Mweshi Ng’andu: I was looking for a way to be more and do more

With every little bit that you try, you gain more wisdom - Mweshi Ng’andu Click To Tweet

If passion had an alternative spelling, it would be spelt Mweshi. As a Global Shaper (a World Economic Forum initiative) and alumna of the Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Center for Southern Africa and the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS), Mweshi Ng’andu has done a lot of work focused on engaging youth to uplift underprivileged and at risk children within her community. She has used her skills to mentor, give leadership talks, and mobilize resources to assist various shelters for children, orphanages, and schools.

Recently, she started Bloom, her own company working in the space of events management and marketing consultancy. Bloom focuses primarily on corporate and educational events and digital marketing. In this interview, this passion driven #MotherlandMogul takes us on a walk through her amazing journey so far.

Take us on a tour of what Bloom Events Management stands for.

Bloom is a young and innovative events management and marketing consultancy company.  Our focus areas are corporate events management (everything from providing ushers, to catering, to sourcing speakers/industry experts, to venue scouting, to sponsorship engagement) and educational events. We create events for young professionals and students to learn how to advance their careers and to link them to the right people to help them create opportunities. We also develop innovative marketing techniques for companies through social media management and product promotions to name a few.

The events and festival industry has grown significantly and Bloom recognises this. What we offer is fresh and exciting as we aim to create distinctive and memorable events. Bloom is an expression of growth, a way to look back at where you’ve come from with a sincere admiration for the person that you have become today.  Bloom will be an example of what you can expect to happen when young people come together to showcase their talents and ability.


What were the greatest challenges in building your business?

We are still in the first year of our business and as such, we are working on finding our ‘groove’.  However, immediate challenges that come to mind are gaining the confidence of corporates. When two unknown young women walk into an office to pitch their services to a well-established bank or firm, you can always sense that the person you are pitching to has a little bit of doubt in your ability to actually deliver. Then there’s the competition. Bidding for tenders is tough!

Finding our unique selling point was extremely difficult, particularly in an industry where there is only so much you can offer.  We realized that it is not so much about the services, but more about the way you deliver. And there’s finances; the first event we had, boy were we broke! So even completing it was a HUGE victory for us. Although it’s great to invest money into your business, you need to set boundaries as to how much of your personal resources you are putting in.


You are very passionate about young people, what are you doing to be better and get more young people involved.

Bloom offers opportunities for university students to learn a thing or two about what it means to manage tasks and to work with corporates. We specifically target enthusiastic young people who are looking to gain work experience and ask them to join our team on specific projects; this worked very well when we organized a TED event. One of the best things you can do for young people is to support their businesses!

Whenever we are working with a client and there is need to outsource, we try as much as possible to look for companies that are run by young people to offer services like photography or sound equipment. For educational events, whether it is a breakfast meet up or a seminar, we try as much as possible to cover topics that are relevant to the reality of being a young, Zambian professional. We make our events interactive and encourage lots of networking.

It is not so much about the services, but more about the way you deliver - Mweshi Ng'andu Click To Tweet


As an avid traveller, global shaper, and emerging young leader, how has your experience reflected on your business style?

I joined the Global Shapers Community at a time in my life when I was looking for a way to do more and be more.  The Community changed my life in ways I cannot even express. I became connected to a group of ambitious, hardworking and innovative young people. What I noticed about myself almost immediately is that my mindset dramatically changed. It was because of this community I quickly realize how as a proudly Zambian woman, I can have dreams to take on the world but still be so deeply rooted in where I am coming from and what I can do to add value.

Attending the World Economic Forum on Africa in 2015 and rubbing shoulders with some of the continent’s biggest power players made me think, how dare I not dream BIG? As a Shaper, I contributed to a book project featuring 80 incredible young Africans, offering their perspectives on entrepreneurship, leadership, culture, and ways in which we can transform the continent. It is because of experiences like this, that I am bold in my approach and I have a tendency to continuously ask myself how I can improve my business model and make it more relevant.


What has been the most difficult phase in your career and how did you scale through?

The most difficult phase was pinpointing exactly what I wanted to do and being confident in my capabilities. I could easily tell you that in ten years I wanted to be successful and financially stable. But I had a harder time telling you how.  I overcame this in two ways.

Firstly, by establishing what it is I am passionate about.  My answer is simple: it is people. In everything that I have done so far, the major thing has been connecting with people and sharing ideas in order to grow. Secondly, Wendy Lucas-Bull Chairperson of ABSA Bank once told me that with every little bit that you try, you gain more wisdom. You decipher the things that you don’t like and realize what you do. In a nutshell what I got out of this is that there will never be the right time to start your journey, you just have to summon the courage to do it and keep going

There will never be the right time to start your journey, you just have to summon the courage Click To Tweet

Where do you see Bloom in the next three years?

Bloom will consist of a bright, innovative team that have led to it quickly positioning itself as a market lead.  Hopefully, we will have a client base outside of Zambia as well. We also have dreams of building a big convention centre –so look out for that!


One advice for struggling start-up entrepreneurs in your field of business

Figure out what makes you unique, structure your business well, ask a lot of questions, and keep going!

Our tagline at Bloom is #BeAlwaysBlooming –so do just that!

Figure out what makes you unique, structure your business well, ask a lot of questions, and keep going! Click To Tweet

At this stage, can you give up your business for a hundred millions dollars?

Absolutely not!  Who doesn’t like a good story about trial and tribulations that ultimately lead to success?  That is going to be my story and I want to know that I have earned it.

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

Sade Salami: Trying to beat personal best is a factor in growth

sade salami

Anyone who knows even a little about Dyslexia knows the journey isn’t without certain challenges but Sade Salami overcame it and excelled in her studies.  The Media Arts, Music & Sound Recording graduate and Founder, Fresh Strawberry Management is committed to taking control of her own destiny.  Fresh Strawberry, an events company has worked with reputable names in the media, fashion and entertainment industries.

We caught up with a brave and passionate Sade to get the scoop on some invaluable business advice, her mentoring activities, other projects and plans for the future.

Leaving home with no plan or money at the age of 16 is a brave choice, how did you survive?

It definitely wasn’t easy and was a major challenge, so I had to take it one day at a time.

Back then making sure my basic needs (such as food and shelter) were taken care of, was my main and sometimes my only concern.

As I got older, I survived by setting goals and planning. This kept me ready and focused at all time.

What’s the secret behind Fresh Strawberry’s growth?

I would say knowing when to adapt and move in our market and being consistently good, has been a major key to Fresh Strawberry’s growth. Trying to beat one’s personal best, is also another factor in our growth. We always push ourselves to do the best we can.

Another contributing factor to our growth, would be that we have had good people working in our team over the years, people who buy into the vision and who have drive. I don’t think we could have done it all without them.

I’ll also add that it’s very important to be prepared. Opportunity happens all the time, however the difference in being successful and not, is being prepared and knowing how and when to maneuver in all situations.


Tell us about Status London, why did you decide to venture into reality TV?

Status London came to fruition from a conversation I had with my younger brother. We noticed that there are not many UK-based reality shows, which focus on black people. I also felt it was important to tell a different story, as to what is already out there and to show the range of personalities in our community.

I’ll also be honest in saying that reality TV is a guilty pleasure of mine. So I wanted to see if this is something my production team could do, if so let’s do it.

As a mentor, what are four things you look for in young people before mentoring them?

The first thing would be see if they are willing to help themselves, you have to have self motivation.

Secondly all my mentee have been curious about life, and have a strong passion for finding their place in the world.

All of my mentees have also been open to trying different things.

And lastly a positive attitude is a must, if they can teach me something too I also appreciate that. It not just about me showing or advising them, as I like to learn too.


What other steps will you take to inspire the next generation and change the negative perception of black people in the media?

Keep doing what I do, as I can’t say right now what’s my next steps are.

I’m passionate about black people in the media, so I believe my products and businesses will always be in line with trying to change the negative, singular stereotypes and narratives that currently exist of black people.

What can we expect from Fresh Strawberry and Sade in the next year?

For Fresh Strawberry, you can expect expansion.

We know there will be huge growth within the company and with regards to our presence within the events industry.

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

Unleashing the phenomenal woman in YOU!

As a young girl I grew up around a family of strong, opinionated, yet very respectful women. I always saw my mother, aunts and grandmothers exhibit everything I wanted to be. They are pillars of strength in the family, they are wise and always have a comforting word. But one thing that stood out most was their resounding support for one another. This is a character trait they have passed down to all the girls in the family.

It always bothered me that I could never fit in with most of the girls at school. I thought it was because I was not cool enough. I was too much of a nerd, I was too interested in sports, certainly something was wrong with me.

Finding the right community

That was until I started interacting with a group of “different” girls. Our conversations were never about another girl’s flaws. We were all about encouraging each other to study, helping one another with school work and constantly supporting each other.

This was when I realised that what my mother always wanted for me was to be part of a group of girls who love each other and ultimately grow up to be part of a society of strong, independent women.

When I started my company, Ziphora Events, I always knew it would be my platform to help women and the youth to realise and maximise their full potential. I am a strong believer in women working together to create a society of inspiring and driven individuals. For young people, I have done this by hosting a Young Leaders Dialogue in 2014 and a Game Changers Dialogue in 2016.

Using Ziphora to spread my vision of community

The main aim of these events was to bring ordinary young professionals in conversations with individuals who are striving in their industries. The result was idea sharing, collaborations & building a network of people who are also interested in making South Africa a better place.

In July 2016, I hosted a Women in Lead High Tea in partnership with Divine Women Empowerment. The aim of the event was to bring women together in a relaxed environment, to discuss issues affecting us and contribute positively to society. Our speakers spoke about personal branding, seeking greatness, emotional de-cluttering and beauty. These are some of the things that make up a well-rounded woman. I believe that before we can even begin to influence society, we need to work on ourselves first.


Soon, Ziphora Events will be launching The Phenomenal Women’s Dialogue. The theme will be “Unleashing the Phenomenal Woman in YOU.” The purpose of the Phenomenal Women’s Dialogue is to uplift and build a generation of vibrant women. These are women who know what they want in life and are able to position themselves for greatness.

At each stage of life, women have a rich perspective and wealth of experience to share with one another. The Phenomenal Women’s Dialogue will give women a platform to share these experiences and perspectives. Ziphora Events is committed to the valuable leadership of women in every aspect of life. The Phenomenal Women’s Dialogue is one way in which we support that.

This vision is aligned to one of the Africa 2063 Agenda aspirations, which is “an Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth.”

What does a phenomenal woman look like to you?

For me personally, a phenomenal woman is the ordinary woman we meet in our communities every day. From that working mother juggling building a career with building a loving home, to the housewife who puts her energy in taking care of her husband and kids.

The local Pastor’s wife, the granny who the entire community looks to for advise, these are all phenomenal woman who play a big part in building our communities. As often as I can, I ask myself, “What am I doing to help someone realise and maximise their potential?”

I am always honoured when after an event I have hosted, women come to me and tell me how attending the event turned out to be the most important thing they did on that day. It is an even greater honour when after some time, they contact me saying they are still working on themselves and have invited another lady in the journey of seeking greatness.

This is indeed how we will build a society of phenomenal women and it is the legacy I want to leave behind. What will be your legacy?