Interview by Esther Wangari Kibathi
I caught up with Mzangila of the legendary lifestyle Brand whose contribution to Karatina fraternity in terms of leadership, influence, and calling out bad leaders as well as entertaining through his writing has been notable.
Here is a moment with the most desirable man who caught a glint in the eyes of many.
Q: Tell me your name and background
A: I’m Justin Mokua Chweya, famously disguised as Mzangila. Originally I come from Kisii in upper Nyanza from a family of Chweya. My father is Hudson Chweya. I’m the third born in a family four 3 sisters and a brother. Turning 25 years on 26th of this month.
I attended very good schools since childhood because Paps believes in education. I worked hard and joined Nakuru High then onwards to Karatina despite struggling with health issues. I wanted to pursue a career in Germany having been exposed to the language in my high school years. I’m now grateful to be in my last lap.
Q: How would you describe Mzangila in 50 words?
A: Mzangila is a jovial person whose character actually is embedded on positivity. He’s an ambitious man especially in respect to development and leadership. His resilience emanates from self-development. He’s God fearing and loves people that are cheerful and positive. It’s a growing brand.
Q: As a writer?
A: My experience has been orgasmic because it makes me feel fulfilled. It’s been a tough journey that began in class 4 displaying exemplary skill in writing compositions. My mastery of the language deepened in class 7 and 8 when I realized I loved it more than anything. I didn’t have the idea that it would emerge to be this big. I became an avid reader in high school. My actual journey as a writer started in poetry, jotting down love poems to impress girls. My course furthered this longing as it is aligned. It expanded my view.
I’ve had people who held my hand. Ebenezer Tobias (Benz) who introduced me to serious blogging and Daniel Sitole of the County government of Laikipia who supported me to pursue some online journalism courses in London School of Journalism.
Q: Have you had esteem issues and what was your self-discovery journey?
A: I had a challenge in high school whereby I even got lost in depression because my life was not progressing like that of my friends. I suffered as a result and this had a huge impact on my self esteem and academic excellence. I even succumbed to ulcers but only came to learn this much later. I was swinging on a very loose bridge leading a life of illusion. I realized myself in the Campus.
Q: What is depression and is there need for awareness among the youth?
A: Depression is a moment whereby you feel like the world has abandoned you, everything is crumbling on your back and there’s not a thing you can do to stop it. Life has no meaning at that time. It happens when one runs from the reality as a result of exposure to things that make you feel discontented with your life. There’s need for awareness about it especially for parents to talk to their kids instead of leaving them to the mercies of education systems. They need to be taught the value of hard work as a strategy to realizing their dreams.
Q: Has technology contributed to this state of depression?
A: Yeah; at some point when you’re grown because most of what is in social media is fake. However at a young age peer pressure is the main cause whereby there’s a lot of life comparison.
Q: Are you where you envisioned you’d be in life?
A: I’m the kind of person who doesn’t have a clear vision. What you do today is also what will happen tomorrow. For example if you want a house in future you gotta work for it today. However, I have drive and usually come up with ideas that add up continually. Do small. Do right. I’ve tried my best.
Q: You must be close with your pops. Are you really going to advance to PHD?
A: I love my dad more than anything. He’s supportive and I depend on him in tight situations. He does not make rules on my life, he trusts me and that gives me confidence to do the things I ought to do. If an opportunity to advance comes along, I’m willing to learn up to masters for now. I want to be the best I can be.
Q: What’s been you highest moment in life?
A: I do not have such a good memory of things…I move on. Though I think I’d say it’s that am a strong believer in many things.Realizing myself was the best thing. From then, whatever I touch grows, coupled with hard work of course. I’m a resilient person. I’m also a very prayerful person.
Q: I’ve read about sweet Elsie. How do you cope being so far away from your daughter?
A: Being a distant father used to kill me inside but with time I’ve learned to appreciate the little I’m able to do. Again, I’m a positive person so whatever small one is able to do as long as its impactful- I appreciate it. If I’m able to see them when they visit on a yearly basis and interact that’s good. We also talk all the time through Skype and WhatsApp. What bothers me sometimes is the need she may have to have someone close and I’m not there. In the end though I’ll be there for her once am done with school.
Q: Joys of fatherhood?
A: The best thing is to hold your kid and play around especially when they are tiny…like months old. I spent so much time with her at that age. Though she didn’t talk then I’d just keep admiring her. Now that she’s gown whenever she calls me daddy, it feels good. She is so beautiful.
Despite the fact that she has been in and out of my life, she never forgets who I am to her.
Q: Being a writer as well as a poet, the ladies must love you. Have you been lucky in finding love?
A: (Chuckles) Love! I have my own definition of love.
Q: Which is?
A: There is little love in this world. From a religious perspective, God’s love towards us is unending. That is what love should be like. If say you are in love, it should never-ever end. So I’m yet to be in love but I’ve been in two relationships one which was a year long – am not a keeper because being the man in a relationship she will look up to me for so many things. In the African patriarchal society the man is the provider. I do not have that commitment right now because am not ready to marry. I’ve been single for the last 2 years. I need time to advance in life, make money so that I can later invest all my energy in my marriage. I’m a family man in the making planning to marry at 29 or 30
Q: What qualities do you look for in a lady?
A: People tell me am choosy. Terribly choosy. I did a self evaluation and found that I am, in a way. She has to be beautiful for me to feel attracted to her, all rounded, a believer and of good character. She has to know the value of a family. I do not mind her education level but a degree is fine and a job isn’t a factor as I will be in a position to provide. She’s gotta be someone that I can get along with.
Q: Do you have a life philosophy?
A: It’s easy. Fortune favors the bold. Life is not a result of chances but you have to get out there and make it happen for you.
Q: Many of your articles have been labeled controversial -you being a religious man and all. What do you have to say about this?
A: You have to understand that there are three things that run the world – religion, love and Money. Religion deals with hope, love with feelings and money with lifestyle. You either believe in one or two but not all three at the same time. To answer your question, I’m a saved Christian even though others may say I don’t act like it. I do not like pretense, I am what I am. Religion again depends on your interpretation. When I wrote that too much salvation needs saving, I was talking to people that are saved blindly. Not really knowing the foundation of their beliefs because they do not read the bible just like the upcoming feminists who are just bickering even when they have no idea what they are fighting for.
If you read between the lines of my articles you’ll get what I’m trying to put forward-highlighting social ills and how we can curb them. I do not think am controversial. I include those things to make my articles more enjoyable.
Q: Does that mean you take issue with the idea of feminism?
A: No. If you know what you are talking about we can have a discussion but if you only come to me with pedestrian information then it’s not gonna happen. Ill bash you with the right information.
Q: Any regrets in life?
A: Like I said, am forgetful and move on from things. I however regret one thing and that is the loss of a friend dear to me because of acting in very high emotions. I lost her but only realized much later that life could move on because she was and I was stuck in the same place. I harbored regret for a year till I met her and apologized. I do not move on really if I’ve done wrong but we set things in the clear and am free.
Q: Who is your role model?
A: I do not have one. Meaning I am my own role model. I may borrow ideas from people but I don’t have anyone specific because that makes me dependent on them for my happiness.
Q: What lessons have you had from campus life?
A: There is fun but campus life is a shithole. I love the education and that it opened up my mind but the rest of the things like the booze and sex are only bullshit. Things are crazy. Some people have had their life end here, for others life has changed for the best but for most it has changed for the worst.
Q: What next for the legendary lifestyle brand?
A: I’m thinking on it. It’s said you shouldn’t reveal your plans before they happen but am weighing options. It will always be a brand so the next thing is to open a company or agency dealing with writing services, photography, videography, event organizing and other activities of journalism and some PR under one roof. I will also join hands with my mentor Benz because we are better together for online stuff, and also other guys fascinated by the idea.
Q: Mzangila is a big name. What would you say to other wannabe writers?
A: The idea behind Mzangila is a power hose of influence in all aspects and writing is only a small part of it. It’s a big name because it does many things including photography, event organizing and leadership among others.
My advice is if you are not a writer don’t write. It’s a waste of time and energy.
Off the record, Mzangila won the writer as well as the most influential person of the year Awards during Karatina University Awards that were held recently, finishing his academic journey on a high note. He is a notable and soft spoken figure.