Five questions for Black History Month: Sophilia Matengenzara

Rounding off this year’s Black History Month 5 Questions challenge is Sophilia from University of Hertfordshire UNISON.

Here’s what she has to say.

Who are you?

Sophilia Matengenzara, Black members officer and rep, University of Hertfordshire branch.

Why is Black History Month important to you?

It is important because it provides me with an opportunity to reflect on the history of Black people and the injustices they suffered during slavery but also to celebrate their achievements and contributions to development of the world and humankind despite all the suffering they endured.

What’s your proudest achievement in UNISON?

Being elected as a Black members officer for my branch and I am currently working with the equality, diversity and inclusion team with the aim of having our university sign up to UNISON’s Anti-Racism Charter.

Who’s your inspiration/role model?

Nelson Mandela is my role model.

He fought against apartheid, which perpetuated injustices, prejudice, and inhumane treatment of Black people in South Africa.

He was imprisoned for 27 years, enduring solitary confinement, physical and emotional torture, and all forms of inhumane treatment, but he stood firm and resolute in his beliefs of equality and justice to all.

He negotiated with the government to end apartheid, fought for peace and equality, and was South Africa’s first Black president. His fight for justice and equality inspires me.

Why did you get involved in UNISON?

I joined UNISON to help and support individuals who are having issues in their workplaces, and I am passionate about improving equality within our institution.