Nothabo Ncube: You are bigger than your surroundings

When Nothabo Ncube was only 14 years years old, her mother died in a tragic road accident. Before she died, Nothabo had made a promise that she would become a doctor. 15 years later, Nothabo is not only a doctor, but she is also a consciousness speaker and entrepreneur featured on TEDx. 

Her journey to becoming a doctor was not easy. After joining her dad in Canada, Nothabo lived in the projects which were subjected to high crime rates, prostitution, and drug dealing.

In order to survive, Nothabo had to listen to a deep voice within herself that told her she was more than her environment and she will rise through it. 

Looking back at her journey, Nothabo concludes that every moment was important as it revealed to her what her purpose was. Now she lives her life inspiring and helping other women find themselves. 

In this interview, Nothabo talks about her mentorship program – Esther.


What projects are you involved in at the moment

In August 2017, I launched an online mentorship program for young women. The program called Esther’s Mentorship aims to assist women to win back their power, settles into their true selves, realize their potential and be the best of who God created them to be.

I use my personal experiences and testimonies to empower and assist women to realize that it doesn’t matter where one has been. That through their broken pieces, there is hope at the end of the tunnel and God can use their pain.

Before I always played victim to my journey and it took time to get to a place where I started seeing things differently. Now I understand that some of the things that happened were launching me into my purpose. Therefore it is my intention to be a medium, a voice, a source of guidance to enable the mentees to see through their pain.

Why did you name it Esther?

While speaking at an event in South Africa, one of the speakers took an interest in me. We began talking about my life’s journey, my vision and plan for the future. I told her about the mentorship program and she suggested that I call it Esther.

Upon return, during a conversation with my spiritual mother, she said I reminded her of Esther. As if this was not confirmation enough, I then decided to name it Esther because we are raising queens.

How is the mentorship structured?

The mentorship runs every Sunday for 30 minutes, in one on one sessions. As we have women from different parts such as Zimbabwe, USA, Canada and South Africa, we needed a day where everyone would be easily available.

During the mentoring session, I help women structure their goals and create guidelines on how best to move on their journey. I aim to empower the young women and open them up to a different sphere of who they are.

What are your 5-year plans for the Esther Program?

Currently, we have one on one mentorship sessions. However, in the future, I would want the girls in Zimbabwe to have meet up sessions at least once a month. This will help them in creating a platform where sisters come together and support each other.

I also intend on having centers especially in the big cities and branching to the rural areas where I feel those in the rural areas need it the most. My intention is to build a community of sisterhood that reaches every girl that needs it.

Tell us more about your TEDx Talks

My friends have been very instrumental in my TEDx journey. My friend instigated my first TED talk in Canada. She submitted my story to the TEDx recruiters. They then interviewed me and asked me to share my story on their platform. My talk was titled: A inspirational Story of Hope, Faith, and Grace.

Then again in Zimbabwe, another friend also submitted my name for the Bulawayo TEDx Talk. This talk was very historical as it what it the first time TEDx was being launched in Bulawayo. However, my first talk was what opened the door for other speaking engagements.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I think my inspiration stems from my own pain of not having had a mother figure. Growing up, I yearned for that backbone from someone I trusted. This wasn’t always the case but I had a few people that I was led to along my journey who have guided me. Driven by this,  I would want to be that person to someone else.

Which women have been the most influential in your life?

Oprah Winfrey was very influential in my life. In 2011, I was looking for money to go to school and a friend of mine suggested I go on her site. There was nothing on scholarships or bursaries but what popped up was a box that said tell us your story –“you become what you believe”.

I typed my story and put my cousin’s number as my contact details. They called her three times and she kept hanging up on them thinking it was a prank call. She eventually asked me about it and of course, I was shocked, “How does one hang up on Oprah? When Oprah calls, you answer!”

Fortunately, they called again and I got to talk to Oprah. While I did not get money to go to her school, she told me of her journey from her childhood to where she was today. This truly encouraged me and made me change the way I perceived my journey.

I started seeing my pain through a different lens. I started understanding that purpose was birthed by my pain. That’s when I knew I was called to speak.

What advice would you give other young people in a context like Zimbabwe?

Never allow your circumstances to define who you are, you are bigger than your surroundings. God is bigger than the current reality of what Zimbabwe is going through. When you tap into that higher source of power it’s inevitable that things will work in your favor.

Hold on to hope, tap into your truth, and continue fighting things will eventually change. Listen to your God’s voice, the voice that is kind and brings you peace is where your true power lies. It’s leading you right where you belong.


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Always be a dreamer: The story of Grace & other successful women

Taiye Selasi

Grace is a seasoned banker with over 20 years on international banking experience in Europe as well as several countries in Africa.  She boasts a successful career and a number of ‘firsts’ in her current bank. Though she at one time loved her job, the enthusiasm is waning as office politics thickens, even as she seeks a more fulfilling vocation.

But Grace has another burning desire – to own her own executive events management and floral business.  Having grown up in Nairobi, with her stay-home mother, being a keen gardener and floral enthusiast, Grace has a keen interest in flowers. She watched how the floral business flourished and prospered in Kenya –even at export level. Grace is also a good organizer and has a keen eye for events management, particularly corporate events.  She has dreamed of having her own events management and floral business for many years – but to date, fear of financial insecurity and stepping leaving her banking job holds her back. She remains frustrated with her job and her life, yet dreams of stepping out into the world working in the area of her passion.

Dreamers are daring people

They dare to imagine. They dare to imagine a change; they dare to imagine a possibility.  Where the audacity to dare becomes a limp hope is when the dreamer ceases to execute for lack of courage and for much of fear.

But when we cease to dream and to execute our dreams, we make a folly of our hopes. Our dreams form the very essence of our desires and hope –and we owe it to ourselves, and perhaps even to the world at large, to have the audacity to execute.

Oprah Winfrey

Ms Oprah Winfrey records that when she decided to move from Baltimore to Chicago as a Talk Show host, everyone thought she was insane, for she, a black woman, was going to the eye of the storm. Chicago was Phil Donahue land, and Phil Donahue was the king of talk show hosts. How and why on earth could Ms Winfrey do this to herself?  

Why would Chicago want to see a black woman hosting a talk show when they had Phil Donahue? Oh, but Ms Winfrey was a Dreamer. Ms Winfrey was not only a Dreamer but she was also a Doer.

She dreamed about her tomorrow, envisioned her futurist self, and had the audacity of hope. She packed up and moved to Chicago.  Her audacity delivered on to her – even far beyond what it did for Phil Donahue.

Taiye Selasie’s example

Let us bring it more home. I recently came across Ghana Must Go, a fascinating book by Taiye Selasie (in feature image). Reading her interviews and her book itself, I was reminded of what Selasie said in one of her interviews on the book: ‘I’m very willing to follow my imagination’.

She recalls that the idea for Ghana Must Go came at a yoga retreat in Sweden and got typing. For her, the book was entirely realized. It was a book that she wanted to read, a book whose characters she had dreamt about and conceived, and a book she dared to write.

She dared to dream, she dared to write, and the book has delivered much international acclaim. That’s the audacity of hope.

Writer, Producer, and Director Nicole Amarteifio with An African City stars Maame Adjei and Marie Humbert

Nicole Amarteifio’s example

Some of you may have seen the web movie series An African City, created by the fabulous Nicole Amarteifio. The story goes that whilst at University, and having recently seen Sex in the City, Nicole was intrigued to imagine what an African story line may look like. The intrigue literally captivated her, and Ms Amarteifio began the journey of script writing.

Research, research, research; script, script and yet more script and a few years down the line (even whilst working an international job), the final script was born. Still working a full time job, Nicole made time and used funds from her savings, friends, and family to gather actresses and all necessary resources to produce the movie, and now the rest is living history.

From CNN and BBC interviews, to Forbes Africa Woman features to speaking at the Cambridge University Business School, and being contacted by numerous international TV channels for Season 2 of An African City. Small, deliberate steps.

Yes, Oprah Winfrey, Taiye Selasie and Nicole Amarteifio could have fallen flat on their faces, like many others. Yet, the bottom line is that they took small, deliberate steps to actualize their dreams.   

Small, deliberate steps.

They bring us nearer to our hopes and dreams.


Images:

1. Oprah Winfrey. Fabrizio Ferri / Harpo Productions.

2. Writer, Producer, and Director Nicole Amarteifio with An African City stars Maame Adjei and Marie Humbert.