Margaret Buter is a history-maker, author, conservationist and ex-Councillor of North Richmond Ward. With close family ties to the Chiefs in Muchinga, Luapula and Northern Province of Zambia, her ancestor King Mukulumpe was the last recorded King of the Luba Empire. Liza Veta met with Margeret and found out its not always the men who hinder strong women fighting to fulfil their destiny.
Why did you choose to be in politics?
Leadership is in my blood. I come from a family of leaders in various fields and pioneers.
My mother was a Diplomat. She studied in many learning institutions around the world including Oxford University. She went back to Lusaka, Zambia and pioneered the Diplomatic school more than 25 years ago.
I have been local Councillor in Richmond for the last four years. I was proud as a woman to be the first Zambian in the British political system.
You use an expression ‘When you don’t ask, you don’t get”. What does it exactly mean for you?
A good friend of mine, a barrister, said to me, “Margaret when you got into politics you asked a question.” That statement captured my imagination. I looked up from what I was doing, fully intrigued, my mind racing with thought provoking answers from a series of questions.
When I applied to be a candidate Councillor for the Tories in Richmond, a woman, born in Zambia, I was asking the question, would politics take me into its fold, embrace me, romance me? In an arena where literally survival of the fittest applies, would the question asked come back unfulfilled when daring to become a leader in a field dominated by men and being at the mercy of the electorate hoping they will see beyond colour, creed or gender.
What is the most difficult thing you ever faced as a woman in politics?
Other women. That was the most shocking awakening experience to come to the realisation no matter who you are or where you come from, women can be the hindrance to fulfilling destiny if you let them.
It was very difficult to ignore the emotions and negativity portrayed by some. At the same time, others, especially the younger generation of women who were aspiring for success fully embraced what I had achieved.
I was lucky to have been mentored in one sitting by a Baroness at her mansion in Richmond just when I was elected. She told me not to focus on the negative emotions that would come from people but to focus on myself, the people whom I would serve in my community, and the powerful incredible people I would meet.
What makes you who you are?
I love being a woman. I love my skin colour, and I look after myself. I totally enjoy when both women and teenage girls tell me, “You are beautiful!” Such amazing compliments from random strangers make me happy to see political correctness has not stopped people from expressing their humanity.
Of course I do get compliments from the opposite sex as well, but because of my experience of the negative side of some women in politics, the compliments from females are quite powerful.
What are your ambitions going further?
I have introduced and pioneered free iDEA awards (HRH The Duke of York digital skills) at a school in Lusaka, Zambia with more to come. This will be in rural schools, and rural community centres as well when we get donations for computers through my Luba Foundation.
I love wildlife Conservation and the Environment. It is fascinating to see that most of the iconic species in the world are in Africa.
With my contribution, I aim to save my heritage and a lot of these species from extinction. I am also an author and will continue to write books. I want to further explore my royal lineage of the former Luba and Lunda Empires in Africa.