Opata was born in a small island called Malongwe where people survived by fishing and cattle keeping. This was done on a small scale due to lack of enough land for grazing.
The young Opata was the first born in a family of four and the only boy at home.
Young boys would start fishing as early as 10 years of age. This was to add-on to their father’s catch and start making their careers as early as possible.
Boys would go at night with their fathers to lay the nets into the lake for the following day’s meals and sell the remaining fish.
The boys were obliged to go fishing alone or in a group when necessary.
But Opata had a serious problem. He feared the darkness and often, he dodged going to the lake and instead stayed behind sleeping.
Opata’s cowardice annoyed his father so much because he wanted his son to be a strong and hard working man who would support his family when he grew up.
One day his father fell terribly ill that he could not go fishing.
So he decided to send his son along with other fishermen so that he could bring fish for dinner at home.
The night fishermen would gather at midnight at the village primary school which was one kilometer from Opata’s home.
The fearful boy never imagined walking that distance alone at night. So he opted to stay at home and sleep. The next day until his father recovered, they never ate food.
When his father recovered, he decided to teach Opata a lesson that made him never to be afraid of the dark.
One late evening he sent him to the shop to buy paraffin. By the time the boy returned, his father had locked the house and everybody was asleep.
It was so dark outside that he could not go to the closest neighbours’ house.
Opata spent the entire night outside and nothing happened to him. The following day his father tricked him and he again slept outside. Again nothing happened to him.
He then realised that his fear of the night was useless. From that day on, Opata was brave and his father was proud of him. Opata becomes brave.