TWSC Submission: How Discrimination Nearly Derailed My Success

My name is Tanunurwa Wellwisher Mangava. I am a married mother of two children. I live in Harare, Zimbabwe in a house which my husband and I built.

I am a full-time editor at Zimbabwe Open University (same grade as lecturer).  I am also a part-time tutor at the same institution.  I am a counsellor on a part-time basis and I am the leader of the Social Welfare Committee of Budiriro North AFM Church Assembly.

I started work as a copy typist at the University of Zimbabwe and was promoted to the post of secretary in the public law department in 1990.  I was then further promoted in 1995 to the post of senior secretary at the University of Zimbabwe Centre for Distance Education, Bulawayo region, which later became Zimbabwe Open University in 1999.

I was only promoted to the post of chief secretary in 2008 because such a post was not yet open in the region.

I was subjected to tribalism but overcame that by praying and aiming to achieve my goals. I would be ill-treated and scolded like a child in-front of everyone and it made me feel so inferior.

One time during a meeting as I was also contributing my idea to the members present I was told that my contribution was useless and I almost thought of quitting my job because I felt unwanted.

I was removed from my office where I was chief secretary. The most painful part was that in my place, they put someone new who had no qualifications and was trained by me. I was made to share an office with other employees and I had no one to share my problems with at work.

I wrote a complaint letter to management and it was ignored. So other incidences which happened after, I kept them to myself because I was now afraid of losing my job. I told myself I was better off being taken for granted and getting my salary at the end of the month since I am a mother and
had so many responsibilities.

I managed to encourage myself not to give up by studying further. I graduated with my first degree in counselling in 2007 then I received my master’s in counselling in 2011. I couldn’t get a promotion even when I had finished my master’s.

They would select people with lower qualifications and leave me out several times.  I almost resigned to go and work outside the country where there were better offers, but something inside me told me I was too patriotic to do that.

Tanunurwa Mangava

I, however, was a part-time tutor from 2008 and I enjoyed teaching. Students would excel in the subjects I was teaching.  This consoled me about my lack of promotion.  I was finally promoted to the post of editor of social sciences in the Materials Development unit in 2015.  My salary tripled and I went four grades higher from the post of chief secretary. 

I balance all these roles by waking up earlier. Most of the time, I am up by 4 a.m. I entertain myself through church functions like kitchen teas, couples’ meetings and other social gatherings.  I make sure that I am always there when my husband needs me and if something has held me up, I try and compensate as much as possible during our free time. 

I attend all school functions where my children are involved and I spend quality time with both of them. I use my counselling skills for their transition from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. I am now studying towards a Doctor of Philosophy in counselling with Zimbabwe Open University. 

My advice to other ladies is that they should never give up in life. I felt the urge to quit because I was not being recognized at work even though I worked so hard. I would train new staff and they would get promoted instead. I have come to realize that when the time is right, God will definitely make it happen for you.

Tanunurwa Madava

Women should work hard when given the opportunity and always be there for their families because the family is the ultimate zone where your success is shown. I never thought that I would ever own a house let alone two houses. Every successful person has a painful story. Accept the pain and get ready for success.


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