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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Lola Denga: Intensifying your Inner Beauty

As a seasoned businesswoman, Lola Denga has been in the beauty space managing her own business for the last nine years.  She offers exclusive services that can be enjoyed from either her own home or that of the clients. Her services include Swedish Massages and manicures among others. 

Over the years Lola noticed that these beauty treatments enhanced women’s self-esteem and decided to take a step further. Instead of just focusing on external beauty she decided to write a devotional called G.LO.W (God’s love overwhelms women) to help women intensify their inner beauty. 

In a 7-day devotional, Lola helps women foster a deeper connection with God and in doing so, focus on their internal beauty. 

She believes that beauty has to come from within and by connecting to the maker, God himself you will achieve wholeness.

What inspired you to open a beauty business?

From the time I was 14 years and went and got my first manicure, I have always wanted to be in the beauty industry. After going to beauty school, I’d go to certain places and see the standards were not the same as those taught in school.

That’s literally where my passion started; I really wanted to bring beauty’s standard and dignity back. I wanted to create an ambience where clients would feel like they are getting the best service and are relaxed.

Beauty school focuses largely on the outside. Why did you decide to go a step further with your devotional? 

I realized that after speaking to more women, a lot of them were dealing with inner issues.  Yes, they were coming to enhance their outside beauty which consequently led to a temporary sense of confidence. But, the truth is, only when the inside is in harmony with the outside, do you enjoy beauty to its maximum.

What has opening a business taught you about yourself?

It has taught me that I really love people. It has also helped me showcase my creativity and organization skills. I have managed to pick up a lot of other skills through this experience.

What setbacks have you faced while starting and continuing your entrepreneurial journey?

There’s been a couple. It has taken me longer to get off the ground as I personally finance everything. I’d be saving to try and buy equipment by doing other jobs on the side.

Also, people’s attitudes have also posed a challenge. They are becoming more receptive to luxury beauty but largely it is seen more as an unnecessary indulgence rather than a necessity. It has made me see a gap in the market for education.

Educating people on everything from the healing properties of beauty treatments like a massage. I also educate people on how a good regular self-care routine can help reduce stress levels and create a work-life balance.

Where do you seek encouragement during those moments?

I am fortunate to have a strong support system.  I have my parents, my husband and my friends and definitely my relationship with God.

When I feel like I am about to give up, I remember why I am doing this in the first place. - @lolaruZW Click To Tweet

How important do you think a relationship with God is to an entrepreneur?

Honestly, it’s very important. Number one, it will keep you sane! There are a lot of things you’ll come across that you didn’t expect to come across. Business competition notwithstanding, there are people you expected support from that disappoint you.

Having a strong relationship with God ensures you know that this is not just a business idea. It is actually a gift and you need to understand that you are using it to worship Him and to impact lives.

At this point, your business should have a purpose and should not just be to make money. The purpose part makes sure that you don’t give up easily.

What are your proudest moments during your nine years as a businesswoman?

One of them was when I published my book. I was very proud of that! Over the years I have been involved in numerous photoshoots as a makeup artist. Those were enjoyable experiences.

I think overall, every day has something that makes you feel like it’s worth it. Even the small things like when a client expresses their gratitude are enough for me.

Do you feel that in Zimbabwe there are enough structures put in place to assist women to open businesses?

Until recently no. But so far, it looks promising. There are quite a few women in business organizations that are starting. The government is also coming in with funding.  I am excited to see how this will translate for future business owners.

As a seasoned businesswoman, what are you doing to support women in the entrepreneurial space?

I like to host prayer lounges. During this event, I keep in touch with women in business and keep encouraging them. I also offer career guidance tests if people are unsure of which direction they should be heading in.

I definitely do want to grow these ventures and I have intentions of being a facilitator and speaker in this year.

How do you balance it all?

I’d say time management, though I am not perfect at it yet! Prayer too, because that’s where I get my energy from. I also believe in incorporating things that you love to do even if it’s just reading a book. You need that time to distress and reflect.

That’s how you balance and you don’t end up breaking down or cracking. You have to make sure you get that allocated time for just being you and not thinking about business, not thinking about being a wife and just zoning out.


How do you unwind?

I like journaling, sometimes I’ll just journal for no reason. Occasionally, I enjoy either reading a book or watching a chick flick with a bowl of ice cream. I’m simple like that!

Definitely, I do try to spoil myself when I can. I go and get pedicures and foot massages done by someone else.

What are your top five tips for achieving wholeness?

1. You need to discover your strengths and weakness and accept them!

2.To realize your dreams, set goals and timelines for yourself.

3. Check your relationships with God, family and friends. Make sure that if there are any gaps, try to fix them. Also, let go of things that hurt as they will only hold you back.

4. Work on your self~esteem and general image. Once you find your personal style, you will avoid the pressure to follow trends and be a certain person.

5. Do stuff for others. Sometimes when we are hyper-focused on ourselves we can become closed off. Find something you enjoy doing that will bring impact to someone’s life.

Check your relationships with God, family and friends. Make sure that if there are any gaps, try to fix them.- @lolaruZW Click To Tweet

What does success look like at the end of everything? How will you know you’ve achieved your dreams?

Tangibly, it will be when I can see that loads of people have been impacted and there are many beauty shops open.

However, for me, impacting people is more about having a legacy than shops. So when my following has really grown and people come to know who Lola Ru is, then I shall know I have had an impact.

Finally, I intend to take the beauty industry by storm and develop a range of products from beauty school, shops, spas and others.

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

Chantal Fraser: When I switched careers, I began looking at design as more than just a hobby

Chantal Fraser is a fashion designer and house singer based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.  She started her fashion label Chante Clothing in 2010 as a side hustle and transitioned it to full time in 2014.

Her clients comprise of everyone from local celebrities, to brides and bridesmaids and any young lady wanting to look chic and well put together.

Chantal also works with locally based international brands like Edgars which is part of the Woolworths Group of companies.

Following the family tradition, Chantal finally decided to venture into music in 2017 and released her single Better than Yesterday. 

When did you fall in love with fashion?

I’ve always had a passion for it since I was young – like seriously young. My passion started with creating beadwork and eventually sketching fashion ideas. 

What gave you the courage to pursue Chante Clothing full time?

Passion full stop! My passion was burning so much that I just could not ignore it. I was miserable, working and doing other things. Even though I was getting paid well, I just didn’t have the passion. 

I said to myself, if others can dive into their passions and do it, why can’t I?

What setbacks did you have during that transition period?

Definitely, finances.  I was jumping into an unknown business. Yes, I had passion but obviously, I was still trying to weave my way through it.

In addition, I had to patiently grow my clientele which took a lot longer than I anticipated. When people are committed to their designer you know that’s it. It is hard to convince them to try someone new.

Before setting up Chante Clothing, what were you doing and how did it help you later on?

I was doing accounts. I hated it! But for some reason, I’d find myself doing accounts in jobs. But when I did switch careers, I began looking at design as more than just a hobby – but a legitimate way of making an income. This made establishing the business easier.

Do you feel like there are enough structures that help women build a business?

Yes and no. There is still a mindset that it depends on what the trade is. Some people don’t look at design as a business; they still see it as a plaything. But if there are women seeking financial assistance for something like chickens they are able to source funds much easier than us. I believe that there is a bias against fashion to some extent. 

Have you had any mentors help you in your entrepreneurial journey?

Yes, I have. I’m privileged to know loads of people in the same business as me. My fiancé has been in the fashion industry much longer than I have. Since we collaborated on C and C Clothing, I have been able to learn a lot from him and his support.

I also have friends who helped me learn to sew. While I did have the passion, I needed to acquire the skill. This led me to camp at a friend’s house and eventually learn how to sew. I really appreciate her for doing that for me.

What has opening a business taught you about yourself?

It’s taught me that I can have discipline when it comes to money lol. Initially, I didn’t think I would be this disciplined, but opening a business had really exposed me to some of my strengths.

Fashion fades but style never fades - @chanteclothing Click To Tweet

What do you want Chante Clothing to represent as a brand?

I want it to represent elegance and style. 

It’s about bringing out the inner you. It’s about genuinely feeling confident and beautiful and not conforming to what people say is the latest trend. That’s what my business is all about!

Who are your style or fashion icons?

I really like David Tlale and his tenacity. Dolce and Gabbana are also inspiring as they are a team like my fiancé and I. We look up to them. If they can do it, so can we!

You currently have a single out, Better Than Yesterday. How did you get into singing and why a motivational track specifically?

My parents are actually musicians, they had a band ages ago. I didn’t choose music, music chose me! It was in the blood!

I’ve always had the passion and have been singing from forever. When I released my track, I chose motivational music because there’s a world out there that is extremely confused. A lot of people do not know who they are really.

If media says this is the style everyone moves to that. No one has a backbone to stand on. So, with my motivational music, I hope to inspire people to be who they are no matter what situations they are going through.  

The themes vary but basically, it’s about you being you being proud of who you are! 

So where did you get your obviously innate sense of confidence?

I think I got it from my parents (Not I think, I know!) and especially my mum. She was a very bold person and I learnt a lot from her.

I was fortunate to have parents that allowed us to be who we wanted to be. No matter what you wanted to do they supported you all the way.

What advice can you give about being true to yourself and following your dreams?

Every child is born with a dream, and as time goes on, people that surround you can slowly discourage you.

Don’t forget what that first love was. Go back to it and don’t allow anyone to stand in your way. Even if it seems hard just keep going, keep at it because at the end of the day, that’s what you were born to do.

There’s nothing as depressing as doing something because it’s a trend or because family is pressuring you.  Misery is the most disheartening thing ever. Indulge your passion and you’ll get there eventually.

How do balance two careers (and a personal life!)?

It can get difficult at times. What I’ve learnt to do especially with two careers is put timelines and plan to do specific things within certain time frames. Planning is essential.

I go as far as saying when I get home, there will be no work talk but it can definitely get hectic.

What does success look like to you at the end? How will you know you have achieved your dreams?

Success is when I can look back at my life and say well-done Chanty and I’m happy and I have tried everything. If you haven’t tried it all how would you look back and truly be satisfied?

That’s where I find success even in failure. Failures can be a success because you made the effort. You don’t want to have a what if in your mind. What ifs are horrible!  

Success should be about inner satisfaction and being happy. It’s not something that can be equated to a particular amount of money or how many likes you get on Facebook or how many people follow you on Instagram. It’s about self-contentment and being able to say at the end of it I tried it all.

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

Rutendo Beverly Mpofu : A lot of people feel there are no returns in basketball

Twenty seven (27) year old Rutendo Beverly Mpofu, was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. In September 2015 she started a basketball team, Lynx Ball Queens, with four other women, Tanya Kazembe, Celestine Karimbika, Sarah Kabiseni and Melisa Maganga. Beverly is the team captain and currently plays number 15. She also holds a Communications and Media with Management degree from Monash University in South Africa.


One doesn't have to be social but on the court there has to be unity Click To Tweet


When did you decide to start a basketball team?

I joined a basketball ladies association team soon after my undergraduate degree, but realised we had different goals. This pushed me to start my own team.  At first there was a lot of slacking and not taking things seriously.

But, after the loss of one of the team founders, we decided to be serious about the team. We joined another team called Hustlers in Mufakose, Harare and after a while we branched out on our own to become Lady Hustlers. We recently rebranded to Lynx Ball Queen.

We started out small with a group of about seven women and now we are more than 12. Our team is made up of women between 16 – 27 years of age. Within our first year we managed to make it to the top six in the national league with only seven players.  It was really challenging but we were happy with the results. Last year (2016) we were number two. So I clearly see a great improvement.

Where do you get your sponsorship?

We currently do not have sponsorship, because a lot of people feel that there are no returns in basketball therefore they do not want to sponsor it. We have approached many people and Net-One (a telecommunications company in Harare) has given us t-shirts before. We take whatever small donation we get and are open to working for our sponsorship.

Because we do not have sponsorship, we purchase our own kits, and cover transportation costs to and from training and tournaments. A subscription fee of $10 is paid every month by each team member, but because of the current economic conditions we have agreed that people pay whatever they can. This is what is used for the basic running of the club.

Where does your inspiration come from?

My brother used to play since primary school. So that was my grand entrance into basketball. All the women on the team started playing when they were young, so it’s just a passion for most of us.

What does a normal day look like for you?

We train during the week but it is very challenging to get everyone in the same spot at the same time because of our many different commitments. We have players that are still in school and some work, so we have to incorporate training with other clubs that have venues with good lighting. This is so that we are able to train late into the evening. We generally try to put in work where we can.

On the day of the tournament, we do not train. We sit, talk and strategise and  do warm ups 15 mins before a game. It also helps if we know the people we are playing.

Which women have been the most influential in your life?

My Mother. She continues to teach me that you can’t wait for other people to do things for you. You need yourself first before you need someone else.

When you get on the court, you leave your quarrels on the line Click To Tweet

What is the greatest lesson you have learnt when setting up your team?

To be patient. I deal with people from different backgrounds who have so many things going on, so I have really learnt to be patient.

How do you manage conflict within the team?

When one gets on the court, they leave their quarrels on the line, they can always pick them up after if they choose. But basketball time is basketball time. One doesn’t have to be social but on the court there has to be unity. That being said, people don’t bring their problems on the court.



What personal traits are necessary for what you do?

  1. A high basketball IQ. One should be able to take theory and apply it on the court.
  2. A fighting spirit and perservance.
  3. The ability to work within a team and realise that one cannot do everything by themselves.

Do you run a business in the sports industry?

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

Carol Nyazika: Ndanaka is not just a beauty brand, it’s a lifestyle brand

We last spoke to Carol Nyazika 10 months ago, when she was still in the process of launching Ndanaka. Ndanaka is an au-natural lifestyle brand with products predominantly from Zimbabwe and other African countries. It brings together a variety of beauty elements and infuses them into one. Hence their tag line, A Fusion of Beauty.

Revisiting our last sit down this is what she had to say about it.


How was the seed planted?

I started Ndanaka in 2011 when people were not really talking about natural products. Ndanaka started as a lifestyle blog and YouTube channel that promotes natural skin and hair care.

I was suffering from dry skin and my mothers skin was breaking out due to menopause. All the products she was using were not working for her, so I started mixing up a few ingredients that she could try. I then trained as a formulator and are now qualified to create products.


How did the name, Ndanaka, come about?

I gave my brand a Shona name because there are so many products with either French or foreign names we can hardly pronounce but we learn to. The word or statement, Ndanaka, has several translations and can mean ‘I am beautiful’ or in slang, ‘I’m good now’.


Fast forward to 2017…

Ndanaka was launched in January and it took four weeks. The process included: formulation, procurement, manufacturing, packaging, marketing and eventually making it available to the public.


What attracted you to this industry?

My initial drive and motivation was seeing my mothers confidence return when she felt beautiful and happy with her appearance.  Later on, my mum would say, “You keep running away and going into other industries and even though you excel in those, you are not using your God given gift”.

Before, I was scared of entering the beauty industry because of the labels that sometimes come with it, but eventually I decided to give it a go. God gives us the power to profit, so I believe that now I am using my God given gift.


How was it like leaving your full time job to start a business in a struggling economy?

It’s interesting and the economy pushes you a bit more because now you are literally eating what you kill. I have nothing to fall back on so I have to learn to  budget  and also work very hard to generate sales. But, it is not only about me, but our service providers as well.

Even though the economy is struggling, we are forward thinking and putting sustainable structures in place. Structures that cover our cost to meet demand. The company is self-funded. Like any business our profits are still going back into the business and we are grateful that we have managed to increase our profit every month ever since we started. We work from home, where we have a work station or lab and a garage that we converted into a storage.

Because I am a trained formulator, I make my own products. It is therefore easier to come up with new products that our clients require or ask us to make . We started off with four products and we now have seven.


How has the market responded to your brand?


The response has been overwhelming. We started selling on the 28th of January, since then it’s been a whirlwind. The demand is growing within Zimbabwe and other countries like Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. In our first week of operation, we sold out in four days and our first retailer sold out in the first week.

We are now currently in three retail shops and working to increase our presence across the country and into different markets. We aim to maintain good quality products as we continuously build, evolve and grow.


What challenges have you faced with the launch of Ndanaka?

Not meeting demand. However, we started taking this into consideration when pricing and formulating our products. At the end of the day we aim to provide an affordable brand because we understand our vision and goals.

Another setback is packaging. We are still not where we want to be but it is all a work in progress and we understand that.

With the issue of unavailability of cash in Zimbabwe, how are you managing to run your business?

We have all methods of payment –  most people pay cash, our second biggest method of payment is Ecocash (a mobile money transfer powered by Econet), swipe then transfers.

We make sure we have nothing to hold our customers back from purchasing our products.  We work with what we have, always searching for a solution and not letting the current hardships set us back.


How does your brand support the Zimbabwean economy?

Besides paying my taxes, I try to work with Zimbabwean companies and service providers as much as I can. Printing and graphic design is done locally. Some of my ingredients are sourced in rural Zimbabwe, therefore creating jobs.  I am also pushing for my brand to be recognised internationally as a Zimbabwean brand.


What personal traits are necessary to run a business like Ndanaka?

  1. Resilience
  2. Confidence in one’s product
  3. Ability to constantly evolve
  4. Good listening skills
  5. A good support system
  6. Be good at delegating
  7. Ability to take criticism
  8.  A hunger to learn


What advice would you give to your younger self?

  1. Just start – figure it out as you go.  Have a skeleton and add flesh as you progress.
  2. Do not be afraid to ask. Be humble enough to ask for help and its okay if you dont know.
  3. Be curious about everything.
  4. Always have a contingency plan.
  5. Be resilient. People will always say something about you. Don’t take it personal. Feel your feelings – feel challenged, sad but move on- keep going.
  6. Try and be authentic – do what comes naturally to you.
  7. Try and be supportive of others.
  8. Put the work in and do what it takes to build your brand with integrity.
  9. Have a contract for everyone. Things change, people change and situations change.
  10. Operate as a business not an individual. When you respect your brand people will also respect it.


What is your favorite African lifestyle brand?

Let us know more here


Tsitsi Mutendi: I am the Queen of Start-Ups

Entrepreneurship has its pro’s and con’s but it has taught me responsibility Click To Tweet


Tsitsi Mutendi, founder of Jewel Magazine, Mucha and Mufaro dolls is a girl from Masvingo, born in Harare and partially raised in the UK. She spent eight years of her childhood in the UK before moving back to Zimbabwe.

Tell us a bit about Tsitsi Mutendi

I decided earlier on in life that I was more suited for entrepreneurship than I was to a career. Mostly because I enjoy starting things. I love creating new companies or entities and seeing them succeed and/or learning from their failures.

My entrepreneurship journey started when I was 24, back then I wanted to be a fashion designer. I have had the privilege and honour of creating different products and taking them to a market.

How was Jewel Magazine born?

Jewel started in February 2011 after I lost my child. I loved reading magazines and decided to create my own that would be an outlet for the different ideas I had. Ideas to inform women about things that could help them empower themselves.

The first issue went to print in June 2011 and came out in July. I wanted a magazine name which reflected what I thought of women and what they should think of themselves. I couldn’t think of any other name better than Jewel.

To me women are like precious Jewels, sometimes they are covered in the earth, growing roots and preparing to germinate, sometimes you have to dig deep to find them.

Do you have any plans of reviving Jewel?

Jewel for me was a journey; it’s unfortunate we got to a place where we couldn’t print it anymore because we kept breaking even. The decision to stop printing was hard because I felt like I was giving up on my baby and no mother wants to give up their child.

I think Jewel is one of those product pieces in the journey that has made me grow stronger. It has brought me more focus, and has always had the power to renew my will and vision to move forward.

Unless we can bring  Jewel back  bigger and better than it was, without having to shelve it again, I think for now it will always be a part of Zimbabwean history.

Tell us a bit about Mucha Fashion

Mucha was born before Jewel. I love African print fabric and loved what West Africans were doing with it at the time; It was so modern and chic and no one in Southern Africa was doing it.It involved a lot of creativity with fabric and garments, and most of our clients allowed us  to revamp their wardrobes.

Unfortunately,  I had to let go because the market became saturated and there was a lot of replication.

What is Danz Media all about?

It is our flagship product company which has been running for many years. So many great products are housed under it. For example, my husband, Daniel Mutendi’s Nama’s award winning children’s book, Tsuro na Gudo: Misi yese haifanani.

We have also produced other Shona educational books, and continue to work with organisations and schools.

I love Danz media because it allows me to be creative and to explore different media platforms.

How did Mufaro come about?


Mufaro came from wanting a soft cushy doll for my daughter. I could not find it in shops so I learnt how to make one. Wanting to venture into the toy market only came after realizing no one else was doing it and the opportunity was there.

So my husband and I decided to attend the Spiel Warenmesse toy fair in Nuremberg which was held in February 2011, to exhibit our Mufaro Dolls. It is the biggest toy fair in the world and it ran for six days. Africa is very much underrepresented in the toy industry, so it was an amazing learning experience for us.

We are in the process of implementing and working with the different partners that we met when we were there.


Where is the Woman of Legacy Foundation now?

I stopped running the foundation as a stand alone organisation but instead focused on corporate social responsibility. I invest in other women and provide individual and organisational mentorship.

We provide scholarships as a family, not only to students who excel academically, but those we feel will invest in tomorrow.

Entrepreneurship is not easy but gives one the flexibility to choose when to work Click To Tweet

What are your entrepreneurial journey highlights thus far?

  1. The ability to spend time with my family. Entrepreneurship is not easy but gives one the flexibility to choose when to work.
  2. Meeting so many remarkable women. It’s not when you start profiling women, knowing who they are, and learning why they do what they do ,do you truly realise how powerful we are as women.
  3. Risk taking. I don’t know what a comfort zone is. Entrepreneurship has taught me that risk taking is not for sissy’s, neither is it something that you should be afraid of. Most of the lessons I have learnt are because I have taken chances. I wouldn’t change my entrepreneurship journey and I definitely wouldn’t get a job.

What are your top entrepreneurship lessons?

  1. Entrepreneurship has its pro’s and con’s but it has taught me responsibility. You never stop learning really. It has also taught me that I am the master of my own destiny.
  2. No amount of capital or investment is going to make a crappy idea work, you have to go out there and put in the work.
  3. At times you might not know if you are going to reap or how you are going to pay the next bill but it’s still important to stay true to your dream or vision.

How do you prioritize your time between being a mother, wife, entrepreneur?

I work with my husband and we both work from home- so our children see us all the time. I also have a good support system. It includes my two mothers and the woman who helps me with the kids at home. She is now a big part of the family. My husband is also very supportive. When I was away for a month for the Women Fortune 500, he looked after our daughter.

Constant communication is essential for balance, you must be able to speak up when you need help. I have also learnt to say ‘no’. Sometimes you just have to say no to a client or to a job because you cannot meet the demands.

As I grow older I value time, I can never get back the moments I laugh and play with my daughter or where I just sit and do nothing. Time means much more to me than any amount of money.

How is it working with your husband?

I spend an average of 20hrs a day with him.  We don’t have to be talking all the time, we can just be working in the same room in silence. We have an understanding where being next to each other makes us feel safe and comfortable.

Communication is the key to our relationship. Lack of communication kills most relationships. Understanding that we are different has really assisted us in working together.

How does your brand support the Zimbabwean economy?

Our content is produced locally and we try to fly the Zimbabwean flag high. For example when we went to Germany, we were the only Zimbabwean company there.

What would you like to tell other young women in business?

You must challenge yourself to be better than you were yesterday. There will always be other people better than you, but just remember you are unique. Don’t worry about everyone else just do you and stick to your lane.

What career or business projects have you started?

Let us know more about you and your story here

Diana Washe: Because I do what I like, my work and lifestyle are interlinked

I covered my shoe with African fabric, posted it on social media & the next thing I was getting orders Click To Tweet

Diana Mano is a Digital Marketer for a direct marketing company, a blogger, a BA Communication Science graduate and a mother of two boys.

Diana, known by most as Diana Washe, is the founder and creative designer of Shaina an African inspired accessory designing business based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her products are handmade and fuse African fabrics with different textures to create unique handmade pieces.

She named herself Washe a name which comes from her faith in the Lord meaning “of the Lord”.

Tell us a bit about Shaina.

Shaina started in 2014 when I was diagnosed with depression. I was in a dark place having lost someone very close to me. I started seeing a therapist and one of the things that she encouraged me to do was to look for a hobby in an effort to help me with the depression. So I went to YouTube and found a video on how to make crafts using the fabric. The first thing I did was cover my shoe with African fabric, posted it on my social media page and the next thing I was getting orders. I wasn’t keen on making this an income generating hobby but my therapist advised me otherwise.

So I started with a few orders and boom, Shaina was born. I started with small things like accessories because if you can’t wear fabric, you can at least accessorize. With each year I get better at the craft. Shaina basically means shine. I named it Shaina because I don’t believe that people should just sit and wait for things to happen, they should flourish where they are planted. Shaina is an extension of my personal life, I am a lover of accessories.

How would you describe your designs?

I make contemporary African accessories which is a fusion of other fabrics and African print. I have in cooperated a combination of leather and African print into my line. Basically my brand is an affordable luxury brand.

What inspires your designs?

The different people I meet in African print either on the streets of Johannesburg, Harare or in magazines. If I see something I like, I am always thinking of ways to make it better. I love fashion and prints, I find them very vibrant but I also feel like a lot of people do not really appreciate print.

If I see something I like, I am always thinking of ways to make it better - Diana Washe Click To Tweet

Tell us a bit about Soweto Fashion week?

Soweto Fashion Week (SFW) is a platform for upcoming fashion designers to show the world what they are made of. For me it was nerve-racking, exciting and a great eye opening experience. It was my first time showcasing at a fashion show but I feel I executed my work very well. It was a good place for me to be because of the media coverage, exposure and meeting new people.

How has your educational background helped you in managing your business?

So firstly, my work background as a Digital Marketer assists me in running my own pages as it includes a lot of social media, email marketing, web-page optimising. So because I do what I like, my work and lifestyle are interlinked.

What are the challenges of running your own company?

Time. One just never has enough time. I wear many hats, student, mom, blogger, digital marketer and my personal life, therefore, there is not enough time.

Tell me a bit about your blog.

My blog is called Parenting in Heels and it is a lifestyle parenting blog started in April 2017. A lot of people ask me how I manage to do what I do so I decided to share my everyday life and how I make it work.

What is your advice to those aspiring to enter the fashion industry?

Have a passion for it, determination, work hard and stay focused.

What were the major start up challenges you faced?

Trying to move Shaina from being a hobby to it being a business.

Where would you like to see your brand in future?

I am looking at expanding my brand into African Inspired interior design and a kids clothing line. I want to have a concept shop and also work with other designers. I would also like to see my products being recognised and available in shops and major fashion shows.

Diana Washe: I am self-taught and I am willing to help other women Click To Tweet

What can we expect from Shaina in the next five years?

A more solid brand that is found all over the world. Empowering and encouraging women especially single parents to be self-sustaining and use what they have. I am self-taught and I am willing to help other women. I believe the world is so abundant of things to work with.

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

Nyaradzo Mavindidze: Work is a form of worship

Nyaradzo Mavindidze
Nyaradzo Mavindidze is passionate about developing the ‘uncommon sense’ in leaders Click To Tweet

Nyaradzo Mavindidze, the Managing Consultant of Avodah Consultants, is a Holistic Leadership Expert who is passionate about developing the ‘uncommon sense’ in leaders, thus going beyond the five senses. A psychologist by profession, she enables leaders to draw on their inner and outer natural resources thus shifting personal paradigms and beliefs leading to transformed organisations.

Over the years, she has developed herself as a brand to reckon with in dissemination of lasting solutions to performance deficiencies in individuals, leaders, and organisations. She says, “Every one of us already has power, it’s just a matter of peeling away the stuff that shadows who you are and what you are capable of…”

As a coach, Nyaradzo creates an environment where you and your dreams, your challenges, fears, and victories are the focus. A time and space to be you, to find out who you are and what you want, and to then go out and create that despite external environmental challenges.

Nyaradzo is a high-energy speaker with boundless energy and wit who is able to combine inspiration with insight. Her charismatic style and ability to engage emotionally with audiences have made her a sought-after keynote speaker delivering proven solutions on topical issues for corporations. Her mission as a speaker, coach, and trainer is to empower organisations to achieve sustainable success through holistic development and cognitive reconditioning.

She has published a motivational journal, ‘Motivation for Success: Morsels in the Desert’ and is the co-author of; ‘Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Career Strategies for Women’. Her motivational articles are published in local magazines and tabloids. She currently writes a motivational column ‘Motivation for Success’ published in The Business Herald every Monday. She makes guest appearances on local radio and has been interviewed on a MNET TV program. In 2015 she was on the list of Young Zimbabweans to Watch’ and is the 2016- ZIWA Motivational Speaker of the Year.

Nyaradzo is also the founder of QueenMakers Trust whose mission is to empower female leaders through training, mentoring and coaching, thus enabling them to contribute into the mainstream economy.

How was Avodah formed?

Avodah was formed through a series of events. Having been in the NGO and corporate sector for close to a decade, with Viva Network Dandy Zimbabwe and Standard Chartered, I took a career sabbatical and went to Uni in the middle of a third pregnancy. Halfway through my degree, I started a clothing business: Sheba’s Closet, in an upmarket area in Harare. I travelled to Asia and Europe at least once a month to purchase clothing for the two shops that I had acquired.

After graduating in 2008 Avodah was formed with the realisation that it was virtually impossible to get back into formal employment due to the state of the economy. I decided to run the 2 businesses, my love for fashion and my natural speaking talent. It focuses on soft skills training, human capital development, recruitment, and coaching.

Avodah is a Hebrew word meaning work is a form of worship. I believe that as you are working, you are exercising and using your gifts that were placed inside of you, thereby giving glory and worshiping the giver of that gift.

In 2012, I went through a life altering experience that got me thinking about my purpose, passion, and desires. This led to me closing Sheba’s Closet to focus on something that left a legacy for my children. I knew that I was not going to be able to develop it to the level Edgars and Truworths (regional clothing stores), so I decided to focus solely on Avodah.

Every one of us already has power, it’s just a matter of peeling away the shadows Click To Tweet

What were the major start-up challenges?

I started Avodah during the 2008 recession period. I was going in the opposite direction of the economy. The only reason I have managed to survive is my work ethic and excellence.

I believe when you function in your area of passion and strength you have more staying power.

Tell us a bit about QueenMakers?

QueenMakers is a passion. I am passionate about women’s empowerment. I started QueenMakers to assist women developing themselves to function at their maximum potential. Culture, religion, politics, economies, and societies have made women a secondary species and made them feel like they don’t deserve a seat at the decision-making and power table.

QueenMakers is an organisation where women come together, get trained, motivated, coached and inspired to reach within themselves and polish their potential. We network, encourage, expose women to opportunities that are around them, help them maximise their potential and occupy centre stage.

What are some of the challenges that you have faced as a black African woman?

Most of my challenges as a black African woman have been self-belief and going past that little voice inside your head that says it’s impossible.

I have had to work hard to develop my confidence to put myself out there.

What more can government do to support entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe

I believe women have not even begun to utilise the ‘little’ that has been put on the table for them. Before we can ask for more we need to sweat what has been offered thus far. There is more that they can do but it’s also more of what we as women can do.

For example, there has not been that many women in politics. Our generation aspires and desires, complains and bickers but no one has really stepped up, very few women take up such roles.

As you are working, you are exercising and using your gifts that were placed inside of you Click To Tweet

What lessons or advice would you give your younger self?

Be bold and not afraid because fear is not real. It needs to be challenged through the stretching of our minds.

Like Nike says; Just Do it.

What can we look forward to in the next five years?

Avodah and QueenMakers occupying the African market share.

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

Joy Makumbe : Engineering is all about networks

I felt the need to test my strength & capacity to build, grow & sustain a company - Joy Makumbe Click To Tweet

From an early age, Joy Makumbe, the founder of Majolic Construction and The Joy Makumbe Trust, both based in Harare, Zimbabwe, has always been passionate about turning her ideas into tangible physical reality. Knowing that these realities assists women and girls in alleviating some of the problems they face daily with regards to water and sanitation gives her satisfaction.

Did you always want to be a civil engineer?

No, not really. I didn’t know much about it until I was attached to engineering companies during school holidays. Most of these companies were mainly involved with mechanical engineering but that is where I realised my passion for building things.

After graduation I mainly worked in consulting companies whose projects were mainly structural in nature. This was a good foundation for me as I worked with elderly white engineers who were really bent on detail, teaching, training and mentoring. From there I moved to another consulting company that exposed me to the projects management side of civil engineering.

I didn’t know much about civil engineering until I was attached to engineering companies Click To Tweet

Tell us about Majorlic Construction.

Majorlic Construction is a company I formed in 2008 after I felt the need to be directly involved in the communities, and to test my strength and capacity to build, grow and sustain a company. The name is a combination of letters from my first and last names.

Majorlic’s focus has been water and sewer reticulation networks and structural design. We have also incorporated the use of green technology in construction with the use of solar energy to provide water heating and lighting in the houses we construct. To date we have done servicing of residential stands, house and road constructions in Harare, Zimbabwe.

What challenges have you faced as a black African woman in engineering?

Most of the time people assume that I am a man. The community’s awareness with regards to women in engineering is still very low. As a result my gender makes it harder to get contracts because people lack the confidence that a woman can really deliver.

Contracts mainly come because of referrals from people who have worked with me and know my work. For me, there is no excuse for quality so it always comes down to proving myself more as an engineer.

Awareness of women in engineering is still very low. Most of the time people assume that I'm a man. Click To Tweet

What were the major start-up challenges?

Capital and not being known in the construction circles meant fewer contracts. Not many people want to engage an engineer that they do not know. When you get that opportunity to do a project, the project just looks too big in your eyes and can be overwhelming.

Looking back I have learnt that sometimes we are overwhelmed because we think we have to go at it alone but you will find that there are so many established companies who are willing to partner with you on some projects. Your company can learn from these established companies.

I know TechWomen 2015 was a life changing experience for you, tell us a bit about that.

You leave your country with one perspective on women, technology and science and you come back changed. I left the US with newly found relationships, sisterhoods, zeal, and a renewed form of energy.

I met a lot of powerful young women from different parts of the world who are making a difference in their home countries and beyond. This challenged me and I realised that I too could bring such impact.

How do you connect your experience at TechWomen with your work?

During my mentorship I was attached to Sun Power – one of the major players in solar technology in the US. I realised that there was so much untapped potential in Zimbabwe for solar power on the domestic, industrial and agricultural fields. This was an area which we needed to explore more of in Zimbabwe.

Since then I have been looking at ways of  introducing different forms of energy in Zimbabwe through my trust, The Joy Makumbe Trust. It has been difficult in the past couple of years to rely solely on Hydropower due to seasonal changes and drought patterns.

We have started exploring more on green technology and how we can use it to make our lives better. For example those in the rural areas have resources to use like Biogas, they just do not have the knowledge. We plan to bridge this knowledge gap in the communities.

Overall, my experience at TechWomen has given me lifelong networks of sisters across the globe. Sisters who share opportunities and information to build our businesses and increase impact in our communities. Sisters who share achievements to encourage each other and show that it can be done.

How has it been moving from being a lecturer to managing a multi-million dollar project in a foreign country?

Engineering is all about networks. I got this job because an engineer colleague of mine informed me of the opportunity and I submitted my CV. The thought of relocating was overwhelming and being part of a million dollar job funded by the World Bank made it worse. So many questions ran through my head, “am I woman enough to pull it through?” But I have a very supportive family that really cheers me on.

This contract came at the right time when I felt I was ready for something new. The TechWomen experience had elevated me to a level where going down again was not an option for me. I was restless. I needed to do more. I needed to make more impact. It has been challenging dealing with contractors and being in a different setting, but it has been an amazing experience.Joy Makumbe: I was restless. I needed to do more. I needed to make more impact. Click To Tweet

How do you describe your business model as you are currently based in Uganda?

I have two people on the ground whom I leave to the execution of the day to day running of the company and the trust.

My presence here in Uganda is an opportunity for the company to source deals and partnerships and penetrate the Ugandan market.

The Joy Makumbe trust tell me about that.

The Joy Makumbe trust is mainly about building awareness of engineering as a career to girls and career guidance for science and technology. I only got to know about the different types of engineering disciplines at university and I certainly did not want this to be what other young people go through.

We have been involved with so many schools for example Eaglesvale School in Harare, Zimbabwe and Bweranyangi Girls in Uganda. It is amazing how our girls are the same despite the boarders. The same passion to learn more on how they too can make tech an interesting career choice. I believe that wherever one is, they can always make a difference in our youth.
How do you manage to balance the trust, your job and Majolic?

It is hard. You cannot be sleeping at 8 if you want all these things to work. Longer hours are required of you.

But I cannot belittle the use of networks and links. I have like-minded people who are on the ground for both Majolic and the trust.

Which African woman has the strongest influence on you?

My network of women engineers, who are both mothers and career women but who each and every day share success stories of how they have won awards on the international arena and how they are making a difference within their communities.

It inspires me knowing that it can be done because it is happening around me every day.

What should we look forward to in the next 5 years?

Majorlic will have international partnerships. By then, I hope I will have Ugandan engineers who I can collaborate with. Therefore, the time I am here, I am looking to creating relationships and networks that go beyond my day to day job.

The trust will make more impact in the communities. I look forward to expanding green technology usage throughout the country and reducing the strain on the country’s power grid.

Not forgetting of course, a lot more female engineers graduating from our institutions of higher learning! A lot more women in engineering and construction businesses! A lot more women leaving a mark in their communities and countries at large.

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


Mutsa Majero: There are many companies for self publishing

I am looking forward to highlighting Zimbabwean women who are creating waves all around the world Click To Tweet

Thirty-year-old Mutsa Majero has been living in the US for the past 14 years. She is the author of “Meet Chipo”, a children’s book. Mutsa is a licenced Mental Health Therapist and holds a Masters in Counselling Psychology. She took time off in June 2016 to finish her Ph.D. in International Psychology, as well as self-publish “Meet Chipo” and other children’s books. She is the brains behind Zim.Babe.Iwe! an online platform for empowering women and girls as well as promoting literacy.

Mutsa has a passion for working with children and as a Mental Health Therapist, she has worked with children and adolescents for the past six years building their esteem and resilience to get through difficult times in their lives.

What is Zim.Babe.Iwe! all about and why the name?

The name is inspired by two things, my love for Zimbabwe and for women. It’s a play on Zimbabwe with an emphasis on “babe” or women. It’s a brand created to promote literacy and women empowerment. “Meet Chipo” was published under Zim.Babe.Iwe! and at the moment I am looking forward to highlighting Zimbabwean women who are creating waves all around the world and doing big things.

That is where the Iwe! comes in, it’s women who have people’s heads turning and doing big things and have people saying, “Iwe!”


Why did you decide to start a series of children’s books?

I always knew I wanted to write a book but felt like I didn’t have the time, until one day I just decided to do it. My love for education, reading, Zimbabwe and young girls also built on this decision. Growing up my parents put a lot of emphasis on reading and for that to continue and for me to pass it on, a children’s book was ideal and I knew a lot of people would be inspired to read.

I wanted Zimbabwean children and non-Zimbabwean children growing up in the Diaspora to have a feel of life in Zimbabwe and therefore connect with it. And for children in Zimbabwe to relate to Chipo and some of the things she goes through in the Diaspora.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A lot is from my experience as a child growing up in Zimbabwe, those were the best days of my life. Some came from my fathers’ experience as a child -he grew up in rural Zimbabwe like Chipo did.

So it was bringing out those different experiences and fun aspects of Zimbabwean culture.


How has the journey to self-publishing been like for you?

It was really challenging getting someone to publish “Meet Chipo”, so I sat on it since 2010 until I decided to take it in my own hands, and discovered I could self-publish.

The self-publishing process started in 2014 when I got an illustrator to draw exactly what I was looking for, for the book. It has been a long journey, but I am glad I self-published and did not go any other way.MeetChipo-Book

What can you tell other writers about self-publishing?

It is important to do your research and to do it early, figure out what works best for you as a writer.

There are many companies that one can go to for self-publishing. Talk to other people who have done it before and find out their experiences and some do’s and don’ts.

What major start-up challenges did you face?

Self-publishing is expensive therefore one has to have some sort of financial stability especially when publishing a children’s book where there are illustrations and a lot of pictures included. And so I encourage women to save because you never know what financial endeavour you may want to start in the future.

Another challenge was trying to figure out where I fit in the children’s books world because there are a lot of them. But I think my book stands out in that it is multi-cultural and talks about life in two different cultures. It’s educational as well as fun. I encourage other writers to scan the market to see where they fit in and how they can stand out.

Tweet: Self-publishing is expensive therefore one has to have some sort of financial stability

How has the market responded to your book?

People have actually really loved it because it has taught them about some aspects of the Zimbabwean culture. Many people can relate to resettling, and therefore this book is easy to relate to.


What are some of the challenges you have faced as a black African woman living abroad?

People have pre- conceived notions of how an African should be, talk, or look like.

These kinds of assumptions used to frustrate me before, but I now take it as an opportunity to teach people about Africa, and more importantly, about Zimbabwe.

Which African woman has had the strongest influence on you?

Definitely my mother. She embodies a lot of what African women are known for,  hard work, selflessness, she is inspirational not just to myself but to people around her.

Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie. She once said, “Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower and to humanise. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity”

I resonated a lot with that because as an immigrant in America, it is important to be inspired and stay inspired because it is easy to be swallowed up and almost lose yourself to the culture you have migrated to. Not that there is anything wrong with acculturation, but I do think that it’s important to recognise and maintain your heritage.Therefore the stories we tell continue to empower and humanise people. I love her books and a lot of what she stands for.

Danai Gurira is a strong Zimbabwean Woman who emphasises on telling stories for us by us. I love her empowering of the African woman.


What is your long-term vision for Meet Chipo?

Making my book more accessible to the Zimbabwean market. It is currently available on my website where I can personalise and autograph orders, and on Amazon.

There is also going to be at least four more books to come on the Meet Chipo series, and from there, I will look to expanding the other characters within the book.

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