Controversial pastor and marriage counsellor, Lucia Gunguwo says her marriage is a happy one because she listens to her husband's advice.
“Like all other marriages, we have our ups and downs. But even when we disagree, we find ways of rising above the differences," she said adding that she knew what made her husband tick.
Mai Gunguwo has become a household name with her no-holds-barred sermons on marital issues that are being listened to in homes, churches and commuter omnibuses.
But she said she had a very tough upbringing which moulded her to the woman that she is today. She wallowed in poverty as she grew up in Mutoko. Her mother, Mary Chimutugu was left stranded when parents of the man responsible for her pregnancy shunned her, preferring another woman to be his wife.
Without a breadwinner, life proved hard for Lucia until her mother remarried Haggai Kanengoni, whom Lucia was to view as her 'biological father.' “I had no known father and as such, I couldn’t get a birth certificate for the major part of my childhood. It was impossible those days for one to get a birth certificate without a father or the support of paternal relatives,” she said.
However, despite the enduring love from her stepfather, the hostility from some people around her saw Lucia packing her bags time and again.
“Due to the bad influence of some of my stepfather’s relatives and some people in the society, I was always shifting homes. For my primary school alone, I learnt at three schools, but even at these schools I transferred to and from several times,” she said.
Although she was bright, she obtained only two Bs, in Maths and Shona, out of the six subjects that she had sat for at O’level in 1990. She attributes this dismal failure to a life of hardship as a teenager, which involved being sexually abused by a close relative.
The incident, now a closed chapter in her life, haunted her for the better part of her early life as efforts to seek justice came to nought as relatives shielded the perpetrator.
It was around that time that Lucia accepted Jesus Christ as her saviour and joined the Eternal Word Ministries.
Unknown to her, this was to mark a complete change of her life, as it was here that she was to meet her future husband, Apostle Tatenda Gunguwo. On November 23 1996, the two got married. Marriage brought happiness to Mai Gunguwo, but that dissipated when she realised how badly she lacked in grooming and in the understanding of some core life issues.
“I had no idea whatsoever how to handle my marriage. I remember on some occasions just waking up, bathing, dressing up and picking up my handbag and off I would go to town after giving my husband an impromptu notification, which was in a way [said] as a matter of fact,” she narrated.
She would also skip taking contraceptive pills, resulting in her falling pregnant when she was not ready for it.
“After the birth of our first child in 1997, my husband briefly went to South Africa and I was on contraceptive pills. During his brief absence, I ignorantly stopped taking the contraceptive pills, breaking the continuous cycle of taking them.
“We were both shocked that on his return and after a few encounters, I fell pregnant,” she recalls.
She said that experience also gave her invaluable insight on the challenges confronting women, especially those with a similar upbringing.
“While at clinics they tell you that taking contraceptives prevents pregnancy, they take it for granted that everyone knows how they should be taken,” she said.
Mai Gunguwo said she owed her changing fortunes to her loving and patient husband, who encouraged her to go back to school and rewrite her O’Level examinations. Though pregnant, in 1997 she would literally spend the whole night studying, soaking her feet in cold water to keep sleep at bay.
And it paid off, as she passed all the subjects she sat for, including English Language and Science. Mai Gunguwo then enrolled at the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), successfully completing a secretarial course before joining the Zimbabwe Open University as a voluntary worker in the data capturing department. She later became the data entry clerk, before deciding to pursue an accounting degree which she abandoned when the call to serve the underprivileged was too much for her to resist. In 2001 with the assistance of her husband, she established a charity organisation, Voice of Peace.
Today Mai Gunguwo and her husband cater for many underprivileged children. She is determined to provide that warmth and love she could only dream of, for the better part of her life. They even stay with some of the children at their family residence.
The 41-year-old ambitious lady who owns a catering, events management and decor company, Lucy Creations, said she was set to enroll for a post-graduate degree with Africa University this year. standard