There can never be enough events management companies as we Africans love our events. Motherland Moguls in events management have added little bits to differentiate their brand. Take incorporating floristry and gardening into events, for example. Rutendo Chilenge is the founder of Majestic Gardens, a registered events company in Zambia. She is also the woman behind Chitenge and Wine, a chill picnic and live performance that has become a platform for indie artists and musicians. Rutendo shares with SLA contributor Itumeleng, her other ventures and how she got her start as a florist.
Tell us, what business ventures have you gone into?
For the past 6 years I have been running an events company which is legally registered in Zambia called Majestic Gardens. Majestic Gardens is an outdoor event venue hosting weddings, bridal parties, wedding photography, music video shoots and any events that require an outdoor venue.
What was the attraction for you? Why go into events management?
Majestic Garden’s first event was in 2012. At that time I was unemployed and took this as an entrepreneurial opportunity to change my life.
For a long time in Zambia, halls -a more expensive option- were the only outdoor events venues available. At first, the attraction to entering events management for me was the love of gardening. I inherited this gift from my mother. Majestic Gardens has only grown and grown since I started it. Now, our venues have the capacity for between 250 to 400 people.
What is the one thing that makes your events special?
We get to know who the clients are, get one-on-one interactions which the clients and give a personal touch to the events. We build relationships based on trust and understanding with clients. This goes beyond the economical aspect of the business.
Beyond the service, Majestic Gardens is also a memory. I try to give my clients the best regardless of who much they can afford.
What is the most memorable event you have hosted?
A bridesmaid was proposed to at a pre-wedding photo-shoot held in our gardens. She was not expecting her fiancé to sneak up on her from behind flowers.
I love that I was a part of their happiness!
Tell us about Chitenge and Wine. How did it come about?
Chitenge and Wine is an Afrocentric picnic idea that my late brother and I adopted from Nairobi’s Blanket and Wine event. It was a novel idea in Zambia and so we grabbed it.
It is centered around the Chitenge cloth and for every ticket, our guests get a bottle of wine and a chitenge. The concept is to encourage the combination of passion and the African spirit in young people.
Our focus is to help young people, especially artists understand that they can reach any height even as Africans. Interestingly, most of our guests are budding artists and we provide a platform for their talent and passion.
What’s the long term goals for your businesses?
For Chitenge and Wine, I would like to see it go to different towns in Zambia. This is so that we can learn about different cultures in the country. I would like it to be a major tourist event, so that tourists coming to Zambia do not only visit Livingston. I see Chitenge and Wine as one of the events listed on tourist brochures in Zambia.
I would like to see Majestic Gardens grow so big that it is moved to a larger venue that is able to host multiple events at the same time. I would also like to see Majestic Gardens grow into a floral culture resource centre that trains people on gardening. Gardening goes beyond sweeping.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned from being an entrepreneur?
I have learned hard work and discipline. There are times that money does not come in and the only thing that propels you to continue is your passion.
What drives you?
I love to positively impact people in whatever it is I’m involved. And that’s a whole lot, you know.
You currently live in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, what is the one thing you appreciate about this country?
It rains a lot in Addis. I love the potential that the country has to expand its floral culture. Ethiopia can grow and export so many exotic flowers that cannot be grown in other regions of Africa due to the climate. It is flora that we can only imagine in my home country.
If you were to be given super powers, which powers would you want and why?
I have lost loved ones to sickness and conflicts. So it’s definitely going to be healing powers. Also, If I could, I would help people through the pain and devastation of conflicts.
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