twins had a health issue which required her full time attention. She packed her bags and set up camp at home but she could not afford to sit around idle. As she took care of the child, she turned her garage into a fashion workshop, a passion she had at heart. The decade between 1990 and 2000 was so unkind to her and Patrick. They lost a number of relatives whose children they took on. With such a big family and a sick child to look after, she did not have a lot of luxury sitting around.
In March 2005, Patrick went to be with the Lord. Whereas they had both been working, they were involved in different activities. Patrick was an ex-service man who had gone on to invest in private security. He had co-founded Falcon Security a company he fully worked for.
Unfortunately, that was all that Winnie knew about her husband’s business. She did not have a slight idea of how the private security business runs at all. To be able to fend for her family, she had to step into Patrick’s big shoes, a size she was not sure she had. But this was something that had to be done. With the support of her siblings Charles and Alivera she was able to muster courage and take up the role of director at Falcon.
16 years later since Winnie assumed directorship of Falcon, she is very happy that the company she was thrown into is still running. Through it, she has managed to take care of her family and also spearhead its growth. She has had a lot of unlearning, learning and relearning to do over the years. The first five years of running Falcon were pretty hard. Things were not shifting. She hated the idea of joining the company. She was not prepared for the number of court cases that came up. The company was being sued for one thing or another yet in all this she stayed. “I have never enjoyed working in this field. I showed up at Falcon for Patrick. I showed up for my children. And in the process, I showed up for myself.”
As she reflects on the long journey today, she is happy she stayed. She works with her son as she slowly takes a back seat. The rewards are many just as the trials. Private security is a risky business just as any other but at the end of the day, it has to be done. One has to find the courage to take it on. “I have learnt to love this job but the love was hard coming by.”
If she were to turn back the hand of time, she would be more interested in learning about her husband’s business when he was still alive. Maybe then she would know where to start from. There are more players in the private security business today than there were when she joined. Maybe then she would have centred on expanding the company from the word go. But because it was not the case, her main objective was to keep the company running.
“When women lose their husbands they lose the morale to fight. If I didn’t have my siblings by my side, the company would have died. Sometimes circumstances throw you far away from your passion. You have to be ready to move on. I had to abandon my passion for fashion. It doesn’t mean you will die. Sometimes the benefits are beyond you and you have to make room for that change. You have to accept the situation you are in and work on it. Being a woman does not stop you from doing what a man can do. You only need to have the right attitude to the work and you will do it.”