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Success Story: the Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe is a former Turin Centre participant

Ms Thokozani Khupe is Zimbabwe’s first-ever female Deputy Prime Minister. She is also the first female Vice-President from the Zimbabwe Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Khupe has been a determined unionist whose career in the labour movement spans 25 years.  As a trade unionist, Thokozani Khupe served in the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Railway Union (ZARU) and as Secretary of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Women’s Advisory Council, when she was also one of its General Council members.

She also played a pivotal role in the creation of the MDC, with whom she was elected to Parliament.

She is engaged in a number of social issues that affect people in Zimbabwe.  As part of the Government of National Unity, Khupe has a chance to set out her vision for the country’s economy.  She is highly committed to the work she is doing for her nation. “I believe in the work we do together [with her team]. I thank the nation for investing their trust and confidence in me, and together we will rally the people for a new Zimbabwe,” she said in her speech when appointed Deputy Prime Minister.

Khupe told of her passion to help the nation fulfil its vision, especially the women, whose heroism remains unsung and unnoticed.  Since 2000, she has also been deputy chairperson of the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus, and she has recently been appointed Humanitarian Coordinator.

As part of Government's efforts to empower women, her Office is working with banks on a facility to finance women's business ventures.  During the recent launch of the Women's Charter in Harare, Khupe spoke about a project that would enable women to acquire working capital from financial institutions. "I am glad to announce that my office is making frantic efforts to establish a way to finance women doing business and those who intend to in the country," she said.

Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe has also challenged policymakers to recognize women's role in economic development and move away from the patriarchal habit of looking at them as mere housewives.  She urged women to take advantage of the ongoing constitution-making process to aggressively advocate appropriate policies regarding their access to land and the provision of farming inputs.

We are proud she was awarded a Turin Centre certificate in information technology at the Centre in 1999, and that we can count among our participants a woman of substance, from whom many young women can draw inspiration.

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