Hey Motherland Mogul, Celebrate!

One month down, eleven more to go. I really hope you’re not letting out a sigh yet because my polite reminder to you this year is to take it one day at a time. One, not two or three, but one.

Stop worrying about being the perfect student, mommy, worker, just celebrate each day Click To Tweet

Rather than going through the list of things at the end of the day that you haven’t achieved and turn mauve with anger, how about you just celebrate and be happy because, in this grand dance of life, that’s all you need to get through another day.

I am asking you to stop worrying about being the perfect student, mommy, worker, all that in between and just celebrate each day in its uniqueness.

 

Society has taught us to swank the achievements and sweep the disappointments under a heavy Persian rug. Take a brief look at successful business stories or closer home, social media. They only tell of the good side, the pictures we see are predominantly facades but no struggle is told of at length (probably a few) and only briefly.

We only see the tip of the iceberg but not the rock underneath. What you need to do is, take a long look at that rock and celebrate it. Without it, that tip would never be. Maybe this is the year that the rock is forming, or it could be the next.

Well, lady, celebrate that!

At the risk of sounding like a fluffy motivational speaker, let me share three reasons as to why I am asking you to celebrate these days, these moments, this rock, this masterpiece that’s loading.

1. Your sense of success will be enlightened even better.

The more you face your challenges better, the more your successes will give you a deeper sense of awareness. Here, I am talking about the awareness of the self.

You will achieve that balance that allows you to neither be to be too sad as to sit and wallow in your supposed failure nor be vain about your success and thus become complacent.

If you're irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished? Click To Tweet

2. You will wear gratitude like a daily cloak

You will begin to appreciate the little things, the very miniature ones included. For once, you will start to see and be thankful for that morning ray of sunshine in a different way.

You will give thanks for that roasted maize you bought on the roadside, you’ll be happy for the tiny bedsitter you’re living in as you hustle for that business or job, because hey, you have a roof over your head.

Every single person, event or item will be a point of meeting yourself at the heart of sincere gratitude. You know that they say with a grateful heart, right? Blessings abound.

 

3. You will become a better person

With this kind of celebration, it doesn’t matter if you can’t go out and spoil yourself with material things and not that I am against this but it matters more that you can do it within.

A lot of introspective work goes into this kind of felicitation and it takes plenty of willpower to be okay with the present; to sit in stillness and celebrate the challenges. This creates a deeper understanding of oneself and refines you from the inside out.

Then, you can lift others and encourage them. With your courage, you can elevate someone’s spirit who can see you wear pain and disappointment like Cinderella’s glass sandals. These are selfish days my friend, go on and give some light to someone.

There you go. So now, who’s ready to celebrate with me?


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Nomvelo Chalumbira: There are endless possibilities available to millennials now than there previously were

‘Lazy…entitled…’? Enough with the name calling!

Because some bold young ladies are challenging the way some describe millennials, and Africa is already celebrating their work!

Nomvelo Chalumbira, 23, recently graduated from Wits University where she studied journalism and is currently interning at Reuters Africa.

She is also the co-founder of Melenial Media, a digital-content platform created by two young black women, for young black women, with the aim of empowering them and supporting the great work they are doing in different spheres of society.  

What started as a blog is growing into a great media brand, and with a prestigious award already on their shelf, we thought we should get into the psyche of this aspiring media mogul, and also asked her to share some of her work with us.


What made you decide to start early, co-founding Melenial Media while still studying?

I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do after university and felt that my degree had not prepared me for the job market, but I was always interested in media, and after doing a blog with my friends for a year, I wanted to start something that represented me and other black millennial women.

My passion was to be a part of the change of the media landscape in South Africa and not rely on building a career at already-established media companies.

In my third year, my current partner and I saw a huge gap in the market of voices of millennial women of color, and thus Melenial Media was founded.

There is no set path to success Click To Tweet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Millennials have been called many (not so great) names, such as ‘the Me, Me, Me Generation”, as expressed in an article by a reputable magazine. What are your thoughts about this?

Times are very different and things are being done very differently. Many traditional industries have been disrupted and altered to suit the needs of the current generation.

For instance, the media industry is becoming more digital and fast-paced. We must all keep up with the new.

As an article in the Atlantic put it very well, “every generation has been a me, me, me generation”, so what is new?

How did you go from blogging to having an award winning media brand? What drives you as an entrepreneur?

It hasn’t been easy! Building a business has taught me discipline and perseverance, especially juggling studying full-time and doing Melenial. But, I absolutely love what I do and having the privilege to do what I love every day is a great blessing.

That has helped me get through the tough times, knowing that the reward is sweeter than the sweat. We try our best to be consistent and put out the best content.

Entrepreneurship is challenging but I have a great family support system. What’s even more exciting is being able to be a part of the advancement and empowerment of black women.

Please share some of your photojournalism work with us:

 

More Than a Barcode: Like identity, our sense of place is fluid; it changes as the place changes and as we change. One’s sense of place becomes part of their identity, and one’s identity affects the ways we define and experience a place. Therefore in the construction of identities, part of what one does is to instill place with meaning by attaching memories and experiences to the place.

 

Serene yet Strong: Mammy Setshogo fulfilling her regular duties of looking after and running a tavern household in Soweto. Here she is washing the household’s clothes and she looks serene, regal, strong and beautiful whilst doing a mundane chore.

 

 

 

How does Melenial Media aim to empower millennials and change such narratives about them?

Melenial Media showcases a diverse range of women doing great things in their respective fields. We are breaking down the stereotype and notion that there is one type of black woman.

The content you find on our site is interesting, fresh and relatable – not only to millennials but to any generation. We showcase that there is no set path to success.

Melenial Media shows that anything is possible if you believe enough in your vision.

We are breaking down the stereotype and notion that there is one type of black woman - @nomvelo_c Click To Tweet

From the work you have done so far with millennials, what potential do you think they have to make Africa even greater?

There are endless possibilities available to Millennials than there previously were. This makes the potential to do great things even greater.

With information, access, and opportunities available at our fingertips, millennials are creating their own opportunities and path.

Africa is a wealthy goldmine of opportunities and it’s all about seizing the moment and just going for it. And that is exactly what millennials are doing. They are not afraid to take a chance and create their own realities that suit them.

Africa is a wealthy goldmine of opportunities and it’s all about seizing the moment and just going for it. Click To Tweet

You won the ‘2016 Top Youth Culture Blog in Africa’ award in such a short space of time. What does the award mean to you and Melenial Media?

It was a humbling milestone to have reached in such a short time. It has made us realize that we are creating a sustainable business that is making a difference and contributing positively to society.

What we have created is something quite relevant in the current South African media landscape. We have started something unique, which I am extremely proud of.

...anything is possible if you believe enough in your vision. Click To Tweet

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Peggy Moele proves that Aquaponics is an innovative way to breed organic food for African communities

56-year-old Peggy Moele is one of the few women in South Africa practicing aquaponics and aquaculture-agriculture in her 10 hector veg and fisheries farm.

The new system of aquaponics and aquaculture has helped Peggy win awards and getting much recognition and a helping hand from the Department of Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries in her country, South Africa.

She was one of the few women of a group of farmers funded to go on an excursion tour and workshop in chines province to learn about the modern solutions to organic farming and fisheries in early 2017.  

Khethiwe Mndawe interviewed Peggy Moela after receiving her award as woman farmer of the year in her municipality and nomination nationally at the Woman in agriculture awards 2017.

Peggy was born and raised in rural Bushbuckridge, growing up with values that depend on the land farming to create sustainable solutions for the community to never go hungry.

As a young woman growing up in the nomadic homelands, the poverty of the families around her always touch her to work towards how she can bring solutions for other families and greater way of making a living. 

“I started out running a catering business, unable to find work in my area yet seeing the poverty and lots of lands always draw me to agriculture I came from a poor background and I’ve always see the  challenges and need of the people in my community and it has always been a wish of mine to create employment” said Peggy

Running Jubilee farms with her son they had decided that they wanted to go into fisheries and explored those possibilities after a visit for an official from the department of agriculture, in her province who expanded their knowledge and supported then in kick-starting building their first pond.

After having built over 10 ponds and growing they started with 360 Tapia fish from Mozambique practice and  Aqua phonic and aquaculture fish farming and organic veg farming and their journey in China studying the different options toward organic farming and fisheries.

Mrs. Peggy Moele got her first recognition  after winning as the female entrepreneur farmer of the year 2016, she was selected as the top female in agriculture in Bushbuckridge again in 2017 and awarded at the Provincial agriculture female awards by the minister of Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries 2017 and nominated in the nationals for her unique and developing farming business in her 10 hector farm.

A system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.

With pigs and cows that she has bread over the years, she had discovered with her son the proactive of aquaculture, using excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the same pond water, increasing toxicity.

“With the aquaponics system, we use the water from an aquaculture system which we feed to a hydroponic system. The by-products are broken down by nitrifying bacteria into nitrites and subsequently into nitrates, which are utilized by the plants as nutrients, and the water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system”.

“We have been doing most of the work ourselves in putting these systems together and they have produced many results and  accelerate the  vision or organic farms and fisheries for the community and working toward commercial  supply.” Said, her son, Boka Moele, Manager of the Jubilee farm

“Seeing that I came from elders who always ventured into farming, feeding the communities and sustaining themselves through farming. It was easy for me to decide to go into farming. I took all my profits and saving from my catering business, and in 2011 I approached the chiefs in my village area and bought about 10 hectares of land” said Peggy Moele

They started to use 6 hectors of the land and cleared, to begin seasonal crop farming. Things were very difficult in the beginning, I couldn’t afford any workers, those that worked for me, I would offer them and their families groceries and vegetable to sustain them as we were struggling and still growing.  

“After the department had heard about my farm in Bushbuckridge, they came to view our farm our progress and to hear what challenges we were facing.  The official then introduced us to aquaculture and fisheries, he showed us how to build our first pond and ever since we have built much more on our own to cater for our fisheries business. We have since been breading the Mozambique Tilapia fish. Initially, we started with 360 fishes in 2013 and we are amazed at how much the fishes continue to grow and multiply. We have since been having a good relationship with the DPT of agriculture and they have been very good to us in assisting us and I am so grateful” said Mrs. Peggy Moele

Today we have close to 20 ponds in counting, a good irrigation system and they have been adding their keep of cows and pigs. The farm sustains itself with the season veg crops they farm and they have opened not to various student and agriculture researcher to use and practice form.

“We are so proud of her and we believe she is the best representative of women youth farmers. We hope form today onwards mayflies will follow her. It is inspiring to see our women in mud and surrounded by flies other that plastic hair and makeup  because we admire  that when they touch the land they subdue and multiply its uses to feed the nation and with this they can lead the men working with the land and producing form it to a point of  economic contribution” said Minister of Agriculture and rural development and affairs in the Mpumalanga province, Mr. Vusi Shongwe

They have hired a few young people and families in her surrounding communities, who work and contribute to the development and economic transformation of sustainable farm in the Mpumalanga province that is going commercial and exploring n bigger markets. They also produce mangoes, tomatoes, banana and popos, spinach.

“She is one of the women who represent the backbone of development of rural and national economies. Their exact contribution in terms of magnitude and nature remain difficult to assess due to the variations in different regions. Evidence shows that through contributions like her in her area and marginal participation in agriculture and fisheries, they make significant contributions to food security and economic development of countries all over the world.” said the minister of agriculture Mr. Senzeni Zokwana

“There is a need to invest in female farmers and we as three South African government have son what great breakthrough and community employment come through if we empower these women like Peggy,” he continued.


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

Kim Windvogel: I love posting pictures of my body that is not the standardized idea of beauty

Kim Windvogel is an online writer who writes under the name Blazing Non-Binary. Being Non-Binary means that you are fluid in your gender.

Kim believes that they can be masculine, feminine and all the other energies present on the gender spectrum.

Their writing focuses on breaking the taboos of sex, of being fat, of loving yourself, of questioning identity and the experience called life.

As a Non-Binary, they do a lot of panel discussion on representation and access. Kim who graduated with a degree in classical singing from the University of Cape Town is also the co-founder of a non- profit company called FemmeProjects NPC.

In this article, the controversially inspirational, versatile creative, Kim Windvogel shares their story to becoming a gender activist and advocate for body positivism, among other things.


Tell us about yourself

I grew up in a home that supported me in my journey to form my own opinions about life and I think that is why I am as opinionated as I am.

I went to predominantly white schools and this shaped a lot of my understanding when it comes to my experience of race relations in a post-apartheid country such as South Africa.

 

What you do

I co-founded a Non-Profit Company called FemmeProjects NPC. We go into schools and facilitate feminist sexual and menstrual health workshops to teenagers going through puberty.

We help them understand what is going on with their bodies and allow them to ask the burning questions they are afraid to ask their parents for fear of judgment.

Currently, I am working in collaboration with Women’s Net South Africa, Coloured Mentality and Soul City to create an online campaign around the 16 Days of activism.

We are creating a #16waysfor16days campaign, calling on online users to showcase what they are doing to change the way they and the world treat gender marginalized people, calling on people to discuss this in their online and offline circles.

As there is a big digital divide we have provided workshops to explain how social media works with various organizations in the weeks leading up to 16 days of activism. 

I have a lot of feelings about the world and I knew that I needed to share that with people Click To Tweet

What inspired you to become a polygonal creative and what challenges have you faced in the creative industry? 

I had a lot to say and a lot of feelings about the world which needs to be shared with people. Specifically people in my country and my continent.

I love posting pictures of my body that is not the standardized idea of beauty. Another passion of mine is writing about masturbation, self-love and being colored.

Creating workshops for young women is my passion, the type of workshops I hoped to have had access to as a kid.

If you are creative,  you should have a responsibility to create and then to share that with the world so that others can go through the same stream of consciousness you went through.

I have been fat-shamed, body-shamed, and shamed for having bodily hair - @Blazingnonbinry Click To Tweet

I have faced challenges like being fat-shamed, body-shamed, shamed for having bodily hair. Other and more dominant challenges include being silenced in spaces I thought were safe enough to talk about the issues that gender non-binary people experience daily.

Representation for genderfluid people is lacking and therefore, I decided to take my power and to write my own story. That is the power of social media. We should all seize that power.

Tell us more about FEMME and all about the work the organization is involved in

Femme is a rough acronym that stands for Freedom of Education Motivates Empowerment. We create workshops for young people about puberty, mentorship, and their potential career paths.

We hand out menstrual cup which is a sustainable sanitary product that is made out of medical grade silicone and lasts for 5 years. This means that learners do not have to miss school due to lack of resources.

We train other facilitators to go out into their own communities and to do the same empowerment we do with them. Femme is my baby and I co-direct it with two wonderful partners, Loren Loubster and Kelly Koopman of coloured mentality

What do you enjoy most about the path that you have chosen?

I get to live the type of life I always wanted to lead, speak my mind and manage my own time (which is a very difficult thing if you are not disciplined!).

I get to meet the most amazing people who are on the same journey to try and change the world in their own way. 

 

What are you most proud of in all that you’ve achieved so far?

I am proud of my self-published anthology: Resist: The Paradox of Love and Other Societal Disorders. I wrote and curated it, but had someone who assisted with the layout and an amazing illustrator who did the cover illustration.

The work that is included in this collection was written over a period of three years. Some of the pieces are old and some I wrote two days before going to print.

I organized my own launch and was surrounded by people who enjoy poetry and who listened intently as I shared my story. I am proud that an introvert like me (someone who writes predominantly online) brought people together and shared their work in person.

It took so much out of me and I didn’t know that I had the courage, but just when you think you cannot do something out of fear, it is that same fear that drives you towards success.

I am also proud that in 3 years of running Femme we have facilitated 4000 learners, registered our own Non-Profit, opened a business bank account, and that we are all people of color blazing the trail for those who come after us.

 

What future plans do you have for your career as a creative and for the work you do at FEMME?

I want to write a novel. I have many ideas as to what my topic will be, and this might happen sooner than later.

As for Femme, we want to create sustainable sanitary products through innovative technology. Watch this space.

How do you unwind?

I write about my day and find the poem between the lines and spend time alone to think how I can better on what I did yesterday. 

Also, I speak to friends and ask for advice. Advice does not mean you are going to take it, advice means you want to know all possible avenues before you make your decision. 

I surround myself with people who inspire me and spend a lot of time online, reading Everyday Feminism or any online platform that speaks on gender politics, whether that is internationally or locally. Recently, I stopped drinking and I must say it feels amazing.

Give us your top five tips for aspiring creatives.

  • You do not have to be perfect to be a creative.
  • In the same breath, engage with your own content and those of others critically.
  • Practice your craft and do not be ashamed of it.
  • Spend time alone.
  • Have just enough fun to still always be prepared when an opportunity comes along.

How Africa Matters Initiative is unapologetically changing the African narrative

The Africa Matters Initiative (AMI) is a youth-led organization dedicated to creating spaces for African expression and robust dialogue by embracing our complex identities and history through online platforms, workshops, and summits rooted in ‘Afrocentricity’.

Lead by black women, AMI empowers young Africans to reject the notion that Africa is only corrupt and poor.  They are changing the narrative by re-shaping the way we look at Africa, cultivating active citizenship and leadership in all spaces.

AMI has a three-part mandate: Change the African Narrative, create platforms for critical engagement, and accountable media reporting


What inspired the start of Africa matters Initiative?

On the 7th January 2015, the world was in chaos as writers at Charlie Hebdo in Paris fell victim to a grisly terror attack.

Social media campaigns flared up with people from around the world proudly proclaiming #jesuischarlie. While this solidarity made many feel that perhaps there was some hope, after all, the global outpouring of love for Paris made the deafening silence surrounding the Baga attacks in Nigeria that was much more damning.

Days after the attacks in Paris, Boko Haram carried out a massacre in Baga, but the news cycle left it relatively unreported.

In addition to the media’s silence, too many fellow Africans also remained silent. This is because many African youths have bought into the negative notions of Africa as poor, corrupt and hopeless.

Africa has the youngest population in the world with over 200 million youth between 15-24. So what happens when the youth become despondent?

Who are its initiators and for how long has the initiative been in existence?

AMI was founded by Farai Mubaiwa and Reanne Olivier in April 2015.

Both Mubaiwa and Olivier are passionate black women who are actively changing the African narrative in their own spaces and aim to empower African youth to also make tangible change.

 

How are Africa matters beneficial and useful to young people?

Many young Africans have bought into the notion of African inferiority and Africa Matters aims to change this by facilitating the process of unlearning and learning.

Africa has the youngest population in the world (especially the female population), and for youth to be empowered and to empower the continent, we must unlearn negative notions and re-shape how we see our continent and its contributions.

What makes Africa Matters beneficial and useful,  is our aim at changing the African Narrative for Africa to Matter. We as an initiative are taking an active approach to not only creating awareness about embracing one’s identity but teaching them why and how to do so in their own uniqueness.

We are an organization that is unapologetic in grappling with difficult conversations and using these tough spaces and histories as a springboard of encouragement for African youth.

In what countries are Africa Matters Initiative present, and how can interested people become a part of the initiative?

 

AMI has a strong global reach on our social media platforms especially in over ten countries in the continent.

Many of our community members span from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, United States and the United Kingdom.

We intend on expanding our physical reach throughout the continent. For those of you are interested in forming part of our global community please feel free to apply here.

 

What platforms does Africa Matters Initiative use to fulfill its mandate?

Africa Matters uses four platforms to fulfill its mandate:

  • Online engagement through opinion pieces by Africa Matters writers or the sharing of news articles
  • Hosting summits to engage on specific topics with various crucial stakeholders
  • Presenting workshops on African leadership, feminisms, and youth empowerment
  • Giving school talks on youth empowerment and the role young people need to play in shaping Africa

Our end goal is for African youth and the diaspora to be empowered to change the narrative by actively bettering society while embracing Afrocentricity. Get involved in leading the change now.

Is the organization adopting any unique approaches to changing the narratives about Africa?

 

We try as much as possible to partner with various organizations who share similar values and visions as we do.

This is unique because it is key to our growth as African organizations as a whole, for us to recognize that there is value in collaboration. This is something often referred to as creating ‘shared-value’.

By working together, we share resources, knowledge, and networks. Africa Matters has found various strategic partnerships that have given us access spaces that we would not have gained access to without the partnership.

 

Have there been any difficulties so far with achieving the initiative’s purpose?

A difficulty that we face is not being physically accessible to our audience due to lack of funding. Over the years we have been self-sustained and to fully achieve our mandate of hosting summits, works and school talks it is important for us to conduct these platforms in person or have a full-time representative in countries to do so.

 

Please share some of the milestones you have achieved

Some of our milestones include two International Awards.  In June 2017, our founder was awarded the Queen’s Young Leader Award.

This award recognized the incredible work that Africa Matters is doing in changing the narrative. From over 3000 applications, only 60 were chosen, and the work and influence of Africa Matters were highlighted globally.

In September, we were invited to the One Young World Summit in Bogota, Columbia. We have successfully coordinated and hosted three summits, 4 workshops; attended 5 African and Global Conferences and obtained over 10,000 followers on our various social media platforms respectively.

Where can people learn more about Africa Matters Initiative?

To gain a better understanding of AMI, please watch this YouTube video. People can also learn more about Africa Matters from our various social media platforms: 

Facebook: Africa Matters

Twitter: @AfricaMatters15

Instagram: @AfricaMatters2015

LinkdIn: Africa Matters Initiative

 


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

Lebogang Motlalekgosi: You need these qualities to start a crocheting business

Its evident that nowadays, our young moguls are doing what they are passionate about, rather than what the status quo dictates to them.

After completing her BA in Humanities, with a major in sociology and environmental science, Lebogang Motlalekgosi struggled to find a job, but that did not break her spirit as she decided to use her crocheting skills and follow her passion.

She became a mogul at 27 years old when she started a crocheting business, and she seems to be doing quite well. “Being able to crochet things people can use in their daily lives is what gets me falling in love with it every day”, she confesses.

Ms. Motlalekgosi states that she does not limit herself when it comes to her crocheting business. She makes a variety of product that suit a wide range of audience, from baby booties, blankets, as well as wearables for kids and adults.

Motlalekgosi says she draws inspiration from everywhere, but she started this business because of her sister who is one of the people who believe in her.


“I learned how to crochet when I was about 9 years old Click To Tweet

Which four qualities does one need, in order to venture into this unusual business?

 

1. Patience: Crochet is about math which may mean counting tons of stitches and it can be quiet exhausting especially when numbers are not your friend like me.

2. Creativity: Possibilities are endless with crochet. There is so much one can make from clothing to décor items. You just have to be willing to keep re-inventing and learning.

3. Determination: Like with any other business, you need to be determined to make it a success through research, investing your time, and energy.

4. Love: I believe by pouring your heart into everything, fall in love with your craft and others
eventually will.

 

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Inspiration is everywhere but I started this business because of my sister Johannah, who is one
of the people who really believed in me sometimes more than I believed in myself.

I am also inspired every time I finish a product because it not only boosts my confidence but it inspires me to want to learn more and make more products.

Work hard and work some more: Believe in your craft more than anyone else. Click To Tweet

 

What are the four tips you can give to someone who wants to venture into the crocheting business?

Research: Buy books and find other resources that will help you improve your craft.

Experiment: don’t limit yourself to just one product, try other things as well, it will do wonders for your confidence.

Don’t give up even when you feel like it: Especially when the math doesn’t add up, as it usually does when making a new product.

Work hard and work some more: Believe in your craft more than anyone else.

 

How do you overcome challenges?

Some of the materials are not easily accessible, but I overcome that by working with what I have and making the most of it.

 

What is your most outstanding achievement so far?

For me, every single order is an outstanding achievement. Nothing is more fulfilling to me than

watching a customer smile when trying out a product I made and telling me how much they love it because I pour my energy, love and time into every product.

 

Describe your typical Monday morning.

Haha, my Monday mornings are random in terms of activities. On one Monday I could wake up
and head straight to the couch and start crocheting while others begin with a little workout.

My evenings are usually characterized by preparing supper for my family, watching my favorite
series while crocheting.


Do you know of any entrepreneur with an unusual business idea?

Share their story here.

South Africa’s Digital Womxnist – Owethu Makhathini

Owethu is beyond a force to be reckoned with. This incredible Google Certified genius is taking over the digital sphere by holding workshops and talks across the country through her consultancy, Makhathini Media – which provides innovative ways to show young women how they can advance their careers using digital marketing.

Owethu created her platform to upskill young business-minded women and show others how you can liberate women through social media. Let’s take a look at Owethu’s journey on how she is making a difference in empowering women while making her mark in the digital industry.


Tell us more about Makhathini Media?

Makhathini Media is a creative consultancy that specializes in offering tailored digital marketing and ICT training. We tailor the content depending on the needs of the client, not just for young people but for large corporates and government parastatals. We have a long way to go in terms of digital literacy. I want to ultimately be in a position to fund creative projects, upskill people in digital skills, facilitate networking events and help big brands and businesses create compelling, perception-shifting work.

What projects do you have up your sleeve?

I have 2 very special projects coming up and I couldn’t be more excited! One ties into the focus of the business which is the training aspect while the other ties into the secondary goal of the business which is creating a community underpinned by the restorative power of sisterhood.

We hope to create networks of women who inspire, uplift and collaborate with each other. 2018 is going to an exciting year for Makhathini Media!

The media industry has predominantly been male-dominated. How do you navigate this reality as a woman and leader in the digital industry?

If we are being honest, most industries are male-dominated. Patriarchy is maintained and is a tool of capitalism, that much is inescapable. I am fortunate that in the digital marketing space, one has the power to create a platform that can exist to challenge mainstream ideas.

Business is ruthless and as a young, black woman there are additional challenges we face to get into the room and be taken seriously, never mind having a seat at the table. As a businesswoman, you have to be able to stand in your truth and create an ecosystem of women that look like you to collaborate and make money with. There definitely is strength in numbers.

Young women are the most receptive to skills training- @owethumack Click To Tweet

How has the process and reception of educating the youth on the digital sphere been? 

Young women are the most receptive to skills training. They are often the ones that already have small-scale businesses running from home who just need a boost of knowledge. I have had mostly young women come up to me after my sessions to share their stories or to thank me for showing them that someone as young as them has found a niche and is making a business around it.

The project I am initiating in 2018 will attend to the needs of the young women who have attended one of my sessions. There is a need that must be met and I feel that I am the perfect position to facilitate it. It is very humbling, inspiring and truthfully, it is what keeps me going when I feel overwhelmed.

Can digital marketing play a role in liberating women, especially in South Africa?

Firstly, the internet is a borderless place, we are able to share ideas across the world in a matter of moments. This means that even if you feel isolated in your geographical area, you can find a community of like-minded individuals by simply searching for those people online.

Secondly, the information shared online can make people aware of the organizations that exist to help women out of situations where they feel helpless.

Thirdly, digital marketing is a business opportunity. If a woman is being financially abused, she is able to run a small business through WhatsApp or social media, therefore getting practical help.

The internet is a borderless place & digital marketing is a business opportunity Click To Tweet

As a mentor to other women, who do you go to for inspiration and why?

My great-grandmother, grandmothers, and my mother. Outside of my family, I look up to the Knowles sisters, Oprah Winfrey, Nunu Ntshingila, Zodwa Khumalo, Khanyi Dhlomo and Bonang Matheba.

I grew up in a matriarchal family with women who were equally strong and soft. They provided a firm foundation that I have built my version of womanhood on. The women in my family are not too different from women around the world. We are resilient because we must be. We are people who can get things done without disregarding our empathy.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into your line of work?

I would say take yourself on as a project. Critically assess where you fall short, unpack the ways you dishonor yourself and show yourself grace. As women, we are socialized to constantly give and made to feel selfish when we finally erect boundaries.

Make sure you have boundaries and a standard for your life, don’t ever compromise yourself for the comfort of another because you aren’t giving from a place of love but from a place of obligation which leads down a path of resentment.

 


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

Thulisile Gama: I get paid to play with sand

“I remember when I had just started as a junior metallurgist, I had to give an operational instruction to one of the teams. A man from the team told me that he will not take an instruction from a woman. I was shocked!”- says ‘Mining Powerhouse’, Thulisile Gama, who is making a name for herself in the Mining and Metals sector.

Thulisile holds a BSc Metallurgical Engineering degree from the University of the Witwatersrand and is a Senior Metallurgist at Tronox KZN Sands.  She has served as chairperson of Tronox Women’s Network, a global network aimed at supporting the professional development of women in engineering. She is a mentor to young girls, particularly those from the rural areas.

Dressed in stuffy, hot overalls with big safety boots on, climbing high staircases of tall metal equipment, with temperatures higher than 1000oC, her work environment is not an easy one at all!. “I get paid to play with sand!”, she says playfully.


What made you choose your field of work and what has made you stay in it so far?

Mining is the backbone of South Africa’s economy. I joined this industry because I am passionate about natural resources and I wanted to be part of the bigger picture. There is never a dull moment.  From supply-demand dynamics of different commodities, advancement in technology, or the status of the global economy, each day brings something new.

All these changes affect the industry and as engineers, we are forced to implement more innovative solutions to ensure the survival of companies. I enjoy the variety of work and the daily challenges that my job provides.

Confidence, self-esteem, and assertiveness are key aspects for women to be heard. Click To Tweet

Take us through what you do on a typical day at work. 

There is never a ‘typical’ day at work and that’s what I like about my job. One day I find myself sitting in long strategic meetings, and the next day I am offering solutions to process issues at the plant. Each morning I review the production of the previous day and ensure that the quantity and quality are within specification. Initiating and identifying continuous improvement ideas that will save cost is also something that I incorporate into my daily decision-making and thinking.

I constantly remind myself that as women, we have the same thinking ability as men. Click To Tweet

How do you manage to get your opinions heard in a room full of male engineering experts?

If I’m invited to a meeting, I believe that my technical skills and opinions are needed and I deserve to be there. One thing that I constantly remind myself of is that as women, we have the same thinking ability as men. When voicing my opinion, I make sure that I do not allow myself to be interrupted in the process. Confidence, self-esteem, and assertiveness are key aspects of being heard as women.

Some studies have found that women tend to leave their engineering careers after some time. Why do you think this is the case?

 A lack of female role models in mining is a major contributor to female engineers leaving the industry. Having role models who are the same gender as you, who have walked the same path can go a long way. For us women to influence the world of mining, we need to to be more accommodating of females and build a network of solidarity. It is important for women to support other women and serve as mentors to young girls.

In South Africa, mining companies have been driving to up their female employee numbers by offering women bursaries. Sometimes, women study engineering only because they are offered a bursary. I’ve seen this happening especially to African people from disadvantaged communities who cannot afford to fund their own studies.  Some realize only when they start work that engineering is not for them and quit.

For us women to influence the world of Mining, we need to build a network of solidarity. Click To Tweet

How can young women interested in the mining industry better prepare themselves for a career as a metallurgist?

For young females who are interested in pursuing metallurgy as a career, I would say ‘go for it!’ It is a challenging environment but with lots of opportunities.

When I started work, I didn’t want to acknowledge the gender barrier but I have come to see my gender as a strength and I now focus on leveraging it. Invest time in researching about this field. Enter this industry because of passion, not money, and find yourself a mentor or role model.

Having an engineering degree doesn’t mean that you are not going to crawl and get dirty. You need to work your way up the ranks, starting at the bottom. It’s also important to be teachable. Be keen to learn and take the initiative to do so. Focus on building strong fundamentals when you start as a junior, you’ll need those as you progress in your career.

 

 

How do you let your hair down after a long week of solving complex engineering problems and ‘playing with sand’?

I spend time with my awesome son and read a lot when I’m not at work. I enjoy the outdoor life, exploring new places and different cultures. Running also liberates me. Also, I have a passion for fashion and I’m planning to start my own clothing line in the near future!


Do you have a business or career story to share?

Share your story here.

Jobs – Digital content associate

She Leads Africa believes in the power of young African women to build amazing careers and businesses, serve as community leaders and influencers, and eventually take over the world.

Our #MotherlandMoguls, as we affectionately call them, are the reason we exist and expanding – to provide them with more inspiring and educational content to help them live their best lives.
We’re looking for a digital content expert who’d like to join our dream team in building She Leads Africa into the number one destination for smart and ambitious African women.
This role is only open in Lagos, Nigeria and Cape Town, South Africa only.

Reporting Structure: The Digital Content Associate will report to the Head of Content. They will also be responsible for managing a team of 2-3 fellows and additional staff related to large events or campaigns.

Responsibilities:

  • Be proactive about ensuring that SLA is a part of important conversations related to African women, business, career, and life
  • Grow the number of Facebook and Twitter followers, and page engagement
  • Lead weekly strategic meetings on content direction on SLA’s social media platforms
  • Establish and deliver community engagement goals on a weekly and monthly basis
  • Utilize data and analytics to drive decision making and advise social content and editorial decisions
  • Oversee social content production and editing every week
  • Develop new concepts and series for the community and seek out contributors
  • Listen to our users and encouraging dialogue on our platforms

Requirements:

The ideal candidates will have an interest in building, growing and scaling communities. You don’t have to have official work experience doing this kind of work but we want someone who is passionate about digital content and can learn quickly.
If this role is for you, you’ll be excited to work in a fast-paced environment and committed to working until the job is done.

Specific requirements include:

  • Intellectual curiosity and an interest in learning new skills
  • Excellent English writing skills and the ability to adopt and change your style of writing
  • Experience in building and growing communities across markets using a variety of content, marketing, and partnership strategies
  • Knowledge of digital marketing strategies
  • Social media savvy and being up to date on current trends
  • Able to deliver on metrics-driven results and an understanding of analytics
  • Graphic design and video editing skills are a major plus

Benefits:

  • Entry level salary with commission
  • Opportunity to travel across Africa and interact with Africa’s leading voices and entrepreneurs
  • Work with a moderately fun team who’s just tryna change lives and help women get that schmoney.

Applications close on December 10, 2017.

Submit your application materials here:

Unfortunately due to the number of applications we receive, we will not be able to contact everyone who applies. We will not be able to answer additional questions via email.

Sharon Moatshe: A PR Business Must Not Over-Promise and Under-Deliver

sharon-moatshe

From the dusty streets of Kagiso township in Gauteng, South Africa, Sharon Moatshe has  tapped into the world of entrepreneurship at a young age, and believes that she can create whatever door she wants to open. After many months of looking for a job after graduating, the solution was simple, start a business with the limited resources that she had and survive.

Currently, she is the Director and Co-founder( along with Unathi Dingiswayo) at PR House of Creatives, a motivational speaker, wife and mother.

In her words: she didn’t believe she would end up so great; but here we are. Take a walk with us in this interview as we look into Sharon’s amazing work, and how she’s helping startups thrive in South Africa.


Take us on a walk through PR House of Creatives

PR House Of Creatives was co-founded by Sharon Moatshe and Unathi Dingiswayo after a long time spent job searching, and the resultant unhappiness of not seeing the change we wanted to see in our lives for ourselves.

We were then able to identify the necessity of PR and marketing, pertaining to brand management for SME’s within our community.

 

What support systems are critical to companies like yours?

Financial backing to ensure that costs are covered for: the technology used in ensuring we deliver real-time results, keeping up with current news & trends, graphics for content. As well as for our PR travels.

Another important thing is mentorship from big PR Firms and structures. PR is not an easy industry for businesses to remain sustainable, your business many come and go because of lack of mentorship.

 

sharon-moatshe

 

What innovations have helped your business stand out from competitors?

For a previous client of ours, Distinkt Vodka, we made media kits with vodka bottles and we had packaged these in potato bags, because the primary ingredient of vodka is potatoes. We draw our inspiration from client products/ services, and conceptualise from that point.

 

What challenges have helped your company grow over the years?

We have had challenges with regards to what we charge our clients. We have had to learn that SME’s are still growing and not making much money, but ,we must still charge a price that allows us to grow and sustain our business.

 

Know your WHY, your business exists as a solution to a problem Click To Tweet

 

What values are critical for success in the PR business?

Intergrity. A PR business must not over promise and under deliver! Always be a person of your word. Execute and do your very best to match the concept you sold your client.

 

 

What is your greatest success story thus far?

Our greatest success story has to be TG Foods and Events! We started with the team in the township when they were starting out, we poured our hearts into our work with TG. After a few months of working together the team got their own shop which they cater food from in an uptown busy market! The place is big and beautiful.

The teams understands the importance of their brand, even when they keep growing they continued using our services! It’s been beautiful watching them grow from strength to strength and knowing our creative team is a part of this journey.

 

Always be a person of your word Click To Tweet

 

What’s the next step for your company? Any plans to help small businesses outside the shores of South Africa?

We would love to first help small businesses in South Africa grow and sustain that growth, then certainly the rest of Africa will have a piece of our goodness!

The first thing businesses cut-out when they sinking/struggling is marketing and PR, which is more like stopping the clock to save time. We want to re-introduce to Africa what amazing impact PR can have for a business.

 

We want to re-introduce to Africa what amazing impact PR can have for a business. Click To Tweet

 

 

One phrase that resonates with your business strategy?

Creative team of all trades and master of all!


Do you run a PR company?

Let us know more about you and your story here.