Talking to Aunty Georgina

Who is the mother figure that helped shape you? In the lead-up to Mother’s Day, we want to celebrate some of the incredible, generous and supportive caregivers in our community. Our series Mother Figures  is our way of showing recognition and giving thanks to the diverse range of women who sacrifice so much of themselves in the name of love.

As sisters who lost our mother when we were younger, we know not everyone is lucky enough to have a mother in their lives. Mother Figures is about those people who step up to support us, including step mums, aunties, sisters, foster mums, single parents, grandparents and more. We want to introduce you to 3 amazing women and the mother figure that inspired them. Lastly is a woman very close to our hearts, our very own Aunty Georgina.

Our Aunty Georgina has remained a constant mother figure in both our lives. Aunty G or Gogo as our sons affectionately call her, is a strong, kind hearted women with one of the most infectious laughs you'll come across.
Talking to her for this series and delving a little deeper into her story was very touching, it allowed us to piece together parts of her we have come to love. The journey she's been on has thrown her many challenges and taught her many life lessons. She is strong, resilient, hardworking and a force-everyone deserves an Aunty Georgina in their lives. 

Who has been a mother figure in your life? Tell us a little about your relationship with them?

My late mother was the mother figure in my life.I grew up in a large family with 5 siblings and was the third born. My mother and I had an interesting relationship, we were very close but we also had our differences. She was very strict and always had the last say. My mother was quite harsh in her punishment which at times would feel disproportionate to my misbehavior. She justified her actions as getting me prepared for life and the  responsibilities  that will come along with it.

I grew up in a strong Christian household and my mother insisted I attend church and be involved in the church choir much to my dismay. However playing sports brought me the most joy,  I was quite athletic and sporty which my mother was always proud of. My mother would humbly brag to everyone in our community of all my sporting achievements.  As we both grew older and I went through different stages in my life like marriage, motherhood and migrating to Australia , our relationship evolved and became stronger.  I found we had deeper conversations and connection in my adult life- she sadly passed away when I was 57 years old. 

What is a life lesson that you have learnt from this mother figure?

My mother taught me many life lessons, it’s difficult for me to select just one. But having said that, if I had to choose life lessons that have stuck with me and have had a big impact on me- It’s how to learn and grow from life's challenges and secondly always appreciate what life has given you- this has helped me to always look on the bright side of things. 

What event in your life has shaped you and why?

One of the most pivotal events early in my life which shaped me, would have to be when I left home  at 18 years old. I left my home country of Zimbabwe and moved to Malawi to complete my Nurse training. I left my life back in Zimbabwe, my family and my friends to pursue my career in Nursing and start a new chapter.  Initially this was an extremely difficult time, I would often cry myself to sleep coupled with feelings of loneliness and abandonment. I was pushed out of my comfort zone and had to grow up quickly. This involved learning to be independent , make new friends and learning how to budget. As time went by I adjusted to my new life and the new opportunities which were presented to me. I would say this move was an eye opener to the realities of life and being an adult.

What advice would you give your younger self? (you in your 20’s)

In my 20's I was forced to grow up very quickly and carried a large weight of responsibility to my siblings and extended family. My younger brothers ended up moving in with me in Malawi, which meant that I was required to take on a 'mother figure' role to them. With all of this responsibility I sacrificed having fun and did not engage in fun recreational activities like my friends did. Therefore, the advice I would give my younger 20-something year old self is to put myself first and allow myself free time for more FUN.

What are you most proud of about yourself?

I have endured many challenges in my life. They have not broken me, as I have dealt with them to the best of my capabilities. These challenges have shaped me to the woman I am today- I am fiercely independent, compassionate, giving, empathetic and loyal. The love I give to the people around me who I care so deeply about, is returned back to me in volumes which brings me joy.