Emerging Brand Africa Magazine & Catalogue- Australia

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Inside Features

Emily Korir Claire Valerie Shillar Sibanda Anyier Yuol Selba- Gondoza Luka Nkandu Beltz Chiaka Moneke Sharon Orapeleng Dr. Theodora Azu Bupe Kyelu Yemi Penn

Rising Stars

Britney Korir Lerato Masiyane Sandra Elias Aisha & Nadia


Calling Australia Home SPRING - SUMMER 21


Carlton Group International is an emerging and fast-growing investment management company, with offices in Kenya and Australia. We specialize in transportation & logistics here in Australia, while our Kenyan operations focus on both Real Estate development and Logistics. Edwin Too, an enthusiastic Financial Expert, with vast knowledge in Australian and African Markets real estate industry, founded CGI, out of his passion to provide easily accessible and trusted financial services to Africans in Diaspora. Through his influential network of top leading developers and his team, they have delivered value to clients on countless projects.

Most Africans can attest to the difficulties of accessing these services due to high regulations, high interest rates, and long repayment periods. Carlton Realtors, through their partnership with various Banks, make this process seamless for their client’s peace of mind. Carlton Group services include but not limited to, Mortgages, property management services, Land purchase and development, financial reporting, Logistics etc.

Carlton Group is leveraging their expertise with high-end tech software, to reach a global audience, with their innovative solutions. They are on a mission to remove barriers in property ownership and breathing your dream into reality with ease, whether that’s in transportation, logistics or property management.

Address: Suite 204 Level 2, 441 Docklands Dr DOCKLANDS, VIC, 3008, Australia.

https://carltongroupintl.com info@carltongroupintl.com



PUBLIC RELATIONS & BRAND COMMUNICATIONS AGENCY Established to amplify the visibility of African-Australian Brands, through strategic cultural integration that represents our diverse market place. Shining a spotlight on your brands and the stories behind them, gives us so much joy. It’s why we exist! How do we do it?


COLLABORATE WITH US kathy@emergingbrandafrica.com www.emergingbrandafrica.com emergingbrandafrica

emergingbrandafrica emergingbrandaf

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EDITOR ‘ s LETTER “Did you get the memo”?

WELCOME TO EmBATHE PREMIERE EDITION! What a journey this has been! Emerging Brand Africa (EmBA) is your home of African Australian Brands and awesome humans! We are on a mission to rebrand the narrative of African Australians through storytelling, showcase the richness of our culture, contributions, and excellence of African people within the Australian business landscape. Get your cuppa because, in this Premiere Edition, we are honoring African women. We take you on their journey of calling Australia home. The Culture shock, settling in, and finding familiarity. Stories of surviving, to thriving. The strength and resilience of African women who are crushing the glass ceiling in their fields. We often don’t get to hear or see enough stories of women disrupting the status quo. This scenario is even rare among women of African descent, and we have had the absolute pleasure of interviewing these amazing powerhouse women. Their stories are incredible, inspiring and they are shaking the ground up! In celebration of this year’s International Day of the Girl Child, we have featured young and emerging champions alongside the women whom they look up to. Our young girls need to SEE, to be inspired to BE. We also talk about, how the Covid-19 pandemic has uniquely impacted the African communities in Australia, and the need for targeted Vaccination campaign for culturally diverse and linguistic people (CALD).

We are also very excited to officially launch the firstever African Brands Catalogue-AU. These brands are Bold, Brave, and Bright! We are honored to be featuring the creativity of emerging African-Australian Entrepreneurs. You will absolutely love their brand stories, what they do, and why they do it. So, don’t forget to shop the range! I am incredibly proud of what we have created and curated on these pages—shining a spotlight on inspiring people and brands! This is one of my highlights as a Publisher and in my new role as Editorin-Chief. Hey Aussies, we are open for business! Collaborate with us, integrate culture in Brands, that represent the diversity of Australian consumers.

SPECIAL THANKS: To all our featured guests, women, and girls, you made the EmBA MAGAZINE possible! To all the brave businesses that trusted us in this journey, YOU ARE LEGENDS! You’ve made history, creating the first AFRICAN BRANDS CATALOGUEAU/2021 Be sure to let us know what you like, and what to include in the next edition, we will do our best! Until next edition, Stay safe and keep well.

Catherine Jonathan EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

UBUNTU - I am because We are! Our African woman is strong and proud of her heritage. She is modern yet traditional, cultural yet champions for social change. She chooses to rise above barriers and thrives in being different, while uplifting the community around her (when she is not carrying them on her back- you know we mean it, quite literally). That’s why we embrace and celebrate her aspiration and diverse accomplishments. To those who have lost their loved ones due to Covid-19, our deepest sympathy. To those who continue to fight for justice, so we can freely BELONG, Sawubona- we see you. To the Youth - Keep Rising! PHOTOGRAPHY BY: BRENDAN DRIDAN. LOCATION: BALLARAT FINE ART GALLERY

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What is female genital mutilation?

Please join BET Foundation in STOP FGM. This is still a big practice in Africa, but we can help our girls. Across the world it is estimated that at least 200 million girls have been subjected to FGM.

Female genital mutilation involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is a practice that is both harmful and unnecessary and has no medical grounds.

This harmful practice reflects deep-rooted inequality and is an extreme form of discrimination against women. Let’s empower African girls to know their rights and take charge of their bodies.

FGM has no health benefits for girls or women and is significantly more likely to end in longterm health risks. We are working to eliminate female genital mutilation and bring about lasting change in communities around the world.

JOIN US, Text “ STOP FGM” to 1800 950 581 https://betgroupglobal.com.au/










32 60 48 08 EMILY KORIR The stroke of luck,advocating for girls and raising champions 16 Claire Valerie The Silent student A Country Couture

40 Nkandu Beltz Interviewing the Dalai Lama and running ASX Mining Corporation!

20 Shillar Sibanda Bringing Victorians together through ADA Leadership

46 Chiaka Moneke The Family’s Lawyer- protecting families and Children from violence and abuse

28 Anyeir Yuol Being the Voice of Change (cover story)

48 Sharon Orapeleng A tireless Community advocate and Mental health Coach

32 Selba- Gondoza Luka UBUNTU-the Mama’s Village of Hope

56 Dr. Theodora Azu The Maternal Health Educator


60 Bupe Kyelu On Nursing and Servant Leadership 66 Yemi Penn Transmuting pain into power! 72 African brands catalogueau-21 Shop the range

PUBLICATION INCLUDES PRE-COVID PHOTOGRAPHY Acknowledgement of country EmBA Magazine/BrandsCatalogue-AU acknowledges the Waduwurrung people of the Djilang Nation, as the traditional owners of the land, where this Magazine is published, We pay our respect to the Elders past, present and emerging. EDITORIAL AND ADVERTISING visit: emergingbrandafrica.com Email: media@emergingbrandafrica.com EmBA Magazine/African Brand Catalogue-AU is Published by- Emerging Brand Africa PR. 2021. All rights reserved Contributing Writers and Editors : Birte Mensing, Ken Aseka, Caroline McLaren Graphic Designer: Nate McLaren @nzmphotography

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BET Group Global also has a foundation that does a lot of work in Kenya to support women and girls with disability. We have supported over 1500 girls in Rift Valley, and plan to expand our reach to make a bigger difference. We often provide sanitary products for women, because we believe girls shouldn’t miss school because they don’t have access to menstrual products. We support STOP FGM (which stands for female genital mutilation). My 16-year-old daughter Brittney is an ambassador with them. I’m really proud of our work, and the good we’re able to do.Overall, my journey has been interesting, challenging and blessed. When you meet me, it’s hard to imagine I had once suffered a massive stroke. I’m bubbly, energetic, and a classic example of how you can make the best out of a catastrophe. It also allows me to be at the forefront of raising awareness of stroke and brain injury.

The Stroke of Luck


Revolutionizing disability industry I am currently the CEO of BET Group Global, a national registered NDIS provider, where I provide inspired leadership to our 200 staff to make high-level decisions about NDIS policy and strategy, and develop and implement operational policies and strategic plans. The best part of my role is developing the company’s culture and overall vision. I can proudly say that my team and I have created an environment that promotes great performance and positive morale. I love what I do—especially because it means I get to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.

The proudest moment of my career was finishing a Master of Business Administration, after I was told I’d never walk, talk, write or read again, following my stroke. Being inducted into the South Australian Women’s Honour Roll was also a highlight, particularly because I was the first Kenyan woman to be inducted. I was also nominated for the Australian of the Year Awards, which are held each year to provide national recognition for individuals making a difference in the community. I was named as the Young Leader of the Year at the celebration of Africans and Australians for making a difference in the community, and was recognised at the United Nation’s International Women’s Day, and was the face of International Women’s Day in 2018. Alongside my work and volunteer roles, I’ve also received accolades for my ongoing efforts to raise awareness on strokes, high blood pressure, disability and inclusion.

As acknowledgement of my dedication for raising awareness, I was also named as a Kenya Stroke Ambassador in 2014 by the Kenya Stroke Association. My message is that a stroke can strike anyone at any age, so it’s important to take care of your health. I still see a psychologist, and I’m still on high blood pressure medication due to hypertension to avoid a relapse.

We build specialist disability accommodation that is purpose-built for people with disabilities needing accessible housing.After having a stroke in 2012, my family supported me through my journey. I was told I’d never walk, talk, read, or write again. I was in ICU, then rehabilitation, and when it was time for me to come home, we needed accessible housing.

And now that I’m aware of the risk factors for strokes, I lead an active life. I exercise regularly to keep fit and eat a healthy diet. Through my advocacy, I aim to bring hope to the survivors of strokes—and their loved ones.

We searched for a suitable house but had no luck.This became our drive. Our vision was to build classy, accessible, stylish homes, where participants receive top-notch care. A place where people aren’t just cared for, but cared about, too. We started our business in 2016, with our work strongly grounded in a human rightsbased framework.Now, I take part in a range of advocacy activities to promote the rights of women and girls with disability. My work seeks to support and empower individuals, while creating greater awareness among governments and other relevant institutions on their obligations.

My stroke has become a real “stroke of luck” for our family because our business was born from our tragedy. BET Group is a locally owned family business providing housing and support services for people living with disability.

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How can governments—particularly in African countries—better support the disability community? For Africa, I think we have a long way to go. When I was in Kenya in 2014 doing research on the impact of poverty on rehabilitation in developing countries, I was brought to tears. It’s here that I chose to dedicate my life to work with the Kenyan Government to change the lives of people with disability. Kenya has a lot of policies with no implementation. I think Kenyan leadership has to commit to fully include people with disabilities. We must change the narrative and stigma around disability, and the belief that it’s “witchcraft”. Mass education in the villages, with families in need being supported properly, would go a long way.

Fighting Stigma in disability Across the globe, people with disabilities face attitudinal barriers, including prejudice, low expectations and even fear. Negative attitudes about disability impact on all aspects of the lives of disabled people, including the ability to access education, to participate in non-exploitative work, to live where and with whom one chooses, to marry and start a family, and to move about freely within the community. Attitudes to disability are not always uniform within a region or even within a country. Different groups or individuals may have beliefs about disability that vary from those held by wider society. Beliefs may even vary within small communities and families. In the African context, there is still a lot of stigma around disability. We must all help change the narrative, because when disability is viewed with negativity, it results in stigma, discrimination, exclusion and violence, as well as other forms of abuse. Discrimination is still a big issue for disabled people. The fight for inclusion goes on!

We need more Women in Boardrooms Serving on boards has been interesting for me. But as a CEO, I don’t have much time to serve on boards. But I am currently recruiting for our own board, and the BET Investment board as well. As a black woman sitting on very white, maledominated boards, it has been challenging, but I have learned a lot, and would encourage women of colour to consider serving on a board. For women of colour considering board service, my advice would be to focus on three areas: your skills, your ideal situation and your availability. Ask yourself, ‘What can I bring to the table?’ Be honest. Learn about the company, understand its challenges, assess what shareholders are thinking, and look at its board composition. Your experience as a board member will be unfulfilling unless you feel your opinion is valuable and you are sought out for advice inside and outside the boardroom. Diversity matters a lot. When you look at the universe, we are 51 % female. Women make the majority of the big decisions in everyday life. In the boardroom, you need different perspectives on how to handle situations, especially how to deal with employees. We live in a diverse world; if you have a pool of people who all think the same way, it doesn’t work. The men on boards realise this, and it is very much a focus as companies determine priorities for board searches. Although the number of women on boards is relatively low today, I believe it will grow based on the increased emphasis and empirical data supporting the benefits and diverse representation.

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Our positive stories matter too! We need more representation in the Australian media, as what they promote is still very white. We need to see more Africans in mainstream media, so our children can be allowed to dream. When they see someone inspiring who looks like them, they will aspire to do the same.The media leaders must see our stories as important to tell. The media has to stop skewing their reporting when it comes to Blacks’ stories. Our positive stories matter too! Our achievements and the positive impact we bring to this country needs to be told.

Closing the gap on social economic in disability The COVID-19 pandemic has posed immediate risks for people with disability and their families and carers. Our participants are experiencing: - Higher vulnerability to COVID-19 due to pre-existing health conditions and reliance on support workers - Disruption to essential supports and services, particularly for those who struggle online

- Strain on families who can’t access respite or informal supports

Pre-existing issues such as low employment, social isolation and inadequate support could be exacerbated. Governments’ current focus is rightly on ensuring people with disability remain safe and healthy and continue to receive support to meet their daily needs. However, as we emerge out the other side of the crisis, policy choices must not only reconnect communities, but make them more inclusive. Enabling people with disability to participate fully in the community is the best safeguard against adverse impacts for them in future crises. It is also an economic imperative, given the projected state of our economy.

You were recognized by the UN on International Mother’s Day for your work, inducted in the Australian Women’s Honour Roll and nominated for Australian of the year in 2017. What do these recognitions mean to you and the women girls who look up to you? I was so humbled and honoured to be inducted into the Women’s Honour Roll, I am so proud because I come as one, but I stand as ten thousand ... I hope when my daughter and all the girls I mentor see this award, and those who are inspired by my story, know they can achieve anything too.

Empower migrant women and Youth, restore their dignity

- Increased economic insecurity

It is no secret that life is more challenging for migrant women and youth in this country. The continuing legacy of segregation and discrimination feeds poverty of the body and the spirit and casts a shadow over their lives.

In the longer-term, the gap in social and economic participation for people with disability and their families and carers—which is already unjustifiably wide—could grow. Preexisting issues such as In the longer-term, the gap in social and economic participation for people with disability and their families and carers—which is already unjustifiably wide— could grow.

Many are mired in a level of poverty that carries significant physical and mental dangers. They are likely to live in segregated and poorly resourced communities, with poor schools, poor housing, poor employment opportunities and a hostile outside world. Even families who escape the stifling effects of poverty and war are handicapped by the inequalities they experience daily in this country.

- Greater adverse impacts of social isolation

Evidence of racial disparities can be found everywhere—in housing, business, and funding for schools, as well as in racial profiling and job discrimination. We recently partnered with SONDER to provide employment opportunities for refugee women with full qualifications who have been looking for work for years, but no one was willing to give them a chance. One should not wonder at the number of families that succumb to these hazards, but at the number who live their lives with dignity and hope. I wish we could empower women and youth to dream big when they land here, especially from refugee backgrounds.

A mother’s love letter… God has been my rock. Looking back, it is incredible to see God’s hands on my life. The list of ways He’s guided and provided for me is endless. God has truly shown His strength through many obstacles and trials. My humble husband has been my guiding light throughout everything, too. He is the inspiration that moves me every day to try and try again. Thank you for being my anchor that grounds me. Thank you for the sacrifices you make for our family. I treasure you more than life itself.

To my two amazing children, Britney and Bradley. I love you more than life itself. Being your mother has been my greatest blessing. I see the hand of God on each of you and thank God every day for giving me the miracle of you both. I also ask Him every day to give you favour and every day He has continued to give you amazing opportunities. Thank you for your commitment to God. Thank you for choosing sports. Keep at it, as it is good for your health and well-being. Brit and Brad, I wrote this feature to share my life lessons with you. I hope it inspires you to find your life’s purpose. To my mummy who left everything to come and care for me and my children, thank you for staying up at night with me through the pain, and praying to God to heal me. Mummy, being your first child has been my best blessing ever. Thank you for the beautiful example that you set for us in sincerity and love for Christ. My grandmother was my number one cheerleader. Coming from a very humble home, she taught me to dare to dream big. My late grandmother remains my hero and friend who has been the breath under my wings. Thank you for investing in me with the little you had. Your words of wisdom are tucked in my heart forever. I am the lady I am today because you loved me.

Emerging Brand Africa | 13


Aged four, Britney Korir admired American Serena


Williams’ prowess in tennis and wished to just be


winning player,Britney was born in the USA IN


like her. Now aged 16, she has become an awardDecember 2004 . Britney started playing tennis at the age of 3 in the US. Her family relocated to Australia in 2008 and Britney continued her tennis to date. Britney is the lead player for St Peters girls one of the most prestigious girls’ school in Adelaide. Britney is ranked 500 in Australian women’s tennis and is on the USA College Tennis pathway she will be heading to the USA on Tennis scholarship where she will play for the college on a professional level. On top of all her schoolwork and tennis Britney is Ambassador for STOP FGM in Kenya Britney has been fighting for this cause since 2018 and has supported and saved over 1500 girls, with an Hygiene pack! Britney hygiene pack is a gift to the girls, they get a pack of 7 panties and 2 cotton bras and a year supply of sanitary towels. Britney was touched by the girl’s stories where they would miss school while they were on the menstrual period, each month. Britney wants to inspire these girls to

Age: 16 Location: Adelaide

be the best possible version of who they can be. Britney believes that girls are empower, families are strengthened, when family are strong, communities


are united that creates a thriving nations and world

Tennis, Golf, Swimming and Dancing-

for everyone. Britney’s love of Tennis and Sport is a

Britney is a big (Formula One fun

cause that she intends to use to change girls lives, one at a time.

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I don’t feel like I have memorable events from my past careers: I was just doing what my employers asked. I think that’s why I’m enjoying being an entrepreneur so much, because I make the decisions, and do it at my own rhythm. I was bullied by people from my country, Mauritius. I felt betrayed by some of the attitudes, but it led me to a passion for community engagement and leadership. When I moved to Australia, I was surprised by the lack of representation for African youth. So, I took the initiative to create the African Society for my university, and, with other the help of other students, created the African Student Council of South Australia. I was elected as the international student representative of my university, and created an association for all international students in South Australia, and later, an association for Mauritians in the state. I was president of all of these associations, and won two national awards for my work as an international student. After working as an interior architect when I graduated from my Masters in 2017, I signed up for various modelling agencies in Melbourne. I was involved in small projects and appeared as an extra in various TV shows and movies.

From Mauritius to Malaysia, to the runway; A Country Couture in Darwin, Australia.

When COVID-19 hit, I was unemployed. I decided to focus on my health, and dropped from 106kg to 69kg. At the same time, I sold some of my paintings, which helped me finance my book,

I’m currently studying a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, and work in a Darwin childcare centre. I love working with kids. It’s teaching me how to be a mum, and helps me de-stress. I’m also an entrepreneur. I run my own business, and sell my book, artworks and weight management products.

The Silence of a Mauritania Student. My art was showcased at a gallery in Darwin, which was a dream come true, and I eventually wrote my book—another dream come true. I also took part in the 2021 Country to Couture, a national indigenous fashion show held in Darwin.

Before moving to Australia six years ago, I studied a Bachelor of Interior Architecture with Honours in Malaysia. After arriving here, I completed a Master of Interior Architecture, worked as an interior architect, then moved to Darwin for a career change.

It makes me happy to see Australia welcoming migrants from many continents.

Tell us about The Silence of a Mauritania Student. What inspired you to write it?

Malaysia is like my second home. I created so many good memories, and met so many amazing people there. It has a special place in my heart. It’s the place where my first dream of studying abroad came true, and where I met my husband. He helps me to be strong and resilient. It’s also in Malaysia that I realised I could be a leader.

My editor describes it as a powerful and inspirational memoir. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster with many ups and downs. Writing a book is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t. Barack Obama’s words actually pushed me to write this book: “be the change you want to see in the world”.

Malaysia wasn’t much different to Mauritius culturally. I had to get used to the spicy food, though, and traveling in Proton cars (Malaysia manufactures them). Malaysian air has a certain scent about it, filled with food and a special kind of perfume. I miss it a lot. But there’s not much difference between Malaysia and Australia, from a cultural perspective. Australia has a lot of people from different cultural backgrounds, many of the africans came for differernt reasons, whereas in Malaysia, most Africans are international students.

There were a lot of things I wanted to say in this book. I wanted to be a role model for young women, and my future children. I wanted to raise awareness about bullying, sexual harassment, sex, drugs, misogyny, gender equality, education, women in power and more. I wanted to show the power of words, and empower people, while promoting acceptance.

But the educational system is different here. We have different ways of referencing, so when I submitted an assignment for my Masters in Australia, it showed as 52% plagiarism. Thankfully, my lecturer understood the differences, and gave me a second chance to re-submit.

I’ve been laughed at for my differences, like my hair—and have ended up getting work specifically because of my hair by modelling agencies. I wanted to encourage people to stand up for themselves, be independent, and speak out. I also want people to know it’s okay to make mistakes. A year after I failed a semester at university, I was awarded the 2017 Best International Student of Australia by the Council of International Students of Australia, and the Best International Student of South Australia. You need to fail to learn and grow.

As a social change advocate and an antibullying champion, what advice would you give to young people about cyberbullying? You have the right to be who you are. People will always have opinions, but don’t let them get to you. Those who say negative things online are bored, jealous people, who bully and harass others to feel better about themselves. They feel powerful when they make others feel bad. Hold your head high, and take it as a compliment: you’re someone these people aren’t. Be proud, happy and be yourself. Use their negativity to be stronger and shine brighter.

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Do you think culture has played a role in the way women access resources and professional growth? What do women have to do to change the narrative? I think women are still very devalued in our society, but I also think a lot of women who don’t understand this actually end up contributing towards our devaluation. In countries where women are allowed to have an education, many of them are still dependant on men. We are seen as a gender that is reliant on men, and therefore uncapable. It’s really important for women to be able to provide entirely for themselves, and when we do, I think equality will be improved. I also think successful women need to be supportive of other women. We need to encourage and support women from different groups and backgrounds, even if we don’t know them. You never know who can make a positive impact on the world.

As a lecturer and an architect, how has COVID-19 impacted you? How have you found your “new normal”? I lost my job as a lecturer and architect a few months after COVID-19 reached Australia. I was living in Melbourne then, which had the highest number of daily cases. A lot of lecturing jobs had to be cut. I was in a bit of a dark place. I didn’t recognise myself. I felt weak, embarrassed and humiliated. I started to hate myself. But I remembered something my mum and aunt said to me: “you have talent—use it”, and that really helped. I decided to lose weight, and did my first painting. I posted my second painting online, and after positive feedback, I decided to take orders and sell my art. Out of anger, I also continued writing my book. Selling my paintings financially supported my book with editing, publishing and printing.

As an African-Australian, are there cultural barriers to talking about mental health? What would you say to encourage other Africans to talk about it openly? Personally, I’m an open book. I always speak out about whatever I feel. But I grew up in a family following French culture. Seeing psychologists is normal to me. I started seeing one when I was 8, and all through my adolescence crisis, and later when I was bullied and sexually assaulted. I was scared of falling into depression, and knew mental health care was one of the best ways to prevent this. It helped me through these hard times, and with my obsessive compulsive disorder. I often hear people say “we black people don’t need psychological advice, there’s no such thing as mental health”. But there is such thing as mental health, and lots of people struggle with their minds. A psychologist listens to my issues and provides professional advice. It’s better than talking to friends who might give me the wrong advice, or use that vulnerability to their advantage.

Reflecting on your journey, what’s guided you in your life and work? My husband. He’s the first person to believe in me and support my projects. I always turn to him for advice and support. One day, I told him I was tired of always being a follower—I wanted to succeed, too. He told me to do it, and said he’d be happy, even if I became more successful than him. I think it’s rare to see men supportive of their women, as we still live in a world where it’s believed the man should be the head of a household. I’ve become much stronger and independent as a result.

If you could re-imagine women in the world, what would you change? Why? I’d love to see women be independent and educated, running their own businesses, buying their own things, and working in male-dominated industries, like construction. I’d love to see women accept who they are, without cosmetic surgery or spending money on makeup.

How can the media do better and share more positive stories about African-Australians?

And women being able to defend themselves, and take action when sexually harassed. We should be equally respected and treated fairly. But that also means taking control of things, like being able to propose to a partner, and putting down the toilet seat instead of expecting their partner to.

I think the media needs to be proactive and approach African communities in each state to share positive, empowering stories. I believe the best way to be heard is to share on social media. People might not react to your posts or stories, but they’re definitely listening and watching.

Emerging Brand Africa | 19


“It’s all about understanding unity in action”


When Shillar Sibanda looks back on her 25 years in Australia, she can recollect a long list of achievements, prizes, awards, events and as importantly, a connection to community. During the course of the years, Shillar has found and immersed herself into a strong surrounding community, something that she confesses that she bitterly lacked when she first moved to Melbourne with her young family. Shillar and her husband, Steve had left their home country Zimbabwe for studies in Australia and seeing the Zimbabwean economy deteriorating at the time, they applied for residency after their Postgraduate studies. It’s then that their journey to make Australia their new home, truly began.

We asked Shillar what it was like for her when she first arrived in Australia. Her impression of the new community and where she found the support to help her settle in? “My first confrontation when l arrived in Australia was culture shock!” Shillar did not hide the fact that the beginnings in Australia were strenuous and feeling “unsheltered”, having left behind all the family and community support systems she grew up with and was rooted into back in Zimbabwe. The well known and declared African adage, “It takes a village to raise a child”, describes quite well how she grew up in the 1970s. “It was the first time, l was not sheltered by an extended family network and community, and other than my husband, I did not have any other social supports. I felt very lonely, homesick and found myself affected by the Garage Door syndrome; where you never see your neighbour”. In her new Australian neighborhood, Shillar found rare occasion to talk with the people living around her. Shillar found herself suffering through the “Garage Door Syndrome”, where people return home in their car, press the remote garage door opener, drive in and close the door behind them.

The way general society barricaded themselves behind closed doors and gates seemed to be an impermeable wall of individualism so very different from the collective dynamics she grew up with. “It took me time to get used to that concept of independent social existence. l was coming from a collective and communal culture where l knew my neighbours and where children would play together on the street after school. My new community was reserved and kept to themselves. l did not like that kind of life so l took it upon myself to find my tribe. To find people with similar values, interests and who made me feel at home”. Shillar says about herself that she is someone who does not flinch in the case of crisis. So, she decided to build the community she needed. Together with her husband, she invited all their “Garage Door” neighbours to an “End of Year Street Party”, where they enjoyed the event and experienced Shillar’s warmth and her super power at uniting people. Shillar also reached out to the other eight or so Zimbabwean families that were living in Melbourne at the time, bringing together people of a similar need and sharing the common experience of settling in a foreign country, far, far away from home. “Naturally it was easy for me to approach people from my own background initially. Before long the Zimbabwean Community was registered as a community organisation. Through community work l then got to meet volunteers from other nationalities. I have moved several times since that first street party but we continue to introduce street parties wherever we move to “.

Her intention was to finish her degree and return to Zimbabwe. It is a familiar intention of many Africans, but life is a journey, and our planned intentions can change as new opportunities come along. “I decided to go back to university to study Nursing, which allowed me to spend time with my children due to the shift work nature of nursing. Before long, I became interested and then passionate about Forensic Psychiatric Nursing and from then, have never looked back since. I find it fascinating and fulfilling to work with individuals who have had life-long struggles with mental illness, problem behaviours, self-harm issues and all the while, having had challenges accessing support. It feels good to be able to make a real impact and difference through my day-to-day work”. After her nursing shifts, while her two little daughters were sleeping, Shillar would start working on her volunteer interests, that involved organising meetings, events and mentoring other African Australians. As newly arrived African immigrants tried to navigate Australian society, Shillar’s support group was a welcoming embrace to those who were experiencing the initial instability that Shillar once knew. Shillar’s key strategy, especially amongst women, was to help each other grow. She declares; “I believe change happens when we use our voice to create or provide platforms for each other. Then we will be able to grow together”.

Juggling young family and career transition ” My initial career was in Accounting. l worked briefly in that field here in Australia but the challenge of long working hours employed as a junior Accountant was too demanding as I juggled demands of career and my two children under the age of 5”. Shillar was studying for an Accounting degree when she left for Zimbabwe accompanying her husband who had attained a scholarship to study at Melbourne Uni.

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Bringing Victorians together through Africa Day Australia (ADA) “Africa Day has been celebrated for many years all around the world, yet to my astonishment, Australia did not formally celebrate the occasion. It was in 2012 that Africa Day Australia Inc. (ADA) was formed. ADA has not only become a driver to celebrate Africa Day in Australia but also to provide a platform for African Australians and mainstream Victorian society to celebrate the benefits that African Australians contribute to the socioeconomic well-being of Victoria”. Africa Day is a day celebrated by Africans all around the world. It is the commemoration of the founding of Organization of African Unity (OAU) that occurred on 25th of May 1963. The official name of the organisation has since evolved to now be known as the Africa Union (AU). ADA supports and drives four main initiatives to introduce and connect African people and culture with the broader Australian community. The four initiatives

The ADA Families and Youth - Designed to maintain healthy interaction between age groups and share knowledge, stories and experiences. The ADA Sports Festival - Geared towards engaging and encouraging participation of the African Australians within the communities. The AGT: Africa Got Talent - A forum to showcase individuals’ special abilities, talent and entertainment. The AAAA- Advancing African Australian AgendaA forum that brings together Professionals and business people from our Multicultural society to discuss issues affecting us, from business to social injustices. The ADA Gala Dinner - A celebration that brings everyone together and an event to show recognition and reward to the African individuals who are exceeding in their endeavors. Shillar’s presidency of the ADA has been energised with enthusiasm since the small beginnings in 2012. Her outreach to bring people together, in sharing her dream of introducing Africa Day to Australia and the associated support through affirmation of African talent and contribution to Australian society, captured the imaginations of other energised people to form the first committee and formalise the corporation. The initiatives that developed around ADA over the past nine years are many fold. A lot of them center around families, mirroring the phases Shillar and her family went through in their first years in Australia. In that sense, the ADA Family and Youth Forum engages the community in discussions about health and well-being, family issues, parenting and raising children between cultures, which are touching more and more peoples’ lives every year.

Acknowledging the different backgrounds, the different cultural beliefs and the different styles of social interaction engrained in culture, Shillar believes is central and critical to bonding and integrating the African Australian community. For Shillar, it’s all about understanding unity in action. To challenge the fragmentation of African Australians, she asks: “We are all from everywhere – what do we have in common?” Another way to engage the African Australians with their local communities is through the sports festival that is one of the Africa Day Australia (ADA) initiatives. This year’s highlight was a large soccer tournament in Melbourne. Shillar’s aim is to present the positive contributions of the African Australian community, proving a benefit to everyone and not a burden to anyone, as it is often portrayed in the media or general societal debates. People of African descent are encouraged to continue offering their many and varied contribution to the Australian society, yet historically settled Australians need also be open with an empathetic view to want to understand flavors of difference to complete the exchange of understanding and find harmony in living and working together. “I hope that ADA continues to enhance multiculturalism in our city through a range of events and programs that enable Victorians of all races, ages, genders, and religions to celebrate and enjoy the heritage of their fellow Australians of African descent.“ From first contacts with the “Garage Doors” neighbours, Shillar and her team organizing the Africa Day Australia are now reaching out to politicians and various decision makers of society.

Their aim is to bring together political and social decision makers, “ inviting them to our table to raise discussion focused on our issues and needs”. That includes cohesion not only among the African Australian community but embracing the whole society. The yearly occasion that crowns these efforts is the ADA Gala Dinner. This formal and spectacular event brings together people from all over Victoria. Alongside good food, good conversations, and new connections, it recognizes and rewards those members of the African Australian community who have done exceptionally well. Amid the evening’s highlights are performances that pay tribute to the various African origins and cultures that now enrich the Australian society. These can be an interactive learning adventure and Shillar invites everyone to join in with the lively entertainment.

Cultural barriers impacting leadership in women As gender equality has a growing focus in contemporary Australia, Shillar also acknowledges that women face challenges specifically associated with being a woman. One at forefront of mind is the role of parenting and expectations surrounding family dynamics. There are varying additional influences on top of the female factor which instill even more complexities to the struggle. “As women, we should offer each other support, whether that be emotional, physical, intellectual, or financial support.

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For us women to create opportunities for each other, we need to give women in our teams, circles, communities, or professions the tools to open doors that have been historically closed to us. We need to use our voices! l believe change happens when we use our voice to create or provide platforms for each other. We should also lead by example! When women see others make history, it ignites something in them and shows a path that lets them know they can also do it.” Once Shillar had established herself in Melbourne and the growing community around her, she extended her efforts back to her roots in Zimbabwe. Since 2014, she is raising money and support for the NGO Hand 2 Hand Sincedane, to improve the conditions at the very primary school in Plumtree that she attended in the 1970s. “I must make a difference where I can”, Shillar says. She notes that she makes good use of her networks that she has built over the past decades. “I realized how lucky I am to be in the position I am in. I meet so many people who have disposable wealth and are able to share it”. A crucial matter for Shillar is the schooling of girls. In her ideal world there would be boarding schools for all girls, so that families don’t even start loading their girls with household chores and responsibilities instead of encouraging them to study and further their education. As if all this was not already a marathon, Shillar loves running actual marathons! Proving to herself and everyone else that there is nothing you can’t do if you really want it. Even more so, when you have a whole community behind you, empowering you, uplifting you and making you live life to the fullest.

Awards and Recognition In 2018, Shillar earned The Premier’s Volunteer Championship Award by the Victorian Government. She was also, awarded, The Ambassador’s Peace Award by Universal Peace Federation, for her work championing for social cohesion among communities in Victoria. We asked Shillar, how these recognitions and awards meant to her and the women who look up to her.

“Awards are a bonus and a great acknowledgement for the work that l have done and continue to do in my community. They are a reminder that l live in the most beautiful city, where my voice is my worth and my contribution is currency. Every thread one weaves into the fabric of the community is a distribution of wealth. Melbourne is what it is because of the many contributions of all of us to make a difference, hence we should not tire”.

Mental Health and Wellness during Covid19 Pandemic We asked Shillar about some of the unique challenges as Culturally diverse people that the African Australian community has faced and continue to face due to Covid19 and Vaccination campaign.

Shillar is a big champion for Mental Health and Health & wellness in general. As a qualified Psychiatric Forensic Nurse, she generously shared with us some strategies we can implement in our daily that have the power to “snap us out of darkness”. • connecting with family and friends on social media, zoom calls, etc. • engaging in a hobby, for example, walking, running, free dancing classes from home, meditation, reading etc. • listening to music - music has been shown to be a very effective de-stressor. • if working from home - create a daily routine, take scheduled breaks, and have a consistent end of day knock-off time; and • try gardening if you have the space, it is very therapeutic.

Owning our narrative through Community Media “COVID-19 has affected some communities more than others especially those in which English may not be their first language as this may result in the misunderstanding of the public health messaging. Many have struggled to maintain meaningful connections and communications with families both overseas and locally, especially because African Australian communities are highly family oriented. Not being able to travel overseas to bury their loved ones or even share their grief with others here in Melbourne due to lockdown.”

Shillar, encourages the African Australian community to play their part by changing the narrative through platforms that we have access to: for example, social media, community media and our own ethnic minority media. “We can do our part and it is up to the mainstream media to do theirs.” Shillar’s dream was and still is, to bring together cultures and common understanding. From her small beginnings in an unfamiliar land, her dream continues to expand ever closer to a community of common understanding, mutual respect and living side-by-side in harmony.


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RISING STAR LERATO MASIYANE DANCER Lerato Masiyane is a dance instructor and performer, specializing in Afro Dance and Dancehall. She was born in Zimbabwe and now resides in Melbourne, where she has completed her studies in youth work. Lerato continues to build her skills and combines them with her passion for dance to inspire and empower young people. Lerato has performed with some of Australia’s highest profile musicians including Sampa the Great and Baker Boy. She has also worked with various community organizations, such as Jungle City Projects and L2R Organization where she uses dance as a tool to express and inspire those she connects with.

Age: 25 Location: Melbourne, VIC

Her Message o Young girls around the world:

Hobbies: Reading, dancing, spending

“ l encourage young people to use whatever

time with friends and cooking

platform they have no matter how small to effect change”.

T-glam Events and Party Hire T-glam Events & Party is an African Australian owned event planning business. The brand T-Glam was born in 2014 to fill the Gap of providing well planned and decorated African parties; since then, we have grown and now provides service to the whole Australian communities. We Inject the WOW factor into your event. We pride ourselves as an experienced event planning company with proven records and expertise to organise, decorate, style, plan and execute any occasion to perfection. We offer an excellent, glamorous, and top-notch experience for both the guests and the host. Our business is to ensure that your day is perfect, just as you have imagined. T-glam Events provides a picture- perfect, classy, and memorable weddings, birthdays, parties, community and cooperate events. We have different packages and customised plans because we understand that you might want something more personalised to suit your style, do not worry; we have you covered! and diversity!

Our services Events planning Events/ Party Decoration Events/ party Styling Hire or Consultation only Our service is not limited to weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, showers, graduation or cooperate. For festivals or community events, we are here to help. Address: Level 1 (Suite 2) Wallace Avenue Specialist Suites,122/22-30 Wallace Avenue Point Cook 3030 t_glamevents@yahoo.com.au

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cover story


The Social Advocate In 2010, during my last year of high school, I was one of eight youths selected from hundreds of applicants to represent Football United at the FIFA’s Football Festival for Hope 2010 World Cup in South Africa. My performance as a Football United participant, youth leader and ambassador led to me receiving the inaugural Football United Scholarship Award at the University of New South Wales to play football as an elite athlete while studying a degree of my choice. It was there that I became aware of my surroundings and started to understand the world around me. As I started to engage in community development work, it became clear there was a disconnection between community needs and available services. That’s why, over the years, I have been strongly involved in advocacy work. As a result of my own lived experience, I’ve been working on social issues, including forced migration, humanitarian responses and diversity and inclusion. This journey has allowed me to evolve and create initiatives that give individuals control over their lives, by providing them with tools to build their skills and confidence, so they can take active roles in decision-making and leadership within their communities. Two key highlights come to mind. Once was when I gave a speech at the African Bureau during the 2019 United Nations Human Rights Council’s Annual Consultations with non-government organisations in Geneva. Another highlight was beginning my journey of becoming an entrepreneur, and launching the Miss Sahara Pageant and Anyier Model Management.


You started Miss Sahara Pageant and Anyier Model Management as a result of the fashion and beauty industry’s lack of inclusivity and diversity representation. What were some of the challenges you faced? Starting Miss Sahara and Anyier Model Management (AMM) was a challenge from the beginning. From a business standpoint, I was stepping into an industry that lacked diversity, and that overlooked those who are not white Anglo-Saxons. I was embarking on a journey that I thought was going to be easy, but along the way, I realised nothing is ever easy. I had a story, a vision, and a purpose, but I was finding it hard to appeal to the mainstream market.

I started with advocating, and calling on allies to promote the representation of minority groups in the Australian fashion industry. But little did I know, as an African community, we do not have allyship in the beauty and fashion industry. We don’t have the networks or links to big brands like David Jones, Myer, and Westfield, as well as mainstream designers, PR agencies and magazines. These gaps played a significant role in some of the challenges we have faced—and are still facing— since the establishment of the Miss Sahara Pageant and AMM. No matter how many emails we have sent, we are yet to find a small window to promote our talents to mainstream beauty and fashion brands and create opportunities for our talents.

Create your own space and occupy it. I would be lying if I say we will get to a place where we can say we have an equal and fair representation in the industry anytime soon.

But in saying that, we need allyship in the Australian beauty and fashion industry. We need more voices from mainstream brands, PR agencies, talents management and designers to embark on promoting diversity. We need those who are in a position of power to use their voices. If designers or PR agencies are looking for more diverse faces, stop going to an agent that only has one kind of face. This is a call to action, and we all must play a role.

What would you tell young women of colour wanting to get into the beauty and fashion industry, particularly in leadership positions? No one will create a space for you, you must create one for yourself, occupy it and take others along. There are no rules in leadership positions. If you are determined and have the willingness to use your voice and challenge the status-quo, then you can do it. Reach out and network. Don’t take a backward step by shying away. The most important lesson I have learned is to be selfaware and just go for it. My advice to any young woman who wants to get into the beauty or fashion industry is to stay focused and remind yourself why you wanted to do modelling in the first place. Be wise, ambitious and smart in all the choices you make. But it’s also a good idea to have backup plans.

With the cancellation of the annual Miss Sahara Pageant event last year and potentially this year, how have you pivoted to ensure your social impact is still delivered to the community you work with? We are continuing to collaborate with individuals and brands from African communities and our partners to make sure we are catering to our African young women. We have so far delivered some training on leadership, entrepreneurship, family and relationships and mental health. We will continue to provide opportunities through our networks, even if the Miss Sahara Pageant can’t go ahead again this year.


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You’ve won a few very impressive awards. What do these recognitions and awards mean to you and the young women who look up to you? I have won a few awards, like the Black City Woman of the Year Award in 2018, and a PhD Scholarship by the University of Western Sydney in 2019. These recognitions shine a light on the importance of the work I do. They help guide me and push me to greatness. They define who I am today—but also who I can become in the future.As we are inspired by actions, I can only hope that young women are inspired by my journey and that they do not shy away from their true calling.

As a social change advocate and former chair of the Australian National Committee on Refugee Women, tell us more about your work and your current involvement with the United Nation High Commission for Refugees? My involvement in the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is motivated by my lived experience and interest in the field of Forced Migration, with a key part of the work focused on ensuring the needs of refugee women and girls are our core commitment.As the former chair of Australian National Committee on Refugee Women (ANCROW), I have worked collaboratively with advocacy organisations to deliver informative consultations with focus on refugee participation, participatory research methods and engagement. ANCORW is committed to empowering refugee women to have control over their own lives. We provide advocacy training and opportunities for refugee women to participate in national and international forums, while lobbying for changes in domestic law, social policy and improved service provision. At an international level, we lobby at the UNHCR for changes in international law, including policies that affect refugee women and girls.

What drives you? Starting a business was never on my radar. Nevertheless, my willingness and determination to try, regardless of the challenges, has guided my business journey.I see business as a skill. What you don’t know can be learnt, and that is the mindset I have had since I started my journey. Everything I do is driven by my purpose and mission. My passion comes from that.

A message to the African youth I’d tell them to discover who they are—that’s how you’ll find your true purpose. Understanding who you are will guide the decisions you make, your values, and the journey you’ll embark on.There is a beauty in knowing your true self. Getting involved in sport was the best thing I did in high school. I believe participating in sport is important. It teaches life lessons like discipline, responsibility, self-confidence, accountability, and teamwork. And these are lessons that will continue to guide you through your adolescent years, and into the future. I know racial discrimination is a barrier for African youth participating in sport. My only encouragement is that you cannot control others but you can build yourself up, and participate in whatever sport your heart desires.Remember: you belong on the field, just like everyone else.

“Australian Media- you have a responsibility to promote social justice” Like many communities, the African Australian community can contribute so much to the Australian society. We have so many great role models—and the media needs to focus on shining a light on these positive stories.The media has a responsibility to contribute to discourses that promote social justice—and they have the platform to reach audiences of different backgrounds, cultures, and ages. And when there’s a lack of diversity, injustice leads.

Women and girls should be seen as a powerful force for change Absolutely. I would create a world where women and girls have equal opportunity and access to education, so they can achieve stability and economic independence. Furthermore, I think it’s important to not see women and girls through the lens of vulnerability. Instead, we should see them as a powerful force for change.

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Rising like a phoenix If an African mother in Melbourne’s South East Metro area does not know where to turn when her child is in contact with the Justice System or has cultural differences, she will most likely be directed to the desk of Selba Luka. Selba will listen to her story and empathise. She knows how it is, to feel left alone in a foreign country, even losing the ties with your own children. Selba-Gondoza arrived in Australia in February 1998. It was hope that made her smile. She was anxious but at the same time happy about new beginnings. She came following her husband leaving Malawi together with their daughter, Kwacha. The expectations were high, but Australia was different. “I thought of a land of milk and honey but there were lots of challenges”, Selba-Gondoza says.

Culture Shock Most Africans would agree that due to developing social economics of the continent, families rely on the help of others in their community, live-in nannies, house helps , or farm boys to raise their children. Selba had all the help she could get from her two-house employees in Malawi, and their absence was “a bit” of a shock when she landed in Australia. She had to do it all by herself, everything! The hustle and family balance are still a hard reality that new migrants find hard to come to terms with.

The Resettlement Dilemmat The food, as Selba describes, was nothing close to what she had been used to in her homeland of Malawi. Having her traditional food, every day was her way of connecting with her culture but those who she met in Australia would never understand why Msima, Ugali, Asida, had to be eaten every day! Back in Malawi, Selba had worked as cartographer for the government. Cartography in Australia was based around a different system to what Selba was trained in, but they were living on a single income and she had no money to upskill herself to use the Australian methods. A friend from church assisted her to get a paid job at the Sheriden Towers (now the Langham Hotel). Waking up early, cold mornings, taking trains, trying to improve her English. It was a total difference – from office work to manual labour, cleaning smoker’s floors. “I could not stand it, so I left after six months. But I needed to find something to help my family”. She went back to the same friend who had initially referred labour opportunities her way, and this time she seemed to have the perfect role when she asked her, “Are you able to look after the elderly?” Selba-Gondoza didn’t understand the question, in Malawi elderly are in the village taken care of by their families. She learned about nursing homes and Personal Care Attendants. The friend invited her to the nursing home where she was working. And Selba-Gondoza said to herself: “I had looked after my grandmother until she passed away – I think I can do it.” So, she started out as a volunteer and shortly after enrolled for a class, as a paid job needed a certificate. “I started working in nursing homes and I never looked back. I did double shifts, triple shifts.” But quite quickly the urge to go back to school grew, she knew that was not yet her destination. She enrolled to do a Diploma in Nursing and Mental health, at Swinburne University, and Cert IV in Human Resources.

Selba-Gondoza, calls Australia home today after being here for nearly 22 years. But it has not been easy. She didn’t think she would be in a foreign land for that long. Her parents passed on and she missed them dearly. She thought she would go back home after 3-4 years! She missed her friends, the villages, good organic food, her tribal language, the beautiful weather and her warm people. But over time, she made friends at the university, workplaces, even met some from Southern parts of Africa that she could speak Chichewa with, and that helped a great deal in settling. She has experienced the fair share of what she refers to as “resettlement challenges”, not being able to speak fluent English, having to do all the housework, not finding work within her skillset, among other challenges. Not to mention that the only hope she would hope to get, was in Church, where sermons were also delivered in English! A lot has changed since then, it’s getting easier. She is on a mission to help others settle in, something she wishes she had when she arrived. She then later, enrolled to do her Bachelors Degree in Nursing. Three months into her course, SelbaGondoza got pregnant and months later, her baby was born premature. But it developed well. Selba-Gondoza had to keep the family running, kept working on her job as a night manager at a retirement village, where she lived with her family by then. “I did not know that depression was creeping – doing hard work, coming back with this sore body.” Selba-Gondoza later learned, she had a postnatal depression. After six months, the baby fell sick and a month later died. “All these things started getting our family into a space where it was not a happy home at all – sad, but we carried on.” After the baby passed, SelbaGondoza became deeply depressed, stopped eating. Just lying on the bed, day and night, curtains drawn. Couldn’t talk, even with her daughter. Three months after the death, Selba-Gondoza was fired, and the family had to move out. “No job, no baby, no house. I started having suicidal thoughts”. She was admitted into a hospital. Several years after this, her husband left Selba-Gondoza and their daughter, and went back to Africa. “He became a monster and left”, Selba-Gondoza recounts.

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Inter-generation conflict We asked Selba-Gondoza to talk us through her experience working the African youths, what would you say is the biggest challenge the young people face and also what are the biggest challenges the modern African mother in Australia is facing? How can they both bridge the gap of cross-cultures? The African mother in Australia bears a lot of challenges. The western way of parenting teaches children about their own rights while traditionally, the African way, is the parents way only! SelbaGondoza, urges families to work positively with their children as the cultural and strict methods of parenting are driving kids away.

Usually, history tells stories about the rise and fall of kings and their kingdoms. This story goes the other way, its about the fall and rise of a queen and her queendom. All the traumatising experiences impacted the relationship with the only stable figure in her life – her daughter. Too much pressure. Things seemed to fall apart to a degree that seemed not to get repaired. But then the first feathers of the phoenix started to shake of the ashes. Selba-Gondoza managed to save herself. And then she started saving others. First as a community volunteer. But she felt, that was not enough.

Befriend them, talk to them, respect them and try to understand their new environment. When parental conflict cannot be resolved at home, the youth seek out comfort from their friends, and unfortunately often times it usually lands them in trouble if not in jail. Youths are suffering with anxiety, depression, drugs, selfharm etc. Many even end up in psychiatric hospitals and this causes division within the community. Mental illness is still a taboo among Africans, and people tend to stay away, not speak up and not offer any support. We must break cultural barriers by speaking up about these social issues affecting us, our youths and our families. Selba-Gondoza also, addressed other challenges that Africans face on arrival in Australia. While many of them come here as skilled migrants, others come as refugees, International students while others come to join their spouses or families. Selba-Gondoza strongly agrees that Australia does not recognize our African or some overseas qualifications, which leads to highly qualified Africans, taking up available manual jobs. Some of these people would often end up with depression, sometimes choosing to go back home. Other challenges Selba-Gondoza, says include families breaking up due domestic violence and easily accessible alcohol which in turn leads to degenerative diseases and premature deaths especially in youth. Selba-Gondoza, also calls for more support to address the overrepresentation of African youth and their families in the justice system.

The staff at Afri-Aus Care, The Empowering African Women UBUNTU in Practice Team, Volunteers and Students are extremely grateful for the support they get from The Department of Justice and Community Safety. Special gratitude goes to Hon. Minister Natalie Hutchins for believing in grassroots communities.

The positive Change model She gathered other volunteers and started to offer programs within the community of migrants in Greater Dandenong. In 2015 Selba-Gondoza and her daughter, who have transformed their relationship into a friendship, put their money together and officially founded Afri Aus Care. There were several things driving their decision, the most urgent being the “untimely death of young people, alcohol and racism”.

To tackle those, Selba-Gondoza says: “We are now bringing the UBUNTU philosophy to Australia – I am because you are, seeing another human being in yourself.” And they are focusing on a positive change approach – “after being so bitter about my ex-husband, I wanted to focus on forgiveness, helping others, moving on.” Racism is a giant that is sleeping in the room – not many people talk about it, but many people are suffering from it. A lot of work has been done in the Greater Dandenong to bring Multicultural communities together. There is still a lot to be done, around institutional barriers, lack of positive visions and opportunities. These are some of the issues that the team in Afri-Aus Care and local Leaders, are trying to address to help support South Sudanese community.

Case studies: Ubuntu Empowering Mothers Project by department of justice, Victoria government.

“We try to break the youth prison cycle”, says Selba-Gondoza. Even more so, Selba-Gondoza and her team try to prevent young people from falling into that circle through so called pre-habilitation. Part of that is the Black Rhinos Basketball Club, which Selba-Gondoza calls a crime prevention program. It’s not only about sports and getting off energy, but the program is also about creating ways to spend time in a positive way and learning how to contribute to an empowering community.


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From time to time, Selba-Gondoza invites high achievers from the African Australian community to talk to the youth, inspire them and open their imaginations of what they can become in Australia. Role models from different walks of life to show, that a good life is possible. Another aspect of Selba-Gondoza’s work at Afri Aus Care is rehabilitation of young people whose path has led them into drugs and crime: “I believe in a positive change. When I talk with offenders, I listen to what they have done but then I look at what we will be doing together in the future. ” The approach is centred around finding strategies how people can live a good life with and in the community. Selba-Gondoza and her team are assisting people to live meaningful lives through health and wellbeing assessment; always starting the journey from the very point, the young person started from, “We make sure that we walk in peoples footsteps”.

The Mamas Village of Hope Selba-Gondoza wants to assist people in becoming “meaningful citizens” in Australia. From her perspective, “they need opportunities, someone who believes in them and access to education and employment”. For many years now, Selba-Gondoza is constantly trying to step in, where the system does not reach the African Australian community. Not only when it comes to young people but the “Mama’s too.” Another core program of Afri Aus Care is the Empowering Mothers Program: UBUNTU In Practice. It started from her own experience of bringing up a child far away from Malawi, family, a strong community that helps look after the child. “It’s the mothers, they hold together the African families here”, Selba-Gondoza says.

And most importantly, the Afri Aus Care, provides a space for community; “Here we are not ruminating about bad things that have happened in our lives, but sit together under the UBUNTU umbrella, laugh and talk, cook together, teach each other languages (at Afri-Aus Care Community Village)”. To give the mothers more freedom and self-confidence to live up to their new roles and opportunities in Australia, Selba-Gondoza also educates them about Australia, the labour market etc. And she makes sure she involves politicians and other supporters in her cause. Afri Aus Care has naturally grown to having four offices, following the demand all over Greater Dangenong. And people also outside of the African Australian community notice the change they are making. Earlier this year, Selba-Gondoza got awarded the Greater Dandenong Citizen of the Year 2021. “It’s not my award, it’s for the volunteers and the African Australian community as a whole”, she commends. The Greater City of Dandenong is the most multicultural city in Australia. It’s safe to say that Afri- Aus has indeed, become a village. Selba-Gondoza reckons that sometimes its feels like she is in Africa. But that does not mean, that she is running away from Australia. Quite the opposite, “I call Australia home, having been here for 22 years, back then in 1998, I did not think that I would be here today. Because I had never been away from home, missed my parents and siblings and the care we had for each other.” But Selba-Gondoza is still here, living her dream that she has actualized into the village that Afri-Aus Care has become. “I met people from different parts of the world and now we just care for each other, we are living in the UBUNTU way of life.”

But many of them are struggling to find their own ways in the new country and find it difficult to balance the upbringing of their children between cultures, languages, among other social issues. Afri-Aus Care trains them to work well with the children, find ways to understand their children and refrain from merely trying to control and govern the children.

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Selba-Gondoza is saddened to know that COVID-19 has claimed the lives of AfricaAustralians.

Selba’s urges the community to get vaccinated against Covid-19 As the Covid-19 crisis heightened, people’s livelihoods were turned upside down. Afri-Aus care did not shut doors, as part of essential services they had to quickly respond. They, however, had to seek assistance to cope with the rising demand of needs caused by the pandemic. From government funding, food relief agencies, to the Rotary District 9800 club, in true UBUNTU practise- I am because we are. Due to the social connection of the Africans, lockdowns made the situation harder, and many people suffered mental health illnesses during isolation. Selba and her team have been supporting the community through counselling, calling to check up on their wellbeing as well as encouraging them to get vaccinated. They continue to provide food packages and shopping vouchers to those in extreme difficulties. She urges all African Australians to get tested when they feel sick and get vaccinated. She has had both her vaccinations. At nearly 57 years old, she remembers they used to get vaccinated against (Polio, measles, Tuberculosis) while young. She knows of people who suffered Poliomyelitis because they didn’t get vaccinated against it. The Empowering African women, Ubuntu in practice, continue to provide culturally appropriate messaging on COVID-19 Vaccination. They urge all people to get vaccinated and save lives.

AFRI-AUS CARE INC. EMPOWERING AFRICAN MOTHERS PROJECT: UBUNTU IN PRACTICEAfri Aus Care is empowering mothers by teaching them to be self-sufficient. Sewing Masks helps keep the community safe as well as giving the mothers an opportunity to put their skill into good use. This resourceful project is still in its infancy stages but soon, “we will be setting up a shop where everyone can access the beautiful work done by the Mama’s”, Selba-Gondoza Luka


rising star Sandra Elias

(my family call me Lulu)

I’m currently studying year nine at Lyndale Secondary College where I’m in various clubs such as dance club, literacy club, homework club and the Lyndale Speaks Program. I am a community volunteer at the Afri-Aus care as an admin, a photographer and sometimes help with packing foods for donations to the community. I also help the mamas at the Afri-Aus care with sewing of Face masks which are then sold around our local area of Dandenong. We are five in my family, myself, my mum, my dad and our two dogs. They all support me to achieve my goals. I want go to the University and become a Paediatric Nurse. My favourite TV show is Ponyo, because I like the way it has a good mix of childish, romantic, and funny. I love Ponyo’s mum, because she reminds me of my own mum in the way that she does everything and shows a lot of strength. To dear Girls of the World:

Age: 16 Location: Dandenong North, VIC

I would like to say to all the young girls around the world: “Do what makes you happy and try to live every day to the fullest, as best you can. Just


remember that you can do anything if you believe

Drawing, playing sports, going for

in yourself”.

walks and playing my euphonium

Emerging Brand Africa | 39



“It is normal to have multiple sources of income and business was a way to boost extra cash in my pocket by finding gaps in the market and filling them,” Beltz 2021.

Nkandu Beltz: Daring Abroad With its youngest and fastest growing population, Africa is increasingly becoming the next economic frontier. The new generation of African Entrepreneurs endeavor to make a mark in the lives of people, their communities, and the world at large, and the contribution of her young emerging talent is being felt globally. With a background in communication, Zambian born Nkandu Beltz has lived in four countries, speaks five languages, and has worked in Africa and Australia with international organizations. She is one to be known upon the increasing list of the most influential African Australians. She is a powerhouse, an emerging leader in all aspect of living, in no exaggerating terms, this girl is not only on fire but she is firing up the ground - literally! She is the “Queen of Africa” digging up gold and copper and taking the Mining industry by storm! Beltz, just like many other young women, achieving such high level of success has not simply arrived on a golden platter. The hustle has been real, with her persistence and determination to work her way through adversities, but humbly gives due credit to her ever supporting family. She knew she could achieve what she set her mind to, because that is what her parents instilled in her, from her young age. “My childhood helped me build a solid foundation and create myself into a woman who believes in herself. I had the privilege of learning and knowing about my roots. What my people before me did and the care they gave. I know I was born to make a difference”, says Beltz, in a tone of resounding strength.

Entrepreneurial Mindset In her published book titled, Fierce & Fabulous: The feminine force of success (Beltz.N 2015), Nkandu reinforces her belief in a quote by Kenry Van Dyke that states, “some people succeed because they are destined but most succeed because they are determined”. Africans are naturally known for their resilience and the young generation of entrepreneurs are moving the needle. With very limited resources, they are increasingly taking more risks and building phenomenal businesses while creating more employment opportunities in the process. We dug deeper to know just where this determination and resilience comes from. Beltz grew up in Southern Africa, Zambia, where she would see people on the streets juggling and hustling. Africa never sleeps. Everyone is up and running, eking a living. There, one can run multiple businesses in an attempt to earn that extra coin and that is how the business mindset in her was born. “My business acumen started when I was very young. By the age of 10, I was making and selling fat cakes to my friends. My mother was a home economics teacher before she specialized in food and nutrition. Growing up in Africa, you see people hustling on the streets all the time. It is normal to have multiple sources of income and small business ventures were a way to boost extra cash in my pocket, by finding a gap in the market and filling it. Growing up I always had side hustles. As an adult, that side hustle energy continued into freelancing, writing books, public speaking, consulting and mining exploration”. Sometimes, the side hustle becomes the hustle! This is the story of Nkandu Beltz. A Zambian- Australian business woman, a philanthropist, a champion of human rights, a women empowerment crusader, a social change maker, among other recorded and recognized descriptors.

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Career Highlights Nkandu formally started out as a girl-child advocate in her mother country of Zambia, advocating for girl-child rights. Nkandu reminisces, that’s where her cultivation for rights honoring was nurtured. She has a background in journalism and news writing and has worked for the Ngami Times in neighboring country Botswana. She was trained as a peer educator by the Botswana National Youth Council as well as a peer counselor in matters related to HIV/AIDS. In her journalism career, Nkandu was graced to interview His Excellency Emmerson Mnangagwa, the President of Zimbabwe, explaining the future of Zimbabwe and the history of African economics and politics.

She has also worked with Save the Children Australia and was an executive member with the United Nations Association of Western Australia. Out of all of Nkandu’s engagements, the one occasion that she considers to be a “Golden Moment”, permanently and preciously rests within her mind and spirit. She recounts a telephone call while chilling on a well-deserved holiday escape in 2013, when the voice on the other end of the telephone requests that she prepare herself to interview one of the most powerful people in the world. Nkandu thought the call was a joke, a collegial prank! Understandably so, as the man in question was the one and only His Holiness the Dalai Lama! The event was the world’s largest conference on Mind and Its Potential.

As she forged her way forward, advocating for youth, Nkandu made the most of brushing shoulders and engaging with the who’s who of the African continent. Part of her focus and drive was on the growth of the business blocks in Africa like ECOWAS, SADC, among others. Her desire to form connection and generate dialogue with people in positions who could assist regional growth or propagate change was driven by her burning desire to open their respective regions in business, farming, trade and mining. When she first relocated to Australia, Nkandu founded two dear projects; The Nkandu Cultural Night, to share her culture and connect with her new community. and The Kununurra Youth Development Programme, a not-for-profit youth initiative which aimed at empowering, inspiring and engaging youth with positive engagements. Included in her repertoire of beautiful interactions is being able to meet one of UK’s greatest business magnates, Sir Richard Branson.

We asked Nkandu what she thought limits women in their professional endeavors.

Other notable achievements include serving as the Youth representative for the Commonwealth Head of State Meeting where she later presented the Commonwealth Youth Forum Communique to the Prime Minister, Kevid Rudd.

“The first thing I would say is to find your why? Why do you want to get into this industry? And secondly, what do you bring to the table?” she says. “Any woman can do anything, but it is good to know your strengths and limitations.”

A Magnate Aspiration It’s no denying that the wheelers and dealers of mega-structural industry such as mining, is a playing field dominated by men. There lies the celebration of this feature, in that we celebrate, the determination and achievement of brave women breaking open that playing field and curving their own path with stayed tenacity, and in this case, literally with gigantic machinery. Nkandu’s entry into that male dominated business world of mining really broke ground when she started one of Australia’s private mining companies Bletz Mining Pty Ltd. Which owns various mineral exploration rights in Zambia through its Zambian registered subsidiaries and grows its mineral resource inventory through several exploration tenements in Zambia for Copper, Cobalt, Gold and Manganese. Her entrepreneurial shrewdness, philanthropy, journalism, and desire for social change, especially the Girl child, has put her on the global stage. Nkandu is highly involved within African communities and professional networks, the African and Australian chambers of commerce, among others. She is actively involved in social dialogue and often engages Government leaders at local, state and federal levels. She has an ever-evolving calendar that schedules her engagements to host events or present as a guest speaker for numerous causes. As a true African child, carrying an ambassadorial brand title, she has courageously stepped into the Australian landscape, generating interest, and rebranding the African narrative and encouraging investors to look out for trading opportunities with Africa.

The new dynamic in Business innovations & Tech

Nkandu acknowledges that they had to quickly adapt and almost fully automate their business to maintain their operational currency. From the reporting of the first case of Covid-19 in China, its fast-spread across the globe, to the crippling sector of the economy, was a clear indication of how important businesses are. The effects of stalled projects and forecast plans will remain to be felt by businesses for a very long time. Africa is a key player in the global business and ranks highly with additional consideration of her very rich deposits of natural resources including diamonds, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum, salt, sugar, cocoa beans, tropical timber and tropical fruit. Additionally, in recent years, there have been further discoveries of oil reserves, most of which remain untapped and their markets unrealized. These markets are generally blamed on poor policies and governance on mineral resources and infrastructure. However, Nkandu is hopeful that, the infrastructure is improving, singling her mother country with open invitation for foreign investors. “I think government policies are improving, I cannot speak for all African countries but in places like Zambia, the mining code is very consistent and very transparent. It is a great place to do business,” she notes.

Author & Philanthropist Nkandu believes that we all have the power to make the best of any situation.“Throughout life, we are confronted by our own set of challenges, but it is how we choose to act in these situations that leads us to greatness. The key is never giving up”. Nkandu sees a bright future not just for the business world but also for women. She sees hope and beauty. Also, in a bid to improve livelihoods, she targets to employ about 75,000 people by 2035, and that is an ambitious but achievable employment dream goal for Nkandu.

With the advent of Covid-19, everything came to a standstill, including local and international travel, face-to-face business meetings, group gatherings for conferences and so many other aspects related to “doing business” as we knew it. With peoples’ movement restricted and ‘working from home’ gaining momentum, technology took the centre stage.

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“You can reach any hieghts” The ‘I Have The Power’ author recognizes the concept of Ubuntu as a philosophy that was seemingly instilled in her by her grandparents. Her grandma would make food parcels and give them out to be delivered to families that were less fortunate. This has guided her as she does her bit to make the world a little better than she found it and to do something meaningful, not just enjoying life but to leave behind a meaningful legacy. Like enabling people to be self-reliant, taking poor children to school or even to the hospital are the baby steps that mature up to bring a tangible difference in the society. Still, her writing burns within her and her next edition is ready. However, its release will have to wait. For now, Beltz Mining is going public, on Australian Stock Exchange. While it is undebatable that Africa is home to the best natural resources globally, the mining industry is specifically of global significance. “Our African culture, the care we offer one another, our social collectiveness and the desire to have others reach our heights or even possibly higher, is an instillation in us that will, without a doubt take the continent to the next frontier”, says Nkandu. Nkandu’s dedication for social impact and her international engagements have won her a number of public accolades including, the Pinnacle Professional of the Year 2013, Women in Leadership Victoria AMA 2014, African Pioneer of the Year 2015, African Australian of the Year 2016, and Young Leaders Commissioner G200 2016. These recognitions have caused an exciting change in Nkandu’s life, and validation of the work she does. She continues to champion for the Girl Child, “You can reach any height that you


SHUKRI ABI- ABI HEARING Shukri Abi is the founder, Director and Senior Audiologist of Abi Hearing. Her original vision for Abi Hearing was to engineer an audiology practice infused with an impactful possibility. Abi Hearing can now proudly lay claim to being one of the few truly independent audiology clinics in Australia that offer reimagined hearing healthcare practice. As the best hearing health outcomes are forged in partnership between audiologist and client, Shukri invests time in teaching patients to proactively manage their hearing condition. Her commitment to empowering others stems from genuine empathy.

https://www.abihearing.com.au/ info@abihearing.com.au

New On Site Audiology Service at La Trobe University Proudly Provided by Abi Hearing Here at Abi Hearing you get the very best of everything. • • • • •

Expert hearing evaluation to pinpoint problems. Honest recommendations from an experienced audiologist. A full range of solutions with the latest innovations representing the best in the industry. Our exceptionally broad range of options helps us keep prices very affordable. Bulk billing for all diagnostic services.

How Appointments Are Run All appointments are carried out by accredited audiologists from Abi Hearing. We provide experiential learning for La Trobe audiology students and students are included in all facets of the clinic. At all times students are supervised by an experienced Abi Hearing audiologist and the clinic operates by appointment only as would be expected in a non-teaching clinic. Our clinic is independent and is dedicated to providing patient-centered best practice services for the community.

More Information What should I expect to pay on the day? All diagnostic services are bulk billed when presented with a valid Medicare card. Other services related to rehabilitation and product purchases incur charges, please enquire at time booking.

Abi Hearing is your Partner in Hearing Health.

in partnership with

Our Services Full diagnostic hearing assessments (newborn to adult). Advise on appropriate pathways management for hearing loss.

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Book an Appointment Request an appointment online at abihearing.com.au Or contact us on: T: 03 9399 9536 or 03 9326 5334 E: info@abihearing.com.au


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(03) 9326 5334

Emerging (03) 9328 178

Brand Africa | 45



Chiaka Moneke is a lawyer supporting women to rebuild their lives following domestic violence and empowering them to live with confidence and purpose. She works to destigmatise divorce in the AfricanAustralian community and dreams of a world where gendered norms dictating what a girl can or cannot do, and should or should not do, no longer exist. Chiaka is passionate about her work and considers the highlight of her career has been shaping policies that help protect families and children from abuse and violence. Chiaka migrated to Australia from London as a result of the global financial crisis and, with a Masters Degree in Law from the University of Canberra, she started her career in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and then worked as a criminal defence and family layer before moving on to work for the Department of the Attorney General. Chiaka always wanted to be a lawyer. “I think some of us are born with the tenacity and drive for justice, firmness and equality. I was driven to the work I do when I worked as a family lawyer. I saw how victims were terrified of the family law systems. There were so many unknowns and uncertainty”. Her own personal experience opened Chiaka’s eyes to how women who are divorced, or have sort to protect themselves from violence and abuse, can be excluded in society and she works to raise community awareness on these issues of violence and abuse and its effects both on individuals and communities.

An ACT nominee and finalist for the Australian Government Department Australian of the Year 2021, Chiaka is grateful for the legitimacy this recognition has brought to her work in demonstrating to women that they do not have to live through abuse and violence and that they can create a better and safer life for their children. She emphasises the importance for African women to be aware of their rights and the protection available to them to ensure the wellbeing of themselves and their children, both at home and in the community. As a firm believer in the power of education, Chiaka advocates for community based education to help keep women safe and for education to be the path to empowering women to become financially independent. Chiaka believes the biggest challenges facing African Australian women are the cultural, religious and traditional norms that seek to oppress women, including the idea that a woman gets her identity from her husband and a woman who is divorced is a lower class citizen with no identity of her own.

One of the barriers to reporting domestic violence incidents is the community backlash that comes with speaking up about abuse and violence. For this reason domestic violence among the African community is highly under reported. Chiaka explains that in some areas it is considered acceptable to use force as a means of correcting a disobedient wife, and that when children grow up in homes where they experienced their mother being abused boys learn that a woman should be admonished. These children then go on to perpetuate abuse as adults. Breaking that generational norm is vital to addressing the issue of violence and abuse which is why Chiaka’s work is so vitally important, as she creates awareness and speaks out no matter how uncomfortable people are about the issue. A guiding principle in Chiaka’s life has been respect for the dignity of a person. She acknowledges that we are all influenced by what we hear or see, and believes that being visible for all the right reasons will help to change the narrative in the media about the African community. “Most importantly, we, as Africans, must ensure that our interactions with the wider community leave positive experiences.” Chiaka is currently working with women across Australia to build a central information repository for information about domestic and family violence for African Australians, including vital information about how to access help and support.

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A “Purposeful Mission” I arrived in Australia seeking opportunity to heal and learn to provide healing to others. That is most simplistic description of my purpose and hope for coming here.At 19 years old I was granted a lifetime opportunity to go anywhere in the world to study Psychology - and Australia beckoned. I always believe that Australia chose me. I was accepted to study my degree at several universities in Australia (Curtin University in Perth, Melbourne University, and Latrobe University and chose Latrobe Uni. I was drawn to Australia for the rich culture of the First Nations as well as the idea of having Skippy the bush kangaroo as a pet (as seen in an Australian television series in the 80s). Although I have had few interactions with kangaroos I am yet to develop an everlasting relationship with one!

“Our bags were also full of hair products and traditional food” Family and community is everything to me -therefore leaving them behind was incredibly difficult. Also, I had never been away from them for an extended period of time, so it was daunting to imagine myself surviving in a world completely foreign to me. Prior to leaving Botswana - we had an orientation about what life was like in Australia. One of the key things we were told was about lack of familiar food, products as well and African hair products. In fact, we were encouraged to either shave our hair or braid hair with the hope that it will last long. I remember a group of us entered that Australia bound plane wearing our intricate braided hair which meant that in transit lounges we were mistaken for a group of artists due to how elaborate we looked. Our bags were also full of hair products and traditional food products rather than clothes - an interesting experience with the Australian border declaration processes.

“ Ooh the blackness does not come off” The culture shock was an aspect of migration that I had not anticipated. I thought I had all the tools I needed, I had my hair braided, I had the food in my bag, I was in a group of fellow Batswana students, so I was not alone. Arriving in our student village within the university campus was an immediate contrast to the glitz and glamour to the expectation of the “first world” hospitality where the streets were lined up with gold, milk and honey was plentiful. I remember the basic room with flimsy single bed mattress, a table, closet, and nothing else. Maybe I had been watching too much television back in my home country, therefore my expectation was simply not matching up with my reality and I was disappointed. I blame “The Bold and The Beautiful” television series for that perceived reality.

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The reality of life as a student in Australia was harder that I could have ever imagined. For the first time in my life, I had to confront navigating the world as an African and a minority community member. Walking around the streets of Melbourne, I got used to the random and seemingly innocuous conversations with strangers about my hair, about where I come from, the curious stares said something was different, I was different. I recall one day sitting next to one elderly lady on the tram, I watched her move a little closer to me and immediately thought it was strange as many people would rather stand than sit near someone who look like me on the tram- however the elderly lady wanted to be as close as possible to me. As she extended her wise old hand and brushed the top of my hand with hers as if to dust off something, then she brought her hand closer to her keen eye - she softly remarked “ ooh the blackness does not come off”. I was made aware of my blackness when I was shopping, applying for jobs or simply sitting at a cafe waiting to be served. It was those times like when I queried my assignment marks at the University after a seemingly interesting pattern of marking without an accompanying recommendation on areas of improvement. Over 20 years ago, there were not many who look like us back then. Therefore, when we met each other, we bonded together as brothers and sisters, we created our little community to share experiences and resources. Our success in this new land required us to help each other settle and thrive. At Latrobe University, Melbourne we established an African Student Association, and I was honoured to be the inaugural President. We used the Association as a platform to deal with issues that affected us collectively as Africans and as an avenue to celebrate all that represented who we were, including activities such as an African festival etc. It was a bold move to reclaim our blackness, our space and share our diverse strengths with the wider community of Melbourne.

Finding belonging The more I reclaimed my space and challenged narratives about African Australians the more I gained friends and allies who saw me, heard me, and embraced me - that language that said to me - you belong here. Therefore, the prospect of transitioning from university student and resident of Australia became an option worth considering. Moving from Melbourne to undertake my post graduate degrees at Bond University, Gold Coast was the start of that transition. I was older and wiser, but also the environment was ripe for establishment of home. As part of my postgraduate program in Behaviour Management I undertook specialised placements. I worked with people with acquired brain injuries through non-government support agencies, worked in special schools doing behaviour assessments and management plans with particular interest in working with children with developmental disorders. Not only did I work with the individuals experiencing multiple challenges, but I also worked with families, schools and communities. The more I supported others to heal, I healed my own traumas every little bit at a time. I was fulfilling my purpose here in Australia.I graduated with Masters of Behaviour Management with published research in autism spectrum disorders, and I immediately approached a Government Department that I thought would be best suited to effectively utilise my skills. The phone call was followed by an email with time and place for interview. That is how my career started. I have since worked in disability services, community development and now in mental health.

You are known as the tireless Community Advocate, and a respected one for that matter, what drives your passion for social justice? I guess over the years after experiencing the challenges of racism, discrimination in all its forms, helping many people dealing with those issues and also seen first-hand the mental health impact of all those experiences - I could not simply be a bystander in this journey - I had to help as an advocate. I truly believe that one cannot be free unless all of us are free from the chains that bounds us.

When I struggled, it was people who caused the hurt, but it also people who helped me heal. I practice UBUNTU (I am because we are) in all that I do - it is the framework in which I approach life. I also believe in community organising - the power of people to make a change. Hence, I have purposefully played active part of many community leadership roles and sat in many advisory boards over the years to collectively work on issues that impact on all of us and ease the burden of life on all of us.

Barriers in navigating mainstream mental health services and inequality for CALD communities My work provides me with the privilege to oversee mental health service planning, strategic policy, and program development as well service delivery of psychosocial supports in Queensland working as Principal Policy Officer within Queensland Health. We help people experiencing severe mental illness by ensuring that they receive comprehensive and accessible support. I have also worked in the field of Transcultural mental health (culture and mental health) for 10 years and was part of the team that developed one the most robust organisational cultural assessment, to assist mental health services in Australia. To better respond to the growing mental health needs for migrants especially those from refugee or asylum-seeking backgrounds. One of the key issues that is a constant challenge is that health inequity persists not only in mental health, alcohol, and other drugs system but also in health and social services sector in general. The system is still centred with white dominant cultural narrative where diversity continues to be an afterthought. People from diverse cultural backgrounds in Australia, continue to have poorer access and are receiving poorer quality mental health services compared to Australian born people. There is plenty of evidence highlighted research a group of us did. (https://bit.ly/2WwGKBs)

We know from colleagues working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, that this ongoing systemic and individual racism in health care systems, significantly continues to widen the gap between the health and well-being outcomes of white Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, despite measures in place to address this such as National Agreement on Closing the Gap and the Health Equity agenda etc. These inequities are unfortunately being mirrored in multicultural Australian communities. There is evidence that people born in nonEnglish speaking countries have higher rates of involuntary admissions to both acute care and community based mental health services.

Emerging Brand Africa | 51


They are also more likely to experience rates of seclusion and restraint compared to Australian born. This lower level of service utilisation, however, has no relation to lack or need for care and support, but due to difficulties in understanding and navigating mainstream mental health services but also simply lack of services that are culturally safe and appropriate. There are ongoing language barriers to access but also stigma has a major impact. If mental health and mental illness information is not reaching communities in appropriate and accessible format, people are left behind. Australia is now just waking up to this fact, inequities that exist in our health systems are now magnified by the unfolding situation with Covid-19. Culture and language play a significant part on how we describe what is happening to us, who we go to seek help, how we seek help and our expectation of the support and treatment we receive. Our narratives matter. It is for this reason that through my work, I am able to influence policies and be part of the driving change that will enable ALL Australians to thrive and have access to the support they need. I am also the founder of Psyched Solutions Consultancy focusing on training, raising community awareness about mental health, especially delivering Mental Health First Aid training, stigma reduction and suicide prevention education, to community, workplaces, NGO’s, government, and private sector. I also do a lot of public speaking and writing around mental health issues with the aim of building compassionate communities that look out for each other. I call it a community of wellbeing warriors. I believe we cannot change what we do not acknowledge or what we do not understand. Mental ill health is an everyday reality for many people regardless of race, culture, language, or social standing. It causes an incredible burden and therefore requires all of us to support those who need our help.

Breaking the Patriarchal Chains African women around the world are still going through the journey of redefining themselves, rightly determining their identity outside the perceptions and expectations ingrained from the patriarchal cultures we belonged to. The transition is more challenging for us in diaspora. Caught between the “ideology of the “Proper African Woman” as defined by culture, and the silent echoes of navigating the west as a woman of colour, to establishing, “Self-independence” outside “own” community expectations. In Australia gender equity movement is progressing well, challenging the status quo, and making significant change for many women. However, the complex layers of intersectionality of gender and culture still presents barriers for many women. We need each other, we need our sisterhood, to deal with the unique barriers we face. It’s not only about people from the same ethnic community, but as one people. We need to support and uplift each other even in raising our children.

“Racism is not Welcome here”- Campaign by Craig Foster, Human rights Activist The African youth in Australia are facing multifaceted challenges, however the main one is the struggle of identity and belonging. You see over the past few years there has been constant negative barrage of media focus on youth offending with specific target on coverage of offending behaviours by youth of African descent. The negative coverage using language that’s meant to incite hate, division, discrimination, and racism towards African Australians, including the very well-known narrative of “African Gangs”.

For more information on psyched solutions go to

This continued onslaught by the media has seen many young Africans being racially vilified and discriminated at places where they should have been safe, places like schools, sport clubs, community, workplaces etc. When one is painted in a negative light the whole community suffer - this is something that will never happen in the wider Australian community. An individual offence rest solely of that individual, however the narrative about youth offending by African youth somehow becomes a reflection of ALL African Australian communities - something that I am still struggling to process.


Voice Everyday Racism Structural racism is more than just a slur. Racism is present in all systems of society. It seems that there is a gap in understanding what racism is and the realities of those on the receiving end. Voice Everyday Racism aims to: 1. Provide a platform for people to speak about everyday racism they encounter 2. Provide connections and community support 3. Provide awareness and how Australia and the world can learn from people on the receivingend 4. Create educational programs 5. Connect with Government and other support networks.

https://www.voiceeverydayracism.com/ P.O. Box 434 SPRINGWOOD NSW 2777

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rising star Aisha & Nadia

Age: 9 years (twins) Location: Queensland, Australia Hobbies: Netball, Minecraft Photographer - Instagram @aperture. at.large_photography Message to other girls around the world - Love begins with you, so go on - love yourself, remember who you are, embrace all of you and be kind.

EMBRACING NATURAL-AFRO HAIR, BY REINA HAIR Growing up, I never even knew grooming and taking care of my natural hair was possible because it was always referred to as ‘undergrowth’ and relaxed hair as ‘kempt hair’. So, my mother would always make sure to relax my hair when ‘it was due’ to make combing and grooming especially when having a protective style installed by a hair stylist easier. Many young girls including me always had relaxer burns after every relaxer treatment. I remember being told by the hair stylist to wait some more (even though my scalp was on fire) for the relaxer to thoroughly relax my ‘stubborn hair’. Of course after the extra wait, I only ended up with more scalp burns and my natural hair tagged ‘undergrowth’ then, never fully ‘relaxed’. As at then, nobody saw anything wrong with this because that was the obvious beauty standard then; ‘straight relaxed hair’. Any other one was tagged ‘unkempt’. This reality as I realized growing up, was the same for other black women around the world but this time, with different struggles. For most Africans living in Africa, it is the pressure to look ‘neat’ and ‘presentable’. Most primary and secondary schools would literally use scissors to make terrible trims on your hair as punishment in a bid to teach you a lesson that your kinky hair should either be always relaxed or cut very low.

For other Africans living in the diaspora, it was an issue of wearing straight hair wigs to get good jobs and of course black kids being bullied in school for their ‘ugly hair’. Note: The struggles are still endless till today for both scenarios mentioned above. Of course, it did affect me as I started realizing and unlearning that there is nothing wrong or ugly with African hair textures. It was a whole new process of internalizing that my hair is enough with laid edges or not. On some days, I cried when my twist outs failed and now, I’ve come to realize it’s because I was unconsciously mounting pressure on my hair to be something else in line with society’s standard of beauty. I realized my 4c hair is beautiful whether ‘tamed’ or ‘untamed’. Our hair textures are versatile and beautiful. I call it magic! Look at what shrinkage does! That’s incredible if you ask me. Love your hair without wanting or wishing it to be something else just like you’d love to be loved and accepted the way you are. African hair textures are phenomenal. Article By Viola Ekene For Reina HairCare. (IG @viola_ekene & @reinahaircare).

https://reinahaircare.com/ Emerging Brand Africa | 55



The inspiring journey of Dr. Theo by Indigenous midwives In the remote regions of Africa, childbirth can be a daunting experience for expectant mothers. Their faith and trust solely placed on the assistance of the traditional village midwives. For many years, and in many societies, these Indigenous midwives have attended to many births. They are part of the local community, culture, and traditions, and hold a very high social standing and influence in the community, especially in matters of Maternal health. It’s no surprise that most African governments, recognize the role that they play and sought to partner with them. To properly train them in primary health care and help improve their service delivery and maternal mortality rate. One such woman who practiced as a midwife in a remote village of Ghana was Theodora (Theo) Azu. Her very close interactions with the pregnant women developed the faith and respectful trust of the village midwives and mothers as well. The respect was mutual in a way that swelled Theo’s compassion for people, grow her curiosity in learning their challenges and motivate herself to become more educated in the desire to offer greater positive impact in their lives. “ My interactions with these people helped me to shape my perspectives of their challenges”, remarks Theo. “It has always been my passion to help people and being a nurse, midwife and an educator has made it possible”. Theo’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to complete an Undergraduate Degree and then a Masters Degree in nursing at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Due to her subject interest, dedication to study and exceptional achievement, Theo was offered the opportunity to lecture in Child and Maternal Health for some years at the same university.

Although Theo could always look back in appreciation of being able to help individuals, one on one, in the village, she grew to understand, through her studies that higher education can deliver broader health benefit at a societal level to impact individuals on mass. “When you educate a woman, you educate a nation”- (African proverb). She came to realise that if she was to influence government policies, she would need to qualify her position through a Doctorate PHD. Knowing that in most African countries PhD studies are self-funded, the hurdle, however, was how she would pay for it! Her determined research found that the Australian Government and most Australian universities have funding for international students, if students meet the eligibility criteria for the funding which includes a strong cumulative grade point average (CGPA), publications, etc. “There is enough information on the internet about these funding opportunities however, most prospective students may not have the knowledge of how to search and access these details”, says Theo. “Prospective students may need to understand that there are different paths to a PhD journey, including funding opportunities, funded projects, subsidised fees and full scholarships”.

Additionally, on a positive note, Theo proclaims, “there are many highlights to being an international PhD student in Australia, including an unlimited access to literature, fantastic support from the supervisory team and all round supportive educational environment”. She goes on to describe that the educational system in Australia is well structured and the supervisory meetings are typically held every fortnight, which keeps the student on track all the time. There are various support systems within Australian universities to help students, including a computer and desk for every PhD student, assistance from library support staff, English Language support staff, counselling centres, and more. In comparison, Theo notes that it is quite a contrast to the unstructured arrangement of supervision in Africa, which delays the PHD candidate’s output and in compounding effect, delays the completion of their thesis.

Mental health and Wellbeing of International students, in their quest for knowledge. Theo applied for and was granted a scholarship to study her PHD at Deakin University, Geelong, Australia. Her move to a different country and culture, far from her home of Ghana has been challenging on many levels but the greatest so far, was isolation! Many international students have suffered isolation, a great deal. [A note from the editor; Australians, support the international students; a simple ‘hello’, ask how they are going, get to know them. (Thank you for doing me that favour.)] This situation gets even worse for International PHD students. The intense focus on research and thesis preparation, the isolation from other students and the separation from your usual support network of family and friends finds the PHD journey a very lonely one. The Covid-19 pandemic has magnified and multiplied the struggles of international student. It has isolated all students but especially international students in a foreign country. Fortunately, the universities do offer general health and mental health support for all their students.

In Theo’s normal humble self, a glimpse of pride is sensed when she announces that, “I am happy to have undertaken higher studies in maternal health, that will inform child and maternal health policies, interventions, and practices of relevance, to deal with the plight of women in third world environments. My heart finds pleasure in relieving people of their suffering and enlightening people on how to improve their health”.

“Educating women about their reproductive health, reduces risks of neonatal morbidity and mortality” Theo believes that culture has played a certain role in the way women access, understand, and consume reproductive health information. She considers that women in general but especially those from low-income countries, may lack the autonomy and will, to make decisions on when and where to access health for themselves and their children. This may be largely due to the patriarchal dominance in most African societies. Theo adds, “Low education and literacy of women leads to low knowledge of reproductive health information.

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Low levels of knowledge in reproductive health leads to high maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality”. She goes on to add that generally women are not adequately empowered to take full responsibility of their own health. The way forward will be to educate and equip every woman with applicable knowledge and skills about their reproductive health. By relevant connection to maternal health, Theo also has a keen interest in mental wellbeing. She well knows that psychological preparation, being mentally in tune with one’s body and nurturing of confidence has profound effect upon the journey of pregnancy and birthing. Her concern for mental state, extends beyond neonatal experiences and explores dynamics of anxiety and depression, which also affects and is affected by maternal and paternal circumstances. “Most Africans hardly talk about their mental health status”, says Theo. “In all cultures, there has always been some form of stigmatisation of people suffering mental health issues. All continents, especially Africans need to open up and see mental illness like any other disease, start a conversation and help all people in need of support”. We asked Theo how she would re-imagine the world for women and girls in regard to reproductive health. Her impassioned response was, “I would like to imagine a world where women are given as much opportunities as men. Women getting access to education, funding, and technical skills will empower them to take responsibilities of their own health”.

Dr Theo’s guide on Great Moms Hub coming soon Theo’s personal guiding principles of hard work, humility and perseverance has seen her forge her way forward, from the young woman in a Ghanaian village, to higher education, to university lecturer and international qualification of PHD Doctorate.

Her life’s journey is yet another story that highlights the gains of hard work and persistence, underpinned by an impassioned drive, but the story is far from over and so much yet to be revealed. Her current project is establishing a website called the “Greatmomshub.com”, which is aimed at educating women on reproductive health issues. Theo is more than a book nerd, an educator, a champion for women reproductive health, but she is also a talented and creative Artisan. She produces craftwork utilising traditional African skills. Crafting is her passion, a hobby that comforts her when in lockdown, when she misses her family, it reconnects her to her African culture and she attributes the skill, to her dear grandmother, who taught her how to bead beautiful jewels. Check out some of her gorgeous creations, in the African Brand Catalogue AU.

12 Secrets Your Mother Won’t Tell You About Intimacy The quality of your relationships determines the quality of your life, and that includes your relationship with yourself. It is no surprise that many of the students who have taken The Confidence and Self-esteem Academy’s intimacy program, the 12 secrets your mother won’t tell you about intimacy, have had failed love affairs and emotional scars from their past relationships. We also know that many have been raised in a generation where there’s a lot of guilt and shame around sex, sexuality, and intimacy. The question is, how can we enrich teenagers and young adults to have meaningful relationships where love and intimacy are shared and cherished? We can safely assume that many young people don’t know who to turn to, where to go to find resources that can kickstart their emotional scars healing, and where to go to learn the secrets of having a blissful relationship, especially when it comes to the nitty-gritty details. We know they are too vulnerable and afraid to speak up and seek support.

The Intimacy program will enhance communication and emotional connection. It will be a step-by-step guide with every step building trust allowing you and your partner to feel seen, heard, and understood. The mission of this intimacy program is to make

The 12 secrets your mother won’t tell you about intimacy have been created as a roadmap for teenagers and young adults to support them in

you bold in your ability to achieve the life and the relationship you desire and help you go further faster now.

their romance and relationship journey. It is a journey of joy, tears, and unchartered waters, which

Katinda Ndola is an Author, Educator, Personal

can often be terrifying. So, then the question for

Development Speaker & Consultant

you when you look at your family and extended family is, how many of you know someone who is

https://www.confidenceandselfesteem.com/academy/ Kathinda_Ndola

divorced, separated, nursing a broken heart, or in a


toxic relationship?


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“Sacrifice above all, has defined most of my work”, Bupe – the Servant Leader. Bupe Kyule is a compassionate human. Its easy to tell just how much she cares for others. It’s this internal desire to help other people in times of need that drove her to Nursing. She completed her General Nursing Certificate in Tanzania in 1991 and worked for the next 15 years there. But she wanted more, to seek knowledge of what was possible in the medical world. She wanted to learn better health practices and gain expertise to help improve the lives of her people. To reach for this dream, in 2006 Bupe travelled from Tanzania to the Northern Territory of Australia, to study a bachelor’s degree of Nursing with the Charles Darwin University. “It was not an easy decision to make to leave my country Tanzania, and move to Australia”, Bupe admits. “I knew Australia was a beautiful country. A peaceful country where the education system was good and many opportunities for work with a better life for everyone, but I was leaving behind my family”. In Australia she completed her bachelor’s degree of Nursing in 2008 and a Graduate program at Darwin Private Hospital in 2009. “When I completed the graduate program, I was lucky enough that the hospital gave me a working visa sponsorship, so I signed a contract with them. In my opinion, my selection was made possible not by luck, but through dedication, integrity and hard work”. Bupe’s thirst for knowledge energised her to continue studies in the field of nursing and health management.

She enrolled with Menzies School of Research, and by end of 2015, she had completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Health. At the end of 2018, she graduated with a master’s degree in public health (MPH). Bupe has so far, worked as a registered Nurse in both private and public hospitals for 30 years. “I’m proud to say that my long years of service, the Post Graduate Diploma and master’s degree of Public Health, have enabled me to engage, and offer expertise advice, to numerous community programs and developments in the Health Industry”. Bupe can list an array of community activities and memorable events that she has engaged with and contributed to. A testimony to her servant leadership: They include: • Tanzanian Diaspora Global (TDCG) Chairperson (from 2019 May - current) • Tanzanian Diaspora Global (TDCG) Executive committee member (2017 - current) • Association of Tanzanian Australians NT Inc (ATANT) President (2018 -Current) • Australasia Diaspora Network (PAADN) – Professional and volunteers committee (Chairwoman - 2016 - current) • African Australian Friendship Association (AAFA) Vice president (2016) • Celebration of African Australians Association Inc. National AWARDS (Coordinator - 2014) • African-Australian Women & Girls NT Inc (president and Founder) - 2012 • African Dinner Dance - Coordinator (Women Business - 2011 -2014) • African–Australia Conference (presenter - Women Business - 2011) • East Africa Community Association Darwin (EACAD): Founder - 2011 • Swahili English interpreter mostly for hospitals and school activities (2007 - 2009) • Volunteer on national campaign to promote awareness on heart diseases control – Darwin (2008 -2010) • Volunteered to teach Swahili to Australians who intend to visit East Africa (2006 - 2007)

“Despite my busy work schedule, I am still able to make time for events and activities in our community”. Bupe believes that it is important to not just be a passenger, but to participate and contribute whenever you can. “I have made significant contribution in the community through various projects including, being part of the Judging panel of the ‘Australian of the Year 2022” a very humbling opportunity indeed.” Others include. • Shared Culture experience by writing a food recipe book called ‘African pan’, • Provided education on health issues for teenagers such as prevention of STI and early pregnancies, • Worked with Northern Territory Government promoting Culture awareness, • I worked with ‘African Australian Women & Girls’ in stopping violence against women, also promoting women health & fitness, • Promoted African Australian’s girls’ self confidence and African beauty via ‘Miss Africa Darwin project’, • Assisted African Australians Women & Girls in job seeking and interview preparation, • African Australian women swimming projects Bupe regards herself to be very fortunate, to be in a position that she can contribute to such community empowering programs. She agrees that it is nice to be recognised for your efforts and contributions. She even received certificates and awards for such, but “that cannot be the driver behind giving genuine help to people in our community”, she says. She, however, appreciates the organisations that have recognized her, including: • Yogan Sathianathan Multicultural Award 2020 MCNT • The Territory Boundless Possible Ambassador 2020 - NT Government • Champion Awards for 2014 and 2015(African Australians NT) • Volunteer of the Year Award - 2014 (African Australians NT) • Recognition certificate as a Worldwide Leader in Healthcare 2013-2014

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‘Zawadi Yangu” Initiative - (My gift) “I consider myself very privileged considering my background,” she notes in a reflective tone. “I am motivated to give back to women and girls who are in a similar position, to what I was before beginning my nursing career abroad. My experiences as a Tanzania woman, allows me to understand how valuable education is in people’s lives. Therefore, I started using my limited resources to fund young girls’ education, with the goal of empowering them economically through gained practical skills”. With the support of her dedicated staff, Bupe, has educated 130 students who have advanced to start their own small businesses. Bupe says her objective is to increase the number of student enrolment. “So far this year, our small school intake is only 48 and we focus on tailoring to the individual needs of each student. In near future, we will provide education on Financial management”. Projects such as the ‘ZawadiYangu Initiative’, further amplifies the growth in Tanzania education system, a rising demand that the government is keen to achieve, through the social development initiatives.

what do you think has been a significant development towards Africa’s economic growth especially around Health Care and what can African leaders borrow from Australia’s health care industry? In the past few years, Tanzania has increased its investment in healthcare but requires well trained people to make that investment function. The previous government administration began with construction of major hospitals, put in place a universal healthcare system, like Australia’s Medicare program. The current administration, under the Honourable Samia Suluhu Hassan, the first female President of the Republic of Tanzania, is effectively managing the healthcare for all. Bupe notes that, amazing work is being done to address inequalities in the country, including building of referral hospitals, dispensaries, clean water access projects and the administrative systems are being honed to better serve the population.

“Many struggle to grasp the significance of the messaging on Covid-19 Vaccination,” As a leader within the African community (Northern Territory), Bupe notes that Covid-19 has impacted the African Australian community in many ways. Financial difficulties suffered through loss of jobs and unemployment. African Australians, as do Australians in general, strive to meet their family and living commitments. On top of their local commitments, they also carry a conscientious commitment to assist their families back in Africa. When their regular contribution to their dependents back home in Africa is severed due to their own loss of income, this places upon them a secondary layer of stress. Bupe states, “The effective way to support people during this social disruption of the pandemic is for the government to continue to give subsidy to their salaries so that individuals can continue to support their families here in Northern Territory, enabling them continue supporting their family back home in Africa”.

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She goes on to say, “I acknowledge the great efforts from the government to support these families in time of difficulties, but more needs to be done”. Secondly, the restrictions on social movement and interaction within Northern Territory, interstate and even travelling back home to Africa. The African culture is mainly based on social gatherings like celebrations.

For them, concepts such as “vaccination”, “herd immunity”, “virus”, and “pandemic” don’t carry significant weight. Many struggle to grasp the significance of the messaging. Even worse, considering that they are unfamiliar with topic, they are vulnerable to misleading messaging on social media”.

In Australia, during this time of Covid-19, all these cultural practices were not allowed. As a result, African Australians couldn’t practice their cultural gatherings which bring them together for community bonding and social support.

The disproportionate distribution of vaccination side effects has led to many people making slow decision to get vaccinated thus risking their lives. The fact that the disease is new in the world, with new and numerous vaccinations being supplied within a short period of time, causes confusion, especially to those who rely on social media.

Bupe notes that, “The Australian government is yet to tailor the vaccination message specific for our community. We have individuals who are unfamiliar with Australian culture, language, and health language.

“The government needs to continue to provide the right information to people about Covid-19 and vaccination and assure people of the safety of the vaccines, this needs to be done even through social media”.

“Cherish nobility of the deeds” In reflection on her life’s journey, Bupe is proud to declare, “Sacrifice above all has defined most of my work”, I have learnt not to act with expectations of compensation; instead cherish nobility of the deeds themselves. I have faced many challenges, but I have yet to be dissuaded because I believe in every cause I embark on”. To put it simply, as long as it benefits the community, she is willing to serve, regardless of the cost. She has always been a believer in the benefits of hard work. Her life story is testimony to this, challenging but she stuck to it, persistently. She notes that it is, “through perseverance in working my way through the challenges, I have overcome them and enjoyed the eventual outcomes”. On pondering thoughts of Bupe’s ideal world, one can feel and yet almost experience her compassion for the migrant women in Australia.

“ I reimagine a world where migrant women can be heard and equally represented in positions of power and influence. The confidence developed in witnessing real examples of people from similar beginnings would significantly motivate them to advance in life’s aspirations”. Bupe then clarifies the antithesis, “Currently this is lacking, making it an uphill battle for women who have to deal not only with culture shock, but also racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination from within and outside of their communities”. In closing, Bupe acknowledges her gratitude for the opportunities that Australia has offered her. “Australia is a beautiful, multicultural country where one can live a peaceful life but the distance from home (Tanzania) matters to me. It is too far. I come from a large extended family and truly African, the bonds are strong, hence being far from home does make me home sick”.

Contact Bupe on ‘ZawadiYangu Initiative’ on Facebook. ZawadiYangu Initiative

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Transmuting Pain to Power by Transforming trauma Yemi Penn is a traveller, getting comfortable is not her forte. Growing up in the UK, attending boarding school in Nigeria, moving back to the UK, living in Japan. All those places changed and impacted her. However, the critical moment that has made the biggest difference in her life, was when she started to transform her childhood trauma. From something that was keeping her down to something she could actually use to uplift herself and others. Her move to Australia in 2014, at the age of 32, is where she says her “awakening” journey began. There is always a story behind every decision to migrate. The hopes for new life, new beginnings, curiosity to experience new cultures and adventure, or the desire to transform self. These are not always easy decisions for many migrants. The challenges of navigating everyday life and Culture shock is something that cannot be pre-rehearsed. For Yemi, arriving in Australia was scary, she was travelling with a 7 month old and a 7 year old and only knew three people in Australia, coming from the UK where she knew hundreds. “So, I had gone from a country in the UK where I knew hundreds of people, to just knowing three of which none was my family. I was nervous. I don’t even think excitement was there, but to be honest I was desperate. I was desperate for change. And so, taking that leap was necessary”, Yemi remembers. She faced huge challenges as a single mum, not having enough money to organise what she considered the “bare minimum”, such as childcare, planning to visit family in other parts of the world among other things.

“The biggest challenge settling in Australia was probably lack of money. As a single mum I was just in the early stages of a divorce. I just didn’t have enough money to stretch, to kind of do what I thought was “the bare minimum”. For me, I needed extra childcare because I was working full time. I wanted to be able to plan holidays to go back and see family in the UK or Nigeria or even America, which is where my son’s dad was. So that was a challenge. I think the other challenge was, having family and friends around definitely made me feel safe in the UK. In Australia I did not have that comfort blanket, and that was tough. However, the benefit was that I learnt to be even more independent. So, I guess there are always two sides to every sword”.

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In her must-read book, Did You Get The Memo? She tells of her life story of enduring childhood abuse, surviving homelessness, and becoming a millionaire. She has also produced a documentary titled, Did I Choose My Trauma? A must-watch documentary that has caught the nomination of Sony Films.

Yemi opened a second business of running a fitness studio in London. People kept telling her that it was impossible to operate that business from Australia, but Yemi’s new confidence did not accept anyone setting borders for her anymore. She has also created a successful business in Life Coaching that can serve clients anywhere in the world.

Yemi lets us in, and through her journey of self-discovery, finding her voice to engineering others in becoming their powerful self

As time moved forward, Yemi’s real empathy toward others who were suffering the effects of trauma urged her to commit more time to helping people cope with their trauma, and transform it into something that could serve others.

“Most of us are roaming this earth with unresolved trauma “, she states in her TED talk. Her trauma story that kept her down went back to her childhood, where she was the ``Uncle’s favourite girl“. Yemi was 7 or 8 years old when her uncle abused his sexual power over her. After this experience, She tried to talk but wasn‘t heard. “The traumatic event robbed me of my voice.” According to Yemi her reaction then, was a very common reaction to trauma causing people to not live in the now - “the time that truly counts”.

According to a survey conducted in 24 countries more than 70 percent of respondents experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. She acknowledges that she wants to help those people, to reach a process of post-traumatic growth by “taking fear for a dance”.

It was when she was living in London years later that she heard he was around, taking care of a young girl. She saw it happening all over again. Men trying to break women, subject women, own them. And she started realising that, “In using our voice we get to free others.” But getting there is not easy. “It forces us to get comfortable with being uncomfortable”, summarizes Yemi. “When I reflected on my traumatic event, I made the conscious choice to ask self-empowering questions as opposed to self-blame.” For her, this process also changed her way of parenting her daughter and her son, as trauma not transformed often ends up as trauma that is transferred to the next generation. Yemi is a qualified engineer, and with years of expertise in the industry, she started a consulting company focusing on Leadership and Strategy. Yemi states that she needed Australia for her new beginning, but she was also sure that Australia needed her. Today, her business success includes clients such as the Network Rail, Sydney Metro, Transport for New South Wales, BMW and University of Technology Sydney, among others.

No matter where we are from or where we go, the symptoms of trauma will follow us. We cannot change the past or what has happened to us, but how we deal with our experiences and dance with our fears can deliver significantly different outcomes. “The body keeps the score, and our priority must be to resolve our trauma so we can unearth the gifts that we have to give”, says Yemi, almost as a plea to those who are suffering. Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks and the way the black community dealt with the death of George Floyd are examples where Yemi sees trauma transformed to serve society. Along these ideals, Yemi raises three action points in her recent TED talk: 1. Acknowledge your trauma and use your voice to release the power it holds over you and others. 2. Awaken to the possibilities of different perspectives for healing. 3. Transform by asking yourself the question: What lesson can I learn from the experience?

Breaking barriers and the cages in the mind

There is something in your story that is resilient beyond belief!

We are going to have to break the barrier and cage inside our minds. It’s really easy to do that and have an impact, but only after having an internal conversation like, “what’s holding me back”. Most of the time it’s fear, “fear of what?”. It’s going to be difficult to do anything, until you work on yourself first.

“I watched a documentary titled, “You can’t ask that‘’. It was about Chinese Australians and they had one elder who said, “Everybody is a migrant apart from the “black fella”, obviously referring to our aboriginal cousins. Even though a lot of people know this innately, it really is true.

I have had many accomplishments, broken many barriers along the way, but I have had to do the work. Whenever I have been in doubt, I would usually have a conversation with myself, “why do I think I can’t break down this “thick “20 inch” wall?”. Then it’s usually because, either “I don’t feel good enough” or “I’ve never done it before” and that, is what I work on. From my experience, It’s very important for women to work on themselves to break down barriers, and create impacts through influence. Having the help of a good coach can transform lives.

We are all migrants and have been welcomed by the First Nations people. And for that, we are grateful. We also have to be grateful for nature. We really underestimate the soil, the trees, the natural reserves, the role they play in our ability to live here. It sounds so simple, but when you are grateful for the land and the people on it, then you start to see blessings. We are all warriors. If you are a migrant, you have a story to tell. Whether you‘ve come from war, whether you’ve come from broken families, homes, so many things I can go on. There is something in your story that is resilient beyond belief! That’s part of your power! We need to see you brighter than ever. But heal first. Find out what your superpower is and put it to use to help others. The struggles of her beginnings are far behind, and Yemi is a self-made millionaire who is successfully running several businesses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she started yet another business, the Golden Thread Café in Sydney, where people are not only welcomed to grab a coffee but also, (when restrictions allow), sit for conversation, movie screenings and book presentations. The culmination of her personal healing and selfdevelopment has empowered her to be able to effectively help others, to transmute their pain into power through transforming their trauma. All this made Australia to be the place, where nomadic Yemi has stuck for longer than her other homes. And she says: “Home is wherever the heart is, and I really want to live that. Australia is special to me. Definitely my home for now, and for a long while. And now that the trauma is not holding her back anymore, she and her children have a ritual: “Every morning, we have a choice to be happy.”

https://www.yemipenn.com/ Emerging Brand Africa | 69


Photographer: Edgar Mzumara IG: https://www.instagram.com/misssaharapageant/

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BEAUTY Xceptional Makeup and Cosmetics A brand that amplifies your natural beauty. We work our magic from within to bring out the beauty inside you! I am your Glam Fairy! currently based in Melbourne, but also work interstates, whenever restrictions allow. I am a qualified professional makeup artist specialist in occasion makeup as well as provide makeup education services. I started Xceptional Makeup by Adjoa after a Make-a-mess on my wedding day. My passion lies in transforming your natural beauty into a wow goddess, that will mesmerize your world! We cater for every skin shade, particularly people of color and all ages! Our make up is an extension of people’s beauty held within themselves. You are beautiful in every way. My name is Adjoa , a proud Ghanian woman and Australia is my current home. Check out our Cosmetics Brand , XM Cosmetics with amazing affordable products for all shades of beauty especially for people of color.

www.xceptionalmakeup. com Xceptionalmakeup

Ruby Lyn Makeup Artistry Makeup artist I created a makeup line for women of colour. After 13 years of living in Australia, I still could not find a foundation that matched my melanin rich skin. The lipsticks and eyeshadow were not pigmented enough for my skin tone. I realized that the problem that I was facing, was being faced by every woman of color, living in the diaspora especially Australia. I contacted some labs to help me create some foundation. The prices were too high so much that I could not afford. My dream of solving this makeup problem was too big and I could not let it die just like that. There was only one option left for me, to create my own makeup from my own kitchen. I created a beautiful mineral powder foundation that has been embraced by thousands of women in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Australia. My aim is to make sure that no Black woman walks into a store and come out because there is no makeup for her skin tone.


ACCESSORIES Preciouz dezignz Precious Dezignz is an authentic African bead jewelries and fascinators, that compliment women’s outfit for all occasions, including weddings, picnics, balls, or just at home wanting to look and feel pretty amidst homeschooling chaos!

Crafting has become part of my self-care and also a powerful tool to help enhance women’s confidence and beauty.

Hello, my name is Theo and am your Artisan.

These designs are handcrafted, selected, and customized to meet the needs of each client. Precsiouz Dezignz was born last year, a few months into lockdown. Crafting jewels helped me through the difficult times of isolation. It also helped me reconnect with my African culture. Beautiful memories of my family back in Ghana and of my dear grandmother who taught me how to craft, carry me through when I get bogged down.


SK Jewellery Skjgold is more than gold, it’s a time capsule that captures the best of you, your family and your biggest moments. Our collection includes pure gold Jewellery crafted with the finest material. Born from a dream, skjgold represents the friendships and hard work that create something beautiful

www.skjgold.com hello@skjgold.com

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Fro & Proud, Only Naturals Hair and Beauty At Fro & Proud we understand that hair enhances your natural beauty and that it is used to express personality, mood and beliefs. The brand was birthed out of a need for locally made natural hair care tailor made for kinky, coily hair. Our products are designed to help nourish and improve the health of your hair and scalp. All products contain natural ingredients and are free from parabens and sulfates making them gentle enough for use by the entire family. We also offer hair and beauty services at our salon, “Only Naturals Hair and Beauty” based in Toowoomba City, Queensland. Here we specialise in caring for your highly textured hair and enjoy educating our clients.

For all your hair and beauty needs visit us at: Shop 4/12 Russell Street, Toowoomba, Qld. Phone 0457430739 Follow us on Instagram: froandproud and onlynaturals_hairandbeauty Facebook: Fro and Proud

www.froandproud.com www.onlynaturalshairandbeauty.com admin@froandproud.com


HAIRCITY We specialise in all Wigs if all types of the highest quality to suit every budget and skin colour. We offer wigs in Indian Remy hair, Cuticle Malaysian Hair, Virgin Indian, virgin Chinese and Brazilian hair. What we do: • Front Lace wigs

Sell Hair & Beauty Products on Haircity: Whether you are starting out on your entrepreneur journey in beauty or just starting your hairline business, Haircity is here to support you. We support merchants who would like to sell on Haircity platform.

• Full Lace Wig Systems • Blended Wig Systems • Hair Pieces • Pony Tails • Brazilian hair extensions • Traditional sewn in hair extensions • Skincare and Beauty products

https://www.facebook.com/MyHairCity/ www.haircity.com.au

Reina haircare ltd Reina Haircare is a New Zealand based business that creates haircare products for textured hair, curly, coily, kinky, afro. Our products are created from natural and organic ingredients, vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, chemical free and PH balanced.

We also educate people on how to care for textured hair by advising the correct techniques and best practices. We started this business so we could fill the gap of good quality products for textured hair that actually work and to also provide helpful tips on textured hair care.

We work with New Zealand’s leading manufacturer of natural and organic haircare products with over 5 decades of experience, providing innovation, expertise, extensive formulating knowledge with advanced technical experience to create products of the highest quality.

https://reinahaircare.com/ reinahaircare

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Sankofa Taste the rich tapestry of African delicacies and journey through time and space to the origins of Humankind with Sankofa. Sankofa is a word in the Twi language of Ghana that translates as “Go back and get it”. As a brand we are “going back”, to bring all classic recipes from Ghana to the people of Australia.

www.angiessankofa.com angies_sankofa

Tastes of Senegal Tastes Of Senegal is an ambitious family business, to bring the renown Senegalese culinary delicacies to the Melbourne food lovers. Our blend of exquisite cuisine is of taste and refinement, and a product of hundreds if not thousands of years of west African cooking traditions.

tastesofsenegal tastesofsenegal@gmail.com


Golden Grill Palace Golden Grill Palace is an emerging brand of Authentic African Cuisine catering for Melbournians with cultural experience another dimension to food for thought. Melbourne being a city full of Multicultural people and restaurants, I could not find a place in the northern suburbs of Melbourne as a matter of fact the whole of Australia that showcased African culture. Something like a one stop shop where I could find different African food. We have been operating since Feb 2020, serving a diverse range of customers. Its great to see the joy food brings to people specially when they taste your style of homemade food it just puts a smile on my face.

www.goldengrillpalace.com.au Goldengrill goldengrillpalace@gmail.com Emerging Brand Africa | 79


Below he surface Below The Surface is a creative media company that combines the power of storytelling with creative expression to explore, advocate and celebrate the diversity of lived experiences and perspectives in Australia, particularly from the African Australian community. The founder wanted to create safe spaces where African Australians and coloured people can express themselves on a platform that engages the broader Australian community. Below The Surface is a project- and event-based platform that sees itself creating online and print magazines, curating events and panel discussions, and much more.



Voice Everyday Racism Structural racism is more than just a slur. Racism is present in all systems of society. It seems that there is a gap in understanding what racism is and the realities of those on the receiving end. Voice Everyday Racism aims to: 1. Provide a platform for people to speak about everyday racism they encounter 2. Provide connections and community support 3. Provide awareness and how Australia and the world can learn from people on the receiving end 4. Create educational programs 5. Connect with Government and other support networks.

https://www.voiceeverydayracism.com/ P.O. Box 434 SPRINGWOOD NSW 2777


Queen Bee - The African Queen Event hosting, marriage teachings and sharing God’s word on love, life, faith, happiness, fidelity and God’s blessings in marriages and relationships. 2 Corinthians 9:10 “Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,”



Confidence & Self-esteem Strategic Thinking Katinda Ndola is a celebrated Community Influencer, author and one of the most sought-after Personal Development Coaches. Her unique techniques rapidly trigger the personal change that effectively moves you to take more consistent inspired action and go further faster with your personal achievements. Katinda’s life changing journey started when she realized that she was sick and tired of living life with low self-esteem and lack of purpose. Her story will resonate profoundly with you if you are searching for ways to break free from the doubts and fears that keep you from living your most authentic, meaningful life. Katinda has a mission of making you bold in your ability to achieve the life you desire, and to help you go further faster now.

www.confidenceandselfesteem.com support@confidenceandselfesteem. Emerging Brand Africa | 81



Anyier Model Management and Miss Sahara Navigating my adolescent years, I grew a passion for the fashion and beauty industry. Having some success competing in beauty pageants, I was able to garner an audience both locally and internationally, motivating me to launch a social enterprise Miss Sahara beauty pageant and a modelling agency, Anyier Model Management (AMM). Both values diversity and inclusion and seeks to promote representation of minority groups in the Australian fashion industry.

https://misssahara.com misssaharapageant anyier@misssahara.com https://anyiermodelmanagement.com.au

MAT TETNI Mat Tetni, or ‘Joining hands in collaboration’, is the name of the Ballarat business founded by Mary Top and Mary Deng from South Sudan. Combining environmental consciousness with a passionate desire to celebrate and showcase the joyous colours of Africa, Mat Tetni skilfully craft aprons by teaming upcycled denim jeans with vibrantly printed African fabrics. They also make and sell a range of homewares including tea towels, oven gloves, bags and vibrant fabric wall hangings. Mat Tetni sell their products at local markets and online through their website,

https://mattetni.com.au https://www.madebymanyhands.com.au/store/

FASHION ABI House of Fashion & Fabric ABI House of fashion and Fabrics initially started as a hobby under Abbey party & Hire in 2012, where the founder Abiola Akinbiyi used her love for travel, gift of style and fashion to assist and source unique and beautiful fabrics for friends and family for their parties. In 2019 ABI House of fashion was born to support and sustain our sister charity organisation in Africa. ABI House of Fashion and Fabric is a culture infused fashion line that combines African prints, patterns, and plain fabric to create ready to wear comfy clothes. Our design adapts to time by embracing the uniqueness in diversity.

Our design is influenced by People and culture. This fashion house is not only creating African fusion ready to wear, but it also provides a space to embrace multicultural fashion, accessories, and diversity! Address: Level 1 (Suite 2) Wallace Avenue Specialist Suites,122/22-30 Wallace Avenue Point Cook 3030 t_glamevents@yahoo.com.au

Each material is carefully selected from Africa and worldwide, designed with love and executed to style with passion. We also specialise in unique African fabrics, accessories and customised traditional African attire for Brides, Groom, bridal parties, and party guests.

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A Tuk Nyibol is changing the way we see and use the term sustainability. Her artisanal talents led her to founding ATUK. A collection of unique, high-quality handmade Homewares and Fashion accessories combining upcycled textiles with vibrant Ankara wax cloth. The vibrant colors that hit your face when you walk into the small Ballarat store, is sure to brighten your gloomy day.A Tuk, is not just a store, it’s a place which brings together a community of talented African women to share and exchange their creative ideas and encourage each other as businesswomen as well as mothers. Hello, My name is Atuk and am your Artisan.

https://www.atuk.com.au/ https://www.instagram.com/atuk_nyibol/



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Simba Financial Services We will work with you to find the ideal solution for your requirements, whether you are looking for a low rate, consolidate your credit card and personal loan liabilities, or to purchase your first home. As your mortgage broker, we will advise you on the appropriate loan. We do all the legwork for you giving you certainty and confidence as you go about your day. We pride ourselves on having knowledge, experience, and on our relationships to find you an ideal solution fast and efficiently. At Simba Financial Services we are available 7 days a week to meet and discuss your needs when it comes to buying a home, property investment, or refinancing.


Kolad Finance Kolad is a mortgage brokerage firm, providing financial services to individuals and businesses, interested in purchasing a property. Our range of services include Residential Loans, Commercial Loans, Investment and car Loans. We believe that buying a property, not only creates an opportunity to generate equity, but also provides security for the individual. a call to find out more. We serve clients from all backgrounds, but with a strong focus on the African migrants, enabling them to achieve their dream of owning a property and having the security they desire.

www.koladfinance.com.au koladfinance

We guarantee an effortless and convenient process. The biggest investment in Australia is in property and with its high returns, it’s a no brainer in the current marketplace. We negotiate for the best deals, so you can own your dream home. Give us


FoMu FoMu is a Building design and Construction company aims to consolidate functional and practical principles of space form and place. We deliver successful project outcomes by setting clear goals based on the realities of the specific project and the delivery requirements. These clear goals allow the project design and construction teams to take a systematic approach in delivering the project. We seek to provide you with friendly, professional, and excellent customer service from the moment you engage us through to project completion.


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Disability Home Nursing Care pty Ltd My name is Billi, a certified mental health nurse I am a credential mental health nurse and founder of DHN Care, a registered NDIS service provider. Our vision is to enhance the quality of life for people experiencing psychosocial disability, by couching and supporting participants to increase their recovery skills. DHN care mission is to offer excellent, reliable, caring, and stress-free service. We recognize everyone’s need is different, and it is committed to provide individually person cantered service. We treat you with dignity.

https://dhncare.org.au info@dhncare.org.au

Base Disability Our Base Disability’s mission is to promote inclusion of people with disability. Base Disability is a NDIS registered support provider, established to revolutionize the way society sees Para-ability. We are passionate about the social impact in the quality of care delivered to children, teens and adults, who need special and additional support to perform their everyday tasks. At Base, we believe that every person has something valuable to contribute to their community, we provide an enabling and inclusive environment to help you achieve your mission. If you are looking for a genuine and supportive service, Base Disability, will be your trusted friend, coach and personal assistant.

https://basedisability.com/ https://www.instagram.com/base.disability


MoreMotala Osteopathy MoreMotala Osteopathy was created to provide a safe space for patients to heal and live pain free lives. We treat a wide range of musculoskeletal disorders. We treat patients ranging from babies to the elderly. Our treatment includes hands on manual therapy in conjunction with exercise and rehab.


POWA Care Connections POWA Care Connections are the disability support service providers who let you live your life with ease. We provide the following services:

Whether you’d like to find an activity you love, get extra help at home or access nursing, we’re here for you.

• Plan Management • Support Coordination • Respite Care • Specialised Disability Accommodation • Household Tasks • Recreational Activities • Personal Care • Transportation Located in the West of Melbourne, we know for a fact that everyone is different that is why we tailor supports for our participants. We pride ourselves with the ability to provide disability support needed by our participants, when they need it.

www.powacare.net.au Emerging Brand Africa | 89



Local Transit Local Transit Pty Ltd is a for-purpose social enterprise with a two-pronged impact model. • Providing people with disabilities and other mobility restrictions an innovative and accessible customer journey experience, including linkages with accessible public transport networks. • Providing drivers in low socioeconomic areas with reliable employment, development, and income opportunities.



Muve-box Muve-Box is a business based in Melbourne Victoria! We are dedicated to sustainable alternatives and eco-friendly solutions. Our service replaces traditional once use cardboard boxes with plastic boxes made from recycled materials. We are passionate about providing our customers with a hassle free moving experience whilst doing our bit for the environment.


Since launching two years ago, Local Transit has provided over 15,000 trips for more than 3,000 patrons living with a disability. It has also provided over a million dollars’ worth of job opportunities and direct income for affiliated drivers.


Fowl Play Games & Events We Offer alternative sporting games & equipment for private hire. Archery tag, bubble soccer, giant Velcro darts, human football & nerf war. Any event or occasion. Our games are extremely versatile, perfect for kids or adults. Team bonding, school holiday programs, kids or adult parties etc


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https://www.instagram.com/amcfoz/com/amcfoz/ https://www.facebook.com/AMCFOZ http://africanmusicfestival.com.au/

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Ballarat Export-ready Incubator

What is it?

14 selected businesses

no cost

3 observing businesses

robust selection process

11 industry sectors

5 x 1 day export and business model workshops 6 x 1.5 hour coaching sessions introduction to Australian-based international markets lifetime access to masterclasses lifetime access to resources skills to create intercultural networks from August to December, 2021 stay tuned for 2022!

20 Founders Tech Fashion, jewellery and garments Construction Impact Enterprise Environment Public relations Manufacturing Giftware Entertainment Health

You're welcome to find out more from Lynda Ford Program Director +61 (0) 414 440 483 lynda@enterprisingpartnerships.com.au


Wyndham Events Decor We cater to your special events such as birthday parties, weddings and other celebrations. We hire out party chairs, chair covers, sashes, table covers and runners, plinths, flower bouquets, centrepieces, balloon garlands and much more!

We cater to most suburbs in the west of Melbourne and we always endeavour to provide the best party setup and rental service in Melbourne West.

www.wyndhameventsdecor.com events@wyndhameventsdecor.com Emerging Brand Africa | 95


EmBAThe Premiere ÉDITION Amazing stories Connecting Cultures Innovation Brands that tell a story National coverage-AU!

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Articles from Emerging Brand Africa Magazine & Catalogue- Australia