MTN

MTN hosted a gala event on 30 August in Jozi to honour the top performing women in information and communication technology and it was a beautiful evening filled with beautiful  and inspiring women.

This is the third year that MTN is hosting this event, and with it MTN is helping to bridge the gender gap by bringing the world of ICT closer to all women.

This year’s judging panel comprised a variety of respected and highly accomplished broadcasters, seasoned journalists and editors, business executives, academics and ICT professionals.

Here are the winners and their stories:

MTN WIICT Winners From Left to Right Tebatso Moape (Graduate Recognition Award) Lauren Kate Rawlins (Execellence in journalism) Mariana Kruger (CEO awards and Innovator Award) Pamela Mkhize (Leadership Recognition Awards) Lindiwe Matlali (Community Recognition Awards) Iman Malaka (SME Recognition Award)

Pamela Mkhizewho took top honours in theLeadership Recognition category. 

Pamela is currently Head of Sub-Saharan Africa Digital Satellite at the multinational energy utility, Enel Green Power (EGP), a subsidiary of the Enel Group. She is responsible for the organisation’s Digital Solutions department within Africa, and has led the ICT processes for renewable energy plant development projects in India and Australia.

In the Innovator Recognition category, Mariana Kruger, who heads up the Product and Solutions Division within MTN Business South Africa, took the top spot. Mariana’s team provides services and solutions to an array of enterprise customers in South Africa, ranging from the top 1000 blue chip companies to SMEs. They all have their own unique requirements cutting across mobility, core connectivity, managed services, data centre services, internet of things, security services and cloud services.

Mariana also received the CEO’s Award that recognises an MTN employee who has made a difference within the organisation with the use of ICT and technology.

Winning in the SME Recognition category was Iman Malaka. She is the CEO, co-founder and majority shareholder of TIC-IT Telecoms. Prior to this she held various roles in the telecommunications industry.  Iman is passionate about developing people around her.

The Community Builder Recognition Award was handed over to Lindiwe Matlali, the Founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks. This is an NGO that teaches kids how to code. Lindiwe has received numerous accolades in Social Entrepreneurship, and continues to study at some of the world’s leading academic institutions, such as Columbia University in New York.

The Graduate Award (Tertiary) was awarded to Tebatso Moape, recognised for her role as a Computer Science Lecturer at Tshwane University of Technology. In addition, she recently founded a non-profit organisation, Rebao ICT foundation and Youth Development. Its mission is to be a leading NPO that promotes, drives and instills technological skills through the use of ICT in marginalised communities.

This year’s Lifetime Achiever (Women Pioneer) is Santie Botha. Santie has extensive knowledge and experience in various executive positions, in industries ranging from fast moving consumer goods to banking and telecommunications. She is currently the Chairperson of both Famous Brands Limited and Curro Holdings. She was also the Chancellor of Nelson Mandela University from 2011 to 2017.

Lauren Kate Rawlins received the Excellence in ICT Journalism Award. Lauren is the Digital and Innovation Editor at ITWeb and writes about the different ways businesses are embracing digital transformation, how small start-ups are disrupting big industry, and how the machines are slowing taking over.

Modjadji Maphepha was the recipient of the Ministerial Recognition Award.  Modjadji is the General Manager of Moletsi FM in Limpopo Province, and was chosen for this award by the Minister of Communications, the Honourable Nomvula Mokonyane.

The guests were treated to an amazing 3 course dinner while being serenaded by the talented Zoe Modiga and a surprise performance by SA songstress Lira.

Chica Salutes all the women who make the ICT sector great and we are happy to have been a part of this amazing night of celebration. Thank you MTN for the invitation.

 

CHICA News

It is time for the premier event on the ICT calendar and MTN puts the spotlight on on women who are making huge strides in the information and communication technology sector (ICT). After reviewing hundreds of nominations for this year’s MTN Women in ICT – Partnership for Change Awards, the adjudication panel has shortlisted the top three entries that will be competing in their respective categories for the top accolades.

The MTN Women in ICT – Partnership for Change Awards is a platform that recognises, honours and celebrates the contribution made by women professionals to the growth and development of the ICT sector in South Africa. The awards are also aimed at enhancing the industry’s employer value proposition – attracting girl children and young aspirant female professionals to consider a profession in the industry.

The top three nominees in each category are as follows:

Leadership Recognition Award: recognises senior female executives in the ICT sector whose proven depth of experience in leading change, influencing business outcomes and leading teams has impacted positively on the organisations they lead. The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Christi Maherry
  2. Pamela Mkhize
  3. Mariana Kruger

Innovator Recognition Award: recognises women who have introduced new methods, ideas, or products that are contributing in one way or the other to the delivery of a bold, new, digital world. The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Marlize Holtz
  2. Mariana Kruger
  3. Hlengiwe Mazibuko

SME Recognition Award: recognises wholly-owned, women-run enterprises that are viable businesses making inroads in the ICT sector. This is also extended to MTN employees who run their own enterprises on the side, using ICT to enable their businesses. The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Shesni Doorsamy
  2. Nisha Maharaj
  3. Iman Malaka

Community Builder Recognition Award: recognises a woman who has made a considerable difference in her community through ICT, or use of an ICT tool to make a difference in the community. The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Zandile Keebine
  2. Lee-Anne Wyman
  3. Lindiwe Matlali

Lifetime Achiever Recognition Award (Women Pioneer): recognises a woman who has longstanding success in the ICT industry, has demonstrated a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit, and has continually stayed ahead of the curve. The shortlisted candidates in this category are:

  1. Santie Botha
  2. Laren Braithwaite-Kabosa
  3. Joan Joffe

Excellence in ICT Journalism Award: this category seeks to recognise a journalist who has contributed immensely to creating a better understanding of the ICT industry through her reporting. The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Yolandi Booyens
  2. Lauren Kate Rawlins
  3. Michelle Constant

Graduate Award (Tertiary): this category recognises a top ICT graduate from a tertiary institution who finished top of her class.  The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Elizabeth Bekker
  2. Tebatso Moape
  3. Retselisitsoe Lejaha

CEO’s Award: this award recognises an MTN employee who has made a difference within the organisation with the use of ICT and Technology. The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Mapula Bodibe
  2. Mariana Kruger
  3. Nomaciko Ngoasheng

In addition to the above, the Minister of Communications, Nomvula Mokonyane will also  give a special award to a significant woman, whose contribution has helped to facilitate access to telecommunication services

Congratulation to all the nominees – the winners will be announced at a gala event that will be held on 30 August in Johannesburg.

You can keep up with the conversation on social media through the hashtag : #MTNWIICT2018.

Finding a mentor

Mentorship: Signed, sealed, delivered!

Chicas! SO remember I wrote an article about practical ways to find a mentor and how I was truly sucking at it? I genuinely was giving up and because I had sent texts and emails to people who were either going through their own challenges and could not accommodate another nagging human or may not have had an interest at all.

If you missed this article, you can read it here.

I have an update for you and thought I should share some feedback on the experience. It has been bliss.

How I Met Her

You know how with love, we are always told that the love of our lives may potentially be sitting in the friendzone? And that we keep looking for this person in the distance? This was it. She had just joined the company I work for and I need to be honest with myself and you as a reader; I suck at making new friends. I hardly spoke to her. Found her odd. Too chirpy for my liking. Always in high spirits. I stayed away from her purely because I have trust issues with letting a stranger into my world. But okay, I soon got over that.

She has a special gift. She can pick up how people feel at the most appropriate times. She set up a coffee in my diary and we took a stroll to Tasha’s in Rosebank. She asked me about myself, my goals, fears, challenges and all thing concerning Kea. It was the first time in a while I had anyone care about me on that level. Where only I mattered in the conversation. I was genuinely going through some challenges at the time, so you can imagine how relieving it was to have that conversation. I shared parts of me that I have never shared with any single human being. That is when I knew she was the one.

I asked her to hold my hand in navigating life and she was more than happy to do it. And from May 2017, Kea had a mentor.

Finding a mentor

Our Conversations

The conversations vary. With every get-together, we touch on family, friends, work, love life. No parameters on our conversations.

Whether I had a tough day at work or had just gone through a break-up, my mentor was there. Conversations I enjoy most are the book recommendations too. I have never been a fan of self-help books, but a book that she recommended I read was “Nice girls don’t get the corner office”. I see that book as a guide to daily living and wanting to improve oneself always. It was a valuable book to read and I certainly used some of the tips in it. Which worked in my favour. We continue to share books worth reading. She has a wealth of knowledge, which I yearn to drink from every day.

I always know what I need to speak to her about. I make my vision and aspirations clear and she helps me achieve those goals with knowledge from her previous experiences.

Making Connections

Outside of having coffee and drinks dates, she has opened up my network. Since knowing her, I have been exposed to networks unimagined. Been introduced to business leaders and associates who have become valuable for my personal growth. I have always been a networker of note – weird given I don’t make friends easily but when it comes to making business connect, trust me to get the job done. I remember attending an event hosted by The Economist in Midrand with her and watching her work the room. I knew at that point that my networking skills were still MILD AF! I needed to up my game and if I stuck with her, they would definitely elevate. When with your mentor, watch how they interact with other people, make the connection and seal the deal.

Making The Changes

So it’s all good and well to have chats, coffee, and talk but what about the “doing” and getting the results? Very important.

There are things I was doing completely wrong and I was definitely getting the results to match it. It all starts with the basic things such as setting boundaries with people and situations, knowing who is really your friend and who is not, taking in criticism and improving on your flaws and wait for it… reading a little bit more than usual.

I can now confidently say that 2017 was one of the best years I had. A year in which I grew in my career, understood the role of heartbreak in becoming a better person and being self-sufficient and reliant in making sure that my dreams are attainable and sustainable. I don’t think I would have achieved everything I did without her help.

Keeping The Fire Burning

I don’t get to see her as often as I used to but we are in contact. The relationship remains a two-way street. In order to make sure the relationship with your mentor is alive, it’s good to check in with them too, to see if they are okay. Where we as mentees think THEY know everything, truth is, they are human too. They too learn a thing or two from us as well.

If you are still looking for a mentor, then maybe the person is in close proximity and you don’t even know it. If you already have a mentor, then always remember you are not confined to only having one person in your corner. You can have more than one mentor, with each helping you navigate particular areas of life.

Maybe we should create links on our Chica social media pages that will allow ladies to connect with each other and possibly build a mentor/mentee relationship?

Have you found a mentor since my last post? How has your experience gone?

By Keagi

 

Career Limiting Moves

Making sure we are not making career limiting moves

Navigating life is one tough task. Managing relationships and expectation of others while still taking care of your own needs and wants is both exciting and terrifying. One thing I have realised is that it makes it a tad bit easier doing all of this with the help of a mentor or even a series of conversations with people who have more experience than you do in any subject matter that speaks to LIFE in general.

At 27, I genuinely cannot boldly say that I have my career aspirations and dreams figured out. I do however know that I intend to make an impact that is everlasting, leaving those that come after me sipping from the fountain of trust and knowledge I hope to continue to gain along the way.

Career Limiting Moves

While still learning, I am a fan of making sure that I do not repeat mistakes that could potentially “limit” my chances in climbing the ladder. Such moves are considered “career limiting”. Having read an article on this topic on the Work it Daily site, I felt I should share, just so that we are all give our best in this career slaying thing you know? Let’s give more thought to our daily actions when it comes to our work than just the daily “to-do list”.

  1. The lack of real insight or thought

The impact of this leads to situations that exist purely based on the fact some people fail to pay attention to how things work and their own behaviour. I have always been an advocate of the question “Why?”. It helps us understand why we do what we do, therefore giving our tasks more meaning.

  1. Chronic absence or tardiness

If you are absent too much or late too much, you won’t be going anywhere because YOU are undependable.

  1. Refuse to admit you made a mistake

We all make them. We’re supposed to learn from them. When you don’t admit a mistake, we not only know you’re clueless, we kind of expect you to repeat it.

  1. “It’s not my job” mentality

This one can get tricky. It’s always a good move to make sure that you set boundaries and limits in your work space. What you don’t want to do is be the person who constantly cannot help with something outside of their job scope. You are seen as not being a team player and you know how we frown upon those. If you have the time or capability, try and help out.

  1. Resistance to change

Change is constant; whether in our personal lives or careers. If ever you are seen as the person who never wants to try a new method or idea, you may be viewed as “negative”. Things will not always work out but they are definitely worth the shot. Right? 

Someone is always watching

Whether we notice it or not, someone is always watching. Sometimes it is someone we least expect to have even noticed us breathing. Those are the people who will stand up for you and make sure that you get the recognition you deserve. The type pf recognition can be an increase, a promotion or a new jo offer which you did not even apply for.

Sometimes, it’s in the little things we do, that make us shine. Always give it your best shot.

What tips can you share with other Chica’s who wish to make a great impact in their careers? Let’s chat!

By Keagi

Kelly Khumalo

Kelly Khumalo – what does one say about her that hasn’t already been said? She is one of those people everyone has an opinion about. Good or bad, it seems everyone has something to say. From back when she first broke out in the industry with Qinisela, to the days of Itshitshi, her well documented relationships, bad decisions and tragedies, people just can’t stop talking about Kelly! One thing that has remained constant though, is her talent!

Kelly Khumalo

I have always liked Kelly Khumalo and her powerful voice. I think part of my attraction to her is because of how she just lives her life unapologetically. I marvel at how she always manages to pull herself from the darkest hole and push through with life. Happily so. She is one example of how we should not allow our past mistakes to define us. The epitome of ‘if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.’ 

 

… and of course, in observing her, I can’t help but melt at the way she loves her 2 beautiful children!

Kelly Khumalo

I think back to her book The Kelly Khumalo Story and wonder if she would agree now that it was too early to try and tell her story. What happened in her 20s was just a chapter in what her actual story will be and I look forward to reading that full story a decade or two from now.

Kelly has got quite a busy 2018 to look forward to and February is definitely her big TV month because Season 2 of her Gau TV talk show ‘Love & Matrimony’ makes a return to the screens, and she features on Season 5 of SABC 1’s Stumbo Stomp amaPantsula as the competition’s celebrity judge.

Kelly also features in a new local blockbuster Zulu Wedding featuring American actor Darrin Dewitt-Henson (remember Lem from Soul Food) and Nondumiso Tembe, which will be released on the 23rd of February 2018.

Check out the movie trailer below, it looks like a lot of fun!

 

I asked Kelly to answer the fun #CHICA15 questions and here are her response:

If you had to have a label on your forehead that explains who you are, what would it say?

Kelly: I am who Christ says I am.

What do the people in your life value most about you?

Kelly: I think they value my big heart and how protective I am when it comes to family as well as my nurturing nature

What is the one personal belonging you value above all others, and why?
Kelly: If my kids were a belonging I would say them lol, but the thing about me is that I am not phased by material possessions, they really have no value to me

What’s the one thing you cannot resist, no matter how hard you try?
Kelly: Love

Which movie can you watch over and over again and not get tired?
Kelly: The Notebook

What is the one thing that you absolutely cannot stand?
Kelly: I can’t stand people who lie

Kelly Khumalo

What is the worst advice you have ever received?
Kelly: You know when someone says tone it down or hold back from expressing yourself, basically telling me to fit in and play my part, worst advice ever!

What piece of advice do you think should be passed onto every child?
Kelly: There’s a lot, but if I had to choose one it would be to teach our children to learn how to live life without holding back because it’s the only way they can experience their true potential as individuals

Complete the sentence: every woman needs to know that______________.
Kelly: They are worthy of everything that life has on offer

What does black girl magic mean to you?
Kelly: It’s owning who we are, the authenticity and the power that we possess as black women.

What do you wish you had known about money when you got your 1st pay check?
Kelly: That it means absolutely nothing and that it is just a means to an end…

Which book has changed your life or holds lifelong lessons for you?
Kelly: The Secret

What is your unfulfilled goal?
Kelly: Becoming a worldwide superstar musician

If you could go back in time and re-do one thing, what would it be?
Kelly: Nothing

What would you do if you were granted the superpower of being invisible for just one day?
Kelly: Oh my goodness it would be a lot, but to be quite honest I would use such powers to help people, there is so much hidden from us by those we’ve put in power that I would want to use my invisibility to get some answers for the people.

Ends. 

You can follow Kelly’s experiences on her website www.kellykhumalo.live and social media platforms @KellyKhumaloZA 

 

By LeloB

Oprah

Oprah just received the  Cecil B. deMille Award at the 2018 Golden Globes awards and gave a speech that left Hollywood screaming “Oprah For President.”  The Cecil B. deMille Award is a special, prestigious award given for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment and I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more than Oprah herself.

Regarding the calls in the US now for her to run for President in 2020, I think she’s beeeeeen a President and inspiration to us, and doesn’t need the White House to continue that. She’s done more to change and inspire the world without being in the White House. In actual fact I think being POTUS would stifle her.

Below is Oprah’s inspiring, powerful Golden Globes Speech. It’s worth reading.

Oprah’s Full Golden Globes Speech:

Ah! Thank you. Thank you all. O.K., O.K. Thank you, Reese. In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house in Milwaukee, watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards. She opened the envelope and said five words that literally made history: “The winner is Sidney Poitier.” Up to the stage came the most elegant man I had ever seen. I remember his tie was white, and of course his skin was black. And I’d never seen a black man being celebrated like that. And I’ve tried many, many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl — a kid watching from the cheap seats, as my mom came through the door bone-tired from cleaning other people’s houses. But all I can do is quote and say that the explanation’s in Sidney’s performance in “Lillies of the Field”: “Amen, amen. Amen, amen.” In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille Award right here at the Golden Globes, and it is not lost on me that at this moment there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award.

It is an honor, and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them, and also with the incredible men and women who’ve inspired me, who’ve challenged me, who’ve sustained me and made my journey to this stage possible. Dennis Swanson, who took a chance on me for “A.M. Chicago”; Quincy Jones, who saw me on that show and said to Steven Spielberg, “Yes, she is Sophia in ‘The Color Purple’”; Gayle, who’s been the definition of what a friend is; and Stedman, who’s been my rock — just a few to name. I’d like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, because we all know that the press is under siege these days.

But we also know that it is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To tyrants and victims and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before, as we try to navigate these complicated times. Which brings me to this: What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell. And this year we became the story. But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace.

Oprah

So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault, because they — like my mother — had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farmworkers; they are working in factories and they work in restaurants, and they’re in academia and engineering and medicine and science; they’re part of the world of tech and politics and business; they’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military.

And they’re someone else: Recy Taylor, a name I know and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and a mother. She was just walking home from a church service she’d attended in Abbeville, Ala., when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped and left blindfolded by the side of the road, coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone, but her story was reported to the N.A.A.C.P., where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case and together they sought justice. But justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died 10 days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived, as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. And for too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up.

And I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth — like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented — goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks’s heart almost 11 years later, when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery. And it’s here with every woman who chooses to say, “Me too.” And every man — every man — who chooses to listen. In my career, what I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave: to say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. And I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning — even during our darkest nights.

So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too,’ again. Thank you.”

 

Google

Google just released the 2017 Year In Search and as always, South Africa’s searches are very interesting. The top trending personalities are mostly those who passed on in 2017, which says something about us, I guess.

This year’s trending searches show growing interest in local celebrities and events, with seven of the top 10 trending search terms being local, in contrast to fewer than half  last year. South Africans are also increasingly using search to find local businesses – the ‘near me’ search list shows what types of businesses South Africans look for in their neighborhoods and highlights the importance of these (often small) businesses being online and findable.

Below are the trends for South Africa… and the lists are based on search terms that had a high spike in traffic in 2017 compared to 2016.

Top Trending South African searches

  1. Dumi Masilela
  2. Zimbabwe
  3. Cyclone Dineo
  4. Joe Mafela
  5. Karabo Mokoena
  6. Joost van der Westhuizen
  7. Black Friday
  8. Mayweather vs McGregor fight
  9. Fast & Furious 8
  10. Hurricane Irma

The only thing that hurts me about Dumi is how he became super big on his death, and makes me question how many of us supported his music while he was alive. I am glad to see so many of us are interested in more than just the drama in SA, with Zimbabwe featuring in the top 2.  

This top 10 also shows how tired South Africans are of Zuma and his stories, nothing on there about him nor his friends the G’s. 

Trending personalities

  1. Dumi Masilela
  2. Joe Mafela
  3. Joost van der Westhuizen
  4. Zodwa Wabantu
  5. Mandla Hlatshwayo
  6. Lundi Tyamara
  7. Simphiwe Ngema
  8. Grace Mugabe
  9. Hugh Hefner
  10. Chester Bennington

Top ‘near me’ searches

  1. Pharmacy near me
  2. Dentist near me
  3. KFC near me
  4. Jobs hiring near me
  5. Hardware store near me
  6. Gynaecologist near me
  7. Printing shops near me
  8. Steers near me
  9. Sushi near me
  10. Doctors near me

Top TV Shows

  1. 13 reasons why
  2. Games of Thrones
  3. Isibaya
  4. Uzalo
  5. Big Brother Naija
  6. American Gods
  7. Idols SA
  8. Sex in the City
  9. Big Little Lies
  10. Riverdale

I’m surprised to see 13 Reasons Why, not even know that it had aired on DSTV. I enjoyed the show, though I don’t understand why there is a season 2 coming.  

Top searched recipes

  1. Oxtail recipes
  2. Sweet potato recipes
  3. Beef stew recipes
  4. Vegan recipes
  5. Creamed spinach recipes
  6. Halal recipes
  7. Prawn recipes
  8. Spaghetti recipes
  9. Cauliflower recipes
  10. Bread recipes

Cauliflower recipes guys? Really?? lol 

Read more on the South African searches HERE

Google

Google South Africa is once again hosting a Digital Skills for Africa and Women@ Google event as part of their ongoing celebration of women in Africa, education and entrepreneurs  – and they have invited you CHICAs to join them!

Alll participants will learn about the Women@ program, go on an office walk-about, receive training and a Digital Skills for Africa Google Certificate in fundamental digital marketing skills.

Date: Friday, 17 November 2017

Time: 9:00am – 2:30pm

Venue: Google South Africa, 35 Ballyclare Drive Bryanston, Ballyoaks Office Park, 3rd floor Golden Oak House.

Food will be served.

Please RSVP HERE 

Limited spaces available.

Entrepreneurship

So, we all know the end of the year comes with a lot of reflection, and the scurry to rush through all of the goals one had set for themselves, before the year is over.

I have been on a reflective journey, of late. It has not been in the sense of “what have I achieved?” but rather, asking myself: “what do I wish I had known beforehand?” These are some of the things I wish I had been told before jumping into the world of entrepreneurship…Corium

  1. Sleep As Much As You Can Now

Entrepreneurship is highly demanding, and as much as I may roll my eyes to the “we sleep, they grind” anecdotes, there’s a small sour note of truth in this. The start-up days are about sacrifice and devastatingly long hours. It sucks, but khethile khethile. There is often little personal or professional distance between an entrepreneur and their business, so you will need to be very hands-on and willing to put in crazy hours – you cannot leave it for the next person to sort out.

I’ve become the master of applying concealer for my incessant eye bags, and hiding all sorts of lethargy – by the way, the Elizabeth Arden Double Wear concealer is THE one! Those are the joys of long nights and crisis management. You will become a pro at your concealer game, and with adjustment you will learn how to work smarter and get more sleep.

Entrepreneurship

  1. Build a Constructive Network

I cannot stress this enough. Bold, underline, italicise, type in caps: BUILD A CONSTRUCTIVE NETWORK – this is A1. Nota bene. You need to build a strong and useful human, social network – we’re not talking friendship here, but networks. Relationship-building is very important for the budding entrepreneur. You want to be in a position where you have built a worthy “contacts list” – this is helpful for new opportunities, for crisis management and to just generally hinge off another person’s lessons, stories, expertise or skill. Get into the habit of meeting other entrepreneurs.

Adages don’t become adages for no reason, there is truth in the saying that you should surround yourself with lions; it is important to be surrounded by people who have either done it, are doing it or have a voice to add in the journey. You have elected the road less travelled. You need to be in a position where you can tap into the people around you whether you have a question, an opportunity or are feeling helpless. Starting a business venture can feel like walking through a giant maze, blindfolded – #RealTalk. The onus remains on you to speak up.

  1. Social Prioritisation

You’re going to lose a few years of your social cool-kid status, but that’s the opportunity cost of the path which you have chosen. Please accept this peacefully, and with a good heart, upfront. You have to lose a little to gain a lot more, down the line. Remember when you walked into your first Ecos 101 lecture, and you learned about insatiable wants and limited resources? Yes kiddo, law of opportunity cost is back to haunt you.

Learn to prioritise your social calendar and learn to say the BIG N-O. You cannot say yes to every invitation or calendar pop-up, and take it from someone who romances burnout frequently – you will not be able to do it all. Accept this. Prioritise your time, and allocate yourself efficiently and smartly. Seek balance because nobody wants to be around Boring Nancy who’s always working – that’s not it either. Come up with a personal rule for yourself about how you will allocate your time and it can be as simple as declaring Sundays “me days” where you do not work and it’s all about you and your bed. Get your zzzz’s girl.

Entrepreneurship

  1. Do What Echoes With You

Business is damn difficult, as it is without feeling that you need to follow the exact footprints of any successful entrepreneur. Follow a path which resonates with you. We are lucky to be in a time, where although still not enough, there is more access and opportunity than there ever has been before. Go for what resonates with you. I can sell you the handbook of what worked for me, how I did it and that still may not translate to a similar result, if what I have done does not resonate with you.

You’re gonna be working long hours, looking all crusty and tired, so make sure that you are doing it for the right reason. Get bitten by the “entrepreneurship bug” for a mix of passion and commercial reasoning”. You can do what everyone is doing, but I’m not sure you will be able to attain true self-actualisation. Get into business for the right reasons, be pure-hearted in your motivation and it will naturally push you to give your best and also attract opportunity to you. Yes, I believe in the Law of Attraction – just, don’t forget to complement it with action.

  1. Good Luck and have FUN FUN FUN

As tongue-in-cheek and a bit of a downer that this read may have been, those are just the losses. The gains and fulfilment which come with entrepreneurship make it worth it. The big and small triumphs, alike, deserve a pat of the back. You are doing amazing, sweetie. The journey is not all potholes and sharp curves, it is rewarding and fun. Go get your ching, Chica!

Please look out for more pieces from me on small-business related topics from me, based on my professional experience and my entrepreneurial journey.

By Vuyi

Black Leaders

We have to invest in black leadership. There is something powerful about this ordinary statement to me.

South Africa is incredibly complex in its history and present context partially the diversity narrative has deluded us. Those that push to advance the agenda of prioritising the needs of black people are often perceived to be doing so in the spirit of segregation; seeking to unwrap the wounds of our ugly past and are often discredited because they don’t stand for a “united nation”.  We have to learn to speak confidently against the notion that being intentional about the upliftment of black lives comes at the expense of the rainbow nation legacy. The reality of this is that there is no other way to invest in black leadership than to actively invest in black leadership and that takes intentionality and a specific focus on well…black people.

This investment begins with humanising the existing leaders. People are imperfect. It is the very nature of who we are and why we need each other. South Africa’s principle of Ubuntu “I am because we are” is a globally acclaimed phenomenon yet we are rapidly losing its essence as a nation. Leaders have to be held accountable for their conduct and face the consequences of their actions. Equally, they should not be expected to exempt themselves from lapses in judgement or the likelihood of simply making bad decisions. We need to encourage collective leadership by making the process of correcting our leaders rehabilitative instead of destructive. I have spoken to far too many incredible individuals who have rejected leadership because they are afraid of what may happen if they get it wrong or slip up.

Then we must reject the idea that celebrity and leadership are branches of the same tree. There is a difference between leaders and celebrities. The danger of modern leadership is the natural inclination to demote leaders to celebrity status. Our relationship with celebrity is frivolous at best. We tend to appreciate them when they suit us and turn against them when they so much as wear a t-shirt that we don’t agree with. This is not reflective of our relationship with leadership. Leadership is deliberative and consultative. When we make the real investment in leaders that look like us we will learn that the institution of leadership requires engagement and processes. We do not drag one another on public platforms for the sake of showmanship; we disciple and correct in the spirit of building a progressive agenda for all. I don’t believe that there is a lack of black representation in our public domain. We exist in most spaces. But I am starved for black leadership. Our rise to celebrity has fooled us into thinking we have assumed leadership but exposure does not equate to leadership. This is not to say that there is anything particularly wrong or right with celebrity, that is not my conversation to have, but we should never think that the amount of social media followers an individual acquires is a reflection of their contribution to actual change.

I’ve been particularly bothered by our societal obsession with the celebrity culture over the past few years. The most recent example of this has been the Vusi Thembekwayo & Sizwe Dhlomo twitter story. What a distraction. Here are two black men; both incredible in their respective fields and among the few public influencers who demonstrate true thought leadership (in my opinion). A misunderstanding on social media very quickly reduced them to celebrities who had a petty fight over some issue. The issue behind their spat wasn’t the topic of conversation, the heated exchange of words was.

The irony was the pertinence of the root issue; the idea of formalising the taxi industry in South Africa. An industry that almost exclusively affects people of colour. What an interesting conversation to have. We could have spoken about what such a regulation would look like? Exchange ideas on who we could entrust with that responsibility. We could have even discussed the mechanics of plagiarism. The conversation was on social media which has become the touch point of society and primary level of engagement however the story became “the twar of two celebrities”. What a wasted opportunity and shame on all of us. From this I learn that the inclination for us to monitor and relish in one another’s’ downfalls is cancerous and blinding.

Lastly (for this instalment of the conversation), we need to promote the spirit of team. The idea that there is limited space for black leadership must be assassinated and this must be done by the very people that reinforce it; us. Those that climb up the ladder need to stop kicking it down upon ascension because it does not advance us as a people. We need to invest in the content of our psychology such that we work as actively to build each other up as we do to pull each other down.

There are many things that need to happen-they can only happen if we do them. Let’s talk about how we’re going to go about doing this…

By Nozipho