Sibongile Mujuruki – Zimbabwe

Sibongile Mujuruki – Zimbabwe


Date: August 3, 2015
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I got involved in gender solely because of my background

Sibongile Mujuruki is the Director of Housing with Karoi Town Council. She began her career in the Ministry of Education before being employed by the Ministry of Local Government in 1997 where she joined Kadoma City Council as a Committees Services Officer. She moved from Kadoma to work at the Mudzi Rural District Council as the Executive Officer Human Resources. She possesses a degree in sociology from the University of Zimbabwe. She is currently studying for a master’s degree in strategic management which she has almost completed.

“I got involved in gender solely because it stemmed from my background,” says Sibongile. She states that in 2001 she was widowed. From the moment she became a widow she faced a lot of challenges with her in-laws. It is during this period that she says she realised that a lot of women faced similar challenges. She realised it was time to stand up for her rights during that trying period. “You need to stand up and fight for yourself,” she reiterated.

Sibongile says she was reminded of these trying times when she was working at Mudzi Rural District Council. The position of Human Resources Executive Officer was viewed as a man’s job thus it was very queer for a woman of her stature to be seen occupying that position. She faced a lot of resistance from other employees, especially men, and the community who simply thought she did not warrant the position, yet she was qualified to occupy that position.

As fate would have it Sibongile left Mudzi Rural District Council for her current workplace, and so the old adage “history has a way of repeating itself” is true. At Karoi Town Council she was and is still the only female manager. She indicated that she faced the same challenges that she had first encountered when she was at Mudzi Rural District Council. Other employees were resistant to her as a manager, as were the community, because they were so used to working with men. Despite the resistance she was resolute.

She recalls the days that the Town Secretary would leave his office. At first he would appoint every other manager except her to act on his behalf. This has since changed as she has now assumed the role of Acting Town Secretary when the Secretary is not in the office. She states that the community is now very appreciative of her efforts, unlike their initial treatment of her. “It seems mind-sets and perceptions have changed,” she reiterated.

Speaking on the recently published statistics on the status of women in local government which have declined from 18% to 16%, she said that there was a need for programmes that educate women in the community. She stated that there were many able, educated women in the community but they thought that they could not work for councils. In regards to how she is managing the politics in local government she stated that she had taken heed of the Permanent Secretary of Local Government’s advice in which he said, “When you join local authorities do not stay too close to politics, it will swallow you and do not stay too far because it will follow you.” “It essentially taught us to be neutral and that has kept me going in this field”, Sibongile said.

Sibongile says that the sky is the limit in the foreseeable future. She says she has been talking to other gender focal persons who have improved themselves. It is time she undertook further studies to attain a doctorate.

 


2 thoughts on “Sibongile Mujuruki – Zimbabwe”

Malvin says:

It’s so inspiring keep all the good work, our town need women like you in oder to succeed, there is need for you to hold inspirational talks so that you reach more women in our community some of them barely use the Internet to access such information yet they need such inspiration to succeed.

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