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Inside/Out with Stembile Mpofu, Director CCMT
October 25, 2010

Full interview with Stembile Mpofu

Describe yourself in five words?
Disorganised, passionate, focused in some areas. I'm very willing to learn and I really enjoy connecting with people.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
That I should always respect people. It doesn't matter who he or she is or what they're doing in life, but I should always have respect every person that I meet.

What's the most ridiculous thing you've ever done?
When I was in university one of my student friends owed me some money. He wouldn't give it back, even though I knew he had money. So I put a notice on the notice board giving him a deadline. I got my money back before the end of that day.

What is your most treasured possession?
My family. I really value the love and the connection with my husband and my kids.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
I listen to a lot of Nina Simone; my office mates think it's strange.

Do you have any strange hobbies?
I love to shop for baby clothes.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I've got a small head. I call it a peanut head. My husband has a good laugh about that.

What is your greatest extravagance?
I bought a pair of tortoises, which I couldn't afford; they're carved in hardwood. They're really beautiful.

What have you got in your fridge?
Yoghurt, cooked chibage, some fruit, and veggies and there's some beers and some fruit juice.

What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is fear itself. I think it was Oscar Wilde who said ‘the worst things in my life never happened'. I am working on trying to live without fear because then you worry about what hasn't happened, you don't enjoy where you are in the moment.

What have you got in your pockets right now?
A little bit of money, my phone, a pen, some lip balm and some wet wipes.

What is your favourite journey?
One of the things that I've found most fulfilling in terms of my own person development is the journey into self, reflecting, trying to understand who I am, my responses to certain situations. Trying to be as honest with myself as much as possible. And just to check in with what it is I actually believe.

Who are your heroes in real life?
I have a lot of admiration for my mother. She's a very strong woman, very determined and focused. I also admire my father. He's a very principled person; he values communities and relationships and values people. CCMT has a board member Mrs. Kachingwe, one of the first black women at the university. As I've gotten to know her better through our work I have come to admire who she is and what she stands for. She's a very humble person. She remains connected to who she is, but also very intelligent, and very astute in terms of operating at very high levels.

When and where were you happiest?
I'm happiest now. And I think it's not so much about what I have around me, but maybe it's in terms of my own perspective. For a person to be happy its how you decide to perceive what is outside of yourself. You know the thing about the glass being half full or half empty. It's about how you see things and interpret things around you. I feel blessed in terms of my family and work and the opportunities that have been presented to me.

What were you like at school?
I was a comedian. Not very serious. I think I don't function best within a formal academic environment, I prefer a practical environment. I was very much into speech and drama, debating, that sort of thing. I had lots of fun with my friends. I enjoyed my school days.

What are you doing next?
I don't know. I would like to make a positive contribution to the rebuilding of this country in whatever way I can. To concentrate on the little things. Very often we want to do the big things, but it's the little things that count and lead towards the big things happening. I don't know what opportunities will present to make that contribution, but I would like to do that because I think we have a wonderful country with wonderful people and I'd really like my children to be able to live here.

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