Its time to Invest in the African Fashion Industry

“Africans need to put on the clothes made by their fellow citizens as a showcase of support and home pride”.

Africa has become a hub for designers unafraid to create fashion statements embellished in colors as bold as the continent’s sunsets and in prints as culturally rich as its people.

Their designs are cat-walking across runways both at home and around the world from New York to London to Tokyo.

Despite its budding international fame, the African fashion industry has long ways to walk before “made in Lagos” rings the same as “made in Paris.” For the meantime, the paucity of internal and external investment is a barrier frustrating attempts to move forward.

In recent times, African fashion has not just dipped its toes but fully plunged into the world’s fashion scene. Anisa Mpungew, a Tanzanian designer and creator of Loin Cloth & Ashes, says “Africa is not afraid of patterns and colors, that’s the one thing we do in our sleep, so we use it to be louder amongst our foreign friends.”

Indeed, African designers are making bold fashion statements through the complex patterns and colors they dare to work with.

African fashion tells a story — patches of identity are interwoven into the fabrics used and the designs created.

According to Bethlehem Alemu, owner of an Ethiopian shoe company soleRebels, “The global consumer today is hyper-aware. They want authentic and innovative ideas delivered from the authors of those ideas.”

These consumers want the designs to be creations of the African mind and hands and not replicas produced by Western clothing chains.

The fashion industry has the potential to create secured jobs for the African youths of today and tomorrow.

High profiled brands in the likes of J. Crew, Burberry, and Michael Kors oftentimes look to Africa for inspiration and ideas. Nevertheless, the masks, zebra stripes and leopard spots feed into Western stereotypes of Africa, not Africa’s authentic story.

With designers and clothes in high demand, the African fashion industry is ripe to reach its full potential. However, a lack of internal patronage stands in the way. Lexy Moyo-Eyes, the founder of Nigerian Fashion Week, acknowledges that “the fashion industry can become a big business in Africa … even more with government support.

For example, according to the African Development Bank, the Rwandan government established a “foundation to establish garment factories and boost the textile and fashion industries.”

As governments across the continent follow Rwanda’s steps and begin to esteem the fashion industry, they need to invest in the skills and qualifications of their people.

Fashion programs such as LISOF School of Fashion in South Africa and Vogue Style School of Fashion and Design in Ghana need to be in abundant supply, not scarce, across Africa.

Furthermore, governments across the African continent should set quotas on the import of second-hand clothing from the West.

The goal would be to stop relying on the West and boost local manufacturing and development instead. The East African Community (EAC), composed of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda, has gone as far as to propose a ban by 2019.

For the meantime, African designers, seamstresses, tailors, and retailers are competing with Western clothes ranging from printed shirts to blouses to leather jackets to sport jerseys.

Sylvia Owori, a designer based in Uganda, says that “about 90 percent of the clothing people are buying in the whole country are second-hand clothes — so as a small fish, how are you going to start to compete with that?”

Sylvia Owori

These clothes have appeal because they are priced cheaply and allow Africans to emerge themselves in Western culture by dressing the part. A pair of jeans could be sold for as little as $1.50.

At first glance, bundles of our worn clothes might seem like benevolent gifts from the West, but they are actually hindering the progress of the African fashion industry and economy.

“The fashion industry can become a big business in Africa … even more with government support” – Lexy-Mojo Eyes

Andrew Brooks, professor of Geography at King’s College London, explains that “[Western] t-shirts may be quite cheap for someone to buy, but it would be better if that person could buy a locally manufactured t-shirt, so the money stays within the [country]” instead of circulating overseas. As the proverb goes, “charity begins at home.”

Not only will they be contributing to the success of homegrown designers but to their respective economy as a whole.

According to Ventures Africa, “If there is any time to invest in the African fashion industry, it is now.” Those who invest first will likely be the biggest beneficiaries of them all.

According to Euromonitor Internations, “the combined apparel and footwear market in sub-Saharan Africa [alone] is estimated to be worth US$ 31 billion.”

Deola Sagoe, a Nigerian designer in the industry for the past 25 years says that this is only a small fraction of what the fashion industry is capable of. It is time to turn this visionary potential into tangible prospects.

Omoyemi Akerele, the founder of Lagos Fashion and Design Week, realizes that investing in Africa does not come without its risks; you only need to to read, watch or listen to the news to be reminded of that.

Omoyemi Akerele – Founder of Lagos Fashion & Design Week

But she urges people to take a leap of faith and look beyond the rhetoric of corruption and images of war. She emphasizes that “he who observes the wind and waits for all conditions to be favorable will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”

Beyond the glamour of clothes and runways, the fashion industry is a business that has the potential to play its part in efforts to create jobs, especially among young people. Compared to its counterparts, the African continent is home to the world’s youngest population.

According to the International Labor office, “youth make up as much as 36 percent of the total working-age population and three in five of Africa’s unemployed are youths.” Furthermore, UNICEF projects that by 2050, African children will make up close to 40 percent of children worldwide.

The fashion industry has the potential to create secured jobs for the African youths of today and tomorrow. NGOs and fashion organizations like the ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative, AFI’s Fastrack and Next Gen, and the LFDW Fashion Focus are already adding jobs across the continent.

Africa’s youthful population is more of an asset than it is a risk. Alemu says that the emerging African youths will bring “immense amount of energy and talent” to the fashion industry.

Africa has always been home to the creative hands and minds but it is just recently that the world began to knock at its door.

African fashion allows for the opportunity to make fashion statements that dispel stereotypes and myths about the continent.

It is a medium through which to spread African culture, from its authentic source to the rest of the world as well as create jobs for the upcoming youth back at home.

The industry needs both internal and external investment to reach its full potential. The time is now.

Joanna Steele: 2019, my year of return – from London to Equatorial Guinea

I was born in London in the 80s to Jamaican immigrants who arrived in the UK as young children in the 1950s.

My mum studied and worked as a nurse for the NHS (UK’s national health service) specializing as a midwife before becoming a health visitor. My dad was a Ph.D. educated engineer, physicist, and researcher working for MI5 (the UK government security and intelligence agency). He was also an Open University lecturer.

My early ambition was to be a lawyer. I began a Law degree at London Metropolitan University but discovered pretty early on that it wasn’t for me.

I changed to Marketing and Spanish with the ultimate aim of working internationally.

After university, I worked in a number of traditional PR and marketing roles and in the early 2000s, transitioned to a more digital focus.

More recently I have been making my mark within the UK digital retail space leading award-winning teams, projects, and campaigns.

I developed the content for the Mothercare (UK Mother & Baby Retailer) app – Winner of Best App at Paypal E-tail Awards – 2013 & 2014. I managed the social media team shortlisted for Best Social Media.

In 2017, I was a Tech50 Women award nominee which acknowledges emerging UK female tech talent.


“But I’m leaving London for Equatorial Guinea”.

Why Leave?

In 2014, I met my now fiancée –  a self-taught digital designer and animator who had worked for companies including Google and Amazon.

We would often get requests to design leaflets and websites – many from DRC and Angola where my partner originates. There was a clear demand for digital and design services but no-one local to fulfill.

My partner went to DRC to explore the market and landed an opportunity in Equatorial Guinea where he teaches animation at a local school, has built their website and is working on other marketing collateral.

Africa’s potential as a global leader in the world’s digital economy grows significantly every year.

A growing population, increasing internet penetration and mobile adoption, already goes a long way towards overcoming infrastructural barriers to digital transformation and connecting people and services online.

That’s why we’ve created Dimax – a digital agency helping businesses in Western Africa become more digitally focused to drive growth.

Relocating and establishing a business is exciting, but it is hard work - @MissSteele Click To Tweet

How am I preparing for such a big transition?

Here are my top 5 ways to prepare for a huge transition such as this…

1. Visit the region multiple times. Read, research and understand the cultural and business landscape. Upskill if necessary.

Current reads: “How We Made it In Africa” – compiled by Jaco Maritz &
“Africa’s Business Revolution – How to succeed in the world’s next big growth market” by Acha Leke, Mutsa Chironga and Georges Desvaux.

I’m also a student at the Oxford University Fintech Programme learning about how technology is disrupting financial markets.

2. Network. Get yourself known. I attend at least 2 networking events per month and am working on elevating my online personal brand

3. Get your finances in order. Reduce expenditure, increase passive income and have a plan for how your assets will be managed whilst you’re away

4. De-clutter – I didn’t realize how much stuff I had – most of which I don’t need or won’t be able to take with me

5. Focus on your physical and spiritual health. Your mind and body will be tested with all that you have to do, so step up your exercise and healthy eating regime.

What am I looking forward to?

  • Playing my part in Africapitalism. Driving financial returns and long term sustainable economic growth with social and environmental responsibility, education and community enrichment at the core.
  •  Living and working side by side with my partner in life and business
  • Sounds cliché, but the weather – anyone who has ever lived in London knows the struggle!

I will however definitely miss my family, friends and the fast-pace of London.

Looking to make a similar transition? Follow these steps…

  • Preparation is key. I’ve hired a business coach to help me plan and prioritize which has been so helpful because at times I get overwhelmed with what I need to do including holding down my day job whilst I’m still in the UK!
  • Be patient. You’re going to want everything to happen quickly – know that everything will happen when it’s meant to.
  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable: No need to always know your next move. Whilst we have short, mid and long-term goals, we still don’t have everything figured out.  It helps not to overthink things. Once we made the decision to make the big move, things just started to fall in place.
  • Tell people about your plans: you’ll be surprised how many people are willing to help you or connect you with someone that can.
  • Be flexible: Whilst I aim to be in Equatorial Guinea by the end of 2019, nothing happens before its time. Following my most recent visit, 

I have been invited back to host a workshop and participate on a panel at TegCampus – an annual tech initiative for young people organized by telecommunications company GITGE in May. So, I will be back sooner than I had anticipated. Watch this space!

Follow my journey on Instagram and read more about Dimax here: www.dimaxdigital.com


Got a story to share with us? Click here to share.

Here’s how you can jumpstart your career and business in 2019!

New year, new you right?

2019 is all about turning ideas into goals and turning concrete goals into actual results whether it’s in your career or business. Here are 5 ways you can jumpstart your 2019 and keep winning all year long!

Set goals!

I love setting goals at the beginning of the year because it’s a wonderful opportunity to take a break, think about what you’ve accomplished so far and where you want to go in the future. This SLA article gives you a step by step guide to setting goals in 2019.

Look the part

I remember in one of my first jobs after school, there was a colleague who never wore makeup and people definitely clowned her.

They would say she didn’t look professional or always looked tired. Hate it or love it, in the professional world, how you present yourself can be the difference between you getting that opportunity to shine and people overlooking you for not looking the part.

Makeup is not compulsory to look the part but looking neat, clean and pleasant will. This Forbes article explains how savvy business women should dress for success.

Jumpstart your career and business this year with 5 tips from She Leads Africa's co-founder @helloafua! More in this article. Click To Tweet

Fail forward

Failures and setbacks in life are inevitable! Even the most successful people have failed at something. To fail forward means to become better because of your mistakes, you can only do this by acknowledging your mistakes, and learning from them.

Here’s a great article by a Google employee, Tanuja Ramchal on how to fail fast and fail forward.

Be accountable!

The key to achieving your goals is ACCOUNTABILITY. This can be in the form of a Vision Board that you check every week or in a club where you share your goals out loud.

However you choose to do it, accountability can make or break whether you see real progress in your goals this year.

The SLA team has pulled together resources to help you set and achieve your goals in 2018. Visit sheleadsafrica.org/2019 to find out more and jumpstart your 2019.

Don’t forget to take out some time for yourself

Don’t forget to take out some time for yourself! When it comes to self-care; the main lesson I’ve learned is that you have to control your life so that you don’t wake up one day and not recognize the person you’ve become.

Be mindful. Be thoughtful. Be present so that you enjoy every single experience on your journey to becoming a better you. As Nigerians say, I can’t come and kill myself!

In this article, Arianna Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post makes the argument that you should sleep your way to the top! She means sleep, catch actual zzzz’s.

Here’s wishing you an amazing 2019! See you at the top.

Visit SheLeadsAfrica.org/NewYearGoals or OkadaBooks.com to learn how to jumpstart your 2019.


She Leads Africa is a social enterprise dedicated to supporting young African women and their journey towards professional success. The organization has been featured on CNN, CNBC Africa, Black Enterprise and Fox Business and has more than 600,000 community members across Africa and the diaspora.

 

5 things you need to start doing to grow your business online in 2019!

When Yasmin Belo-Osagie and I decided to start She Leads Africa in 2012, we had no office, no team, just a shared vision. We didn’t have fixed plans, but we both had a strong passion to help young women do better in their careers and businesses.

Since then we’ve built an amazing team, grown a community to more than 500,000 women across 135 countries, been featured in international media like Forbes, CNN and CNBC, generated hundreds of thousands of dollars through partnerships with global brands like Facebook, Samsung and Google, and was even invited to ring the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange!

Afua Osei: Co-Founder, She Leads Africa (Photo Credit: NYSE}

Here are 5 lessons I have learned along the way:

Set goals

At She Leads Africa, our goal has always been to create a platform to help millennial women create their own version of success so it’s exciting to be able to design experiences and opportunities to help them get closer to it.

This goal is broken down into many smaller goals and tasks that help us achieve this overarching goal.

Create content that stands out

There is such a significant need for interesting and creative content from diverse voices that there is no niche that has been overdone.

Those who want to be successful must move beyond creating content and discover how they can create community, experiences, and commerce to build a sustainable business. Develop a brand layout or creative guidelines so your content looks consistent over time.

5 things you need to start doing to grow your business online in 2019 from She Leads Africa's co-founder, @helloafua. Learn more. Click To Tweet

Think beyond social media

Make sure you’re creating a brand that goes beyond social media and these algorithm changes. Be able to connect directly with your customers, fans and industry decision makers without relying on someone else’s shine.

One of the ways you can do this is by growing a mailing list.

Help your team members develop through feedback

As an entrepreneur, one of the most important responsibilities to your team members is to give them feedback.

When your budget is tight, you can’t always afford to hire people with the most experience so you and your team will need to learn and grow together. Honest and consistent feedback is the way to make that happen.

Network

Find like-minded people in your community who can help you grow, and who you can help. Business relationships should always be symbiotic. Go to networking events. As an introvert, my go-to method before any networking opportunity: Breath. Research. Practice.

The digital economy provides one of the most significant opportunities for young women to generate their own independent income and monetize their skills and personality to a global audience. Previous economic transformations required significant capital or permission from gatekeepers. That is no longer the case.

The SLA team has pulled together resources to help you set and achieve your goals in 2019.

Visit SheLeadsAfrica.org/NewYearGoals or OkadaBooks.com to learn how to jumpstart your 2019.


She Leads Africa is a social enterprise dedicated to supporting young African women and their journey towards professional success. The organization has been featured on CNN, CNBC Africa, Black Enterprise and Fox Business and has more than 600,000 community members across Africa and the diaspora.

Learn how to set and achieve your goals in 2019!

In the last 5 years, I’ve built an amazing team, grown a community to more than 500,000 women across 135 countries, been featured in international media like Forbes, CNN and CNBC, generated hundreds of thousands of dollars through partnerships with global brands like Facebook, Samsung and Google, and was even invited to ring the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange!

Afua Osei and Yasmin Belo-Osagie: Co-Founders, She Leads Africa (Photo Credit: NYSE}

One thing that has helped me to successfully do all of this is goal-setting.  I love setting goals at the beginning of the year because it’s a wonderful opportunity to take a break, think about what you’ve accomplished so far and where you want to go in the future.

Here are 5 ways you can set goals and achieve your goals in 2019:

1. Create a vision board

Vision Boards are the bomb.com. At the beginning of the year, my friend Edibly and I sat down and thought about what we wanted to get accomplished this year. It was hard to narrow it down but it’s been great having my goals written down and staring me in the face every single day.

2. Find an accountability partner

Find for an accountability partner or a group of like-minded people. Share your major goals for the year and what you’re looking to achieve every month.

Want to achieve your 2019 goals? She Leads Africa's co-founder @helloafua shares her 5 tips on how to jumpstart 2019... Learn more Click To Tweet

3. Focus!

Last year I decided to focus only on projects that were solely aligned with my passion for travel, digital and entrepreneurship. That focus and strategic positioning helped me secure great opportunities that probably wouldn’t have been available if I hadn’t taken a more targeted approach.

I had the opportunity to serve as the Host of the first ever Airbnb Africa Travel Summit in Cape Town, South Africa.

Afua Osei: Co-Founder, She Leads Africa as the host for the first ever Airbnb Africa Travel Summit in Cape Town, South Africa. One of her goals for 2018 was to focus only on projects that were solely aligned with her passion for travel, digital and entrepreneurship.

4. Plan your finance and Investments

If I don’t have it, I don’t spend it. If I have it, I want to spend less of it. If you ask me to spend money, I won’t return your calls. See how easy it is. Seriously in 2019, you need to get serious about budgeting, investing and planning.

In her book, the Smart Money Woman, Arese Ugwu breaks down financial concepts as simple lessons to help you achieve financial freedom in 2019.

5. Find a natural mentor

I’ve always found it quite awkward to go and ask a complete stranger to fill such an important role as a mentor. It doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them by reading their articles, listening to their speeches or by attending a class, but a mentorship can be such a personal relationship and you want to make sure your values and personality types align. Look for people in your immediate circler who could serve as a source of inspiration to you.

The SLA team has pulled together resources to help you set and achieve your goals in 2019.

Visit SheLeadsAfrica.org/NewYearGoals or OkadaBooks.com to learn how to jumpstart your 2019.


She Leads Africa is a social enterprise dedicated to supporting young African women and their journey towards professional success. The organization has been featured on CNN, CNBC Africa, Black Enterprise and Fox Business and has more than 600,000 community members across Africa and the diaspora.

Grow & Glow: How to find love again after numerous heartbreaks

I still remember one cold January a few years ago, the Harmattan was still yet to fade away after the Christmas and New year celebrations. Everything felt cold and life seemed to be at a stand-still.

I couldn’t believe that my adorable relationship of two years was finally over. We had fallen in love and had promised to live happily together. We both used to exchange poems, love notes and surprises.

We had the best relationship I have ever experienced.

My friends envied us and no other person could understand the same way we felt. Ours was made in heaven and the stars kept shinning at our lovely hearts on a daily basis.

There was nothing wrong with us except that I had just started adding some weight. Who wouldn’t? After spending 6 months in my mum’s supermarket during the ASUU(Academic Staff Union of Universities) strike.

I didn’t think a little addition could reveal the true intent of our relationship. He loved my slim body and wasn’t ready to accept another. So after some days of deep thought on his side and a big push for me to join a gym, he decided that it was time to take a break.

That landed in the wrong place for me. I wasn’t expecting it. Our love was divine, I mean.

BTW, this looks like the only reason I can attach to the break up since there was no specific reason he mentioned.

But anyway, his mind was made up and after fighting so hard to win us back for close to a year, I decided to accept my new fate and move on but it was hard. I cried for several nights. I wanted him to come back and give me a reason for the breakup but none came.

I kept stalking him online to see if he was doing fine without me and yes, he was. I dreamt and imagined a lot but nothing changed.

After a few months of tears and regrets, I decided to finally take some chill and give my brain a reset.

So what are the steps I took to recover and start again? Let me share some with you and I hope it would make you start afresh again.

@NikeFolagbade ‏shares some tips on how to grow and glow from past heartbreaks...Read more Click To Tweet

Admit that it is truly over

This was the hardest phase for me. I was living in self-denial for a long time. I truly loved him and never envisaged that we would break up.

I had no alternatives or backup, I simply gave my all and now he was gone without a reason. So I had to start telling my mind daily that it was time to move on.

I thought about him sometimes but I didn’t let it ruin my day again. I started taking charge of my thoughts by diverting my thoughts into something else.

This took a lot of practice though and I failed many times but I kept rising up.

Divert your time into other activities

I have always loved writing so I decided to start penning down my daily experiences and life lessons. I call it journaling. I tried writing a new book that I ended up losing but at least, that got me productive.

Get some alone time with God

I spent time in prayers and study with God believing for the best for my future. I decided to trust God to pave a new way for me and He surely did.

Go out more

I became more social and open with friends instead of staying hidden and indoors. Try to hook up with new friends or stay connected with old friends and hang out together.

Give back

I started volunteering and giving myself more to service and project done by other people I considered as mentors. I used my skills and passion to serve.

Reflect on the past

I did a sober reflection on all that happened and evaluated how the relationship went so that I could pick my lessons, form new and better perspective and open up myself to new opportunities.

Embrace personal development

I began to work on myself by attending seminars, reading books and making research.

No more regrets

I stopped blaming myself or living in the past. I became positive and less critical of myself. Be willing not to remain stuck in the past. Get out there and allow yourself to experience love again.

Now, these are just some of the things I did and you can pick from them but you should also do things based on your unique self.

You may love drawing, painting, singing, acting or any other hobby that can keep you busy. There was so much I also did which helped me become more intentional when I finally met my husband.

Though I shared most of my experiences in my book which has helped lots of singles too you can start with these tips above for a fresh start.

So what phase are you currently in?

  • Denial phase?
  • Moving on phase?
  • Or the recovery phase?

Always remember that your experiences don’t define you, they only make you stronger and wiser. Don’t give up on yourself. It’s time to invest in yourself and upgrade your attraction level.


 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

Boss Lady Series: How to Keep Track of Goals and Stay Fit with Ethel Cofie

Do you have a routine or a way to approach your day? Setting the tone for your day has a massive impact on how much you accomplish.

This month I will be showcasing the routines of several boss ladies who work on the continent. Learn how they balance working hard with staying on top of their physical and mental health.

By sharing our experiences, learning from others and deciding what works for us as individuals, we all can have a good life.


 Ethel Cofie has always admired people who had multiple jobs.  She has multiple interests and is involves in several companies.

Her work fits within three main buckets: women in leadership, entrepreneurship, and technology. In addition to having personal consulting work, running a technology company focused on digital strategy and transformation, she also runs an organization that empowers women around the world in the tech space.

How does she stay on top of her work and make her health a priority?

Ethel, constantly tweaking her approach to her professional and personal life, let me in on her secret to staying motivated.

To stay healthy and avoid binge eating, @ethelcofie travels with her own snacks and even hits the gym during work trips. Click To Tweet

Know what motivates you

Like many entrepreneurs, Ethel describes herself as ‘uber-competitive,’ but at the same time, no one tells her what to do.

She is always trying to be more effective, efficient and productive.

If you enjoy keeping track of your professional and personal goals like Ethel, you should consider using software like excel to keep track.

Ethel uses a spreadsheet to make sure she is on track with her goals and scores herself. Monthly she gives herself a score and daily she creates a to-do list that has up to 3 priorities.

All her workouts are tracked in Apple Health so she can maximize the 30 minutes she dedicates to running each day.

Visualize your success

Success means different things to everyone but being clear on what you want will make it easier for you to attract it.

Ethel takes this one step further by spending a few minutes each day before she starts work to visualize things that she will be able to do when she achieves her goals.

Recently, Ethel has been spending time imagining how much fun it would be to take her immediate and some of her extended family on holiday. This keeps her motivated and focused.

Make your health a priority

The first thing that Ethel does in the morning is put on her running clothes.  Once she has them on, she is ready to go.  She swears she is not a morning person, but that she has just adjusted.

She is just as dedicated when she is traveling.  The first thing Ethel does when she gets to a hotel is asking where the gym is.

She tries to keep her workout routine similar to what she does at home.  She spends about 30 minutes running on the treadmill and about 20 minutes doing weights.

Learn from others

Find people to look up to online and offline.  Ethel gives credit to productivity books for ‘curing’ her of wanting to do everything.

She recommends starting with reading Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown or Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results by Christina Wodtke.

Online she tends to focus on accounts that are effective in spreading knowledge and provoking conversations like Dr. Ola Brown (Orekunrin) and Victor Asemota.

Concerning working out, Ethel is inspired by Michele Obama’s arms.

Find someone that you look up to or inspires you to keep you on track with your goals - @ethelcofie Click To Tweet

Make the most of your trips

Ethel packs last minute for trips but plans out almost everything else including snacks. She tries to get in touch with people who will be at the conference she is attending.

About a week before the event, she will get in touch with other speakers and schedule meetings.  If she is speaking, she starts practicing about a week before as well. To keep herself from binge eating, Ethel travels with her own snacks.  If she is not able to get the cereal or energy bars she likes, she brings along milo.  Eating these snacks keeps her from eating unhealthily and drinking coffee.

By keeping track of her progress and planning ahead, Ethel is able to make the most of her time.  Even if you don’t like using elaborate excel sheets or tracking software, just knowing where you started can keep you moving forward.

How do you plan to push yourself? Do you do anything to hold yourself accountable? Read our Good Good Living Part 3 series w/ Maya Horgan Famodu


 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

5 ways to become intentional about your love life this year

So what really happened in your love life cycle in the past year?

Did you do a proper observation on what has worked or what needs adjustment?

This write up would be useful to you if you are currently:

  • Single (searching or not)
  • In a relationship.
  • Engaged
  • In a situationship (what does that even mean?)

I know that a lot of people like cutting off certain friends they consider toxic in the first quarter of the year, well, that is not the focus here. The focus is on YOU.

If you are going to get any different result this year in your love life, it would start from doing something different this season.

There are two sides of the coin, the positive or the negative or what worked and what didn’t work.

@NikeFolagbade ‏shares 5 tips to help you build more intentional and healthy relationships this year. Click To Tweet

Look into these 5 tips I’ll be sharing below, and seek ways to implement and change your love cycle.

1. Don’t start a relationship until you understand its purpose

In this era where people are moved more by the butterflies in their tummy when they meet a person, it is easy to lose the essence of your season and flow with the tide.

If you are one of those who judges a man first by his physical looks, you may miss the real meat when it comes along.

So why do you want to date? Is it because your friends are all in a relationship or because you want to add value to another person? But how can you add value if you haven’t also recognized your value? A relationship is about two people who have great values to feed themselves, not one-sided but mutual.

Even before you start a business partnership, you would have done a proper investigation into what you’re getting into. Lack of proper caution can lead you to a wrong contractual relationship.

You need to understand the WHY, WHAT, AND WHO.

So sit down, relax and answer the following questions:

  • What kind of relationship/marriage do I really want not just need?
  • What kind of woman do I need to become to create such a relationship? This could mean dealing with some inner battles like fear, insecurity or unrealistic expectations.
  • What kind of man can fit into the values I want in my marriage?
  • How would I know when I meet such a man? What patterns not words or actions (because this can be acted) would I see?

2. Work on yourself and seek to know YOU more

One question I ask a lot of singles is if they know their values since a relationship is also about being with someone who shares deep values with you.

Exposing yourself to personal development is the first way to expose your mind and make you become self-aware. Self-awareness leads to self-mastery hence how much do you know about yourself before growing (not falling) in love?

Sometimes what you need is a friend who you can both grow together to achieve greater things, not just an intimate relationship.

If you are trying to work on yourself, find like minds and smash goals together instead of seeking for a man that cannot mend your broken state.

3. Learn about what a healthy relationship really looks like

If you’ve not been exposed to a healthy lifestyle especially if you grew up witnessing an unhealthy model of marriage, it may be difficult to adequately discern one.

For instance, it is necessary for you to know your deal breakers, deal makers and resolve on how to handle it when you spot one in a potential partner.

Exposing yourself to personal development is the first way to expose your mind and make you become self-aware - @NikeFolagbade ‏ Click To Tweet

If you are not clear on this, you may start defending your partner when the red flags are up.

How do you learn about how to build healthy relationships?

  • Read more books from credible authors and go for training that increases your mental, spiritual and emotional capacity.
  • Learn from people who have built great marriages and find out their ultimate secrets. You need to be able to differentiate between love and lust. Love is selfless, not selfish. Love is patient, not desperate in nature. Love is gentle, not harsh about decisions. Love pays attention to your needs and not force needs and goals on you.

This is the time to also understand and create proper boundaries for yourself. The reason why it’s easier for some people to invade your heart and hurt you is that you haven’t recognized your boundaries and created a line around it.

If you meet a new person and he starts to invade into your emotional boundaries, then you’ll know that something is wrong.

For instance, if you meet a new guy who begins to blackmail you to prove your love or go to certain places when you suspect that something is fishy, you may not know how to say NO without feeling guilty because you think he owns a part of you.

4. Enjoy your life and explore

Sometimes you may think you are missing out in life until you travel to new places or expose yourself to new kinds of people. Some ladies get married and discovered that they never had the time to explore the world or their own personal world.

Learn a new language or skill if you want but make sure you spend your single years acquiring knowledge that your current freedom can permit.

That doesn’t mean that marriage won’t allow you to explore but that will be a time where you need to balance your life well before starting new developments.

5. Be open up to new opportunities to make friends and build committed relationships

Fear can limit you from trying again if you’ve been jilted in the past. Understand that life is a journey to learn and grow, be more open to solid friendships and make yourself socially accepted.

Not all acquaintances should lead to a relationship hence you should allow the number 3 tip to guide you. Trust is necessary to build a wholesome relationship and you should be willing to be vulnerable.

If you are still struggling here, then you may need professional help where we can guide you on creating a new and fresh love.

Cheers to more intentional relationships this new year.

Which of these tips will you start doing right away?


 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

Boss Lady Series: How to Maximize Your Week with Maya Horgan Famodu

Maya Horgan Famodu came to Lagos about four years ago and knew no one.  She had no connections and no start-up capital.

What Maya had was an idea and the drive to establish Ingressive, a venture capital fund and a fantastic team that is building tech ecosystems across sub-Saharan Africa.

Even if you are just starting out in Lagos, she told me, “…you can do whatever you want here. Don’t let someone tell you aren’t good enough or that your profile is not typical. You can create the space of your industry, and you can get it done.

Start now before you are crazy busy to develop good habits - @mayahorgan Click To Tweet

She has come a long way from when she started her business.  She has gone from working all day and week on her business to figuring out how to break up her day and week into manageable pieces, so she is not only successful professionally but has time to follow her non-business-related interests.

Maya shares how she spends her weekend and has some suggestions on how to balance your work with your other passions.

Divide up your week so you can tackle all aspects of your professional life

If you are like Maya and you tend to get very involved with details, you can schedule out your week with specific tasks, so you are forced to focus on every aspect of your business or position.  For example, Maya focuses on internal team meetings and planning on Monday.

Her Tuesdays are for reviewing the companies she works with. Wednesday is for external meetings and networking. Thursdays are for dealing with paperwork and reviewing internal processes.   Similar to Wednesday, Fridays are for business development.

She usually attends extended in-person meetings that might lead to a relaxing dinner or drinks. You can use Google Calendar to help you stay on track of your critical daily work themes across the week.

Make the most of Your weekend

Maya used to spend a lot of time going out but realized as a Lagos transplant she needed more time to reflect and rejuvenate in her favorite spaces so she could be her best.

If she is not hanging out at her house or at the beach, she will only schedule meetings with individuals who she has both professional and personal relationships with.

She calls Saturday her ‘Enjoyable Partnerships Day.’  

Give yourself some quiet time, but start small

She has learned that she needs time to rejuvenate to be at her peak.  Maya plans to attend yearly quiet retreats that can last up to ten days.  She tries to incorporate some of the same techniques into her life in Lagos. Her Sundays are entirely offline.  

She doesn’t check her emails or phone and might do some offline planning for the week. She also spends time reading and writing. She has found that when she reflects, she has space to think about new ideas.

You might not be able to take ten days off or even an entire day off your social media, but you can start small.  Maya starts off her day mediating, and you can start off by meditating for a few minutes to work your way up to 1 hour.

Maya suggests waking up an hour earlier, she usually is up by 7 am, during the work week to get in some silent time.

Make the most of your tribe: Find Your Core People

When she is not working, Maya spends most of her time by herself or with one to two people. She credits her tribe with helping her get through the good and tough times as an entrepreneur.  She suggests that you surround yourself with the right people. Focus on quality, not quantity.   

You should have one to three people you can call on when things go poorly or that you can lean on - @mayahorgan Click To Tweet

Maya suggests having advisors you can turn to for your business or professional career and then emotional support, people who can tell you everything is going to be ok or set you straight.

My biggest takeaway from Maya was the idea that you should start now before you are crazy busy to develop good habits.  You don’t have to spend 24 hours working. Entrepreneurship and life, in general, is a marathon. If you want to do it for the long term, you need to set yourself up for success.  Developing the right habits and routines can help with that.

How do you plan out your week? Are you making sure to include time for your other interests?

Want to learn how to build a health-conscious routine? Read our Good Good Living Part 2 series w/ Funmi Oyatogun


 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

Your lifestyle is what determines your fitness levels: Evonne Mudzingwa

Evonne Mudzingwa is a Group fitness coach trained and certified in the Asia Pacific.  She has been successful in completing several, marathons, ultra marathons including Two Oceans 56km and Comrades 90km medals.

She was born and bred in Chegutu, a small town in Zimbabwe and currently has two girls.

Eve decided to change her career in 2008 after she realized hiring a fitness coach for an event she was planning was expensive, she decided to equip herself with the skills in Fitness and exercise.

In 2008, Eve who was a professional at the time embarked on her career change in Malaysia and Singapore over a 10 year period.  Here she was trained by LesMills International.

In her spare time, Eve loves to travel, Adrenaline sports like zip lining,  bungee jumping, mountain climbing and riding her motorcycle.

In this article, she speaks about her early journey and her career as a fitness professional.


A healthy, fit entrepreneur is more alert and focused - Evonne Mudzingwa Click To Tweet

On why she choose the Asia Pacific…

‘A friend recommended the LesMills Training as it was unique, there wasn’t anyone offering it in Zimbabwe and Southern. Africa back then,  so I went for it,’ says Eve.

She went on to train as a Zumba instructor and personal instructor. She has Lesmills Certification in their training modules body combat, body step, body pump and RMP (studio cycling ).

Upon qualifying in Bodycombat, Eve realized that she needed experience and to acquire a clientele base before she could open her own establishment.

“I worked for a gym in Harare(Borrowdale Brooke) for 2 months thereafter I got my experience and enough clientele.

This experience gave me a glimpse of the void in the fitness industry. This gap was a center that understood and identified with the average, conservative voluptuous Zimbabwean woman.

This is what inspired me to open what initially was a Ladies only fitness center. The traditional gym was too intimidating and male-focused, ignoring the minority female gym goers. I wanted to bring a more personal approach to the fitness world,” she continued.

Eve states she looked around for space to establish her own center, then she came across a small building in a Sports club which had not been last used for 25years as a rugby changing room and was almost dilapidating.

“I contacted the property owners and asked to refurbish it, they were shocked but it worked. I used it for free for the first 6 months.  With this, Eve’s Fitness Studios was born.

Classes commenced in April 2009 hand the studio has evolved and grown over the past 10 years with our 10th anniversary coming up this April 2019”.

Eve’s Fitness Brand established in 2009 now encompasses the Eve fitness Studios – a quaint little fitness center that offers various training programmes.  It also has Eve’s Fitness Battles, Eves Wine Dash Series  – a lifestyle series in partnership Bushman Rock.

Eves 10km Obstacle Race Series molded on the Spartan Race Series and Vainona Running Club which hosts trademark runs namely Eve’s Mazoe Hotel Run and Eve’s Pink Marathon to raise funds for Cancer.  And recently Eve’s Fitness Training – a fitness training center for aspiring Group Fitness Instructors.

Some of her achievements…

Evonne Mudzingwa has been awarded several awards including Women Excel top 100 most successful businesswomen in 2018, ZNCC Service Industry Award, Award for Women who Roar in their Industry and Shero Women Entrepreneurship Awards.

On how body maintenance helps in day to day productivity as an entrepreneur…

A healthy, fit entrepreneur is more alert and focused.  Exercise releases endorphins which leave one feeling happier and more energetic. It also boosts one’s self-esteem, an important requirement in anyone in business.

As for me, I keep fit by doing 2hours of training every day and a 5km run on a daily basis.

My diet mostly consists of organic, high fiber food which I mainly pan-fry or boil, lots of fruits and vegetables, fish & chicken with beef or pork once a week. I also love herbal teas and snack on our mutakura (mixed boiled grains).

On how a career woman can balance between the gym, work and family life…

One only requires just a minimum of thirty minutes of exercise a day out of the 24 hours. A family working woman can go to the gym early morning whilst the household sleeps or soon after work.

Every woman needs this Metime to exhale, regroup and be a better mother, wife, and employer. I believe people make time for the things they deem important in life, one just needs to decide that their health is a priority.

There is always time.

On dispelling the societal notion that the gym is for rich people or luxurious activity…

Contrary to that misconception of the gym is an elite activity. Exercise is an important aspect of total wellness.

Understandably gyms are beyond most people’s budgets but there are various cheaper ways of exercising. Running and bodyweight strength training exercises do not cost anything and can be done anywhere.

On providing special sessions for pregnant women and people recovering from injury…

Our Programmes cater to various fitness levels including pregnant and recuperating clients. We offer options relevant to the clients special condition.

It is actually encouraged for women to train throughout their pregnancies. The ambiance at our studio inspires and motivates everyone to not give up.

I also have personal relationships with my clients making it easy to encourage them from losing their mojo.

On the Myth that frequent Gym Exercise makes women look masculine…

The myth that exercise and strength training, in particular, makes females look masculine has sadly been around for the longest time and strongly believed.

There are various kinds of training programmes to achieve different results. There are those women who actually choose to build a masculine look, these are usually bodybuilders and professional figure athletes.

To look that masculine however these women have to be on specific training programmes, restricted diet and taking the relevant supplements.

A woman just exercising is incapable of looking masculine as the female body does not have sufficient protein to build that much muscle.

Women fearing to look masculine should shy away from using heavy weights but instead opt for lighter weights but doing plenty repetitions of the same exercise. At Eve’s Fitness Studios we offer a variety of training programmes that complement each other for that balance total body workout to get a lean, fit and toned body.

A woman just exercising is incapable of looking masculine as the female body does not have sufficient protein to build that much muscle - Evonne Mudzingwa Click To Tweet

Advice for women in exercise and fitness programs…

“Fitness is not a size”.

There is this sad notion that if people are skinny then they don’t have to exercise or are automatically fitter than the bigger people. You can be a skinny unfit person, we call this skinny fat.

Equally a person can be of big built but fit. One’s lifestyle is what determines their fitness levels.

Women should support each other in business. I faced less support when I started my fitness Studios and had to work extra hard to show that what I do is the same or better than in male-led fitness Studios.


 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.