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Interview: Proscovia Nadaga

Updated Wednesday, 25th May 2005

An interview with student Proscovia Nadaga, part of BBC FOUR's African School series

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Proscovia, the teenage evangelist Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Production team

We meet Proscovia Nadaga, a precocious Born Again Christian, in the programme The Womaniser and the Evangelist . Sixteen-year-old Prossy comes from Mbale in eastern Uganda. Her parents are divorced and her father is mentally ill. She missed three years of school during her early-teens because her family couldn’t afford to pay the fees. She joined Masindi Secondary School in February this year. She is in Senior 1 (Year 7 equivalent) and struggles to keep up because she has missed so much school. She became a Born Again Christian three years ago because of the problems she was having at home.

“I saw a woman with cancer being healed. That made me confident and I had to believe. It has made a big difference to my life. People trust me now. My friends thought I had done something bad, but in fact I had just discovered the truth about Christ and what good things people can get if they believe.”

Prossy lives with her stepsister, Pamela Gimogoi, and brother-in-law, Geoffrey Tibaita. Geoffrey is a successful primary school headteacher with 13 dependants. As well as having three children of his own, he cares for his brother’s children who were orphaned eight years ago when their parents died of Aids. His children sleep in the house, while Prossy and the others sleep in dormitories at the back of the compound. Pamela works as a part-time teacher and pays for Prossy’s school fees. When she doesn’t have enough money, Prossy misses school.

“I like my new home, I have food and shelter. But when you are just a relative, people don’t consider you to be so important in their lives. I suffer very many things and I can’t afford petticoats, knickers and sanitary pads.”

Prossy spends break-time at school trying to convert her friends. There are only around 40 Born Again Christians at the school, but many students have warmed to her infectious personality. During the programme, we see her persuade Patrick Abeteka and Dixon Muhumuza to attend The Miracle Centre Church, which she visits on Sundays. Former bad boy Patrick is saved. He is one of six students Prossy claims she has converted since February.

“I told Patrick about the after life and that if you don’t discover the truth you are in danger. I gave him comfort when he was saved and I am now helping him to change his manners and be disciplined.”

Prossy believes passionately in education and encourages the younger girls at school to avoid having boyfriends. She is not convinced the school’s drama clubs, which try to raise awareness of HIV and Aids, are having any effect. She sees older girls going off with boys during the school day and one of her friends has left school because she is pregnant.

“Many students just put on plays for fun rather than tuning in their ears to the messages. Some boys are just out to destroy girls, moving from skirt to skirt. If you get pregnant you lose quality and your family won’t get a dowry. I think it’s better to have relationship a long time after school. No boy has ever tried to disturb me because they know I am a religious person.”

Prossy would like to go to university, but is not sure she will do well enough at school to make it. She scrapes through in most of her subjects and thinks it will take time for her to complete her secondary education. Before she gets married she wants to become well established as a housewife so she can be independent if she needs to.

“I don’t want to suffer like my mother. Many men played around with her. I want to have my own house and everything there. Then if anything goes wrong when I get married I will always know I have my house.”

Prossy found the filming experience quite difficult. While some pupils respected her for being involved, others poked fun at her and accused her of lying during filming.

“It was strange being asked so many questions but I got used to the director Ed Kellie and he is my friend now. The worst thing was being called up all the time. I was late for class a few times and my teachers commented. The best thing was that people thought I knew the crew and they respected me.”





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