Choosing Home: Toluyemi Nathaniel shares her experiences Living in China, returning home and working with Softcom

As the perception continues to change on Africa’s one-dimensional portrayal as a struggling continent, the tide of brain drain from developing to developed nations is reducing as a growing number of highly skilled and educated Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians etc. flock back to their countries of birth after some time away.

They left, either as children with their immigrant parents or for study and early career opportunities. They return, in search of an identity, of bigger opportunities, to seek their roots, and determined to make a change. The countries they come back to are certainly the winners in this affair, as these are typically the very best and brightest.

Toluyemi Nathaniel remembers when she had the awakening moment of making the decision to return home to Nigeria. It was close to the end of her 2-year stay in China studying for a Master’s Degree in International Economics and Business.

In substantiating her refreshing sense of duty towards her country, Tolu reveals that she wasn’t forced to return because her program was over. This is a common occurrence in some cases and she had the chance to further her education there, but declined to.

Curious to understand how she found herself in China in the first place, Toluyemi talks about the reasoning behind the decision to leave for that particular country. She also talks about the period of her stay in China, her return back home, and her work as a Procurement Administrator at Softcom.

For me, I just had to come back. I love Nigeria and I can’t imagine being somewhere else for so long without itching to return - Toluyemi Nathaniel Click To Tweet

Was it your choice to go to China or was it out of your control?


“Deciding to go to China was 100% my choice. It was actually my first time out of the country, but I didn’t want something familiar, which is what the UK or America would’ve been for me. In fact, immediately after I got there, there was this episode at the airport where there was a mix up with me reclaiming my luggage.

Officials gathered trying to solve the problem, but they were all speaking Chinese, which I didn’t understand at the time. This didn’t frighten me, but instead did the opposite; I was, in fact, more interested to understand the language.

In its own way for me, it was about fulfilling a sense of adventure I’d long craved. I’m a thrill seeker at heart, so China was a place I really looked forward to living in”.

Tolu’s take on a seeming over-familiarization of foreigners with Western culture is valid in the growing sense that with its global connection, European culture has grown with an all-inclusive urge to adopt, adapt, and ultimately influence other cultural trends around the world.

In comparison to a country with a rich cultural history and background still waiting to be explored by most, it’s understandable why the Asian country will be a better pick to experience an original cultural adventure.

It’s all well and good, however, the intricacies of living as a minority in the most populated nation on earth remains a reality that can’t be written off. Last year, Quartz published a comprehensive report on a growing fear in some parts of China of a “black invasion bringing drugs and crime” due to the increasing number of African migrants.

What it’s like studying and living in China as a young black Nigerian woman?


“That can honestly be a bit tricky to navigate because the Chinese aren’t used to seeing black people. They are almost fascinated when they see one, and still do things like rubbing a black person’s skin, asking if it is ‘dirt’. I’ve had a few people do that to me.

Sometimes, they just stare at you because they’ve never seen someone like that before. In my case, I was fortunate because Tianjin (where I stayed) has one of the highest percentages when it comes to the number of different national ethnicities.

I met other Africans, and some of my classmates were black people. There are blatant cases like when cars don’t wait to pick you up, or when I was told to “sound American” at an interview trying to get a job as an English tutor on campus.

As an African woman living in China, there’s this contention of you constantly trying to decide if it’s racism or simply ignorance which I guess is the same for most black people there.”

Overt displays of racism from locals can be too much to handle for some living in the diaspora. For these people, the danger of being targeted by racial violence can be the deal breaker between settling and returning home.

Tolu, however, insists that she doesn’t regret her decision to move there, and says she’s gained a new perspective on some issues because of some of her encounters.

Majority of the population being dominated by people who’ve gained some know-how in important areas of technology Click To Tweet

“There’s a lot of how things are done over there that will be strange to us. There are things we can copy and a couple of things we shouldn’t copy. It’s a fascinating array of differences in culture and practice that if a balance can be found, a lot of problems will be solved. But the process of finding that balance comes with the firsthand participation in a challenging change to one’s conventions and ideas of the world.”

The case for diaspora-return driven development in Nigeria is compelling, and the advantages cannot be denied.

“All I kept thinking of was how much can I change over there? I just feel sometimes, it’s more difficult to change things you haven’t experienced. Everyone that has made a change in this country is people that lived through the Nigerian story and made up their mind to change things when given the opportunity. I decided to join that group.” she continues

Returnees come to represent a bridge of the ever-widening knowledge gap, finding solutions to knotty problems with more sophisticated approaches due to an experience of both worlds. With Nigeria’s labour force on a perpetual rise – National Bureau of Statistics says it increased from 83.9m in Q2, 2017 to 85.1m in Q3, 2017 – the majority of the population being dominated by people who’ve gained some know-how in important areas of technology and systems will be key in furthering economic progress in the country.

For her own part, Tolu works as an Admin and Procurement Associate at Softcom Ltd, a company which has the pungent line of “Engineering to enhance the way we live, learns and work in Africa” as part of its Solutions Portfolio.

While the parallels are present, the difference in her educational background in Economics and Business and her current job role is still conspicuous. I tried to find out about how she found herself in this line of work, what the role entails, and what a typical day at work is like for her.

What does working in Procurement/Operations mean in the tech world?

“I had the opportunity to start my Ph.D. even after getting back to Nigeria but I declined because I wanted to work. When job opportunities in Business weren’t forthcoming, I took on the challenge of working in Admin & Procurement, a role I wasn’t so familiar with prior to that point.

But it’s been amazing because I have learned so much on the job and now I’m just working towards being the best I can be at it. In Admin, the objective is to ensure there is a smooth operation of activities in the office.

Responsibilities can range from automating the monitoring of various activities and contracts to coordination and management of administrative issues like hygiene & welfare. Generally, admin is more concerned with making the work environment much more conducive to boost productivity levels.

As a Procurement Associate, I’m equally tasked with being responsible for all the purchases at Softcom. In a tech company, this includes project-specific materials which involve negotiating with external vendors to secure advantageous terms”.

My background in business has come in handy in executing some of my current job requirements - Toluyemi from @SoftcomNG Click To Tweet

While trying to understand the complicated landscape of Nigeria’s job market, a bit of background context is required. The country is included among the 10 fastest growing markets in the world, but still faces the problem of an overcrowded labor market that’s made gainful employment a premium in recent years.

Tech companies like Softcom meanwhile have taken advantage of the explosion of Nigeria’s digital economy, seeing the sector as an avenue to tap into a rapidly urbanizing population of about 80 million people, whilst providing solutions to issues and sustainable employment to citizens.

An important point of note is that Tolu talks about how the Nigerian job market remains a slippery slope to navigate for women, especially in tech.

Despite extolling Softcom’s value of commitment to diversity, she is under no illusions and is affirmatory when she answers “I honestly don’t think we are that much” to my question about how many women she thinks exists in tech spaces these days.

Gender disparity isn’t peculiar to the tech sector, but stats point to a decline in the percentage of women in computing-related occupations since 1991.

It’s a problem felt across the board, as women in tech still face significant barriers in the workplace; from a shortage of women role models to inequitable pay gap to persistent gender bias that nearly 90% of them say they have experienced. I got a few of Tolu’s thoughts on what she thinks the future holds for women in tech.

I’d love to see more little girls in computer classes - Toluyemi from @SoftcomNG Click To Tweet

How to land an Internship at the International Labour Organisation

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) was created in 1919 and serves as the leading U.N. agency dealing with labour issues. The headquarters of the ILO is located in Switzerland employing some 2,700 officials from over 150 nations at its headquarters in Geneva and in around 40 field offices around the world.

Among these officials, 900 work in technical cooperation programmes and projects.

Here’s what you need to know

The internship program requires you to be enrolled in or have completed a Masters Degree. The work of the ILO is really diverse, so your specialization does not need to be in labour or international policy etc. Take a look at the different departments to see where your interest could lay.

The duration of the internship can be between 3 to 6 months. This usually depends on matters such as funding or whether you will be working on a particular project. It is definitely better to apply for the full 6 months, if you get three months there is an opportunity for extension of your contract.

Brush up your language skills, the main language spoken in Geneva is French and with the three working languages of the ILO being Spanish, French, and English. Having a primary or proficient knowledge of two out of the three will be a great way to get around and will boost your chances of an internship.

We all know that most internships are unpaid, leading a lot of young graduates into debt and dire living circumstances. Fortunately, the ILO pays its interns a stipend which is enough to live in Geneva, subject to a nice and tight budget).

Geneva is one of the most expensive cities to live in but don’t let that be a deterrent. It is doable, despite the fact that everyone loves to remind you how expensive it is. But you are a Motherland mogul, you know how to budget!

Applying for the internship

You can apply for the internship through the ILO generic internship roster, which is published several times per year.The roster will be made available to all departments within the Office. Find the right department! Read up on the different departments and their work to see where your interest lies.

This will help you hone your application to the actual department, the internship experience is considered a learning experience rather than a work experience. You want to be able to get the most out of it so you can build your professional skills in your field.

You can apply to the internship roster and wait to be contacted by a department when an internship position opens up.

Getting there

I hope you got your savings right because of the cost of travel, insurance, and accommodation, as well as living expenses, are your responsibility, as an intern. You gotta pay your own way girl.

Moving can be extremely costly so be prepared to bear those costs. If you can get sponsorship that would be amazing. You really have to think about whether it is worth it and how feasible it actually is.

So Motherland Mogul, is it worth it?

Internships really do have their costs and benefits. And considering moving to another continent is a bigger battle on its own. So, as with all things you do, you have to think about whether it is what you want.

The risk is definitely worth the reward. Currently, internships are the best way to get your foot in the door and build your career at international organizations such as the ILO.

One of the lines you will constantly hear is that the internship program is not intended to lead to a career in the ILO. This is true, there is no guarantee of a position after your internship so you have to put your networking skills to use and your resourcefulness to further your career either at the ILO or any of the other organizations in Geneva.

You will be exposed to the structure of the United Nations and its specialized agencies. The work environment is multicultural and multi-faceted, and the networking opportunities are endless as you will meet not only your colleagues but people from around the world who attend conferences and meetings at the ILO.

This exposure is unbelievable, you just have to know how to make the best of the internship.

Got advice on how to land a job or an internship in your organization or industry? Share your article with us here.

TV Role Models Every Motherland Mogul Needs

T.V. has become more than a pastime after work, recently shows have moved from solely entertaining to also providing commentary on key social issues. Shows that are brave enough to address race, gender, family and relationship issues have sparked conversation that we so need in today’s society. Women are leading more t.v. shows, especially women of colour which is so important for representation. So here’s my list of  T.V Role Models who inspire me to be a flawsome, hardworking and yet still witty Motherland Mogul.


Oprah Winfrey, the Oprah Winfrey Show and her own television network HARPO


We all grew up watching Oprah. Seeing her ask the hard questions, share her story and watch her rise as one of the most powerful figures in television history. When in doubt, I always ask myself ‘What would Oprah do?’ If there is any inspirational figure to look up to, it’s her. She shows the power of determination, hardwork and most importantly not leaving anyone behind. Her dedication to telling the stories of the marginalized and giving back shows that no matter how high you rise, you don’t have to do it alone.


Gina Torres, Jessica Pearson in Suits


Image result for jessica pearson quote gif

Where do we even start: her impeccable dressing, her sharp one liners, or maybe the fact that Jessica was the managing partner of her own law firm. Her confidence is calm and elegant, with a sharp sting when she is tested. Feel inspired by her ability to always be calm even when things are unraveling and how she always manages to rise above the mess.


Tracee Ellis Ross, Rainbow Johnson in Blackish

Image result for rainbow johnson quote gif

I consider Rainbow the coolest and funniest mom on t.v. Blackish is one of the most intelligent shows, that deals with the dynamics of race, politics and society, in a way that isn’t lecturing but, rather starting the necessary conversations. She balances her work and home life, showing us that sometimes doing things the unconventional way may at times be the best way.


Yvonne Orji, Molly in Insecure

Now listen up, Motherland Moguls, if you have not watched Insecure you will be disowned. My love for this show aside, Molly is one of characters on t.v who is career driven and won’t let her hard work go unrecognised. When her bosses fail to show appreciation for her abilities, she doesn’t sit in a corner complaining, but instead, shows initiative by taking up more responsibilities; and when that still even is not enough, she seeks to have her talents appreciated elsewhere.

She pushes her own career boundaries and so should you. Don’t be afraid to ask for that raise or promotion when you know you deserve it. It also doesn’t hurt to take on more tasks and various projects, as this indicates you are a team player. The biggest lesson we can learn from Molly? Your career is in your hands, the choices you make, and how you react to adverse situations will determine how you’ll move forward and succeed in your journey to the top.


Naomi Campbell, The Face, Empire, Star

Naomi is well known for being one of the world’s most famous supermodels. So having her on this list may be confusing but, she’s also a t.v. diva. Naomi has an attitude and she owns it. A lot of people may see this as a questionable trait, but I believe that a little attitude ‘ain’t never hurt nobody’. Naomi is inspirational to the Motherland Mogul who is told her brazenness is intimidating or unfriendly. She also doesn’t sleep on herself; know your worth and make it work.


Kerry Washington, Olivia Pope in Scandal

This one is for the entrepreneurial Motherland Moguls because: let’s admire Olivia’s business acumen; she is smart, outspoken and when push comes to shove, she stands firm. Her loyalty to her team is admirable, the gladiators stick together and they know they can rely on Olivia. Questionable life choices aside, her white coat and hat are untouchable; her clients come first and she always goes the extra mile to get things done. Plus we all want a piece from her enviable wardrobe.


Gabrielle Union, Mary Jane Paul in Being Mary Jane


I think anyone who watches the show has a love hate relationship with Mary Jane. She tests our patience often but you cannot fault her ambition or her confidence. The show does not gloss over her complex relationships and friendships and navigates around the ideas of suicide, infidelity and infertility, topics that are taboo in black communities.

So how is Mary Jane inspirational? She takes risks at work showing that sometimes to propel yourself forward, you have to throw caution to the wind. It is completely okay to be invested to your career, set goals and be determined to make it work. Your professional ambitions are a character strength, and you have the right to make them your focus.

Who are your T.V Role Models and why?

Let us know here.

5 minutes with SheHive London 2017 speakers: brother and sister team Emeka & Ifeyinwa Frederick

Chuku’s is the world’s first Nigerian tapas restaurant based in London, fusing authentic Nigerian flavours and the best of Nigeria’s West African culture with the world. Founded by sibling duo Emeka & Ifeyinwa Frederick.

On founding Chuku’s

The sibling duo’s idea to create a food company, offering a variety of small plates of Nigerian dishes, was born out of growing up in a Nigerian household, and having friends who loved their home meals. This lead them to explore Nigerian cuisine, by fusing traditional recipes with food from their travelling experiences, and their experiences of being part of the diaspora.


Running the operations at Chuku’s

Every day is different for this team, with something new to be learned and done each day. They note that creating a routine is one of their main goals in the short term. But, their weeks are broken up into:

  • Shopping days
  • Cooking preparation
  • Events and logistics
  • Administrative tasks
  • Strategizing
  • Marketing

This is one busy duo, as we can see!

Hear the Chuku's team speak at SheHive London 2017: Click To Tweet

Long term goals…

Their long term plans include:

  1. Finding a permanent space to offer their food.
  2. Establishing a chain of mainstream Nigerian tapas lounges.
  3. To become a UK household brand name.


What trends keeping their eyes on…

  1. The evolution of technology in the food space and how it continues to evolve and disrupt the market.
  2. The rise of healthy meals and food, which their already onto, with their delicious tapa’s.

To learn more about the creative Nigerian foodie duo, get a ticket to our SheHive London event on the 24th of September.

Hyjiah Mariam Conde: Low self-esteem is not given enough attention

I’m  inspired by a girl who goes by the name, Hyjiah Mariam Conde, as young as she is, she has  learnt the art of self love. She was bullied in school for her ethnic background, skin color & unique body image, but instead she decided to do empower herself.  

Hyjiah started her own nonprofit organization called SuperGirlzland. The purpose was for Hyjiah to be the voice to all the girls who have been emotionally and mentally bruised by being bullied. I had the opportunity to interview Hyjiah and this is what she had to share.


I want to shout so that the whole world may hear my vision and voice. Click To Tweet


Hyjiah you are an inspiration, you have been bold enough to stand up and be the voice of the youth. Is there anything you are afraid of?

Thank you so much for your kind words. I would have to say the only thing that I’m afraid of would be GOD, as I feel that’s the only one I need to fear.
Hyjiah Mariam Conde

Is there a reason you chose South Africa in particular, to kick start your charity?

I actually kick started my charity in the USA where I’m from and expanded to South Africa and now West Africa, Guinea. I chose South Africa because I have a few connections there who are a part of my charity. Most importantly, I noticed that girls there were not allowing their confidence to shine through.

So Hyjiah you are all about making other girls happy and special. What makes you happy?

What makes me happy is being of service to others through my charity work. Seeing others filled with joy makes me happy.

I saw an interview of you and you were talking about how you have become popular. How has that popularity changed you as a person?

I don’t really see myself as popular. As a leader I believe that popularity isn’t important.  Leadership and being compassionate are very important. I never changed. I’m the same person from 4 years ago when I started my vision.

Can you share with us how far you are with the other interests you want to pursue like choreography, singing and maybe writing.

I’m still working on recording my single which I wrote with my big brother. My dancing I do that mainly on the weekends. I love to dance it helps me to express myself. As for my writing I love to write. My book is set to launch  soon and I’m already working on book number two.

Do you have a plan in place of how you are going to achieve all your goals?

My plan is to take it step- by- step. I keep notes on what’s next for me. So much of what I want to do is stored in my brain, so I have to keep notes of it all and GOD will help me achieve it all.

I am just stunned! Honestly, with all these activities going on you are also an Ambassador and a member of a couple of groups. How do you manage your  time?

I prioritize really well, so I never burn myself out.  I love staying busy, I’m very energetic and love to participate in so many things.  I do take time for myself because I am still a kid. My mother, who is my manager, helps me prioritize things.
Hyjiah Mariam Conde

Can you give a brief pitch to potential sponsors telling them why they should assist Supergirlz Land.

Low self-esteem is not given enough attention. It’s a disease like any other sickness, which needs direct attention & support. Low self-esteem can be caused by bullying, poverty and lack of education; which at times result in suicide. Help me help them as we help one another to save our young girls, one at a time.

Fun question! Would you rather be able to whisper or only able to shout? Pick one.

I want to shout so that the whole world may hear my vision and voice!

Have you overcome a low self esteem? Share with us how you did it.

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.


Flo Awolaja: Don’t take your talent for granted

Flo Awolaja
Flo Awolaja represents a lot of things in one, as a writer, poet, and photographer Click To Tweet

Growing up in a household rich in colour, born to parents of Nigerian heritage and a culture that inspired her artistic talents, it’s no surprise that Flo Awolaja grew to become an incredible burst of creativity. Flo is a fun loving and exuberant personality that exudes a quiet confidence and steely determination to succeed in all things.

She has been influenced by many of her mother’s collection of African fabrics, various painters, designers, textile artists, photographers and inspired by a plethora of contemporary Nigerian and African American artists in the likes of Chief Nike Davies-Okundaye, Abdoulaye Konaté, Peju Alatise, Victoria Udonian, Hayden Palmer, William H Johnson, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden et al.

Flo Awolaja represents a lot of things in one, as a writer, poet, and photographer, she continues to take delight in all visual pleasures which stimulate the senses. She also has a successful career as a graphic designer and lecturer and has combined her passion for art, design, and photography with teaching, working to raise achievement in her learners by encouraging them, raising their self-esteem, and aspiring confidence in them.

The things that are random are not your calling, they are your passion Click To Tweet

Tell us about your work on African Arts.

There is an expression that I have been carrying around with me for the best part of a year now. When I stumbled upon it, whilst surfing through social media, it was so profound that I have it permanently on my screen saver on the laptop to remind me to keep striving and designing, and how fortunate I am to be doing the things I like.

The quote is, “The things that are random, are not your calling, they are your passion”. This is what essentially guides me, and I really do try not to take my talent for granted. Like most things, the body of work that I am now exploring happened by accident, (the best things usually do) it occurred whilst I was at home looking after my son, who had been in the hospital and was now convalescing at home.

I had travelled to Ghana in 2013 and brought back a lot of batik fabrics. Not knowing what I wanted to do with them, they lay dormant, until 2015. Whilst looking after my son, I remembered that I had them, and had added to the collection by purchasing metre samples in all colours from friends who would travel to Nigeria and Ghana, gently asking them to bring me back whatever they could. In those moments as a designer, the light bulb goes on and you find yourself creating pieces, which is how the first few ideas transpired.

Gradually one became two, and the pieces began to materialise, to the extent that I had about 20 small pieces which I had framed. Enter my son, who saw me spread them out on the floor and was marvelled at how I had managed to hide them around the house, out of the eyes of my mother.

Quick as a flash he had photographed them and posted them onto his Instagram account, I still do not have one! From that moment the genie had been released and it was not going to go back into the bottle. It became a question of how to showcase the designs to a wider audience. Each opportunity has acted like a stepping stone, I have been most fortunate in the breaks that have come my way I tend to look at my work much in the way a painter starts with a blank canvas. No two pieces that I create will ever be the same. Whilst I am creating these textile paintings, I am only aware of the colours that I will use, but not the journey of the piece, each one has its own rhythm and story, that for me is what makes each one off piece unique.

The universe has a lovely way of conspiring to tell you something different - @Maverikartz Click To Tweet

What inspires your art works and exhibitions?

Wow, that is a difficult question, but I can honestly say that I am inspired by many things, from listening to music, conversation, hearing and reading a line of poetry, along with photographs that just capture my imagination. I also think that being raised in a culture steeped in Yoruba tradition, has been instrumental in my journey as a designer.

My mother was a printer and my father was a draughtsman, so design and the love of design have been instilled in me from an early age. I am inspired by anything that delights and tickles my visual senses.

How would you compare the Western and African market in terms of values for art works?

Like most things we have been constantly conditioned through no fault of our own to have the idea that African works of art are somewhat in inferior; that is certainly not my view, and anyone who knows me will tell you I am the most ardent and fervent champion of our African Ancestry and Heritage.

The African market is far more exciting. The current resurgence and proliferation of African art is taking the art world by storm. Our trajectory of art has always been rising, however presently its stock has never been higher, why is this? Artists from Picasso to Hirst have made more than a passing reference to the art of Africa, even to the point of appropriating whole elements in the quest to claim works as their own. So why the sudden interest?

What many curators were happy to call ‘tribal’, that somehow adding the word ‘tribal’ made it somewhat less authentic and therefore was not really valued. Fast forward, the last few years have seen a sudden surge of interest as new kids on the block enter. From photographers and sculptors to painters and textile designers, old and new now sharing the platform. There really is space for us all.

As cultural houses and museums have watched this market grow so has the interest in all things African, fuelling and creating a demand. Contemporary artists such as Yinka Shonibare and El Anatsui share the space alongside Peju Alatise and Kehinde Andrews, all creating a rich mélange.

Modern art collectors are looking for something and presently African art is it. Major houses and museums are keen to reach the emerging markets of Ghana and Kenya, alongside the more established countries of Nigeria and Morocco. Having international events like the Venice Biennale, The Art Paris Fair, and the 1:54 London and Paris Fairs will continue to raise the profile of African art and artists, along with a growing number of galleries in London and Paris that find, develop and support African art, the value, and market of which will continue to grow.

Modern art collectors are looking for something and presently African art is it Click To Tweet

Recently, you had the Making Stories, Telling Tales exhibition, tell us about it.

Again sometimes it is about being in the right place at the right time. There were two parts to this exhibition, it was never intended to be but fate and the universe have a lovely way of conspiring to tell you something different. As I alluded to earlier on in this interview, sometimes it is a case of banking ideas and then releasing them when the time is right…and so it was the case with the Making Stories, Telling Tales.

I was invited to exhibit to celebrate the work of a Black female artist for Black History Month. The body of work presented had been mulling around for some time titled ‘Ain’t no Jack’, based on the seminal work of Professor Paul Gilroy ‘Ain’t no Black in the Union Jack’. The stories of the flags bearing semblance to the work he has written, depicting Britain’s involvement in the Commonwealth, exploring the struggle of the African and Caribbean nations’ fight for their independence.

The original exhibition held in 2016 at the Park Theatre, Finsbury Park, North London was a body of work exploring the idea of fabrics telling stories and going back to explore the tradition of handcrafted work. Printed collaged textiles is like a painting, it is watching a print evolve. What was meant to be a 2-month exhibit, turned into a 6-month stint. Such was the success of this exhibition that I was asked to show case the exhibition in Bath, at the Tafari Gallery (the former home of the Emperor Haille Selaisse and his wife), where it remained for 4 months.

So I have been most fortunate in showing my work. The opportunity to exhibit in London was too good to miss, and I was looking for a space that was sympathetic to my work and artistic ideals, The GIDA Collective, in Brixton, South London was the perfect spot. A week long exhibition in April 2017 was followed by a very stimulating artist’s conversation. These new ‘Paintings’ continue to explore the theme of ‘Narrative’ within printmaking, with the use of African textiles. Employing material predominately native to Ghana, namely batik woven and dyed cloths which are collaged together.

My use of fabrics creates abstract compositions that hark back to West-African traditions of using textiles as a means of commemoration and communication, taking them and placing them in a contemporary setting. It is interesting how the idea of ‘Narrative’ can be explored through a range of media, techniques, and processes to tell a story that does not need words. Enthused with a rich sense of colour and rhythm, these works serve to remind us that the idea of narrative, of story telling, is not always verbal.

Webinar with Tafadzwa Bete-Sasa: Creating routines to maximize productivity (July 4)

Sign up for this webinar with @taffybete and learn how to get more done in less time (July 4th) Click To Tweet

Where is your time really going?

Time they say is money! But it’s also one mysterious thing that can creep up on you, and pass you without your noticing.

 As a Motherland Mogul who wants to SLAy in every area, you must take time management and personal efficiency very seriously.

You can’t keep blaming your unproductiveness on too much work or the fact that there are only 24hours in a day.

If you’re trying to get things done, but you’re not sure how to create the time and discipline to implement them, this one is for you.

Join us on Tuesday, July 4th as we discuss personal efficiency and time management. We’ll be chatting with Tafadzwa Bete-Sasa , a learning and development professional, specializing in training and coaching for productivity.

Tafadzwa has designed trainings on various efficiency skills like creating routines and schedules for productivity and creating and nurturing tribes for productivity.

This webinar will teach you everything you need to know about discipline, productivity, and how to reach your goals.

Register below to get the exclusive link to the webinar.

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • Time management 101
  • Scheduling your days and weeks (Minding the hours and minutes)
  • Creating routines: Showing up no matter how you feel
  • Time management hacks – reminders, timers, distraction free zones

Webinar Details:

  • Date: Tuesday, July 4th, 2017
  • Time: Lagos 2pm // Lusaka 3pm // Nairobi 4pm

Watch here:

About Tafadzwa

Tafadzwa Bete-Sasa is the creator of the GoalGetter Planner –  a customized daily organizer that helps users to translate their dreams and resolutions into SMART goals and develop action plans to achieve these goals.

She is also the founder of the GoalGetter Tribe a community that provides capacity building, inspiration, accountability and networking for young professionals and young entrepreneurs.

She is involved in community service as a member of Junior Chamber International (JCI) where she is currently serving as the JCI Zambia National Training Director.  Tafadzwa is also a World Economic Forum recognized global shaper with the Lusaka Hub.

Webinar with Ehime Akindele: Expanding your business and sustaining growth (Apr 22)

As an entrepreneur, having the funding and knowledge you need to get your business rolling is one thing, surviving the fierce competition and unpredictable economy is another. But as a true #MotherlandMogul, when the going gets good, you know it’s time to expand.

Now what’s your game plan? Relax, we gon’ show you the way.

Join us on Saturday April 22nd as we discuss the steps to owning and sustaining multiple businesses. We’ll be chatting with Ehime Akindele, CEO of Sweet Kiwi frozen yogurt who founded Your Way Foods and set up three businesses all under age 30.

Learn the skills and abilities you need to survive in business. Webinar with CEO of @sweetkiwie Click To Tweet

To survive in this changing world, there are some business rules you need to follow. Ehime left her banking career and decided to start her own business in Nigeria, launching the first frozen yogurt company in the country.

This webinar will teach you everything you need to know about business sustainability and capacity building.

Register below to get the exclusive link to the webinar.

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • Capacity building: The skills and abilities you need to survive in business
  • What you need to know before expanding your business
  • 6 ways to sustain business growth
  • 5 do’s and don’t for female entrepreneurs looking to expand

Webinar Details:

  • Date: Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
  • Time: 8:00am TX USA // 2:00pm Lagos // 3:00pm Johannesburg

Watch here:

About Ehime

Ehime Eigbe-Akindele is the founder and managing director of Sweet Kiwi Frozen Yogurt. She has a BA (Honors) from London metropolitan university in Business Information Technology and International relations.

She began her career with Amnesty International, then moved to Citigroup in Dallas, Texas and worked in their banking group, before she moved back to Nigeria and founded Sweet Kiwi.

Ehime is a Goldman Sachs 10,000 women scholar, a public speaker and has taken part in several motivational speaking events to inspire youths and not-for-profit organization called ‘Hands in Lagos’ with an objective to foster the spirit of volunteerism in the country.

Jennifer Onwumere: I never take on any project just for the money!

The most fulfilling aspect has been the dynamic nature of entrepreneurship Click To Tweet

A vibrant and exceptionally hardworking public relations expert, Nigerian-American, Jennifer Onwumere, is the brainchild behind the Dallas, Texas, based Jen-gerbread Marketing. A young woman who painstakingly proves that the business hustle starts and ends with hard work, Jennifer is graciously African, proudly wearing her Nigerian roots everywhere that she goes.

Jennifer courageously embraces the dynamic nature of entrepreneurship, which guarantees that every day looks different and that every client carries a unique set of needs and expectations. With her a heart for the community, Jennifer continues to invest countless hours into the lives of others, and well understands that hard work can offer you the opportunity to do more for your world.

Here, Jennifer shares her advice on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in the Diaspora. Thank you Jennifer for your wisdom and for your commitment to helping businesses grow!  

How would you describe what you do?

That is a great question. I have worked on a variety of projects ranging from non-profit and entertainment, to lifestyle and more. If I had to summarize what I do, I would say that I create the strategy and visibility/marketing plans for brands.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

I have always been excited about the idea of being able to forge my own future. Being an entrepreneur allows me creative freedom as well as the chance to be innovative.

What inspired you to start a business such as this?

I have always been fascinated with consumer marketing and entertainment. It is interesting how different brand messages can attract customers and convert prospects into patrons.

My business has allowed me the opportunity to work with some amazing brands and have some great experiences. It has also allowed me the opportunity to work on the type of projects that I want to work on, and has challenged me to take on new project goals.


What do you love the most about being a marketing/ public relations expert?

I love the fact that I am able to create effective messaging and strategies for brands that I believe in. For example, I produce an annual event called Be a Blessing Day. For this event, we collect much needed toiletries for homeless and domestic violence survivors.

Working in my field as an entrepreneur has allowed me the opportunity to execute my vision and strategy in a creative way to achieve my project objectives. As a result, since its inception 5 years ago, over $10,000 worth in donated products, has been collected during Be a Blessing Day.

I am excited every time I have a success, it just reinforces the fact that the sky is truly the limit Click To Tweet

In the world of entrepreneurship, why is it important that brands like yours exist?

In my business, I have taken a primary focus on working with start-up businesses. I think that this allows me to serve a small business customer base that needs strategy and marketing support, but may not have the funds to hire a large corporate agency.

My niche allows me to focus on providing startups with the marketing assistance they need, at a rate that is conducive to their current financial resources.

What has been the most fulfilling aspect about your entrepreneurship venture?

The most fulfilling aspect has been the dynamic nature of entrepreneurship.

I never know what is going to happen next, but I am excited every time I have a success because it just reinforces the fact that the sky is truly the limit, and that I can do anything I put my mind to.

What have seen some of the challenges?

Being an entrepreneur definitely keeps you on your toes. You are never off the clock. You are always prospecting new clients, managing current clients, and managing any problems that may arise.

Despite the challenges, the joy comes in the fact that you are making your dreams come true, helping your clients achieve project objectives and educating consumers or prospects.

What would you say to a young woman who wanted to start a business like yours?

Don’t let fear stop you from achieving your dream.

If you have a business you want to start, launch it but be sure to launch with a plan. You must have a strategy for anything you want to achieve in life.


What do you think has been your greatest contribution to your work?

I never take on any project just for the money. I work on projects that I am truly passionate about and that causes me to go beyond my role to do everything that needs to be done for the project to be successful.

How do you ensure that your business remains relevant?

Never get comfortable. Continue to create, continue to network and build relationships, continue to invest back into other people.

As an African woman in the Diaspora, how do you maintain connections with other African peoples in the diaspora, and how do you make your work relevant to those living in the motherland?

I handle the PR and Strategy for AFRIMMA (African Muzik Magazine Awards). This project is special to me because it celebrates some of the most influential music and political figures in Africa.

As a Nigerian-American, this is very important to me because it allows me to play a role in an amazing event that celebrates the rich culture of not only Nigeria, but Africa as a whole.


How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

I always make time to do something fun, whether traveling, social events and more. It’s great to work hard, but we are also working hard to enjoy life. So I try to never forget that.

It’s great to work hard, but we are also working hard to enjoy life Click To Tweet

How do you de-stress and/or unwind from a long day?

I love music, so I listen to all kinds of music from Afrobeat to hip-hop, pop, old school R&B and more.

If you were not an entrepreneur, what else would you be doing?

I would still be working in marketing and public relations in some capacity for a brand, public figure etc.

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

Webinar with Samke Mhlongo-Ngwenya: Planning your personal finance and investments (Mar 23)

It doesn’t matter if you’re making a little or baller is your middle name, we all have to deal with important money matters such as investments and personal finance. If you’re climbing the corporate ladder, trying to launch your own business, or managing your family independently, join us on Thursday March 23rd as we discuss personal finance and investment options for young women.

We’ll be chatting with Samke Mhlongo-Ngwenya, one of South Africa’s most recognized personal finance experts who offers one-on-one personal finance consultations through her company TNC Wealth. Samke obtained her expertise in debt management and wealth creation during her 7-year tenure as a private banker, now she engages in corporate speaking, panel moderation, career management and women’s issues as well.

Register below to get the exclusive link to the webinar.

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • What you need to understand about investments
  • 3 financial questions every woman should ask herself
  • Planning a budget
  • Top 3 things to look out for when selecting an investment advisor
  • Identifying your investment goals (safety, income and growth)

Webinar Details:

  • Date: Thursday March 23rd, 2017
  • Time: 12:00pm Lagos // 1:00pm Johannesburg // 2:00pm Nairobi

About Samke

Referred to by CNBC Africa as a “personal finance goddess”, Samke Mhlongo-Ngwenya is not just a personal finance expert, but also the youngest board member of State-owned mineral technology research council MINTEK, and founder of The Next Chapter “TNC” (coming soon) – Wealth Partners.

Samke is also a personal finance consultant, corporate speaker, thought leader, media commentator, and financial inclusion advocate.

Armed with an Accounting degree from the University of Cape Town, a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from Wits Business School, and an MBA from the same college completed with a research report titled “Factors contributing to over-indebtedness in black South African females”, Samke aspires to continue developing content that educates, entertains and empowers her audience.