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with Melania Chiponda, Chiadzwa Community Development Trust
January 18, 2012
Full interview with Melania Chiponda - Read
yourself in five words
I'm a person who fights for what I believe in.
the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Keep on keeping on.
the most ridiculous thing you've ever done?
For the interview for my first job, they asked me to describe myself.
I said things that I don't want to repeat. Now I think, ‘What
was I thinking?!'
Did you get the job?
I did, surprisingly!
is your most treasured possession?
One thing I treasure most about myself is that I say things
as they are. I don't understand why people want to call a
spade a club.
do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
When I'm not allowed to express myself.
have any strange hobbies?
I enjoy talking to rural women. They are very authentic in who they
What have you learnt from the women you've spoken to?
Most of the
women I've spoken to seem to be ok with things that I personally
wouldn't be happy about. I wouldn't sleep if there were
an injustice against me. But they are at peace with that. I'm
not sure if that's a strength of a weakness.
do you dislike most about your appearance?
Sometimes I open my eyes very wide.
is your greatest extravagance?
I spend a lot on laptops.
do you have in your fridge?
There are plenty of vegetables and fruits. I'm doing a health
reform programme for myself. I only buy meat when I need it now.
is your greatest fear?
I'm afraid for my daughter. She's very quiet, not like
me. I worry that people can toss her around. Like now she's
at boarding school. I don't want people to take advantage
of her. I don't worry about my son. The world is not so cruel
for men, but for women it can be so, so cruel.
have you got in your pockets right now?
I don't have pockets, but in my bag, I have a cell phone,
a pen, a handkerchief, spray, lotion and a diary.
is your favourite journey?
When I used to work for the government some colleagues and I would
organise a bus to go down to South Africa to shop. The trip was
exciting because we'd get a chance to talk and express ourselves.
It was de-stressing.
are your heroes in real life?
My mother. Not just because she's my mother. In 1980 she went
back to school. She used to tell us how bright she was at school,
but they only chose two girls from her school to proceed on to high
school. So in 1980, when the government said anyone who wanted to
could further their education, she did. She eventually became a
lecturer at Kwekwe Technical College and from there she joined industry.
All of this with six children. So my mother is my hero.
and where were you happiest?
When I gave birth to my first child. Believe me, it was love at
is your biggest vice?
When I set my mind to do something I do it. Even if people tell
me not to do it, I'll always find a way.
were you like at school?
I was a bully, but not a physical one. I could really bully people
by talking. I think it was a defence mechanism because I was so
small and I didn't want other people to pick on me.
are you doing next?
I'm studying gender with Women's University and I want
to pursue a doctorate in Gender studies.
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