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Inside/Out with women's rights activist Rita Nyamupinga
March 20, 2012

Full interview with Rita Nyamupinga - Read and listen

Describe yourself in five words.
I'm a social, economic justice and women's rights activist. I'm passionate about women's issues.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
When I was asked could you take care of your children? These children are part of you and they will always need you.

What's the most ridiculous thing you've ever done?
I can't remember.

What is your most treasured possession?
My children. I have five children, vakura. They are all grown up.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
It was losing my father in 1996. It really affected me a lot. I had lost my mother earlier and became very close to him. When he died I felt the walls and earth crumbling in on me.

Do you have any strange hobbies?
I do have some strange habits. When I get home I leave my bag and shoes in the lounge. Then I take the newspaper or any other reading material and take it to my room and start reading.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I hate the weight. I used to be a model, and used to appear on billboards and what have you. So now I'm trying to get used to it, but there are times I feel I am over weight. I hate my teeth too. There's one long one.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Hembe (clothing). I've got so many. Some I don't even wear. I just buy just to have it. And of late jewellery.

What do you have in your fridge?
Plenty of water and chicken. I'm trying to get rid of red meat.

What is your greatest fear?
Losing, that's why I could never be a politician.

What have you got in your pockets right now?
I've only got R4 to take me back home.

What is your favourite journey?
When I went to the Amazon in 2009 for the World Social Forum. I loved it! Oh wow!

Who are your heroes in real life?
My parents. They never went to school and were self taught and so successful in their lives. They managed to send me and my siblings to boarding schools. My mother could read the Bible. My Father could speak English, repair bicycles and do so many things.

When and where were you happiest?
After my last born child because I had no other problems. I was just looking after the children and enjoying watching them grow up. Then I got full time into activism. It was now my time. I didn't enjoy my girlhood very much.

Interviewer: Why?

You know kudhara what was happening was that it was like an achievement to get married. We were focussed on being housewives. So whatever happened in the marriage was your greatest achievement.

What is your biggest vice?
Failing to manage my time. At times I get carried away.

What were you like at school?
I was very bright. I remember winning so many prizes but then I didn't value them. I was a very good swimmer; I also won several trophies and awards for swimming.

What are you doing next?
I want to see this project growing; maybe it will take me into my retirement.

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