Fulfilling My Promise To My Late Husband

How My Role In Tisamala Helped Me Fulfill My Promise To My Late Husband.

My name is Caroline Tina Phiri, a veteran actress on both screen and stage.   I have featured in over 30 stage productions and acted in films including Love Games, Banja and Constable. I have performed in road shows for clients such as the Electoral Commission of Zambia and UNICEF.  I am also a single mom of 3 boys aged 7, 11 and 15.

Coping With Cancer As A Caregiver

I was first thrust into the role of a caregiver in 2005 when my late husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. No audition. No rehearsal. This was the real deal – a confusing, painful, and scary one at that. Reluctantly, I came to terms with the grim reality of his diagnosis. I knew that acceptance was half the battle one “won.”   After a year of several rounds of grueling treatment his cancer went away. My husband was a comedian and a musician, and I have many fond memories of his entertaining ways.  Sweet bliss or so I thought.  In 2013 cancer came back, and I became my husband’s caregiver for the second time.  His cancer returned aggressively and unyielding to treatment.

Promise Me You Will Talk About Cancer

My late husband was also very pragmatic. With the cancer steadily progressing he implored me to tell his cancer story directly or indirectly.  Carol, he said, I am not going to recover this time. Promise me you will use your gift as an actress to raise awareness about cancer. It does not matter what type it is.  Speak about it.  Encourage other people to seek medical help early, adhere to treatment, and most importantly give hope. Yes, I said, I promise, not knowing when or how I would. In 2016, 2 years and 7 months after his cancer returned my beloved husband, friend, and father of my 3 boys passed on.

Fulfilling My Promise

Last year out of the blues I received a call from a friend that I had been shortlisted to play a in a radio drama project by the Zambian Cancer Society.  I did not think much about it until I read the script.  I cried happy tears as I knew that this was the golden opportunity for me to fulfill my promise to my husband.  I play the role of Happy aka bana Bwembya, a retired middle-aged soft-spoken wife and mother who is diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.  I live with my bossy mother, proud husband, and 3 children.  I immersed myself in this role by recalling my experience as my husband’s caregiver.  I would sometimes become so emotional that I would hastily retreat to the bathroom to cry and when done, put on my trusted face powder!  Nonetheless, I prevailed with so much gratitude.

I feel very privileged to be a part of Zambia’s first drama series on breast cancer.  Beyond fulfilling my late husband’s wish, Tisamala has given me something else- the opportunity to become a cancer activist and give hope and healing to others affected by cancer.


Tisamala is 13 episode drama launching on Radio Christian Voice and the Zambian Cancer Society’s podcast on Saturday, 4th July 2020 from 13:30 hrs to 14:00 hrs.  For further information about the Society’s other activities and advertising opportunities inbox or call Idah on 0966 824 027.

Tisamala has been made possible through the support of the Ministry of Health, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and Pfizer Oncology.

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