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Inside/Out with Primrose Matambanadzo, human rights activist
July 29, 2009

This is an Inzwa feature. Find out more

Read our interview with Primrose Matambanadzo

Describe yourself in five words?
Loud. Confident. Terrible with strangers. Feminist. Loving.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
To speak out loud. I mumbled as a child and my mother always hammered me to speak out loud and to pronounce my words. I think that's the best advice I've ever received.

What's the most ridiculous thing you've ever done?
Drinking alcohol when I was thirteen.

What is your most treasured possession?
My mind. I hope I don't lose it. It really is all that's mine.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
I think to just have no one. To have no family, to have no friends. The people that I've seen most miserable have no one they can count on or engage with. You can do without stuff I think; I always say stuff is stuff. At the end of the day it's going to be hard but you can do without stuff. But you need somebody; you need people.

Do you have any strange hobbies?
I don't have any strange hobbies. I just have hobbies.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
Nothing. I don't really dislike anything at all.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Food. I love to cook. So I like to buy things according to the recipe book if I'm making something fancy and I spend far too much money on it and I know it but I really like it when what I've made looks exactly like the picture in the recipe book.

What have you got in your fridge?
I've got a beef and vegetable soup that I made and it also looks just like the recipe book.

What is your greatest fear?
Losing my mother.

What have you got in your pockets right now?
I've got some coins and some tissue paper.

What is your favourite journey?
I love to go home.

Who are your heroes in real life?
One of my heroes is Jestina Mukoko. I think that after what she went through, she's just carrying on with such grace. If you're going to look for a victim mentality in her you're never going to find it. I just find her so inspiring. I do have people within my work in human rights that have taught me so much. People look after each other a lot; in terms of someone who will give you some advice. Not because they need to but because they just see something and they think she could probably use some advice saying that this is a better way to go or to do. And people, who've said to me, look and try and see some potential in someone. Those people are my heroes as well.

When and where were you happiest?
I think my early twenties, and I was here in Harare, living in Highfield. And they were fun. I had a bunch of friends, we were carefree, and we were like ‘you know we're young and we can do it again tomorrow.' I didn't know at the time that we were having that much fun. Because I look at the sort of lives people lived in that same time frame, and I'm like ‘wow we had a lot of fun.'

What is your biggest vice?
I'm really impatient. So I can be impatient with people. Even if someone is going through a thought and is trying to tell me something, I'm going ‘well hurry up! What's your point?' that can be really rude. It's a bad vice because I don't realise I'm doing it until I've already done it.

What were you like at school?
I was carefree. I wasn't trying to get the best grades in class. I knew I could do relatively well without trying too hard, and now maybe I should have tried to go for number one, because who knows maybe I could have been first.

What are you doing next?
I don't know what I'm going to be doing in the next five years. What I know is that I'm going to study next year. I'm going to be doing a Masters in Public Health, and I know that I want to work in health. I don't know exactly what it will be like. I don't know if it will be in Human Rights per se, where it will be, but I know that my area of specific interest is health.

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