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Inside/Out with Juliet Gwenzi, meteorologist and physics lecturer
April 26, 2012

Read the full interview with Juliet Gwenzi

Describe yourself in five words.
Self-starter, innovative, hardworking, quiet.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Even as a girl, there is nothing that can limit you as long as you remain focussed and you know where you want to get to, and you make sure that you have the right kind of friends who influence you on the positive things.

What is your most treasured possession?
Knowing the Lord because that has helped me to be what I am today.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
It's when you allow yourself to be looked down upon and you develop an inferiority complex and you think that there is nothing that you can really do in life. At the end of the day, you just look at yourself as a loser every time and there is nothing to look forward to in life.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?
I'm an avid reader and also like knitting, sewing, baking . . . yeah, for now, because others, as you become a mother just fall away. And I also enjoy having time with friends and relatives.

What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear as a mother is having gone this far that I'd find my kids failing to make it in life.

What is your favourite journey?
Travelling with family, the whole family, and just having time out together. I like home. I like Zimbabwe.

When and where were you happiest?
I would say I was happiest when I discovered that I had gotten a scholarship to go and study for my MSU, when I least expected it. Because when I applied I said "its just killing time". But when I discovered it I was just so happy. And more so to say it was my first time to apply when others had applied three or four times and been rejected every time.

What were you like at school?
I was the kind of person who was very quiet, especially at high school. Even here (at University of Zimbabwe), I rarely talked to people. Somehow I just had this fear in me of talking, so I was quiet most of the time. Such that, even people who see me today, will be quite surprised to see a great change!

What is your biggest vice?
When I get annoyed or angry, I don't want to talk. I just want to do things on my own, even at home. So, I won't ask you to help me in anything. I will do it quietly and accomplish things on my own. And I don't talk. And when asked anything I will just give one-word answers.

What is your greatest extravagance?
My father was a no-nonsense man. He was also taking care of a lot of others, vazukuru and the like. So we were taught that whatever you have you had to learn to share. And even as I speak right now, I have got a lot of people that come to my house - others who are staying there from my husband's side. So I have learned to live with that. And every time I have travelled, my husband says, "What did you buy yourself?" I don't have anything for myself, but always thinking about others. Probably in terms of time I would look at it and say the time that was spent so much on travelling on work missions, sometimes when the family really required me at home.

What are your goals for the next 5 years?
I'm looking forward to having finished my PhD.

What does International Women's Day mean to you?
To me, I see it as a day when women should recognize that we are past the time when we look down upon ourselves, but it's time to stand up and be counted. And show what it is that we are able to achieve, not just by mere words, but it should be seen in reality. And also show that we can match with men, when it comes to work, and that should be on merit. Not that we are saying we are regarded as the weaker side, so we should be given preferential treatment. No! It's high time we stand up and say we have something to show, something that is tangible.

What did you do to celebrate International Women's Day?
I was just with a lot of work. As I told you, I started on my PhD. So if I have accomplished all these other things, then I'm thinking, "What else should I do?", because we are racing against time. And with that in mind we are also saying, as a woman, I am saying I should stand up tomorrow and be counted, so I have to be doing something that will show that I want to be counted again in the future.

Why do you think you were nominated by members of the Kubatana community to be interviewed for International Women's Day?
You know, I was quite surprised because it's something that I least thought about, to say that someone would think of me, especially along those lines. What I have also realised is when you interact with people there is something that you impart to people. So I would say, there is something that other people saw which I didn't think I have, that they thought it was worthwhile. All I realise is, I am the only lady lecturer in the physics department. So, many a time you feel lonely, but you are saying, "How do I lure more women, so that we are also counted?"

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