He’s the first and only Malawian Royal Airforce Soldier to be decorated with the Military Mentor of the Year Award.
Recently, Sergeant Pascal Zgambo, the first ever Malawian, and the only one so far, to be enlisted and serve in the British Royal Navy and Airforce was decorated with a prestigious award for his outstanding work in mentoring the youth and young adults in the United Kingdom.
Sergeant Zgambo, who received the accolade at the glamourous Bright Lights Awards Ceremony in London for his influence Afro-Caribbean communities across Britain, explains in this interview with Peter Makossah his exciting journey from Africa.
In this interview, Sergeant Pascal Zgambo is referred to as PZ while the host, Peter Makossah is referred to as PM, Excerpts:
(PM)Who is Pascal Zgambo?
(PZ) Malawian by birth, a resident of the midlands, currently working in Recruitment and Selection in the London area for the Royal Air Force.
(PM)You are the first Malawian to join the British Royal Air Force, what inspired you?
(PZ) The British Military recruits from a diverse pool of talented people across the UK and Commonwealth countries.
When I made my initial application in 2005, I was astounded to find out there were no actual Malawian passport holders from birth in both the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, I took this as a challenge to change the narrative.
(PM) Through your journey into the British military, what has been the most memorable and rewarding experience?
(PZ) I’d say progressing through the ranks at a rapid pace based on sheer hard work and the recognition that comes with it from your peers. Furthermore, being accorded various front facing instructor jobs in developing the next generation RAF.
(PM) What have been the challenges as a black African in your career as a British Royal Air Force officer?
(PZ) Not a challenge as such, but I’d say having to justify to the minority within the service about my advancement (promotions) in rank.
(PM) What would you say is the most difficult task you have had to overcome as in the military as someone coming from Africa with a different cultural background?
(PZ) Certainly, in my early years as a young Airman, it was definitely trying to ‘fit in with the crowd’ in terms of moral behaviour.
(PM) You recently won the ‘British Military Mentor of the Year Award’ at the Bright Lights Award Ceremony (BLAC) of which you shrugged off over 200 other entrants across the British Military, explain why do you think made you the triumphant?
(PZ) I certainly go around doing my business quietly in all that I do, I have never sought any limelight or recognition. It’s now obvious that over the course of the last 15 years, people have taken notice of my hard work especially when it comes to giving back to the community in terms of charity work involving Coaching and Mentoring young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
(PM) What would you advise a young African child dreaming of walking in your footsteps? What must they do or have?
(PZ) Dream big! No dream is too big to realise. Have that inner self belief in all that you do. Always set realistic targets and constantly do review them whilst having meaningful self-reflection moments. Once you’ve mastered this, results will roar in.
(PM) In general what’s your message to the youth of today especially the black child of African descent in the UK?
(PZ) Do not limit yourself to what the education system, society or community can offer you. Go look for opportunities above and beyond your comfort zone. Stretch your imagination. Be in constant health completion with your peers, aiming to be the best out of your cohort in all that you do.
(PM) What is your life motto?
(PZ) It costs nothing to be kind to others. Everybody is running their own race. Run yours at your own pace.
(PM) How do you spend your free time?
(PZ) It’s no secret that I am an avid Manchester United fan. I’ve held a Season Ticket for 15 yrs. I try to watch as many games as possible home and away. It costs a fortune!
(PM) Any hobbies, pastime activities?
(PZ) I like to travel a lot; local and internationally.
(PM) Your favourite quote.
“Every person you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”