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Inside/out with human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa
July 10, 2009

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Describe yourself in five words.
Determined. Passionate. Very calm. Completely disorganized and with a big heart.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
My grandmother always said that you chart your own life. People say the sky is the limit, actually it isn't. I think she was a wonderful woman. Her attitude was there are no limits around you, if you think of limits, you are stopping yourself from what you want to do or what you want to be. Listen

What's the most ridiculous thing you've ever done?
Taking out the air from my father's car when I was about thirteen. He had beaten me up, so I woke up in the night and took out all the air from his tires.

What is your most treasured possession?
My children, they wouldn't like me to say they are possessions but they are the best thing that ever happened to me.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Having no choices in life. When you are in a position where you are completely stuck with no choice. You might be very rich, but, where you really cannot chart your own path and you have no choice, I would say that is truly miserable regardless of your financial standing etc.

Do you have any strange hobbies?
I love dancing!

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
You know, as you grow older you accept things that you can't change about yourself, [but] I wish I had a bit more height. But really I could have been worse. I've come to accept that this is me, and it's easier to like me than to dislike something about myself.

What is your greatest extravagance?
I love shoes! I buy shoes when I like them, I'm not into brands or anything, but if I see it and I like it whether it's a zhing-zhong or not, then I'll buy it.

What have you got in your fridge?
I love derere, so I do have a packet of derere, which I eat at least once a week.

What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is basically what would happen to my kids if I just dropped dead, I guess that's every parent's greatest fear.

What have you got in your pockets?
Fortunately I have no pockets.

What is your favourite journey?
I like driving, going on long drives, it's just that I don't have time. Going out of the city, somewhere peaceful.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My grandmother. I don't think there is anybody who can beat my grandmother, she was a rural uneducated woman with very little but she brought us up with values that were way ahead of her time. And she will for me, be my greatest hero ever.

When and where were you happiest?
Absolutely when I was at college. Best years of my life.

What's your biggest vice?
I've got so many . . . You don't want to know my vices, we are not going there . . . I've got lots of them but you're not getting them!

What were you like at school?
I was bad news. I was expelled twice. And although my mother knew about it my father never knew because we got someone to come and pretend to be my father . . . I was at an Anglican school and I think the nuns were happy to see the back of me because I hated authority, completely, still do. I was just so anti-establishment, anti-authority.

What are you doing next?
I just do a whole lot of what I do everyday really. Divorce, divorce, divorce, divorce. That's how I survive, a lot of family law matters.

Audio File

  • Advice
    Language: English
    Duration: 37sec
    Date: July 09, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 578KB

  • Grandmother
    Language: English
    Duration: 44sec
    Date: July 09, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 688KB

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