My name is Barbara Rwodzi an executive businesswoman in the fashion and textile industry. I am passionate about fashion and the marginalized women empowerment and as such my business is a synchrony of fashion and rural women empowerment through handmade knitwear that we manufacture and export to different countries especially in Europe, America and Canada.In April 2009 I joined PROWEB after reading their article advertising the visit of a powerful South African Businesswomen delegation. Because amongst the delegation there was one of the women that inspires me in the world apart from Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Dalai Lama, Diane Von Furstenberg and many more especially fashion designers. She was none other than Basetsene Khumalo and most of you ladies will agree with me that Basetsane is such an inspiration. Because of her coming to Harare, I quickly went and joined PROWEB through a friend who introduced me to Florence Ziumbe. To be honest and precise I only joined the organization because of the coming of Basetsane because I am one person who has always been a critic of these women organizations in our country.
After that conference I never made a follow up on PROWEB activities since I had accomplished my mission of seeing Basetsane at close range. Mails for other functions and notice of payments of membership would be send to me more than three times a week, but I just did not even have time to read one and not bother to pay for my membership. Sometime end of 2009 I received a phone call from Sandra who was a co-coordinator of the PROWEB first magazine and she wanted me to send her my profile and picture. For almost two to three months Sandra was calling me on weekly bases reminding me and for sure, I have never been nagged, she was such a nag. One day I fell short of asking her why she was on my case and if I was the only member there but ironically and thank God I tried to be as professional as I could, I just asked what were the benefits of being in that magazine and excuse me it was not making any good business sense to me.
Actually I thought it was for people who just wanted to show off because after attending the conference and felt so backwards I got engulfed into this inferiority complex and concluded that all the ladies who started PROWEB were a bunch of women who think they are all that in Harare. Women who think they are educated and smart enough to exploit other women (I am really sorry ladies). Fate be with it, on the last day of submission of the profiles, Sandra called me again begging me to bring my profile. I pulled a copy of a profile that I had submitted to the bank for a loan application and drove to the PROWEB offices and gave her. She then said, “one last thing Barbara, you didn’t bring your picture, please may I have one, I just need a passport photo size”. God, I was rushing for a meeting that was starting in 15.