A Zimbabwean-born scholar, Tererai Trent has been honoured with a life-size statue in New York alongside other celebrities for their work in championing gender equality.
Trent joins media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Hollywood star Nicole Kidman, Olympian Gabby Douglas and Author Cheryl Strayed in the Statues for Equality exhibit which was unveiled this Monday outside Rockefeller Centre in New York.
The exhibit was developed by husband and wife team Gillie and Marc Schattner.
The couple said the installations of inspirational women are an attempt to balance gender representation in public art.
She taught herself to read from her brother’s schoolbooks and now she is among several prominent women being immortalised in bronze as part of an effort to balance gender representation in art.
Trent was kept out of school for most of her childhood because of poverty and being a female but she taught herself how to read and write while living with her parents in rural Zimbabwe.
“There were so many things that shaped the denial of education for women like me – poverty being one of them, and the colonial system that never valued education,” said Trent.
She noticed a key divide from early on growing up in rural Rhodesia now called Zimbabwe.
“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 told the BBC.
She relocated to the US in 1998 after she was discovered by an American non-profit making organisation that visited her village.
Trent has since achieved her dreams of getting a masters and a doctorate degree.