What womens month means to us as Zimbabwean women in business

Celebrating #womensmonth & what it means to be a #MotherlandMogul in Zimbabwe Click To Tweet

Women’s month means different things to different people and cultures. For me, it means celebrating each and every woman’s business and individual achievements; as well as our efforts together as a collective. It is about understanding the power of WE, which signifies collective leadership, I am because we are. In Shona, we would say, “munhu munhu nekuda kwevanhu”, I am a woman because of other women that surround me.

Here is what a few women had to say about being #MotherlandMoguls in Zimbabwe today.

Huge responsibilities

Tariro MakinaAs a 30-year-old woman living in Zimbabwe in 2017, my surroundings are constantly reminding me of the huge responsibilities I have as a citizen of this state. My actions right now are helping shape the future of this land in one way or another.

I am a woman accountable to future generations so I want to make sure that I leave a legacy of authentic beauty, love, strength, hard work and integrity. I really don’t care anymore how hard I have to fight to achieve that.

Tariro Makina: Twenty47 Virtual Assistant

Expressing creativity

Enny EthnicWomen’s month means celebrating the calm intelligence, quiet confidence, and simple elegance that’s in every woman.

As a Zimbabwean woman, especially, women’s month means celebrating the freedom to express my creativity, the privilege to showcase my brand and culture, and the power to follow my dreams.

– Matipa Mutsemi: EnnyEthnic

A woman’s place is at the top

IMG-20170224-WA0015To be a woman is to be a creator. I am the ‘wombman’ that brings life into existence. To be a woman is to embrace your instincts and trust them. A woman is pure love, and only thrives to see love which is why it is difficult for a woman to see evil whilst immersed in it.

A woman can go through the unimaginable because they see the inner love and not what is being presented on the external.  A  woman’s place is right up at the top. And then peace will prevail.

– Nonku Jijita: Love Nonku

Wake up every day with a sense of purpose

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As business owners, we would like to remind other women this; “You have to wake up every day with a sense of purpose and follow your dreams”.

You are going to hear a lot of no’s, don’t let that distract you from achieving your goals, persevere and define your own destiny.

– Mercy Nyamangwanda: EnnyEthnic

Business owners need to wake up every day with a renewed sense of purpose Click To Tweet

Shaping the future of Zimbabwe

Shamiso 1 (1)Women’s month for me calls me to reflect on what it means to be a young Zimbabwean leader, as a woman in this country. It challenges me to examine my values, not just as Shamiso but within the decisions I make with my business.

Are my decisions helping to shape our country? Am I intentionally helping to mentor the next generation of women leaders? Am I involved in policy decisions that are being made on a higher level, that affect our tomorrow?

This month is particularly important, especially in the lead up to Zimbabwe’s elections next year. It challenges me to think over if I’m doing my part as a young Zimbabwean woman and leader to help shape what is coming next.

Shamiso Ruzvidzo: Kusika Design

Let’s stop making apologies

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As we commemorate women’s month, it’s a time for us to look back and celebrate our victories, and restrategize for our shortfalls. One thing that is glaring for me is the fact that we as women, need to stop making apologies for being women, movers and shakers in our respective professional fields and adoring mothers and wives to cap it all.

Let’s stop making apologies for coming up with a brilliant idea during a brainstorming meeting. Let’s stop making apologies for getting that promotion those two other male colleagues were eyeing. Let’s stop making apologies for taking that well-deserved break from the hustles of work and family life. Let’s stop making excuses for being professional women who are also mothers, who need to occasionally be there for their children at school matches to cheer them on. Let’s stop making excuses for not being there at family functions because we had to attend weekend classes for that course we have always wanted to do.

This month, to my fellow sisters in the tech field, let us remember we don’t owe anyone any excuses for putting on heels and make-up because it does not make us any less tech. As women, let us continue to build networks that will strengthen us in both business and social life. Let’s continue to be pillars of strength for each other, and let’s always cheer a sister on!

Joy Makumbe: Founder Marjorlic Construction and The Joy Makumbe Trust

 

Nonku Jijita: I make anything and everything with my hands and dolls was one of them

Nonku Jijita
Nonku Jijita: I have always been very crafty since I was little Click To Tweet

Move over Barbie, Love Nonku dolls are here to stay. Each doll in the Love Nonku collection is hand-crafted by Nonku Jijita. Raised in Zimbabwe but now based in the UK, Nonku chose to make dolls in order to share her love for craft with the world.

Loving the satisfaction of sewing is one thing but making a business out of it is another. Watching cartoons with her kids lead Nonku to realise that comical cartoon characters are more beloved by children. Nonku Jijita currently plans on establishing a workshop in Zimbabwe that will distribute her dolls across Africa.


Why did you decide to make a business selling dolls?

I have always been very crafty since I was little. I make anything and everything with my hands and dolls was one of them. I wanted to chose one of my craft activities to share with the world, so I decided to share the dolls.

What ideas went to developing this doll that is “not your typical Barbie-style doll”?

I wanted to create a design that is simplistic enough to let a child use their own imagination as to what they want that doll to be.

I’ve spent years watching cartoons with my kids and noticed that the comical simple cartoon characters are what made my kids laugh and be happy. This is as opposed to characters that where created to look a certain way.

Children are a blank canvas when they come into this world. They should be given a chance to use their own imagination without being bombarded with certain imagery they feel obliged to conform to.

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What’s a typical day like for you?

A typical day for me goes like this

  • Take my kids to school,
  • Come back home, make a coffee
  • Get sewing in my home studio
  • I have until 3:30 to collect the kids from school.
  • When they are back home, I tend to them
  • Sometimes, I go back to sewing in the evening.
Nonku Jijita: Each Love Nonku doll is made individually to ensure quality Click To Tweet

In which countries do you operate and do you have plans to expand?

I am currently delivering to UK, USA and Europe. My dream is to expand into Africa, particularly in Zimbabwe, so I am still looking for opportunities to do so.

There are some very talented and gifted people in Zimbabwe who do not have access to opportunities. I want to empower and inspire them so they know that there is no limit if they wish to use their gifts and talents. Once my workshop is set up in Zimbabwe, I would like to use it as a base to later connect with toy stores and boutiques throughout Africa.

I get a lot of requests for my dolls all over Africa and it would logistically make sense to have a distribution hub in Africa. The dolls would be easily accessible if they are in boutiques across different African countries.

Before expanding, I will also need to start connecting and networking. I want to establish relationships with boutique owners, as well as look at marketing strategies that cover the whole of Africa.

love-nonku-1What processes have you put in place to ensure that your business is effectively run?

Attention to detail is key. From the fabric used, to the quality of the thread and paying attention not to waste precious fabric. Each doll is made individually to ensure quality.

There is a lot fine cutting as some pieces can be quite small. A steady hand and a good eye is required and definitely lots of light needs to be accessible. The eyes, lips and hair of my dolls are all done by hand and getting the correct measurements is crucial to achieve a uniform look.


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