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Note from publisher/Credits


Note from editor


Cover story - Gibril Faal - A Global leader at the heart of Africa’s biggest causes


Akosua Dentaa Amoateng - The GUBA Awards - Positively Impacting the society


Nelson Mandela Children’s fund UK - Incredible Insight from Kathi Scott.


Josena Bonsundy Nvumba - Inspiring Unity and Diversity Across the Masses


Pamoja tells the next chapter of the African story.


Tinaye Munonyara unpacks Africa’s future technology


Thapelo Moloantoa - Strengthening Ties Between UK and SA Community Football.


Regina Oladipo touches those around her through a loving heart and determination


JAM organisation joining the ght against hunger in Africa


Cooking with Caz - The African food scene in the Diaspora


Danai Mavunga - What a time to be alive


20 04



Publisher Conrad Mwanza

Note from the


Group Business Director Louis Charema Business Development Tinaye Munonyara Advertising +44 20 7993 4817 /+44 74 6677 4433 Editor Gemma Smith



Contributors Tidimalo Kwidini Tinashe Mukono Caroline Gundu

he African Community around the world

languages that has expressed a desire to

was gripped with excitement last year

connect with the land. There is a genuine need

when the President of Ghana, His

and hunger for African content and interaction

Excellency Nana Adoko Dankwa Akufo-Addo

and some of this generation such as the

declared that 2019 will be The Year of Return for

Pamoja network have taken it upon themselves

all African descendants around the world. This

to tell the African story.

was explained to be a call to the African global family to take a birth right journey back to the motherland and was welcomed and endorsed by many famous figures in the world.

The African Diaspora is on a quest to fulfil that desire and yearning for everyone to tell the authentic and undiluted story from all the 54 states on the continent whilst also bringing into

The development becomes more significant

people’s consciousness the voice and actions

when we take into account the fact that Ghana

of the 55th State, the African Diaspora.

was the first African country to attain economic and political independence in 1957. It becomes only fitting that the long awaited homecoming takes place at such a symbolic state. Africans have been going overseas in droves for the longest time and no bigger exodus was seen like the 60’s era. The USA and the UK have proven to be the most popular destinations and to date an estimated 2million Africans are in the UK.


Photography Blessing Chinanga Design Kudakwashe Dube Website Edwin Bonono Published by CMG INTERNATIONAL MEDIA GROUP

children are rising up again and

heeding the call back home to pick up the mantle and run with the vision, the 55thstate is firmly committed to that cause and here at The African Diaspora we lend our full weight in support to the reawakening of the giant that is Africa.


The African contingent abroad has been contributing positively in the respective countries they are in and so diverse are the

Conrad Mwanza.

skills on offer in academia, health, banking, sport and more to the extent that there are persistent calls for the African Union (AU) to recognize the African diaspora community as the 55th state of Africa. This is largely in part due to the role they play in nation building, paying taxes and also economic activities and relations that are being built abroad. The calls for engagement can be giant strides into resolving some long standing issues in Africa.


There is also another rising 2nd generation of African descendants with both British and African blood who were born abroad and some possibly cannot even speak the African

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law Every possible effort has been made to ensure the information contained in this publication is accurate at the time of going to press and neither the publishers not any of the authors, editors or advertisers can accept responsibility for any errors or omissions, however caused. No responsibility for loss or damage occasioned to any person acting, or refraining from action, as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by the editors, authors, advertisers, the publisher or any of the contributors or sponsors.


Note from Editor ‘'The African Diaspora Magazine has a unique edge to it offering readers heartfelt, truthful stories. We thrive ourselves on people sharing their stories with others. We want to rid the negative and shine light on all the positive work that is being done to support Africa'' Gemma Smith - TAD Editor


exceptionally special, but Josefina's ideas, attitude and motivation are intensely heartwarming. Being able to interview such enthusing role models such as Josefina has only heightened my passion and sincere love for Africa and the African community.


ou can achieve anything once you put your mind to it' – an incredible saying with a lot of underlying value. This resonates with me: after interviewing so many high-profile, inspirational figures, I have realised that dreams can come true, nothing is impossible and what matters is that we protect our faith and persist with loyalty to achieving our goals; even through the most challenging of times. The African Diaspora Magazine has a edge to it offering readers heartfelt, stories. We thrive ourselves on people their stories with others. We want to

unique truthful sharing rid the

negative and shine light on all the positive work that is being done to support Africa and its people. Many Africans in the UK are committed to achieving amazing work both in the UK and in Africa to impact and touch the masses. Our thoughtful ethos encompasses a real insight into so many moving experiences. One extraordinary interview that is featured inside this magazine is expressed with Josefina Bonsundy Nvumba, a leading, powerful woman who is driving forward positive change for the African and African diaspora community. Not only is her profound passion for celebrating and highlighting diversity all around the world

The poignant birth of my love for Africa began when I booked my trip to climb the 'Roof of Africa', an exciting opportunity that really did change my life. While visiting Tanzania and later on Zanzibar, I connected with the African energy – the people were welcoming, warm-hearted and happy. The Mother Land really touched my heart and I left feeling inspired to share positive vibes with those around me and to embrace life truly. I felt grateful and I felt grounded. My childhood dream of reaching the top of Mount Kilimanjaro came true and this increased my desire to write about Africa even more. This lifechanging experience led me to zealously want to contribute to the African community through writing. I pursued to broaden my horizon by connecting with role models who were willing to share their stories. I relish interviewing people who have a story to tell and I believe that we all have a story inside of us. We should embrace any chance to spread our story, enlighten others and to open up other people's eyes and hearts to the beautiful life that we all share. It is an absolute honour to interview remarkable icons, people who have dedicated their life purpose to giving back to the African and African diaspora communities and the work is only just beginning.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION @theafricandiasporamag





UK Country Head: Brand South Africa

Pumela Salela Country Head : United Kingdom


GIBRIL FAAL A GLOBAL LEADER AT THE HEART OF AFRICA'S BIGGEST CAUSES Gibril Faal(GF) is no stranger to the business world. As a seasoned social entrepreneur, author and multi-disciplinary practitioner with an allencompassing professional background, as well as a champion of key initiatives that are inuencing both the African and European communities in numerous ways, he has been a force to reckon with for over two decades. We caught up with the recently appointed chair of the Entrepreneurship & Circular Migration Committee to discuss his journey, his business initiatives, the challenges that he has overcome and what still needs to be done to achieve more for the African diaspora.

TAD: The world knows you as 'Mr Diaspora' - with an impressive track record and having run and led several successful diaspora initiatives, tell us a bit about where your journey began? GF: I am from a town called Latrikunda in the Republic of The Gambia. The original village was founded and developed by my great grandfather, Morr Faal, in the late 1800s. He left the royal household of the Kingdom of Cayor (present day Senegal), settled briey in Banjul before establishing what is now one of The Gambia's thriving communities. I attended Serekunda Primary School in the early 70s, a state school opened in 1949, situated a mile from our house. From 1979, I attended Gambia High School (GHS) and was there for seven years. This is where I completed my sixth form.

GF: I have lived in the UK since 1987. Education has always been a very big part of who I am and in the three decades that I have been in this country, I have studied at ve universities, qualifying in diverse disciplines, including law, nance, management, development economics, planning and environmental sciences, to name a few. TAD: How did your formative years growing up in The Gambia inuence your outlook on life and prepare you to become the man you are today?

GF: In 1986, I had the opportunity to train at the Supreme Court of the Gambia for three months and worked for over a year as a Junior Clerk of Court. I was still a teenager when I was given the responsibility to run a semi-rural Magistrate's Court, clerking for a travelling Magistrate.

GF: My parents instilled strong moral and guiding principles, which have been the nucleus of a lot of things I have done in my life. I believe that the starting point of growing as a person is being accountable and having a duty to contribute to the welfare and advancement of family, community and country. At home and at school, there was an emphasis on education and how important it was, especially for people from deprived backgrounds. My father was a great advocate for hard work and wanted us to thrive - I think I've inherited that passion. My mother demonstrated generosity, kindness and discretion in all business and interpersonal relations - I try to live up to that standard of gentleness and general compassion, which has been benecial in both personal and professional endeavours.

TAD: When did you move to the UK?

TAD: In 2014 the Queen appointed you an OBE, what did this mean to you?

TAD: You worked for the Supreme Court, could you shed light on that experience?


GF: At rst, I was just grateful that the Department for International Development (DFID) were kind enough to nominate me. I was pleased for the sectoral recognition, especially the pioneering role of the African Foundation for Development (AFFORD), which I chaired for over a decade. In addition, when I was growing up, it was instilled in us that honour, success and personal satisfaction arise out of principled actions that benet communities, thus material gain or public recognition on their own are not motivating factors. However, I was both amazed and gratied by people who celebrated this honour with me. My swearing-in was conducted by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle and I was especially moved to see how proud and happy my father was. He was nearly 90 years old and passed away about three months after the ceremony.

TAD: What were your earliest challenges working with diaspora communities in the UK, and how does that compare with your experience today? GF: We had to analyse, explain and demonstrate how individual and small scale actions such as

TAD: You have developed a course that tackles issues of migration and its effects; could you give us an overview of its purpose? GF: Yes, I have developed an accredited course on 'Optimising Actual, Virtual and Circular Return' to help countries of origin and heritage attain optimal development inputs from migrants in the diaspora, whether they return home or not. We also need to bear in mind that a large number of those in the diaspora are multigenerational people who were not even born in their country of heritage – yet they still have a lot to contribute. TAD: How supportive has the UK government been to your cause, and do you feel that government policy now recognises the importance of engaging Africans in the UK as part of its

monthly remittances to families back home, and the work of home town and alumni associations are linked into the macro-dynamics of national and international development. We needed to explain to diaspora communities and mainstream partners, the role, potential and dynamic power of diaspora aggregation. This then led to making a case for the existence of a diverse and healthy ecology of diaspora organisations, including well-structured legal companies limited by guarantee and fullyedged registered charities – subscribing to the governance and compliance obligations of myriad laws and regulations.

of solutions and hope”. TAD: The African diaspora has grown immensely in the past 50 years; is this a sign that Africa's developmental challenges are mounting rather than falling;and what is your take on this rather signicant brain drain challenge we face on our continent?

GF: To an extent it has. This was the path to mainstreaming and practical partnerships with the major development institutions. We had to motivate people to focus on positive action and healthy ambition in the face of unfairness and disadvantage. This is why in 2005, when AFFORD hosted the late Nobel Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai at African Diaspora and Development Day (AD3), I came up with the mantra that: “We are not peddlers of problems and doom, we are merchants

GF: Migration resulting from actual or potential conict or desperate poverty are indeed signs of underdevelopment. However, evidence also shows that the more developed a country is, the higher the a c t u a l m i g r a t i o n f r o m t h e c o u n t r y. F o r policymakers, it is not prudent for them to just assume that migration is a constant and potentially increasing phenomenon. Policy interventions should be differentiated so as to: prevent dysfunctional migration; mitigate negative effects of specic forms of migration; and optimise the positive impacts of general migration. Brain drain and 'brain waste' (when skilled migrants are employed in lower skilled or unskilled work in destination countries), are examples of negative effects of migration. Nevertheless, an entire body of best practice has evolved to mitigate these.

international development agenda?

others to implement that policy.

GF: The emergence of diaspora-development in the past 20 years or so is one of the rare incidents in international development. Through the pioneering work of AFFORD and its co-founder and rst Executive Director Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie MBE, the rst formal breakthrough in the UK was in 1998. With the creation of DFID as a standalone Ministry formed from the Overseas Development Administration which was part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Ofce, its rst White Paper was produced. Although the word 'diaspora' was not used, AFFORD was able to inuence the government to include a commitment to work with migrants and members of ethnic minorities in the UK to promote development in their countries of origin. We followed through by helping DFID and

TAD: Off the back of the White Paper document, would you say that diaspora groups now have more of a standing and are acknowledged now more than before?

TAD: Would you say this has been a success so far?

GF: Diaspora organisations are recognised as a distinct group and almost every international development funding programme in the UK monitors this category to assess the level of access to funding and general inclusion in programmes and processes. For the African diaspora and other small and specialised organisations, advocacy to avoid marginalisation is an ongoing task. In the early 2000s AFFORD and VSO developed a very innovative diaspora volunteering programme, later funded by DFID and evaluated as successful and important.


TAD: Most diaspora community organisations struggle with challenges of capacity and funding to progress their work. What are some of the ways in which you help or advise them to tackle these challenges? GF: All funders and nanciers are looking for investmentready proposals, based on sets of general and specic criteria. It requires technical skills to produce compelling proposals that standout in competitive funding schemes. This is a challenge for small organisations. The promoters who form and drive development organisations do not necessarily have the skills, experience or indeed the motivation to undertake the detailed and sometimes tedious work of producing proposals. In the UK through the AFFORD Business Club (ABC) and in the EU through Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT), we provide practical and technical training, support, fundraising and resource mobilisation. AFFORD, ADEPT and similar organisations require more resources to meet the existing demand. TAD: Do you think it is necessary to have a funding scheme that is specic for our diaspora communities and organisations? The European Union and a number of governments, as well as many major funders have minimum criteria that effectively exclude small and diaspora organisations from their schemes. Thus it is necessary to have dedicated diaspora funding programmes. This principle has been accepted and many countries around the world have set up such schemes. In 2013, as part of the United Nations High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (UNHLD), AFFORD facilitated the participation of Comic Relief. As a major UK private trust funder, Comic Relief made a credible case for dedicated diaspora funding. They illustrated how it can work in practice by presenting its joint programme with DFID, called Common Ground Initiative. In the UK, AFFORD works in partnership with DFID, Comic Relief, Pharo Foundation and others to provide funding of up to £30,000 to diaspora organisations running projects in Africa. Currently, ADEPT is in consultation with the European Commission (EC) and Swiss Government for a

are not “ We peddlers of problems and doom; we are merchants of solutions and hope.


Europe-wide Diaspora Grant Fund.How involved are you in promoting intercontinental dialogue, and how well is that going? The diaspora may be in conict with their governments but they remain patriotic. For me personally, I could not possibly have worked with the then dictatorial regime in The Gambia, so we made our contributions in different ways. With a democratic government taking ofce in January 2016, I am now running a Technical Cooperation Project with the Ofce of the President. It has been followed up with consultations and the production of a Diaspora Strategy which declared the Gambia Diaspora as the eighth region of the country. We are now in the implementation phase, with tasks including setting up of a Gambia Diaspora Directorate, facilitation of diaspora voting at Presidential elections, reduction of the cost of remittances and creation of a Diaspora Development Fund.

of Archbishop Desmond Tutu did not benet South Africans alone, it inspired the whole world. African business leaders, innovators and social entrepreneurs can bring Africa-inspired solutions, not only to Africa, but to the global village, connected by technology and an emergent cyber-politan culture. TAD: You hold several high prole roles, which must be very demanding at times. How do you balance your work and personal life? I'm not sure that my life is balanced and often, the boundaries are blurred. TAD: Finally, how do you prefer to unwind and relax from your busy schedule? I do like a good laugh, comedy; especially satire is my favourite form of entertainment. I am a long term subscriber to Private Eye and I collect satirical cartoons. My favourite artist is Rene Magritte.

ADM: What advice would you give to Africa's next generation of business leaders and innovators?

To nd out a little bit more about the work Gibril does, visit;

The African empires of classical antiquity, Kush and Kemet were civilisations not for Africans alone, but for all of humanity. The medieval University of Timbuktu was not for African clerics alone, it was for Islamic scholars across the world. The contemporary moral leadership

Akosua Dentaa Amoateng “ The GUBA Awards is really people centred.”


GUBA AWARDS positively impacting the community

Interviewed by Gemma Smith


kosua Dentaa Amoateng is best known for her stage name Dentaa and is an award-winning British Ghanaian entrepreneur, TV presenter, actress, singer, producer and manager. She is an advocate for the Ghanaian community and is the founder of the Ghana UK Based Awards (GUBA)

Awards is a non-prot organisation that focuses on enriching the African community in the UK with the aim of empowerment and growth. It is an annual event dedicated to highlighting and rewarding outstanding achievers. It also works to ensure that it encourages the youth to work

The GUBA Expo is a platform for Small and Medium Businesses to exhibit their products/services whilst engaging with industry personnel on business growth strategies. The main focus of the expo is to encourage entrepreneurship, achieved through various workshops and seminars at each expo. The 2016 expo which took place at the Charlton Athletic FC in collaboration with the Greenwich Council, was a platform to recognise and provide opportunities for African Small and Medium businesses to excel in the UK.

Remarkably, Akosua was awarded an MBE – Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire – in Her Majesty The Queen; Elizabeth ||'s 2016 Birthday Honours and a year later she received the Ghana Peace Awards Humanitarian Service Laureate in Accra, Ghana. Akosua was awarded her MBE as recognition of her services to UK-African Diaspora relations. Dentaa founded the awards in 2009 as she noticed a gap in the industry; there was nothing that promoted and celebrated the hard work and successes of British Ghanaians. Improving African affairs within the UK is the main objective of her organisation – the GUBA Enterprise – and her team. The platform celebrates the excellence and achievement among the British-Ghanaian community, which is incredibly inspiring and inuential for other individuals who wish to make a huge difference in society. Her message is powerful, strong and meaningful and her non-prot organisation provides an engaging platform for promoting truly greater cultural diversity in the UK, as well as promoting the prole of Ghana. Akosua Dentaa Amoateng MBE is an icon and role model to all African women living and working in Europe and The African Diaspora decided to nd out more. TAD: Hi Akosua! In your own words, could you tell me a bit about GUBA Enterprise Ghana and the GUBA Awards? ADA: GUBA Enterprise consists of GUBA Awards, GUBA Expo, GUBA Foundation and GUBA Careers & Investment Fair. The Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA)

awareness about autism in the African community in the UK. The foundation held several seminars, connecting autistic families with health care professionals and services to eradicate the stigma attached to autism in the African community.

The GUBA Careers and Investment Fair aims to connect corporate rms in Ghana and Africa with skilled individuals in the UK. GUBA Enterprise has demonstrated its dedication to promoting excellence in the African community within its 5 years of operation. positively to impact their communities. GUBA Awards is endorsed by London Mayor - Boris Johnson, MP Diane Abbot, Mrs Cherie Blair, The British High Commission and Lord Paul Boateng. The overall aim of GUBA Awards is to facilitate advancement and reward excellence within the African community in the UK. GUBA Awards is scheduled to take to place in June 2019. The GUBA Foundation is an initiative set up to tackle health issues within the African community. The campaign this year is on Infant Mortality. In Ghana, a new-born dies every fteen minutes due to the lack of incubators and proper hospital equipment. The current campaign aims to raise money in purchasing 100 incubators for the affected hospitals and countries. The previous campaigns by the GUBA Foundation was centred on raising

TAD: Please tell us a little about your journey to where you are today? ADA: My educational journey begun at the Walthamstow School for Girls. I embarked on certication in Media Studies, Performing Arts and Sociology at the Leyton Sixth Form College. This was followed by a Paediatric Nursing Degree at the Buckinghamshire


TAD: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur and who is your biggest inspiration? ADA: My initial inspiration and motivation to become an entrepreneur came from my husband. One of my biggest inspiration to work harder to achieve more each day is Oprah. With my background in presenting, she serves as direct inspiration for me. Also, her humanitarian ventures also inspire me to do more to help my community. In addition, my constant motivation to do more comes from my children - I want to demonstrate to them that anything is achievable if you set your mind to it. TAD: How did you diversify into TV presenting, actressing, singing, producing and managing? ADA: I have always had varied interest in a number of areas. I am the type of individual that attempts to execute my ideas to get a desired result. It is with this mind-set that I joined acting agencies, recorded and aired the rst 'Dentaa Show.' Following the success of the show, I had the platform to venture into other presenting and acting roles. Also, I absolutely love singing and felt deeply that I use that talent to lift the Lord's name higher, hence the recording of my gospel album.

University. My dream from a young age was to become an actress and TV presenter. I was blessed to be able to do so through the Dentaa show. My passion however, has always been to work with children so I proceeded to take a degree in nursing. I have been practicing Paediatric Nurse for some years now. I discovered by capabilities by chance. I have always been a condent person, but I was unaware of my skills, sometimes you don't discover your skills until you start doing it and living it. With the GUBA Awards for example, I had no idea how to begin but once I boldly started, I can say that I am happy with the achievement. TAD: How do people take part in the GUBA Awards/how do the nominations work? ADA: The GUBA Awards is really people centred, we have a procedure we follow each year and they are: Selection of categories – This is done by the GUBA team, we look at areas we feel are not represented/ acknowledged and we craft categories in accordance. Nominations – once categories have been nalised, there is a call for nominations. The general public then get to send in their chosen individuals for the various categories. Shortlisting – GUBA judges proceed to sort through the nominations, ensuring that nominees t the criteria set out for each category. Voting – shortlisted nominees are put out for the public to vote for their favourites. Winners are then announced at the awards.

TAD: How do you want to be remembered as an inuential gure? ADA: I want to be remembered as a change-maker. The type of individual that has enriched her community, country and continent. I want to have inspired generations to embark on entrepreneurial journeys and to give back to their communities.

TAD: What were the greatest challenges you faced and how have you overcome them? ADA: Establishing yourself in any industry comes with its difculties. One of the main challenges in the beginning was balancing private life with work. Once GUBA Awards was set up, one of the main challenges was funding. As a not for prot, generating funding and sponsorships was a challenge and one of the main hurdles we had to overcome. I realised the power of a supportive family unit and a team. I started delegating to my able team to offset any backlog. I also ensured that I made time for family. In regard to funding, after years of working on the brand, we are at a stage whereby our brand, purpose and aims are known so we are a bit more stable in that area and thus it is easier to gain funding.

TAD: Please share some advice with us that you wish someone had given you when you were growing up? ADA: To always be condent and persistent in the path that you take to success.

For more information about the GUBA Awards, please visit or you can contact them on +44(0)795 694 5360 and for more information email



I was blessed to be given my role and with that comes responsibility and a duty of

care to our greatest assets – our children


Kathi Scott

Written & edited by Gemma Smith


athi Scott, the Executive Director of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund UK, derives from a place of love and her heart is enthused with some inspiring qualities that she is truly passionate about. A premise of hers belongs in the realm of laughing together as well as loving others, seeking adventure, believing in your dreams and making a difference. Kathi and her team are working endlessly towards a vision of equality. Their mission is to give a voice and dignity to the African child by building a rights-based movement and long for children to live with dignity, feel safe, be nurtured and have their voices heard. From a very young age, Kathi Scott felt inspired to play her part in combating prejudice, discrimination and racism, and carries ultimate determination in order to pursue her goals in those spheres.

name and the dream of the organisation's founder, Nelson Mandela, who is a remarkably, honourable individual and his legacy continues to impact the world to this day. Her outlook is not only humbling but ignites a light from within, to be sincerely compassionate and mindful of the most vulnerable in society and to warmly take steps to afrm humanity, dignity, equality, liberation, justice and peace. Not only has she worked for one of the world's greatest leaders, but for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund UK that is encompassed around putting the interests of children rst. “You only live once, but if you get it right, once is enough” – a beautiful quote by Kathi Scott that is sincere, honest and truly eye-opening. Read on to nd out more about Kathi Scott and the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund UK.

Something quite precious that Kathi has observed along her journey is the way that people continue to strive despite unbelievable challenges and go on to achieve incredible things. It is an absolute privilege to be inspired by different people and this is certainly a triumph for Kathi.

TAD: Hi Kathi, in your own words, could you explain your role as the Executive Director of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund UK and what it entails on a daily basis?

Within this piece, Kathi highlights the importance of co-operation and guiding and supporting one another with patience. She expresses the importance of the

KS: The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund UK is a registered charity in the UK, but it is also an extension of Head Ofce in Johannesburg. Both


ofces work closely together, and we consider ourselves a family – we work hard to build a workplace where we always put the interests of children rst, where we walk with each other in honesty and integrity. Our communication is open and clear, and we support each other in a caring and nurturing way. Co-operation is always favoured above competition; we guide and support each other with patience. Importantly, the name and the dream of our founder, Nelson Mandela, is always honoured. My role in the UK and Europe is predominately fundraising, with some advocacy work. But no two days are ever the same which I love! Normally my day starts around 6am, when I check emails, do research and read some documents I might need for meetings. I always start my rst meetings of the day at 8.30am and try to get back to the ofce at around 10.30am if possible. The job involves a lot of evening and weekend work– whether that is a fundraising event, speaking engagements or networking event. I try to limit one-on-one meetings in the evenings; otherwise, your home life is non-existent. At the ofce, it is a combination of external meetings, administration, compliance and planning meetings with my team.

My colleague Barbara and I will often be working on fundraising events, so we spend quite a bit of time on logistics and sourcing. We are a very small ofce, and these days to keep costs down, we will work with external consultants periodically on different types of fundraising activities. These can include social media, website, trusts, foundations, and individual giving and challenge activities. I am very lucky to have a small, but a supportive board of trustees and speak to each of them at least once a week. I report to them, and to my CEO in South Africa. I try to feed back to donors and our charity ambassadors as often as possible because it is important that everyone feels NMCF is a community – hence our current social media hashtag campaigns #WeAreNMCFUK. TAD: Please tell us a little about your journey to where you are today with the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund UK and what programs have been at the forefront? KS: Driven by his love for children and a desire to end their suffering, former President Mandela established the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund by donating a third of his salary throughout his term in ofce to launch the Fund. The Fund was ofcially opened in 1995 and in the rst two years, we successfully mobilised over R36 million to fund over 780 projects. We initially operated as a grant-making organisation promoting a humanitarian response to the plight of South Africa's children and youth. The 1995-1999 period was characterised by ad hoc funding strategies that enabled children and families to meet immediate needs, and one-time support for overhead and salary costs for organisations targeting

children's issues, with no particular programmatic b a s i s f o r Fu n d ' s e n g a g e m e n t w i t h t h e s e organisations. During 1999, the Fund realised that this welfare or handout approach was not sustainable as it did not encourage community involvement nor did it address the array of growing organisational capacity issues. We conducted an extensive review of national and regional policies on children and youth; identied several signicant policy gaps and carefully dened programme intervention areas we would pursue. In 2000, this review culminated in the launching of the Sakha Ikusasa strategy, reecting a new programme and organisational approach for the period 2000-2005 (Sakha Ikusasa I), the Fund repositioned itself as a development-cum advocacy agency to present a unique form of intervention on the HIV and AIDS arena by partnering with Department of Social Development and civil society organisations to introduce a comprehensive response that brought the centrality of family and community in the ght of the epidemic through its ground-breaking programme named, Goelama.

agship project of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund was announced in 2005 and after 11 years of planning, fundraising and construction, the hospital received its rst little patients in June 2017. The Fund will continue to change the ways in which society treats its children and youth in order to improve their conditions and lives, and we look forward to continuing with our extremely important work with the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital. TAD: When did you start to work with Nelson Mandela and the charity? KS: I started in 1996 when the UK ofce of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund was set up.

TAD: Please share the experience of meeting Nelson Mandela for the rst time and what it was like working alongside him?

The years between 2005-2010, we narrowed our focus to advance a programme-based advocacy on 4 key areas and extended its footprint in the

KS: When I answer this, people always laugh, because I compare it to the rst time I saw a giraffe in real life in the wild. It was a little surreal – you knew he existed, you saw him on tv and in books, and it would be amazing to meet him, but to actually be in the same room left me a little speechless. And those who know me will also tell you that I am never short of anything to say…

Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to share its models of childcare with peer organisations. From 2010-2015 we turned towards building a child rights movement.

I hadn't long nished studying, and one of the rst things Mr Mandela said to me was “you look very young, can you do this job, shouldn't you be at school?”

Initiation of Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital a

I was mostly based in the UK, so didn't have as much access to him as some of my colleagues in South Africa. But in my interactions with him over an 18year period, I would say that whilst he never demanded loyalty, he certainly inspired it. He taught me that instead of always competing for power, we should give a voice to lesser-known individuals, and be at ease with Kings and the common man. I learnt from Mr Mandela that personal sacrice, being seless and dedication are far more powerful than simply telling people you want to make a difference. That simplicity, a hug and taking time to notice the colour of a person's eyes are important. And to always try to smile and say thank you. I also liked to be working hard in the background, on the ground and away from the limelight. Ego never sits comfortably with me, and I promised myself from the beginning that my motivation must always be pure – I was blessed to be given my role and with that comes responsibility and a duty of care to our greatest assets – our children. If the day came that my drive was to be in the spotlight, then I must go elsewhere. TAD: What are the main goals of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund UK and what is the future of the organisation? KS: The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund strives to change the way society treats its children and youth. This long-term vision captures the central role society plays in shaping children's lives. Our mission is to give a voice and dignity to the African child by building a rights-based movement.


different types of prejudice from people on the outside. I was fortunate to work with fantastic colleagues, but away from that I lost count of the number of times I was denied opportunities, talked down to and laughed at, particularly by men in senior positions. I was ignored because I was a young woman. I was told that as a non-South African, I didn't t in. At that point in life, you literally felt all sense of condence drain from your body. I felt at times, and still do, that the world can really not be a nice place… Luckily, I had very wise, learned and caring Trustees, colleagues and friends who believed in me. I learnt the art of patience, tenacity and not being afraid of a challenge. There is warmth and contentment in doing the same things that you have always done but security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. It's not fun to experience failure, but to me, failure isn't always a bad thing. It's there to keep us safe and alive. When something comes up that I really don't want to do, I try to meet it head-on. A South African actress Dorothy Bernard once said, “courage is fear that has said its prayers”. Courage to me is telling the hairdresser you don't like what has been done to your hair…. I do stand up for myself sometimes, and that can displease people. If you have problems, as a woman you deal with them. You stand, and you deal. The biggest challenge these days is fundraising. That's what causes me many sleepless nights. I'm still working on how to solve that one…it's a case of pushing forward and taking each day as it comes and hope that all your hard work pays off. I dream of walking into the ofce and someone surprising me with a huge donation! TAD: Please share with us something that you have learned along the way that has been valuable and priceless to your growth as a professional? We believe that all children should enjoy the absence of hunger, abuse, exploitation and homelessness, underpinned by a clear notion that the eradication of poverty and its systemic causes are the ultimate desired change as opposed to ameliorating difcult circumstances in which targeted beneciaries nd themselves. We also believe that it is possible to have a world where children live with dignity, are safe, nurtured and their voices heard and that the transformation needed to create such a world needs every part of society to play its role. We are committed to applying holistic and integrated approaches that recognise and treat children as part of families and communities, with institutional placements applied as the exception. We also drive the notion that children, youth and communities must participate in making decisions that affect their lives. TAD: What was your inspiration in becoming so actively involved and who is your biggest inspiration(s)? KS: This is easy – my parents and family. I was born and educated in Northern Ireland, at a time when what we refer to as “The Troubles” were at their peak and had my fair share of living in a bruised nation and with few if any women leaders but a lot of gender inequality. I was also the product of what is known there as a “mixed marriage” (or two different religions). At that time in Northern Ireland, where church afliation reects more than just belief, it was particularly controversial. Education is still divided along sectarian lines, although today that is changing thanks to fantastic organisations like the Integrated Education Fund.

I was blessed with wonderful parents. Their kindness, decency and compassion to everyone they met, made me aware from a very young age that the notion of “them” and “us” in all of life's circles (whether skin colour, religion or nancial status) was wrong. Because of my background, I was passionate about equality, and have always rmly believed that no matter what your background is – everyone is equal. From a very young age, that became my vision, to play my part in combating prejudice, discrimination and racism. Despite outside inuences, whether from politicians, opinionated strangers, media or friends, I have always been determined to retain the values of kindness, love and compassion that my parents instilled in me. I found my start button at the age of 7 and never learned how to switch it off again. To me, it is a privilege to be able to work, earn money, travel and do fun things. Working for Mr Mandela and his charity for such a long time means you were exposed to a huge amount of people from all walks of life. I had fantastic mentors and people to look up to – so many who fought against apartheid, who were brave and forgiving. I also meet people who have nothing – but still walk with a smile on their face and hope in their heart. People who despite unbelievable challenges, continue to thrive and achieve great things. Every day you are inspired by different people. It's one of the best things about my job.

KS: Don't allow negative people to dene you. You will never be everyone's cup of tea and you will never please everyone. As long as you work from a place of love, common sense, fact, with honesty and integrity, then you can sleep at night. I try to lead by example. If someone speaks rudely to me, is demanding, tries to use my charity for selsh purposes, I won't respond immediately. I grab my coat and go for a walk to the coffee shop. When I feel calm and have worked out what is in the best interest of the charity, I will try to respond in a fair and measured way. TAD: Please share some advice with us that you wish someone had given you when you were growing up? KS: Never pluck your eyebrows. TAD: Anything else you would like to add as an insight to TAD readers? KS: Working towards a vision of equality, one of the greatest triumphs in life lies in your ability to build up other people, people who think that they are broken down because they have no money, are uneducated or the wrong colour or gender. You must be able to reveal to them the potential that lies dormant inside of them. I never went to University and am proud to say so because I don't think I have done too badly. Your journey through life is about laughing together, loving other people, seeking adventure, believing in your dreams and making a difference. You only live once, but if you get it right, once is enough.

TAD: What were the greatest challenges you faced and how have you overcome them?

Which is why I feel very proud to have worked not only for one of the world's greatest leaders, but for an organisation in the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund that does such incredible work to support the most vulnerable in society, and importantly, that takes extremely important steps to affect the changes that afrm humanity, dignity, equality, liberation, justice and peace.

KS: I mentioned that I was young when I started my role, and very excited to grow and ourish. What I didn't expect was to encounter

There have been a lot of fantastic times and experiences over those years, there have also been challenges and times of doubt. But overall, there is still work to be done, and that keeps me going.



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Inspiring Unity and Diversity Across the Masses Written & Edited by Gemma Smith

Josena Bonsundy Nvumba is a leading, powerful woman who is driving forward positive change for the African and African diaspora community. Josena is passionate about celebrating and highlighting diversity all around the world and wishes to encourage cultural exchange and the contribution of African migrant communities across the masses. Her ideas, attitude and motivation are exceptionally inspiring. She truly is an enthusing role model for any reader.

Josefina was born in 1989 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea where she lived until her second birthday. She moved to Spain and then, at the age of 14, to the U.K. She studied at Exeter University and Sciences Po Paris and has worked on development issues in Brazil, Egypt, France and Switzerland. In September 2016, Josefina founded Rootencial (combining “Roots with Potential”) which is a profound initiative, one that she leads on a part-time basis and coordinates a brilliant team of volunteers and collaborators. The African Diaspora asked Josefina about her successful establishment and what it was that really ignited her internally to make such a difference to others all over the world. 1

When was established?

Different personal and professional experiences at school and university led me to become conscious of the many challenges that belonging to a minority community (culturally and 'racially') can have on the level opportunities that exist, or to these own


I've lived in different homes, cities and countries – this can bring a lot of uncertainty - but throughout I was always reminded and told where I came from. I'm African.

communities having a misaligned perception of the opportunities available to them. Africans and diaspora communities in particular face stereotypes, and prejudices largely linked to the great unfamiliarity that exists towards Africa, what is “to be African,” or to “look African”. In January 2017, I founded Rootencial out of the disappointment and frustration of the lack of visibility and positive portrayal of anything African or of African descent. These portrayals also fail to recognise that there is not one type of 'African', or a single story that defines the talents, contributions, passions, and potential of African and diaspora communities in Europe and around the world. Similarly, cognizant that many African and diaspora communities share common challenges, I launched Rootencial with the objective of opening new doors, opportunities, and windows of excitement and for these communities and beyond. 2

what Rootencial tries to do, sharing the stories of inspiring leaders and role models from our community using these new technologies. My dream is for all youth - particularly those from the African diaspora - to embrace and be proud of their African heritage, realising the remarkable potential of their roots. And I hope Rootencial can help to achieve that.

In all the places I lived - France, Egypt, the U.K. and particularly Spain - I noticed the distinct lack of visible positive African role models.This lack of visibility for our community has led to the misrepresentation of Africans and African diaspora communities, stifling our voices, stories, and ultimately our existence, leading to misconceptions and mistrust. I think this had an impact on me, as a child. As I grew older, I was lucky to have many opportunities to travel to different parts of the world, opening my mind to new possibilities and helping me see my home in a new light. I became aware of just how important diversity is to society, contributing to innovation and development, and realised that I could be myself in my own skin. Upon returning home, I was struck by how the ambitions of our next generation are still tamed, questioning their own future potential because of their roots and where they come from. I decided to take action, to create more opportunities to present ourselves and tell our own stories; to amplify the voices and stories of African and African diaspora communities, celebrating our role models before younger generations. Through this, Rootencial seeks to address the reality that these communities often have scarce resources which, compounded by the prejudices that they face, results in disadvantage and limited opportunities. The emergence of new technologies has created new opportunities for story-telling; that's exactly

Africans in the diaspora have significant advantages in terms of access to capital, professional and business networks, and transferrable knowledge systems at their disposal.What would you say to those who are seeking ways to impact the development of Africa and would like to be directly involved in the continent's development journey?

Build a support network and never lose focus of your objectives and purpose. 3

Who are the people that helped you to build 6

Rootencial involves everyone; we focus on telling the stories of African and African diaspora communities, and we want everyone to feel a part of this movement. I've had amazing opportunities to tell the stories of some really inspiring people, from firefighters to footballers, and artists to musicians. These are the people behind Rootencial, who make it what it is today.

What inspired you to start

When I was a young child, I used to dream about what I wanted to be in the future. Admittedly, I had lots of different dreams; I wanted to be a lawyer, a journalist, and a politician (not necessarily all at the same time!) However, my imagination was somehow “tamed” by the representation of the society surrounding me.


We have a bold vision to take Rootencial to the next step, and we need everyone to help - including through the African Diaspora Awards - to make this a success. We want to evolve from just telling stories to now creating opportunities for youth from African diaspora communities to help them fulfil their potential. This includes language courses abroad, professional internships and work placements, and other learning experiences. To offer those opportunities, we want to harness the power of social enterprise.We want to tell the stories of African and African diaspora community members Congolese artists, Nigerian storytellers, Equatorial Guinean musicians - and sell their products online. We'll use all of the revenues from this to fund opportunities for youth. If you want to help us - either in selling your products through Rootencial, helping to unleash the potential of our next generation - we'd love to hear from you. Email us at or learn more on our website. 4 2

What has been your biggest achievement to date and how has that helped push your work forward?

We have been fortunate to connect with amazing community role models through our interviews, who have shown great excitement about Rootencial.We have also managed to start a network of community leaders and other thriving community initiatives such as Affrolitt and Aya Consulting which consciously and visibly leverage African roots as a major part of their work.

Do you feel there is close interaction among African diaspora communities in Europe and an awareness of their mutual challenges as well as opportunities?

African diaspora communities are building important links and networks that go beyond our community. However, perhaps due to language barriers, it is sometimes harder to build these links across borders, despite African communities in Europe often having families in different European locations. This essentially means that networks are concentrated in certain regions and silos, in which we are no longer expanding but having discussions within our somewhat homogenous groups. We need to go beyond that and be ready to take risks to amplify our impact. There are also important ongoing efforts to create platforms to support African diaspora communities in Europe. However, we need to still work hard to mobilize resources in support of different projects and initiatives within our own communities. 7

What can we expect from you in the next few years, some new projects or expansion plans perhaps?

By the end of 2019, we hope to have grown a network of more than 100 Africans and diaspora communities who have shared their stories with us. We also hope to fund over 30 young people to do languages courses abroad.As the world becomes more interconnected, one of the most crucial skills of the future will be to speak foreign languages; this will provide a competitive edge in careers. We hope not to end there, building partnerships with other organisations to provide professional opportunities to these communities. 8

Please add any more information that you see fit to add to the article that we may have missed about your great work.

We need to bring more visibility to Rootencial. If you are excited about the initiative and would like to support us, by featuring our work or any other means, please drop us a line at We would love to hear from you!


A Deeper Insight into the work of Josefina Bonsundy Nvumba


t present, Josefina is working on a development with Rootencial, “We are currently considering making a shift from non-profit to social enterprise, and we're thinking through ways to increase the flow of economic resources and opportunities, so we can support African and African diaspora communities. “We're particularly interested in how to do this for young people, and we're looking for ways to partner with different organisations – non-profits, to businesses and other social enterprises, to people who'd like to volunteer (please get in touch if so!) Stay tuned for an update on this in the autumn of 2018.” Rootencial has also started their own monthly newsletter and will be sharing inspiring stories featuring diverse African and African diaspora community members, what they call “heroes of the month”, with all of their subscribers. We decided to ask Josefina who it was that originally inspired her and she said that it came from an accumulation of different things. “It's all those things that you experience over the course of your life that collectively yield inspiration. Even for those individual people that can inspire you, they, in turn, have been inspired by many others that went before them. Everything is connected.” However, what mattered most to Josefina was taking action and standing up for what she believed in: “I took action because of my discomfort with the negative way the media and popular culture tends to portray Africa, Africans and African diaspora communities; because of the lack of visibility and support for them, the lack of positive images and stories. “I launched Rootencial because I know that this change has to come both from Africans and the diaspora to move forward.” Some of the challenges she faced have been difficult and she admits that they are expected, especially when trying something new. “It can also be difficult to remain disciplined, and to commit the time – even when you don't have it! – to keep things moving. It's particularly difficult when you're trying to do all of that on top of your day job. "The way to overcome all of that? I don't think that you do, really – at least not intentionally or consciously, most of the time. I didn't come up with a plan to get


past the challenges I've faced, particularly because I often didn't see them coming. Life somehow pushes you through, supported by the people around you and the advice they impart. "You have to be open – not just mentally, but also to embrace the fact that solutions might not come in the format you expected. Maybe you read a book or meet someone who can help, or recall a lesson from the past that turns out to be helpful in the present. "It's important to share your challenges with other people and ask for help when you need it. And sometimes you just have to fail – you have to experience that to get to the next level. You overcome challenges by accepting them, keeping an open mind, and facing them head-on.” Josefina also highlights the importance of holding on to our 'roots'. When asked what advice she would give to someone while growing up she said: “To never forget where I come from. I've lived in different homes, cities and countries – this can bring a lot of uncertainty - but throughout I was always reminded and told where I came from. I'm African. It doesn't matter where I'm going; I always know that I'm from the Continent, and that's where my and my family's roots are. “At moments of confusion, solitude, or uncertainty, that's what keeps me grounded. I might not always know where I'm heading – but I am 100% certain of where I'm coming from and I take pride in this. It's a shelter. Knowing that, even though I might be thousands of miles away – having been raised in Europe and lived outside Africa for most of my life – my deep connection to Africa is unquestionable.” Josefina's insight and background truly represent a deep desire to touch the hearts of so many and impact communities of people for the greater good. Her words, values and outlook are moving and completely fuelled with the want and need to 'give back'. Supporting others in this way is remarkable and this is a beautiful example of spreading and encouraging goodwill in societies all over the world. Rootencial pursue to “tell the stories of African and African diaspora community members” in order to spark opportunities for the youth, and none of that would be possible without the sheer will and determination behind the incredible founder, Josefina Bonsundy Nvumba.


Pamoja is not about pure discussion or solely do what has been done, but rather revolutionise movement in a Pamoja esque way. Our overriding objective is to showcase to the world that there is a collection of talented young leaders whom are willing, capable and devoted to contributing towards the Africa's narrative and growth.

by Tinashe Mukono


frica is a fascinating hub of activity and the story of its destiny is one that is continually being written by every child of the motherland who leaves a mark on the face of the earth. It is the desire to keep spreading the African narrative that seems to be the fire that drives Jason Kitenge and his team at Pamoja Network. Pamoja Network is a team of youthful agents of change who are focused on connecting young global leaders to tackle Africa's challenges and provide sustainable solutions through collaborating with incumbent decision makers on strategy and growth and development solutions. The founder of the network, Jason Kitenge states that his vision for Pamoja stemmed from his views and observations on the disparity between the Congo of then and now. Kitenge was born and raised in London but he still felt the desire to unite with other young people of his generation and tell the African story in a unique way. “My grandfather was the Head of the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) Parliament so I grew up with a fervent interest in Africa and helped co-found Warwick Africa Summit which is a two


day conference highlighting Africa's issues and opportunities across gender, economic and human development. My grandfather's legacy in me instilled the quote by Dr Kwame Nkrumah that 'you are not an African because you are born there but because Africa is born in you'. This advanced my desire to found Pamoja Network.” Equipped with such wisdom and insights Kitenge then assembled a team of seven independent thinkers who also share a passion to improve the world by combining what they love with what they believe the world needs. Teamwork and networking are the mainstay of any successful enterprise and the network was fittingly named Pamoja which is a Swahili word meaning togetherness. Together they have managed to launch Pamoja Insights, Pamoja Talks and Pamoja Fellowship which are all assets that serve various functions feeding to the bigger vision. The call to be heard is not one that Pamoja are waiting for with folded hands as they use the Pamoja Insights as the think tank that invites young people with a proven record in the continent through entrepreneurship or studies to

come forward and table their perspectives on thought provoking topics. Pamoja Talks then brings the insights to life by giving dialogue between the young people and senior business leaders, government officials and field experts at round tables where strategies on solutions are made. The systematic approach is then completed in Pamoja Fellowship which is the cultural research and exchange program where a selection of delegates from Pamoja Talks are given the opportunity to travel Africa and meet other students at partner educational institutions. This is where the draft solutions are refined through further research and collaboration with young leaders who share a proven interest in the topic. Africa has been long awakening to a consciousness of its potential and the world has started to sit up and take notice. This has led to a strong demand for African content and Pamoja chose to

answer that call. In building up their audience for the African narrative they have also had to dispel some misconceptions.The biggest misconception seems to be the suggestion that young Africans in the diaspora have worldly views and are only focused on bettering their careers and countries of origin whilst ignoring the bigger scope. This then posed the challenge for Pamoja to not only galvanise the young people in diaspora but also debunk those old schools of thought. “We understand the need for a more collaborative approach, togetherness and see that bettering the continent will also benefit the individual countries

albeit a tall task. We wish to work hand in hand and as young people we do not only want to be seen and not heard”, said Kitenge. Trends and uncertainty on the global seen in some countries such as America, Brazil and Britain on the political scene has contributed in making people want to connect with their roots more than ever and Kitenge opines that Africans in the diaspora are unpacking what it means to have a dual citizenship and Pamoja's projects offer a platform for those in diaspora to share their narrative and engage with the continent. This has also coincided with a wave of pride and reassurance for the Africans in the diaspora previously displayed through

the rise of the 'fro in Black America. The future certainly appears brighter for the Pamoja Network and they have a lot of planned initiatives for 2019 which include the website launch in midFebruary. As the calls grow louder for Africans to keep telling their story Kitenge recommends that Africans give the accurate account themselves. “Young people are the leaders of the future and the future is heading in Africa's direction, therefore it is imperative to tell the African narrative from our point of view”, he remarked as a parting shot.





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Tinaye Munonyara Unpacks Africa’s future in technology Written and Edited by Tinashe Mukono


he world is moving at a terrific pace due to the advancement of Information Technology (IT) solutions and very soon every sphere of business will be totally hinged on a digital space. The African Diaspora (TAD) had some time with one of Africa's brightest minds in the IT solutions and entrepreneurial matters in the form of multi-awardwinning entrepreneur Tinaye Munonyara (TM), to discuss among other things Africa's destiny in the world of IT and business. Munonyara is a management consultant who makes use of his other talents as a writer, speaker, mentor and researcher who in 2012 was named in the UK Junior Power List of Future Leaders. He has worked with various clients across many sectors and also champions community causes by empowering women and young people through education and entrepreneurship. In this interview Munonyara offers a candid look on his journey in business and everything else in between. TAD: Could you please tell us a bit about yourself, education, family, upbringing and profession? TM: I was born and raised in Harare Zimbabwe. I'm 32, I went to Hallingbury Primary School and then Prince Edward High School. I then moved to the UK when I was 17. I now live in London Fields, Hackney. I'm an entrepreneur and Business Consultant. I'm passionate about innovation, building solutions, working with startups and developing Africa. TAD: Tell us about your digital creations and their functions, eg. StudyKit Pro and your business interest Liztan Solutions TM: Studykit Pro was an app I launched across Apple devices back in 2011 to help University students improve their academic and professional skills by making learning easier, more engaging and more enjoyable. The app won multiple awards including UK Shell Livewire 2012 and Zim Achievers Business Innovation 2012. Liztan Solutions was the digital agency behind it which I am now restructuring and re-launching this year as Chengetai Digital, which will specialize in digital solutions including design, app and web development etc. TAD: Can you please tell us your life journey, how you got into business, what you specialize in and how long you have been in business? TM: I got into business when I was about 17 in high school we started a business as part of a Young Enterprise Scheme. Our business was selling these delicious snacks called cream puffs which were popular with students during break and lunch times! We made a lot of money at the time making huge profit-margins and taking a weekly salary each, from then on I knew I wanted to be in business! I now specialize in consulting businesses, mainly helping them get access to finance, which includes business loans, government funding as well as private and institutional investment. I also ghost-write for clients, writing business plans, funding proposals,

sponsorship proposals, bids, tenders and other business documents for attracting clients, investors, sponsors or partners. TAD: How can you describe your journey as an entrepreneur and what keeps you ticking? TM: The journey has been interesting, exciting and bittersweet, with both successes and failures to embrace! I've seen how there's so much to learn from my mistakes and failures, and that I should embrace them as being part of the process and the journey. What keeps me ticking is my faith, the pursuit of my vision and my purpose, and the constant reminder that there is a cause greater than myself that I am contributing to and a part of. TAD: How is Africa adapting to the digital age and as an expert in the field do you think there are misconceptions concerning Africa's embracing of IT? TM: Yes there are misconceptions around Africa embracing IT. However, with Africa having the biggest population of young people in the world, more urbanization, a growing population, a growing middle-class and more Africans gaining disposable income, this means there is an increase in demand for IT solutions and an increase in the use of technology, which means we have to embrace it and adapt with the times to meet demand and market developments. TAD: How did you come up with your business ideas, are there any inspirations and what solutions do you seek to bring forward in future years? TM: I often come up with ideas by identifying problems and new ways of doing things. My inspirations include Nikola Tesla who was an inventor and futurist, he pioneered a lot of patents and solutions. I'm also inspired by African entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses from an African to a global context. Going forward, I'm looking to launch Chengetai Digital this year, launching a podcast on finance as well as a monthly talk in March to help empower aspiring entrepreneurs. Looking to mobilize African Diaspora to raise capital for African projects and to bring more Investors and strategic partners to Africa. We have already started this process with a successful client case-study within the mining sector. TAD: What is the story behind Chengetai Capital and its achievements? TM: Chengetai is a Zimbabwean name of Shona origin. The meaning of


Chengetai in Shona is to guard or to protect. Chengetai is also my mother's middle name, thus the business is named after my Mum and the fact that we aim to steward, protect and grow assets on behalf of our clients. In terms of achievements, we have helped hundreds of entrepreneurs and startups across different sectors to launch and get funded. We also developed a program called 'Elevate Hackney' to help unemployed individuals elevate their perception, develop their skills and gain employment. We put 19 people into new jobs over a 6 month period as a part of that community outreach program. TAD: What word of advice would you give to anyone looking to invest in Africa and Zimbabwe in particular? TM: In terms Africa, according to Mckinsey 60% of the world's uncultivated arable land is in Africa. When you look at the investment trends, a lot of Billionaires have been investing in Land. Jack Ma the Chinese Billionaire and Chairman of Alibaba was recently in Africa with about 38 Chinese billionaires exploring opportunities, he has since launched a $10 Million African Fund with Kenyan Incubator Nailab to identify 100 African entrepreneurs over the next 10 years, focusing on innovative entrepreneurs who bring about digital solutions that address some of Africa's most pressing challenges. This shows enormous growth potential for investors. In terms of Zimbabwe; Agriculture, Mining, technology and Manufacturing are high growth sectors with exponential growth curves and huge rates of return. The market research and due diligence is crucial, as well as identifying who to partner with and building a strong team that understands the market. Whatever you do, I'd suggest you aim to export to the rest of Africa and beyond, as this means the business can earn foreign currency and compete globally. I advocate for having a global perspective and global vision. TAD: What is in store for Africa in digital and technology advancement matters? TM: If you're a brand, creative or entrepreneur from Africa, it's your time to shine. If you can deliver high quality, well-designed products the world is your oyster. Through the use of platforms like Facebook marketplace and WhatsApp groups and online stores, the route to accessing markets has been accelerated through technology. You can reach a


global audience in a matter of seconds and get exposure though the markets are crowded. There's a lot of exciting innovation coming out of Africa when you look at some of the disruptive technology across different sectors. The African agri-tech space is booming with about 82 agri-tech startups currently operating in 16 African countries, with Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana being the top agri-tech markets. The African telecoms space is very mature and established, but the African FinTech is expected to attract more investment, particularly as Africa's e-commerce sector starts to grow and as FinTech start-ups partner banks and mobile companies in markets such as Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. As 5G technology matures it will also enable a range of new services and business models which will help advance the continent.

There are challenges to overcome and much work to be done, but we are poised and ready to make things happen!

TAD: Away from business, what else do you do in your free time? TM: I'm passionate about my faith and enjoy serving in my Church and making a difference in my community. In my spare time I like to read, write, research, travel and try new types of food. I also mentor young black boys from Hackney and serve on the Board of Mace Housing Corporative which houses homeless people and has about 300 tenants. I help with the governance and strategic decision making. TAD: Can you please share with us your aspirations for the next five years? TM: Having more speaking engagements and writing more material. Scaling Chengetai Capital and Chengetai Digital up, mobilizing Diaspora Investors as well as Foreign Investors to fund projects in Africa. Working with exciting start-ups to help them grow and get funded. Hopefully playing a role in rebuilding Zimbabwe and Africa, whilst helping to overcome the bad-narrative, the bad perception and misconceptions the world has about Africa. Yes there are challenges to overcome and much work to be done, but we are poised and ready to make things happen! TAD: Tinaye thank you so much for your time. Do you have any final words? T M : I c a l l t h e n e x t 1 0 y e a r s #theDecadeoftheUnderDog, where we will see a shift where old business models and concepts become obsolete and we see the EMERGENCE of

the Unsuspecting...Unsigned...Underrepresented....Under-estimated pioneers and underdogs take their positions to disrupt and gain influence in various sectors. A tiny startup called Netflix crushed Blockbuster and became huge! What was once a little tech garage-operation is now the global giant Google, and what began as a bed-room operation called Facebook is now a Billion-Dollar-Brand buying up billion-dollar competitors! Don't be afraid to start small, where you are with what you have, the UnderDogs are coming!




hapelo Moloantoa is bridging the gap between communities through sport, a sphere that brings people closer together, unifying them through a collective passion. His remarkable work is making the difference to many lives and wishes to spread this goodwill across the masses. Thapelo truly understands the power of harnessing personal impact and this has led to a determined drive to create happiness in the lives of others, a remarkable phenomenon that cannot be challenged nor underrated. He also expresses the meaning that sport has to those in other countries; it sparks a sense of belonging and offers many a purpose in their life. The youth in particular are positively affected and having the opportunity to participate in sport wearing a new kit is a notable achievement for the Arthur Tseleng Foundation. Thapelo and the Foundation continue to strive to strengthen ties between the UK and South Africa community football level. His insight shines light on remembering to not take anything for granted and what may not be significant to some may be imperative to others. To create a space for others to self-achieve, create memories and share life memories with others in a community is a sincere, honourable accomplishment; one The African Diaspora cannot wait to find out about... TAD: Hi Thapelo, in your own words, could you tell me about your involvement in the relations between community football in South Africa and the UK? TM: Thank you for taking time to chat with me. I had, for some time been receiving a lot of enquiries and requests for donated kit from a number of people back in Soweto, Johannesburg, and so I decided to do something about it. I contacted an organisation here in the UK that collects kit from premier League and Championship clubs and donates it across the world, especially in Africa.

They were very keen to assist with this, so we managed to put together our ďŹ rst batch that was destined for my home township Soweto. I had to organise collection of the kit, as well as its transportation to South Africa out of my own pocket. It was challenging but I thought this is my contribution to community football development, and the strengthening ties between the UK and South Africa at community football level. I had worked in the game in other spheres in both countries, so for me this means I would be bringing the football historical ties between the two even closer. TAD: Please tell us a little about your journey to where you are today in terms of this project? TM: Football has always been a part of my life, like it is for many boys who grow up in the townships of South Africa . During the apartheid era, we used to see the game as a type of 'steam let-off or release platform' because for a brief moment the people could forget about the effects of the constant harassment, imprisonment and general instability. I remember that we would play the game in the streets from morning until dawn, and in between be pestered by the security police and army as their vehicles drove over our makeshift goalposts. Often, we had to run away from rubber bullets and teargas. I continued to play as a youngster and teenager but unfortunately didn't turn professional. Instead, I went to university to study Politics and International Relation. . I have served the game in different spheres over the years both in the UK and South Africa, so for me to be able to play a part in giving back to community football is absolutely great. TAD: What was your inspiration to starting this project and who is your biggest inspiration(s)? TM: The person who had a major influence


So for me, the kit donation project represents a continuation of a legacy that was set by my grandfather, hence the initiative is named after him as the Arthur Tseleng Foundation. TAD: What were the g r e a t e s t challenges you faced and how h a v e y o u overcome them?

on me in terms of this project is my maternal grandfather Arthur 'Papa' Tseleng - who was the chairman of the Soweto Sports Council in the 1970's. He was also the deputy-headmaster at Orlando High, one of the most renowned high schools in the township back then. He worked closely with England and Stoke City legend Sir Stan Matthews in forming a team called 'Stans Men', which comprised of a select pick of boys from several schools in Soweto. My grandfather served in the role of Team Manager and helped to get government permission to allow the squad to travel to Brazil in 1975. It was unthinkable back then for black boys to be allowed to leave the township in a group as the government perception would've been that they are planning to join the liberation movement in exile. In 2017 I was contacted by the Sir Stan Matthews Foundation to assist with the logistics during the filming of a documentary on Sir Stan by a film crew from the US. I duly complied, helping to get in touch with the surviving members of Stan's Men, organising interview sites, contacting people who still have memorabilia about the team and Sir Stan's time in Johannesburg and more. I was personally interviewed in the documentary here in London too.

TM: The greatest challenge we face is the fact that we have an imbalance in terms of demand and supply. We have a high demand but cannot supply the kit consistently because we do not have the means to fund regular freight transportation. Remember that there are also Customs fees to be paid once the goods arrive in the destination country. We are talking here about grassroots football, these are people who have no means to even buy their own kit hence the request for donated one from us, so to expect them to lay out funds to pay for transportation is a pipe dream. We would really appreciate any sort of assistance that could be generated via the Africa Diaspora platform to generate resources to be able to send this kit in higher quantities over on a more regular basis. But we soldier on besides the challenges, we are there to overcome the hindrances and shine a beacon of light in the lives of the young ones because we have personally been there. Recently, we sent a large consignment of kit to the ghettos of Bogota, Colombia - a new area in which we could be operational in moving forward. TAD: Please share with us something that you have learned along the way that has been valuable and priceless to your growth in this sphere? TM: I have learnt that sometimes there are things that

Our “ Intention is to touch more lives every day.” we generally take for granted, whereas it is these very same things that mean a great deal more to others. For many, football is a past-time activity while in impoverished grassroots communities it means a lot more because it has a lot more personal impact. In a similar manner as I alluded to our example as kids during apartheid repression, in the third world the game is representative of a sense of belonging, family, friendship, space to achieve things, create memories, share life moments and more. It could mean that the coach represents a father figure for many of the players. We are talking here about kids who come from dysfunctional backgrounds, so the game provides some form of structure in their lives. You can see this clearly via their excitement when they turn up for training or a match and when they receive their new kit. The game also helps to keep them away from the temptations of doing drugs, bad friends, crime and gangsterism - which are features of the areas in which they grow up in. Their being a part of the game from an early age helps to shape the type of adults they eventually become. So for me I've learnt that it is important to note that what may be a past-time or be trivial to one may be very important to someone else. TAD: What would you like to see happening with the project going forward? TM: The short-term goal is to get us to send more kit in bigger quantities, while also making sure that we secure corporate support in terms of resources to pay for the shipment of the kit. In the long term, I'd like us to expand this beyond South Africa and into other countries within the Southern African area. There have been some requests made from Botswana, while Zimbabwe also comes to mind. Discussions were recently kick-started with a community NGO in Lesotho, so we hope that this will materialise and serve as a prototype of our expansion to other African countries. Our intention is to touch more lives every day.



Challenges arise, but it's important to be aware of the impact that you want to make in the world and navigate towards that.


Regina Oladipo touches those around her through a loving heart and determination

Regina Oladipo is the Founder of Mainstream: a community where millennial women can be supported, coached and equipped with skills that will raise their competency in the workplace, and in their wider pursuits as they refine their career paths and build personal brands. The Mainstream meet-ups are focused around sharing stories and learning from one another, while channelling in on teaching, coaching and relational mentoring to spark positive changes. Regina is also a Government Policy Advisor for Digital and Transformational Change. She is driven by witnessing women of diverse ethnicities being leaders and has a passionate interest in how technology can be utilised in education and international development.An addition to her role, Regina volunteers in primary and secondary schools running workshops on STEM education, life skills and career aspiration, boosting and encouraging the motivation of the younger generation. Regina is a Regional Ambassador (London) for The Holocaust Educational Trust for Human Rights and has represented the trust at various events in parliament and conferences, organised and facilitated charitable events in secondary schools and has undergone intense training from key politicians, journalists and other activists in the field. Regina is a remarkable woman and The African Diaspora couldn't wait to find out more and as Regina says: “Real life goals are always centred around purpose fulfilled and lives changed; not by titles given and money made.”

Interview by Gemma Smith TAD: Please share with The African Diaspora what work it is you are doing currently? RO: As a 9-5 career, I work as a Technology Policy Advisor for the UK Cabinet ofce. This is a varied role but generally requires me to decide and write the rule that the UK government should consider and follow when it comes to building, buying and using technology. My role extends to interacting with tech companies and startups that are utilising emerging technologies to create solutions for the public sector and UK citizens. I have to brief ministers and advise them on some of the most pressing digital issues such as security, data and innovation. I also run a social enterprise called Mainstream that equips women with the skills to be holistic career women with thriving 'side hustles', and natures a community of women as a support network for millennial working women. TAD: Who inspired you and how? RO: People genuinely supporting one another. For Mainstream the reason why it is thriving is because each woman involved said, there is nothing I would rather do than support another woman with their dreams. Even taking gender out of the equation, we are too competitive to the point that we can forfeit our humanity in the working environment. I am inspired by people that are authentically themselves and stay grounded. I am also inspired by my parents. I feel that they have always set the example that circumstance does not affect your ability to live a big life. My dad is a coach driver and my mum works in a post ofce and I am so proud of their work ethic. They never call in sick and are never late and they still managed to open up a community centre that provides, clothes, food and everyday skills training to a whole town in Kent. It is unbelievable how big their lives are and how they were still able to consistently be present in the lives of myself and my siblings. Real life goals are always centred around purpose fullled and lives changed; not by titles given and money made. TAD: What were the greatest challenges you faced and how have you overcome them?

to Identity. I never really felt that I t in, especially at university where all my classmates were children of Diplomats, world leaders and huge oil companies. I moved around a lot in my early childhood and spent some years in foster care, so identity was always a big issue for me. But as I matured, I realised that I had the ability to decide who I was and own that. I had the power to control my own narrative. A Nigerian woman, born in Britain, I have an appreciation for all cultures and a knack for languages. I like to ride horses and I think best amongst nature. It's not conventional but that's me and thats okay. There is not one diaspora narrative. TAD: What's the advice you wish someone had given you when you were growing up? RO: I wish someone had told me that I may not love all my jobs or career experience, but I will learn from them. My 2017 came with its challenges in my personal and professional life, especially starting the year in a job that I hated. I realised as the year progressed that the trials I faced in my career really pushed me to look for what I wanted and pursue that. It was a huge risk quitting my job, but now I am able to pursue a career in government, which is what I have always wanted. Challenges arise, but it's important to be aware of the impact that you want to make in the world and navigate towards that. This role is just another step towards that. I am learning, constantly, and it's not something that I am enjoying at all times, but it is a part of the process, a part of the journey. Also, I want to note that purpose does not end at your "dream" job or rst opportunity. Who we are supposed to be develops along the way and often deviates or exceeds our hopes and dreams. I want to encourage you in 2018 to go for the opportunities that make you happy and also serve as a platform for your loves, passions and skills. "Success is not how much money you make, it's about the difference you make in people's lives”. Michelle Obama TAD: How can people reach out to you and connect with you? RO: Linked in is probably best ( and if you want to know what I do in my spare time feel free to connect on Instagram: @regiaoladipo.

RO: I would say one of the greatest challenges that I have had is in relation




oint Aid Management International (JAM), a South African founded international NGO, has for more than 30 years devoted itself to turning the tide on poverty and hunger for African rural communities, especially children. JAM has progressed as an organisation that reflects strong and expansive development. It has grown into a profound and global movement that affects visible change in the lives of African children and communities through a multi-pronged approach that includes, among others, the rollout of nutritional assistance through school feeding, emergency response, agricultural development, as well as clean and safe water supply in some of the hardest-to-reach parts of the continent. This year, JAM has been awarded the prestigious Ubuntu Award as they


continue to push themselves and strive to grow and develop the charity to have a mass, positive impact. They have been nominated in the category of Social Responsibility, which honours South African individuals and groups who have projected a positive image of their country internationally, through excellent programming in their chosen fields. JAM continue to pursue work with focus and passion for their purpose, which is to save and change as many lives as possible. They are a global organisation and claim to be 'one family', striving to always foster the African tradition of Ubuntu (a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity). Ann Pretorius, one of the founders of JAM, responded to The African Diaspora's questions.

T A D : To s u m m a r i s e , w h a t i s t h e J A M organisation and the main ethos? AP: Joint Aid Management (JAM) International, has been on the forefront of the war on hunger since 1984 when our founder, South-African born Peter Pretorius, was left stranded in Pambara in Mozambique, where he witnessed the horrific consequences of starvation as children were dying every day around him. Along with his wife Ann, they committed their future to joining the fight against hunger in Africa. More than three decades later, JAM is currently feeding around 1,2million beneficiaries each day. We are focused on more than just emergency relief activities as we roll out sustainable development solutions including nutritional interventions, provision of clean, s a f e w a t e r, a g r i c u l t u r a l t r a i n i n g a n d development to impoverished rural c o m m u n i t i e s i n A n g o l a , S ou t h A f r i c a , Mozambique, South Sudan and Rwanda. Our ethos is 'helping Africa help itself' including skills development in all aspects of what we do.

assisted with food parcels. Food for Assets programmes include construction of communal infrastructure such as schools, primary health care units, warehouse fences, food distribution centres and dykes to prevent flood damage to crops. Our food security and livelihood programme include emergency livelihood kits and training given to farmers to protect their livelihoods. We boost local subsistence farming, fishing and livestock activities, enabling people to feed themselves and their families. JAM supplies vegetable seeds, fishing equipment and livestock training. These projects continue to bring much-needed food security and livelihood solutions to tens of thousands of desperate locals.

TAD: What are the future projections for JAM? AP: JAM recently received the prestigious Ubuntu Award, presented by the South African Department of International Relations in recognition of our Social Responsibility on the continent of Africa. Our purpose is to duplicate the model of sustainable development into other countries, as we continue to assist Africa to move out of the cycle of poverty.

Angola: Since 2010, acute malnutrition in local clinics is treated with a specialised F-75 and F100 therapeutic milk formula. Hundreds of desperate families are impacted every month, including food supplies for the caregivers and take-home food rations of our fortified food for their families. Mozambique: Our training farms produce top quality crops, which are sent to our JAM factory in Beira, to produce highly nutritious, fortified pre-cooked corn-soya blend porridge. This porridge is distributed to schools participating in our school feeding programmes throughout Africa.

TAD: Any challenges faced that can be shared? AP: We at JAM cannot rest while children and families go to bed hungry here in Africa. We need more partners to take hands with us in bringing much-needed solutions.

Rwanda: After the awful genocide of 1994, JAM established an orphanage in Giterama, to house and care for hundreds of orphaned children and relocated up to 12,000 displaced children. This facility is today a skills and technical training centre. South Africa: Every school day, JAM feeds preschoolers in 'informal settlements' throughout the nation with our fortified pre-cooked porridge served in our JAM red bowls. This nutrition is vital for brain and physical development, to prevent stunting.

TAD: Who is the target audience and how are they being reached?

TAD: Any advice to people - how can they get involved and contribute to the success?

AP: Much of the humanitarian and development context in Africa is characterised by key socioeconomic challenges of hunger, health and education. This is the reason for our schoolbased feeding in each of the countries in which we serve. While our main focus will always be children needing nutrition and health, we also expand these and other vital services to families in broader communities. Cognizant that sustainability is key in turning the tide on hunger and poverty, JAM initiates back yard, school and community gardens, working closely with governments in order to align our priorities and fast track our programmes to those in need. The following unique focuses are underway in‌

TAD: What inspires JAM in the work that they do? AP: Knowing that we can make a difference, JAM's teams are inspired by the 'heartbeat of JAM', bringing much-needed assistance to those in need, one child at a time. JAM consists of a multi-national, multi-cultural team of close to 600 dedicated humanitarian workers deeply passionate about making a difference, with specific interest in the development of young girls and women.

AP: Everyone can participate. JAM welcomes all individuals, groups including schools, book clubs, churches, corporate partners and more, who are passionate about helping Africa help itself. The dire African situation begs not only greater political will but also a deepened involvement from the international community. T h e bu l k o f ou r wo r k i s d e p e n d e n t o n strengthened participation.

For more information on how to contribute to our work, please visit,or contact us on +27 (0) 11 548 3900, or e-mail us at:

South Sudan: Thousands of families are


Cooking with Caz Caz is an avid food enthusiast and a self-taught cook based in London. Her passion for food was ignited at the age of 14 when she was unintentionally entered a cooking competition. After coming a close second in the final round of the cooking competition which was held at the Haven Hotel in Poole, Caz’s adventures with food began.



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frican is not a country. With 54 countries in this majestic continent; the diversity transcends the differences between races and its geography. Each country has its own narrative, ethnicities, languages and needless to say - its own food. Depending on the region, there are significant differences in the eating and drinking habits and proclivities throughout the continent's vast populations. Collectively, African food has been described to be the amongst the most interesting foods on Earth. With a variety of delicious dishes influenced by: culture, socioeconomic factors and availability of ingredients due to environmental factors. However, like all other riches of Africa, food has only been understood at a surface level. The secrets and histories are preserved in spices and cultural practices of African food.

the methods of consumption.

The struggle for sustenance and Africa's resilience, energy and creativity in the history of its cooking to provide solutions to these problems demonstrates the importance of food on the continent.

The global dispersal of African peoples to Asia, Europe, and the Americas has resulted to the development of an eclectic African transnational community – the African Diaspora. Reasons for leaving the ancestral land to settle to a new land differ person to person; community to community. However, a common “sideeffect” of the move is the sense of loss and nostalgia. It is out of the sense of loss and nostalgia communities in the African Diaspora attempt to recreate their cultural practices and influence other communities in their new land, to enjoy some of the pleasantries of their culture. These cultural practices inspired

Food is at the heart of cultural identity and expression and contributes to the development of social relationships. Many cultural practices are taught through food and are shared from one generation to the next. From the procurement of ingredients; to preparation techniques; to how food served and


Intricacies such as acknowledging the cook before delving into a tasty meal or not eating with your left hand; underpin some of the cultural beliefs around respect. While the notion eating together, reinforces the togetherness of communities and families. Some interesting questions about the narrative of food in the African diaspora emerge. Does food hold the same level of significance to these communities?

Is food shaping the diasporic community from a social and cultural perspective?

Cooking with Caz Caz is an avid food enthusiast and a self-taught cook based in London. Her passion for food was ignited at the age of 14 when she was unintentionally entered a cooking competition. After coming a close second in the final round of the cooking competition which was held at the Haven Hotel in Poole, Caz’s adventures with food began.



by memories from the homeland and are expressed through music, fashion but most importantly through food. Memories from food are powerful. According to Psychologist and neuroscientist, Hadley Bergstrom; Taste memories tend to be the strongest of associative memories that one can make. Making the influence of food in the African diaspora a powerful tool. The migration of Africans to Europe and the US has introduced a range of African products and dishes to the world. There is a rise of interest in African food in the global community. As the African diaspora becomes more influential in their settlement areas, the more popular the cuisines are becoming. This new section of the African Diaspora Magazine seeks to explore the growing food scene in the African diaspora. A common theme in Europe has been with the fusion of African dishes with a Eurocentric touch. In this new section of the magazine expect: restaurant reviews, interviews with social media influencers and chefs, street food business owners as well as insight into investment opportunities in the sector. This platform will showcase African talent and excellence in the food industry.


Danai Mavunga “ It's no surprise that in 2019 we have an abundance of Afrobeats inspired playlists sprouting up on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple music. New sub genres such as 'Afro- Bashment' or 'Afro- Swing', is what happens when Afrobeats meets the multicultural sounds of the UK. It's a mish-mash of Afrobeats, Dancehall, Uk Rap and Hip-Hop all rolled into one with artists such as Juls, Not3s & J Hus all at the forefront....:” Danai Mavunga is a PR & talent manager @lovemavunga



n a freezing cold Sunday evening, I took my seat at the o2 arena to watch yet another Afrobeats act perform to a sold out show of over 15,000 people. The artist's name is Davido, and he is undoubtedly an African superstar. A Nigerian superstar to be specific. The first to headline his own show at the o2 is no small feat, let alone selling it out. Making a grand entrance on a floating stage emitting fire and sparks, it was a breathtaking sight to see! Looking around at the thousands of people chanting his name, I couldn't help but marvel at how far the Afrobeats industry has come. This indeed shows progress, as previously in 2018, Wizkid (another Nigerian superstar) was the first Afrobeats artist to headline at the first of it's kind festival, called Afro Republik. This festival included a mix of UK and African talent (Yxng Bane, Mr Eazi, Tiwa savage, Not3s) also selling out the o2 arena. And when I talk 'Afrobeats', I don't mean the traditional genre of Afrobeat birthed by Nigeria's legendary Fela Kuti back in the 1970's. This was a blend of traditional Nigerian music, Ghana Highlife, Funk, South African Jazz laced with strong political messages. No. I'm talking about the modern take of Afrobeats with the 's' on the end. The 's' makes a difference. This genre is inspired by Fela, and coined loosely to describe the unique blend of Naija pop, Ghana HipLife, Hip-Hop, RnB, Dancehall & Soca; that is now dominated by the likes of Davido, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Mr Eazi and R2bees. 2012 was the landmark year when D'banj's 'Oliver Twist' was playlisted and championed on UK radio, subsequently charting inside the UK Top 10. This signaled the arrival of this popular, fresh sound. Simultaneously, tracks such as 'Azonto', by UK star Fuse ODG broke barriers with it's viral dance video racking up a staggering 3 million views in just 3 months, which at that time was a huge deal. Fuse went onto achieve Radio 1 support, mainstream TV channels, as well as huge collaborations such as his one with Major Lazer - 'Light It Up'. The video is currently on almost 300 MILLION views on Youtube. Prior to what felt like mainstream acceptance for Afrobeats; fans had been relying on the hottest mix-


tapes and bespoke Afrobeats nights to get their weekly fix. Many specialist Afrobeats DJ's across the scene, such as DJ Abass, DJ Edu, Neptizzle and the Abrantee's of this world were all key in helping to push this scene from underground into the mainstream. It's no surprise that in 2019 we have an abundance of Afrobeats inspired playlists sprouting up on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple music. New sub genres such as 'Afro- Bashment' or 'AfroSwing', is what happens when Afrobeats meets the multicultural sounds of the UK. It's a mish-mash of Afrobeats, Dancehall, UK Rap and Hip-Hop all rolled into one with artists such as Juls, Not3s & J Hus all at the forefront. The music keeps evolving but the core essence of it is proudly African! Over the years we danced to thousands of tracks and attended many shows. Check out my list of 10 live, historic performances in the Afrobeats scene that has helped artists like Davido to eventually sell out the o2 arena: 1. 2009 - 'Koko Koncert' (Mo 'Hits) @ The Indigo2, powered by Coko Bar. This was the first time Nigerian entertainers of this genre - Don Jazzy, D'Prince, Dr Sid, Wande Coal and friends, were flown into to perform on the high profile platform of 3,000+ capacity. 2. 2011 - 'Koko Koncert' No*2 (Mo' Hits now Mavin Records) @ The Hammersmith Apollo, powered by Coko Bar. This was when US megastar Kanye West, crowned Dbanj with his 'G.O.O.D Music chain, signalling D'banj as the newest artist to join his infamous label.

in the UK. 5. 2016 - Burna Boy- 'Homecoming Concert' @ The Hammersmith Apollo powered by Coko Bar. After 5 long years of not being able to enter the UK (don't ask), 2016 was the self proclaimed 'African Giant's' year of return! Performing to a sold out audience of 5,000+, people tried to break down barriers trying and get in. 6. 2017 - Wizkid @ the Royal Albert Hall, powered by Sony Music. This was the first time an Afrobeats artist headlined his own show at such a prestigious venue of 5,000+. A venue normally reserved for Opera's, it was clear to see that Africa had truly arrived that night! 7. 2018 - Davido - '30 Billion Concert' @ The Brixton Academy, powered by Smade. Off the back of his global hit 'IF', Davido had 5,000+ fans singing the infamous line 'TAA-TY BILLION FOR D ACCOUNT YOOO'. 8. 2018 - One Africa Fest @ the SSE Arena, powered by Paul O. A huge move to connect the dots with African artists from all over the continent. Some of the sizzling line up included Wande Coal (Nigeria) Nasty C (SA), Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania), Kranium (Jamaica), and many more! 9. 2018 - 'Afro Republik' @ the o2 Arena.

3. 2012 - Wizkid @ The Hammersmith Apollo, powered by Coko Bar.

The first festival of it's kind that had a mix of UK and African talent. Artists such Yxng Bane, Mr Eazi, Tiwa savage, Not3s all made electrifying performances with Wizkid headlining the completely sold out show.

This was Wizkid's first ever headline performance in the UK; at the venue's previous capacity of 3,000+

10. 2018 - Davido @ the o2 Arena, Powered by Smade.

4. 2016 - Mr Eazi - 'Life Is Easy Concert' @ The Kentish Town Forum.

Another sold out show, bringing his celebrity friends such as Idris Elba, Jamaican star Popcaan and Naomi Campbell with him!

Nigerian/Ghana based Afrobeats artist rise to success was very fast. Achieving incredible numbers on streams/Youtube with hit tracks such as 'Skin Tight' . This was the first Afrobeats act to perform to a 3,000+ audience in such an early stage of his career

It definitely takes many years for that 'over night' success; and I can't wait to see what the rest of 2019 has in store for the Afrobeats scene. What a time to be alive!

Profile for The African Diaspora

The African Diaspora 2nd Edition  

The African Diaspora 2nd Edition