Candy Msweli was the first Swazi female to join the British Army and is now in her 17th year of service. She’s married to Brian, a former soldier, and they have five children – Jaheim (18), Eliova (17), Gabriel (14), Taddeo (12) and Tirzah (4)…

I joined the army as a chef in 2005 and in 2015 I transferred to the Adjutant General’s Corps. I’m currently with 5 Regiment Army Air Corps in Northern Ireland.

Army life is about being part of a great community as you move around to various places meeting new people, making friends, and learning new cultures.

When I transferred to the AGC, I was able to pursue my dream of becoming an accountant. In 2017 when I was pregnant with my last-born, Tirzah, I enrolled at the University of Ulster. Crazy right? I’m a person who likes a challenge!

I had my baby prematurely (a month early) but I was back in class after two weeks – full-time work, mother and wife. It was challenging but doable and it was the main goal at the end that kept me going. In July last year I graduated with a degree and I’m now pursuing my Chartered Institute of Management Accountants qualification.

Dealing with distance

My family cope well with the challenges of army life. During the time when myself and Brian were both serving it was more difficult – he would come home from exercise or tour and I would be going out of the door to deploy. Living far away from my family and my three elder children in Swaziland has been the toughest call. Northern Ireland has become my home for the past seven years and it has won our hearts. I see it being the best place for us to settle in the future – it’s a great country.

Sound advice

As a recent graduate, I’d encourage other mothers and spouses to not be afraid of taking on a challenge, especially in developing themselves. Life gets busy, but don’t ever forget about pursuing your own dream whilst supporting your soldier.

To my fellow service personnel, I’d say grab the opportunities while you’re still serving. The army has a lot to offer and it’s up to you to take it on.

To my Commonwealth brothers and sisters, I say always work hard. Everything is possible if you put in the effort towards it.

Main photo: Left to right: Jaheim, Gabriel, Brian, Candy, Eliova, Kwanele (nephew), Tirzah at the front and Taddeo inset

Whatever your relationship to your soldier, we’d love to hear about your army family. Email and follow @ArmyandYou for more stories

Related Posts