It is rare for an African to be honoured outside of the continent.

When the news broke that Tererai Trent, the Zimbabwean scholar, had her statue erected at the Rockefeller Plaza in New York city. The statue of the African was erected alongside that of the media icon Oprah Winfrey in recognition of her humanitarian efforts, especially in the field of education.

Trent quest to be educated led her to self-taught herself to read and write. Like in most African culture, she was not destined to be educated, her father would rather give such opportunity to the brothers. But Trent was determined and went on to earn her PhD in the US, where she is now a teaching professor in health at Drexel University.

“There were so many things that shaped the denial of education for young women like me – poverty being one of them, and the colonial system that never valued education, in the whole village, only men could read and count, and the majority of women could not. And yet some of these were brilliant women,” Trent said in one interview.

Through her foundation, Tererai Trent International, she has built several schools in Zimbabwe, empowering the girl-child to get education. Oprah Winfrey was so impressed with her work she invited her to her TV programme where Trent was surprised with a cheque of one million dollars.

Oyinye George