Growing up in squatters of Lilongwe and impoverished family which could hardly two meals a day. Yusuf Sabiku, a Malawian currently serving in the British Army has released an autobiography titled The Power of Belief: The Story of An African Ghetto Youth.
The book gives an account of Sabiku’s life, from being a helpless ghetto youth to rising to the stardom of a martial artist and soldier in one of the world’s elite armies, the British army.
“Through the autobiography, I am telling the struggling youth in the ghetto that it is possible to achieve anything regardless of our situations. What matters most is to believe and never give up,” said Sabiku.
Born and raised in a poor family, Sabiku encountered numerous challenges such as lack of basic needs which proved hard to sustain himself, including other family members.
“Generally, life was not easy because of family hardships. I had never tested good life such as having a complete three-meal per day or wear descent clothes. For example, my father would repair my only pair of black-faded-out Timberland shoes by cutting up pieces from old tyres and glueing them to the soles.
Apart from having a single worn out pair of shoes, which I also wore only for school and special occasions like Christmas, I use to walk barefoot all the time. I was a laughing stalk among peers in school because of my poor dressing. On several occasions, I could not go to school due to lack of food in the house,” said Sabiku.
Born in a family of eight (five boys and three girls), he said all the children used to sleep in one room.
“Imagine, sharing the same room with my sisters. There was no privacy at all because all of us (eight children) were sharing a single bedroom; with boys facing one side of the room and girls the other way. It was a terrible experience which mostly inconvenienced my sisters who deserved utmost privacy.
As boys (five in total), we used to share a single blanket and so did my sisters (three of them). We were literally sleeping on a bare traditional mat (mphasa) neither with mattress nor pillows. We usually improvised pillows from a heap of old and dirty clothes. Most of the times we could wake-up with body pains as a result of sleeping on the hard surface and this made our household chores every morning hard,” recalls Sabiku.
However, he said he defied the odds to become a better person.
“Life was unbearable, but I had to build resilience against all life’s challenges, including the grinding poverty in-order to remain strong. I sacrificed everything, including happiness, peer pressure and pride to focus on my education and personal development to realize a better life some day in my life,” he said.
The Power of Belief touches many inspirational buttons of Sabiku’s life to serve as lesson to young people. The book will officially launch early next year. But currently the author is taking pre-orders for both both hard copy and electronic versions.
He added that he will ensure the book or the message contained reaches and benefit struggling youths.
“I want struggling young people to read my story and get motivated in one way or the other.
Part of the money of the book sales will go towards education initiative for needy children through my foundation called Strive,” said Sabiku.