Ntombizodwa Sibanda and Bonnie Chimanikire recently hosted a successful high tea event in Harare, Zimbabwe. The High Tea concept is an initiative that was co-founded by the two ladies, Ntombizodwa and Bonnie. They wanted the event to be an afternoon of encouragement, pampering and positive interaction for women.
SLA contributor Makhosazana Ndlovu recently caught up with Ntombizodwa to learn more about the concept and discover their secrets to running a successful event.
What inspired you to start The High Tea initiative?
My partner, Bonnie and I had successfully run a campaign to assist displaced xenophobic victims in the Germiston area. After the campaign, Bonnie approached me about her vision to host a women-focused event.
We agreed that we wanted the event not only to be informative, but to be an afternoon of encouragement, pampering, and positive interaction of women, which is contrary to the general negative narrative of the interaction of women.
Empowerment, fashion, food. Why these themes specifically?
Our ultimate goal is to holistically fulfil our guests. Our guests are encouraged to dress to the nines, we ensure that our menu and refreshments are fit for the palate of queens and carefully select our speakers with a simple mandate to encourage our women. No woman can ever get enough of these themes.
How did you deal with the challenges that you faced when you first introduced the initiative?
Determination: We knew what we wanted. We knew what had to be done to achieve it, and we set out to do it. Most importantly, we were prepared for the worst; which was very low numbers. But we knew that if we succeeded in executing the first one, we would have the most effective publicity (word of mouth) going forward.
Support structure: We had friends and family who stood by us and gave us the necessary support and advice we needed.
Prayer: Some situations were beyond us. Those are the ones we left to God to handle. And He pulled through for us… a lot of fasting and prayer comes into every edition of The High Tea.
We knew what we wanted. We knew what had to be done to achieve it, and we set out to do it Click To Tweet
Who do you work with to ensure that The High Tea events are a success?
When we started, it was just Bonnie and I. However, as the vision grew, so did the need to incorporate much-needed help. The core team has grown by an extra four members, namely, Pam, Zihlobo, Gugu, and Sidumisile.
We also have a large network of successful women who are originally from Zimbabwe but are resident in South Africa. They are affectionately known as the SQUAD and we rely on them for valuable advice and direction. I could never forget our friends and families who have all played various roles in assisting us to meet our goals.
What impact does the events have on African women?
The event is not limited to Zimbabwean women but attracts women from various African countries. This is also evident in our diverse speakers. We aim to encourage inter-dependence amongst African women. Our struggles are, after all similar, regardless of our different countries. This means that viable solutions can be found in positive interaction with each other.We aim to encourage inter-dependence amongst African women @TheHighTeaZA Click To Tweet
What are your words of advice to young women who would like to start initiatives such as The High Tea?
Regardless of how many times you have seen something being done, no one can ever do it like you.
Identify your target market, identify a mentor, identify what and whom you will need to assist in bringing your vision to life, stalk them. It is possible.
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