Tag Archives: success story

Meet Tanzania woman Rebeca Gyumi; Who Fought Tanzania’s Child Marriage Laws and Won

She is popularly known as the woman who fought for an end to child marriages in Tanzania and won.

Tanzania is one of the African countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world – two out of every five girls marry before their 18th birthday with a prevalence rate of 37% nationwide, according to the country’s national demographic and health survey of 2015/16.

Rebeca Gyumi, in early 2016, filed a petition at the High Court to challenge the Tanzania Marriage Act which allowed girls as young as 14 to get married and won a landmark case that same year that raised the age of child marriage from 14 to 18.

Following the impact of her work, Gyumi was named the 2016 UNICEF Global Goals award winner for her work in advancing girls’ rights in Tanzania. That same year, she was named 2016 Woman of the Year by New Africa Magazine.

Today, the girls rights activist is preparing to receive the 2018 Human Rights Prize awarded by the United Nations.

She tells news site CNN: “I was pretty much shocked. So shocked and caught unaware that I was even considered for such a prestigious prize.”

Growing up, at the age of 13, she realized that some of her colleagues in school were compelled to abandon their education because they were given away in marriage due to pregnancy.

At the age of 20, Gyumi became aware that child marriage was not just a local problem in her community but a national one.

“It bothered me that the age for boys to be married was 18 but for girls, it was 14,” she said.

Sadly, that is the reality in many parts of the African continent including Niger, Central African Republic, Chad, Mali and South Sudan. Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18 and if the current trends continue, the number of girls who marry as children will reach 1.2 billion by 2050, warns Girls Not Brides, a global organisation committed to ending child marriage.

Rebecca Gyuim
Credit: Missie Popular

Girls who marry as children are often not able to achieve their full potential, as they leave school early, suffer domestic violence and do not get access to proper healthcare.

Some even die during pregnancy and childbirth as a result of complications because their bodies are not ready. Child marriages affect the economies of several countries and it is worrying that some countries still allow the practice to continue.

While studying law at the university, Gyumi learned about the Tanzanian Marriage Act of 1971 and realized that there was an opportunity to challenge the law.

Along with her colleagues, she went ahead to do that, especially some years after pursuing law as a profession. What the team did was to petition the Tanzanian High Court to change the Tanzanian Marriage Act which allowed girls as young as 14 to get married, providing ample reasons as to why child marriages should end.

In July 2016, the High court ruled in her favour and declared that Sections 13 and 17 of the Marriage Act were unconstitutional and raised the minimum age to 18 for both boys and girls.’’

Though critics attacked her for promoting a “western culture”, many people across the country welcomed the news but their joy became short-lived when the government appealed against the ruling in 2017, arguing that child marriage can protect girls who get pregnant out of wedlock.

The case is in Tanzanian’s high court at the moment and a verdict is supposed to be out soon. Meanwhile, Gyumi believes that a victory for the government would “look really bad” as “it is not a victory a country can be proud of.”

Being the founder and the Executive Director of Msichana Initiative, an NGO which aims to empower girl children through education, Gyumi says the amendment of the law is not their only focus as their aim is to ensure that the law is being enforced at the local level.

“We need to teach girls around the country to stand up for their rights and continue engaging with communities,” she says.

In spite of the challenges from critics and some government stakeholders, Gyumi is optimistic that winning the 2018 Human Rights Prize would put her and her country on the map.

“It’s a proud moment for me and for the girls I stood up for and for the ongoing global progress that is happening around girls’ and women’s rights.”

Credit: howafrica.com

Gayle King and Oprah Winfrey’s Fierce Bond: How Their 40-Year Friendship Has Outlasted Every Rumour, Spat and Scandal

Lisa: Well, let’s get right to it! Every time I tell somebody, “I’m interviewing Oprah and Gayle,” the response is always the same: “Oh.  Are they, you know, together?” 

Oprah: You’re kidding. Are people still saying that?

Lisa: Every single person. And I say, “No, I don’t think so.” And invariably, they respond with something like “You know, you’re very naive.”

Oprah: I understand why people think we’re gay. There isn’t a definition in our culture for this kind of bond between women. So I get why people have to label it—how can you be this close without it being sexual? How else can you explain a level of intimacy where someone always loves you, always respects you, admires you?

Gayle: Wants the best for you.

Oprah: Wants the best for you in every single situation of your life. Lifts you up. Supports you. Always! That’s an incredibly rare thing between even the closest of friends.

Gayle: The truth is, if we were gay, we would so tell you because there’s nothing wrong with being gay.

Oprah: Yeah. But for people to still be asking the question, when I’ve said it and said it and said it, that means they think I’m a liar. And that bothers me.

Gayle: Well, particularly given how open you’ve been about everything else in your life.

Oprah: I’ve told nearly everything there is to tell. All my stuff is out there. People think I’d be so ashamed of being gay that I wouldn’t admit it? Oh, please.

Lisa: Do the rumours bother you, Gayle?

Gayle: Not anymore, but I used to say, “Oprah, you have to do something. It’s hard enough for me to get a date on a Saturday night. You’ve got to go on the air and stop it!” And then you realize you really can’t stop it. And, you know, somebody made a good point: “Well, every time we see you, you’re together,” which is true.

Oprah: We were just down in the Bahamas—I was giving a wedding for my niece there. And we’re having this big party in my suite. And who comes walking in—

Gayle: With my suitcase.

Oprah: With her suitcase! And I knew what all the waiters, what everybody was thinking: “They’re gay. This proves it. Has to be, because Stedman isn’t around.”

Gayle: And sure enough, the tabloid headline was OPRAH’S HIDEAWAY WITH GAL PAL. Ridiculous. But that said, I have to admit, if Oprah were a man, I would marry her.

Lisa: Sorry, Gayle, I just don’t buy it. Everyone knows Oprah’s not tall enough for you.

Oprah: She has a point.

Gayle: I do like them big.

Oprah: The truth is, no matter where I am, whether Stedman is there or not, Gayle’s in the other room. I mean, she’s always coming in and asking, “Whatcha doin’?”

Gayle: I really do marvel at this because if Stedman didn’t accept me, it would be very difficult for us to be friends.

Oprah: See, that would never be a question for me. If you don’t like my best friend, then you don’t like me. That’s not negotiable. Smoking is nonnegotiable. It’s just a deal breaker. Not liking my best friend—forget it! Or my dogs—you got to go!

Lisa: Oprah, how did you feel when Gayle got married?

Oprah: Actually, I was a little sad. Did I ever tell you that? Mostly because I just didn’t think it was going to work out.

Gayle: You didn’t? You never told me that.

Oprah: No—it didn’t feel joyful. You know how you go to weddings and they’re full of joy?

Gayle: Wait a minute! You didn’t think it was going to work out at the wedding?

Oprah: There are some weddings you go to and you’re just filled with all this hope for the couple. And you feel that there’s something special going on. I didn’t feel that at yours.

Gayle: But you were my maid of honour!

Oprah: Yes, but it just felt kind of pitiful. I never told you because it wasn’t my place to say that.

Gayle: I wouldn’t have believed you anyway.

Oprah: No. And also because I felt like, well, maybe it’s just me being jealous. Maybe I couldn’t feel the joy because I was feeling like our friendship was going to change. But it didn’t.

Lisa: What about when you had a baby, Gayle?

Gayle: Nothing really changed between us. Oprah was there. She came shortly after Kirby was born. She came shortly after Will was born. She was there.

Oprah: I thought it would change just in terms of time. But my gift to her was a full-time nanny.

Gayle: Right. The kids are 11 months apart, and Oprah goes, “I got you the perfect gift.” And I’m thinking, “Oh, good. She’s giving me a double stroller.” Back then double strollers were very expensive. But the gift turned out to be a nanny! She said, “I want to pay the nanny’s salary for as long as you feel you need her.”

Oprah: She kept that nanny for like seven or eight years. But what I love is that even as a working-outside-the-home mom, she was always there to put her kids to bed. She said, “I want my face to be the first face my kids see when they wake up and the last thing they see at night.” So it wasn’t like the nanny came and—

Gayle: Replaced me.

Oprah: I admire a lot of things about Gayle. But when I think about the way she raised her kids, that makes me weepy.

Gayle: Why weepy? That’s so surprising to me.

Oprah: Maybe I haven’t said it to you very often, but I say it to other people all the time. Gayle is the best mother I have ever seen, heard, or read about. She was always 100 per cent there for those kids—to this day. We’d be on the phone, in the middle of a conversation, and the kids would enter the room. This just happened last week, and her son’s 19. She goes, “Hi, Willser. You got your Willser face on. Mommy loves you. Good morning, Bear. Hi, Kirby-Cakes.” She stopped the conversation to greet them and let them know that they were seen and heard. And then she came back to the phone and carried on the conversation.

These kids have grown up with such love and support from Gayle, and also from Gayle’s ex-husband. I love the way she understood that though the marriage was not going to work, her husband still needed to have a space to maintain a strong relationship with these kids. That takes a real woman. It’s always, always, always been about what’s best for her children.

Gayle: Years ago when Oprah was thinking of leaving the show, she said, “You should move to Chicago, and we’ll incorporate you into the show. And then at the end of the year, I’ll pass the baton on to you—but you’d have to move to Chicago.” And I said, “I can’t do that because Billy wouldn’t be able to see the kids on a regular basis.”

Oprah: I said, “Do you realize what I’m offering?”

Gayle: And I go, “Yeah, I do.” But the kids were young, and I just said, “No, I can’t do that.”

Oprah: That’s why she’s the best, and her kids are the best. Her kids are my godchildren. There are shots of me riding around on all fours with Kirby—you know, playing horsey and stuff. I remember when William first came to the farm: He was running around saying, “Auntie O, you have a pool and a wacuzzi? Can you afford all this?”

When he was little, little, little, I had all these antique Shaker boxes. He was stacking them like

Gayle: Blocks.

Oprah: And knocking them over. I went, “William! Put those boxes down!” These kids weren’t used to anybody raising their voice—they were never spanked or yelled at. So he was like, wacuzzi or no wacuzzi, I’m outta here. And he told his mommy, “I want to go home.”

These kids made a lot of noise, and there were all kinds of bright yellow plastic things that made noise. And the TV was on and the same video was playing over and over and over. But Gayle helped me adjust.

Gayle: I’m always kind of taken aback, Lisa, when Oprah talks about me and the kids because I see a lot of mothers who feel about their children the way I feel about mine.

Oprah: But they don’t always have kids who turn out the way yours have. Everybody wants to raise good people, not just smart people at Ivy League schools and all that but good people. You have to be a good person to raise good people.

Lisa: Do you two talk every single day?

Gayle: We usually talk three or four times a day.

Oprah: Then there’s my night call. When she was on vacation with her sisters, and we hadn’t had a conversation, I realized I felt far more stressed. I’ve never had a day’s therapy, but I always had my night conversations with Gayle.

Gayle: We talk about everything and anything.

Oprah: What was on the show, what the person was wearing. What I really thought, what she really thought.

Lisa: Let me shift gears. It feels as if people are always trying to enlist my help in getting some kind of a letter to you, Oprah—and it’s usually for a worthy cause. But I was thinking, Gayle, you must get that every hour of every day. 

Gayle: Well, I know what Oprah would be interested in hearing and what she wouldn’t, and, you know, I’ve figured out a way to politely decline. But I love that people love her so much and are so interested in communicating with her, so I never look at it as a hassle or burden.

Oprah: She handles it. It’s one of the things that’s so amazing about this friendship. Gayle is more excited about my success than I am. It makes her genuinely happy. We’ve been friends since I was making $22,000 and she was making $12,000. We’ve made this journey together.

Gayle: Not much has changed, except now she’s making a stratospheric salary.

Oprah: The first time Gayle spent the night at my house was because there was a snowstorm and she couldn’t get home. She was a production assistant and I was the 6 o’clock anchor in Baltimore.

Gayle: Anchors and PA’s do not socialize—the newsroom hierarchy.

Oprah: But I said, “You can stay at my house.” The next day, we went to the mall.

Gayle: Remember Casual Corner? They had those two for $19.99 sales.

Oprah: I ended up buying two sweaters.

Gayle: I had to call my mother and say, “You know my friend Oprah? Guess what? She bought two sweaters!” I was into layaway back then, for one sweater. [Laughter]

Oprah: Years later, for my 42nd birthday, we were in Miami, and I decided I was going to buy myself a birthday present. So we were on our way to the mall, and we pass a car dealership where I spot a black Bentley in the lot. I’m like, “Oh my God, that is the most beautiful car.” So we pull over and I go in and buy that Bentley right on the spot. And I say to Gayle, “This is a Casual Corner moment.”

They get it all cleaned up, and it’s a convertible. The top is down, and guess what? It starts to rain. It’s pouring.

Gayle: And I say, “Shouldn’t we put the top up?”

Oprah: “No. Because I want to ride in a convertible on my birthday!” Anyway, Gayle was like, “You’re going to buy that right now? Shouldn’t you think about this or try to negotiate a better deal?” I said, “Gayle, that’s the same thing you said when I bought the two sweaters.”

Lisa: What’s that Paul Simon lyric? “After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same.”

Oprah: The scale got larger. I mean, you need a moment of silence every time I write a check for my income taxes.

Gayle: I can’t even wrap my head around all this. I knew she was talented, certainly, but who would’ve thought that it would get this big?

Oprah: One of my favourite moments was about ten, 12 years ago when we were in Racine, Wisconsin. We’re caught in a traffic jam because everyone was headed to the concert hall where I was speaking, and Gayle says, “Where are all these people going?” We pull up to the venue, and Gayle goes, “What’s going on here?”

Gayle: The cops were lined up, double rows.

Oprah: Gayle’s going, “Who’s here? Who’s here?” I go, “I am, you nitwit!”

Gayle: “You mean all these people are coming to see you?” I could not believe it. That was the first time it hit me.

Lisa: Gayle, when you started at the magazine, did either of you worry that working for Oprah might change the dynamic between you?

Gayle: I wasn’t worried. I don’t think Oprah was, either. But people did say, “Oh God, you should never work with your friend.”

Oprah: But that’s how I know people don’t understand this relationship because other people’s definition of “friend” isn’t what ours is. Just the other day, I was doing a show about when your best friend is sleeping with your husband. The ultimate betrayal. Well, that is not possible in this relationship.

Gayle: What I know for sure: I will never sleep with Stedman.

Oprah: What did you use to say, “If you ever find me in the bed with Stedman—”

Gayle: “Don’t even be mad. Just scoop me up and get me to a hospital, because you will know I’m very ill.”

Oprah: “Carry me tenderly out the door.”

Gayle: So people ask, “But how can you work for a friend?” I say it’s because I know that the magazine is called O. The bottom line is somebody has to have the final word. Oprah’s not right all the time, but her record is pretty damn good. That’s not to say you can’t disagree.

Oprah: That’s why Gayle’s so great for me at the magazine—she’s going to have almost exactly the same opinion that I do. But when she doesn’t agree, she’ll fight for her opinion as though there were a G on that magazine. We have “disagree,” and we have “strongly disagree.” If Gayle strongly, strongly feels something about somebody—

Gayle: It makes her pause.

Oprah: It makes me pause because she’s been my—she’s apple pie and Chevrolet. She loves everybody. So if there’s somebody she doesn’t like, that will get my attention because she’s truly everybody’s friend—far friendlier than I am. I would not call myself a friendly person.

Gayle: I’m very social.

Oprah: I’m not social. Nor am I all that friendly.

Gayle: All Oprah needs is a good book. My only request when she’s building any house is, “Could I please have a TV in my bedroom?” She goes, “You’re the only one who complains about not having a TV in the bedroom.” I go, “Well, everybody thinks it, they just don’t want to say it to you.”

Oprah: I don’t have TVs in any bedroom except Gayle’s. In my house, there’s a Gayle wing.

Gayle: I don’t want to offend her, but I’m never afraid to be truthful with her.

Lisa: So I’m hearing about differences. What are the similarities? 

Gayle: We became friends that first night because, for the first time, I met somebody who I felt was like me. I’d never met anybody like that. Certainly not another black girl. I grew up in an all-white community. I remember getting embarrassed in fourth grade when a boy in my class named Wayne said, “If it weren’t for Abraham Lincoln, you’d be my slave.” I can remember that very clearly. Oprah and I had the same sensibilities. We liked the same kind of music. We thought smart—

Oprah: Smart and articulate—

Gayle: Was not a bad thing.

Oprah: We were the only black girls in our schools, and I was the only black girl in my class who loved Neil Diamond. So when you’re around black folks, and they say, “Who’s your favourite singer—”

Gayle: I liked Barry Manilow.

Lisa: Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow? You guys were made for each other.

Oprah: It’s that whole being-the-odd-girl-out thing—we didn’t fit into everybody else’s perception of what it’s like to be a black girl.

Gayle: But we still had a very strong sense of being black and were very proud of being black. So to meet another black girl like that was, wow! And we were the same age, we were both single, and we just immediately bonded.

Oprah: But she was clearly upper middle class, and I was clearly from a very poor background. Gayle had a pool growing up!

Gayle: I had a swimming pool, a maid. We grew up very, very well.

Oprah: She had a maid. My mother was a maid. You know what I’m saying? I’d never met a black person with a maid. It was like, “Lord, really? At your house?”

Gayle: So that’s how we became friends that first night, and we’ve been friends ever since.

Oprah: See, we were always together in the newsroom. I remember when they decided to fire me—

Gayle: Not fire, demote.

Oprah: They wanted to fire me, but they couldn’t because of the contract. My $22,000 contract.

Gayle: They had run a big campaign: “What is an Oprah?”

Oprah: I’d been on the air, I started in September. By April they decided it wasn’t working, because of the anchorman—

Gayle: Didn’t like you.

Oprah: But I didn’t know it. I was so naive. The day they decided that they were going to take me off the 6 o’clock news, I said to Gayle—

Gayle: I’m just typing away at my desk. She goes, “Get in the bathroom now!

Oprah: We’d always meet in the bathroom. We were, like, “Oh my God. Do you think Jerry Turner knows?” Of course, Jerry Turner was the main anchor who was kicking my ass out, but we didn’t know that. Jerry was like, “Babe, I don’t even know what happened, babe.” You know, “Sorry, babe.”

Gayle: I was stunned.

Oprah: It’s like your life is over.

Gayle: You were going to see your dad that next day.

Oprah: And that was the hardest thing because I’d never failed in front of my father.

Gayle: He was so proud of you.

Oprah: It was devastating. But God closes a door and then opens a window. If I hadn’t been removed from the news, the whole talk show thing would have never happened.

But I didn’t know that then. It was like the end of the world. You are the 6 o’clock main anchor, and there’s been this huge promotional campaign. But I learned from that. When I came into Chicago, I said, “I will not have a big ad campaign. I will earn the respect and credibility of each viewer. I will not set myself up to fail.”

Lisa: Gayle, has Oprah ever said anything about you on the air that inadvertently crossed the privacy line? For example, when I was pregnant, I had the show on, and—

Gayle: Oh, I know, I know, I know. When she said I pooped all over the table during the birth. People literally stopped me on the street after that one.

Oprah: You know, in retrospect I might have thought a little more before saying that. But I was talking about pregnancy, what actually happens—and that’s one of the things people never tell you. She goes, “Well, listen—”

Gayle: “Next time you’re talking about shitting on a table, keep my name out of it!” I was a news anchor by then: “I’m Gayle King, Eyewitness News.” And I’d get people saying, “Yes, I saw you on the news—I didn’t know you pooped all over.”

Lisa: Let’s stay on bodily functions for a second. My best friend, Brenda, and I have established the Sunny von Bülow pact: If something ever happens to one of us, whoever’s still mobile has to come by every three weeks and pluck any unseemly facial hair.

Oprah: We don’t have that pact because it would happen automatically.

Gayle: My only instructions have been to go get her journals.

Lisa: And if something happens to you? 

Gayle: I would just want her to be involved in my children’s lives—always.

Oprah: Which we would do. Her children are my children. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her, there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for me. There is a line of respect that is unspoken, on both our parts.

I remember once when Gayle came to my house: I was already making a lot of money, and she was making not a lot of money. And we discovered I had $422 in my pocket.

Gayle: $482.

Oprah: Okay, $482.

Gayle: But who’s counting?

Oprah: I had $482 just sort of stuck into a coat pocket.

Gayle: In your pants pocket. You know how sometimes you just find a five? Or a 20 is like, whoo! She pulls out $482.

Oprah: Okay, you tell the story.

Gayle: In 20s. And I’d gotten to Chicago on a Super Saver ticket; you know, back when you had to buy 30 days in advance for a decent price. She was living in Chicago, and I was married, and we had scrimped—I remember that once Billy and I didn’t have $10 to go to the movies. He was in law school and I was the only one working. So for her to pull out $482 was like, wow! She goes, “God, where’d this come from? You want it?” And I went, “Oh, no. No. I’m good. I’m fine.” But I’m thinking, “God, that would pay the light bill, the phone bill, the gas bill.” And she just puts it back. It’s probably still in that damn pocket. She was just extending a gesture, just being nice: “Oh, you want it?”

Oprah: But years later, she said, “You remember that time you pulled out the $482?”

Gayle: I said, “I wanted that money so bad!”

Oprah: “I needed that money so bad, but I wouldn’t take it.” You know what that’s like? That is incredible for somebody like me who lives in a world where everybody wants a piece of you. I mean, people feel they deserve a piece of you. Strangers think that.

Gayle: Now I happily accept all gifts. No, but I just wouldn’t have felt right.

Oprah: She’s never asked me for a dime. There is a level of mutual respect that comes from being with somebody you know doesn’t want anything from you but you. There will never be an ulterior motive. I have to say, this would have been a much different relationship had that ever happened. Not that I wouldn’t have done it, but in order to have a real friendship, you have to be equals.

Gayle: That’s not necessarily financial equals.

Oprah: No, equal in respect. I can’t put myself in a position where I need you to do things for me or expect you to do things for me with any kind of strings attached.

Gayle: Yeah, I never feel lesser than, or one down. Never.

Oprah: But let me just say this, too. The person who has the money has to have a generous spirit. Early on, when I started to make a lot of money and we’d go shopping, I’d say, “Look, the deal is this: If you see something you really want, I’ll get it. I don’t want to play this, ‘No, no, no, you don’t have to buy that for me,’ because I’m really willing to get it for you.” I do that now with all my friends.

Lisa: That makes sense. Otherwise, you would have all this money and nobody to enjoy it with. 

Oprah: What you don’t want is a situation where the person always expects that you’re going to be the one to pay. Otherwise, you’re just the bank, and nobody wants to be seen as an ATM machine.

Lisa: People ache for connection. 

Gayle: They do, they really do.

Lisa: They want someone who doesn’t have an agenda, doesn’t see you filtered through the prism of their own needs.

Oprah: Absolutely not. And so in a way, our friendship is better than a marriage or a sexual relationship. You know, there’s no such thing as unconditional love in a marriage as far as I’m concerned, ’cause let me tell you, there are some conditions. So don’t ask me to give you unconditional love, because there are certain things I won’t tolerate. But in this friendship, there isn’t an expectation because there isn’t a model for something like this. There isn’t a label, there isn’t a definition of what this is supposed to be. It can be all that it can be, and it’s extraordinary, in terms of the level I’ve been able to achieve and to have Gayle by my side as happy as I am for those accomplishments.

Gayle: My God. Sometimes you don’t even realize how big it is. You don’t. Maybe I’ll get some perspective years from now when we’re sitting on a porch somewhere looking back on it all.

Lisa: Do you ever think about who’s going first?

Gayle: I think about when we get old, but I can’t imagine life without Oprah. I really can’t. I’ll go first if I can be 90 and you can be 91.

Oprah: Something about this relationship feels otherworldly to me like it was designed by a power and a hand greater than my own. Whatever this friendship is, it’s been a very fun ride—and we’ve taken it together.
SOURCE: oprah.com

 

Perserverance

From Crashing Weddings to Being a Celebrity Photographer, Akintayotimi’s Success Story is Rooted Firmly in Perseverance

DANG: YOU SAID BEFORE YOU GOT INTO PHOTOGRAPHY, YOU WERE MANY THINGS, YOU WERE KEKE MARUWA OWNER, OWNED A RECORDING ALL THAT. COULD YOU TELL US HOW YOU TRANSITION FROM ALL OF THAT AND WHY YOU DECIDED YOU WEREN’T GOING TO WORK FOR ANYONE?

TIMI: During my third year, we were expected to do industrial training and I was opportune to work at Reddington Hospital, I spent 6months there and I learned a lot. The experience also made me realize that I have no interest in a 9-5 job in the long run.

After school, I bought a Keke plying Ajah to Badore, I opened a recording studio and a barbing salon. Also, I invested in a friend’s pure water business and I ventured into making class frames. It was then photography came to light. I did not quit the recording studio when I began photography, I just divided the apartment in two. In whatever I was doing then, I looked the part and it was hard to say no to my offer.

I took photography classes from Youtube and partnered with event planners. I will go to weddings to take pictures. That period was the beginning of the revolution of weddings in Nigeria and security wasn’t a top priority as it is now, making it easy for me to sneak in to take several pictures. I  grew from there and with time every other business dropped.

DANG: WHEN DID YOU GET YOUR OFFICIAL FIRST SHOOT?

TIMI: I can’t remember the date exactly but it was in the year 2014.  I can remember the details, they were twins and I charged them 50k with albums. I think I gave the money to the church because I was so excited.

DANG: WHAT EXACTLY WAS IT THAT CAPTIVATED YOU ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY

TIMI: It was the fact that I could work with people. Over time I’ve come to realize that I am an ambivert. As much as I like to stay at home a lot, am actually like a people’s person, I love to have a good conversation, I like to talk, and I love to rub minds. You know being a photographer makes you meet a lot of people and it’s so much fun when you discuss, how did you guys meet, and they tell you crazy stories, it’s very interactive and that’s one thing I love about it.

DANG: WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT THIS IS IT FOR ME

TIMI: It was when I started looking at other reputable photographers wedding pictures. Aside from YouTube or Google, I was checking out blogs and websites of photographers that had one. I got fascinated by their works, looking at what they were doing differently. The beauty in their works made me hunger for more and it was then I felt it.

DANG: HOW DOES PHOTOGRAPHY INFLUENCE YOUR THINKING IN THE WAY OF LIFE?

TIMI: Photography has redefined my definition of beauty, it has made me realize that there is beauty in everything and everywhere. When I shoot I don’t go for someone who the society terms as perfect, I go for who I can connect with. As a photographer, you need to connect with people to tell their stories through the lens of a camera. Photography has made me appreciate the beauty in people’s stories and it has helped me see the world because travelling the world isn’t only luxurious, it’s educating.

DANG: AT WHAT POINT DID YOU REALIZE PHOTOGRAPHY WASN’T A PROFESSION OR PASSION BUT ALSO A CASH COW FOR YOU?

TIMI: It wasn’t a cash cow initially or rather, that wasn’t my motive when I started. I took on a lot of free jobs when I started. It was a new rave for me and I had no idea where it was going to lead to. I just felt this is my new craze and after a year I would just dive into something else. However, my mantra then was,  find a man who’s passionate about what he does, and he will stand amongst kings.  I just feel at some point there will be a breaking point where, my hard work, my passion, and my desire is going to bring financial returns.

DANG: WHEN OR WHAT JOB CLICKED?

TIMI: It was a job I did which wasn’t my job directly. I posted it online and it got a lot of reposts. Everyone wanted to know who Akintayo is. And about a week after, I got an email from Bellanaija saying they want me to be part of the photographers to shoot for Psquare’s wedding and from there, my status transformed from photographer to celebrity photographer and I  tried my best to maximize my new celebrity status.

DANG: HOW DID YOU MAXIMIZE IT?

TIMI: Well to an extent I was already in the public light, I had to push harder for people to realize I was a working photographer.  The harder I worked the higher my services were demanded and then I began to reflect on my prices. That was when I realize I could earn a living from this and live a decent life at least more than my bosses were living at the hospital.

DANG: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS BROUGHT YOU SUCCESS MORE, GRACE, EDUCATION, LUCK, NETWORKING OR PERSEVERANCE?

TIMI: You know your work has to speak for itself for you to be flown to any part of the world for a shoot even when there are amazing photographers in those countries. All I will say is, it is grace. Education to me is not what you studied, it is having a general knowledge of how things work, interacting with people. I didn’t finish school with the best result, but I dabble in different things.

DANG: YOU KNOW EDUCATION HELPS YOU SELL  ALL OF THESE THINGS

TIMI: Yea, it helps you package yourself better. I don’t like the fact that people could call me paparazzi or oluya. I have come to realise that most times you are addressed as you have dressed. And if I am dressed accordingly it’s in high terms you will not call me paparazzi.  To an extent, it is because of education  I’ve been able to see a loophole. I’ve been able to find a way to work around it.

Perseverance is key, you just have to keep going even when it doesn’t seem like. Although the story I just gave you now makes it look like a sweet sailing process, I’ve had to do free jobs, I’ve had to be patient, I have had to learn to focus on my lane and believe in myself and time.

There was a time I was with my colleagues who relocated from foreign countries, we were having a discussion about what the various thing we were all dealing with and they will say things like they are working for this big company and they’re making $5000 per month. They will stop amidst conversations and to say  TY, what’s up with you? I tell them I’m a photographer and it looks like, dude but we went to the same school, where did it all go wrong exactly?

For me, what was even more challenging was the fact that my parents weren’t over pintable notion of primary school, secondary school as well. So, if I had it up to here, there was a job for me, waiting for me, I will just walk into administrative because there will always be something, but I knew what I wanted to persevere and then luck, let’s replace luck with taking opportunities or discerning the opportunities and just taking it and grabbing it.

A lot of people see opportunities and they are probably too slow or they procrastinate or they are not just fast enough to decipher opportunities that are staring at them in the eyes. It’s something that I’ve picked up over time. It’s not luck per say, it’s just discerning there is an opportunity in front of me and doing it. Even though it may seem like a stupid decision now, there is a bigger picture coming and that’s it.

DANG: IS THERE A PARTICULAR TIME FOR YOU TO GET THE PERFECT PICTURE, RIGHT ANGLE, SHADOW BLEND AND ALL?

TIMI: Those that are into photography come into it for different reasons and we all have different styles. For me, as a wordy photographer, I am more of a storyteller. I like to document the days as it goes by. I barely alter anything so, I’m the least photoshop guru. However, if I were to be a portrait photographer, I’m not documenting anything I’m not telling any story, I’m just taking a flattering picture of a subject.  Then, Photoshop will be one of my mantras but I can adjust because I want to get the best.

That said, for me, it’s not really a function of a good time to take a picture or a bad time to take a picture. As a wedding photographer, I’m always at alert you never want to miss a moment. Once you’re always alert even if you’re a bad photographer, you’re bound to get something. The concentration level I have, differentiate me from than other wedding photographers. I’m not technical when it comes to pictures, it’s not a sport, there are no rules even if there are rules, you break them.

DANG: WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT FROM AND OTHER WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS?

TIMI: The value I add to myself is what differentiates me. And a couple of other things. My personality  I honestly feel my personality goes a long way. My ability to switch from my serious side to a playful side and from a playful side to serious side. My personality shines through my work.

DANG: WHO DO YOU LOOK UP TO RIGHT NOW?

TIMI: I’ve always liked Jide Alakija, I love his works. Another person I like his works is Joshua Dwayne. Both photographers are based in New York

DANG: WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WISH YOU KNEW WHEN YOU STARTED TAKING PHOTOS?

TIMI: Hmmm, I guess I eventually knew that with time everything will fall into place. I was too worried asking myself if I really wanted to be a photographer, can I have a life, can I marry, can I have kids? They were doubts, let’s be honest but if I had known that if you persevere for a long time you can have it all. If I had known this back then, the time I spent worrying, I would have used it to do other things.

DANG: WHAT GIVES YOU CONFIDENCE NOW?

TIMI: Experience. I’ve done so many projects, which has given me the opportunity to practice, learn, and grow. Experience has made me confident but then, also investing in myself has really made me confident. I do a lot of investment in myself and that’s why, when I pull my records for the end of last year, I realized that I spent $5270 on learning something new. Only when I do that can I have confidence because I knew I’ve learnt something. But if you’re not learning anything, you will keep getting the same results.

DANG: TO A BEGINNER, HOW DO YOU BUILD A PORTFOLIO?

TIMI: First of all, don’t crash weddings like I did. Try to network and associate yourself with a lot of people you admire. It may be a painful task but trust me it works.  I do get a lot of messages from people saying; I want to come intern with you.  Just keep trying, the guy I work with now, is a product of perseverance. I got tired, I blocked him on all social media platforms, but he kept coming and then I called him in, he worked fantastically well and that was it.

Don’t have that hammered mentality, don’t be in hurry for that, let’s the passion led you and then the funds will come in eventually. Be consistent, improve in yourself, don’t squander that money. Put back into what has given you this, so that you can get more. I think that’s really it. Peer pressure can be really horrible. Don’t associate yourself with people that make you feel you’re making the wrong decision or don’t see the value in you. In my first two years, I made a decision that 3 sets of people that I don’t work for; I don’t work for an extended family member, church, and I don’t work for friends who don’t value me.

 

Read the Story of Kenya’s Serial Entrepreneur Who Went From Selling Yogurt to Building a Multi-million Dollar Telecoms Empire – Without a Degree

Before venturing into the ‘tech world’ I had tried various businesses before hitting this goldmine.

My first business was selling yoghurt from a friend’s car trunk to high school students. Also,
I was a part-time hairdresser, I was at the salon when I realized another business opportunity. Which was selling luxury merchandise to my high net worth clients. I would fly to London to get luxury goods for retail purposes.

In 2000, I co-founded East Africa’s first mass-market oriented Internet Service Provider (ISP), Wananchi Online (a Swahili word meaning ‘citizen’ or ‘the people’) it made Internet connectivity affordable for the average household in Kenya for the first time.

My name is synonymous with this company. The company is the reason why I am called the “Tech Entrepreneur” in some circles in Kenya. My business partner and I grew the business from a typical start-up to become the largest Internet Service Provider in East Africa, with a network of five regional offices.

As CEO, I raised the first tranche of $500,000 and the second tranche of $3M for Wananchi, eventually, the company’s worth rose to $238M.  I was responsible for raising the initial start-up capital for Wananchi Online.

In 2008 I was assigned to lead the restructuring of Telkom Kenya, a previously state-owned corporation. I oversaw and was instrumental in the retail brand launch of the Orange brand into Kenya and, in doing so, I handled a commercial budget of up to $44M. In commercializing the GSM network, I was responsible for 826 employees.

I do not have a degree however, I have done various certificate courses because I found that they were more practical in allowing me to achieve the things that I need to achieve.

I judge myself based on my performance vis-à-vis today’s challenges and opportunities. I am passionate about growth in others and myself. Success for me is defined by increased value – not simply financial rewards.  I think that there are lots of opportunities in this world and a lot of opportunities in Africa for both men and women.

I’ve demonstrated that being a woman is not a barrier to success. If you are determined, and passionate about what you do and work hard you can be successful no matter what.

First seen on BBC News

Yemisi Falaye

Girl Boss: Yemisi Falaye, The Most Celebrated Entertainment Lawyer in Nigeria

DANG: First of all, introduce yourself.

Yemisi Falaye: My name is Yemisi Falaye. I’m a lawyer. I was called to bar in 2005 and I’ve been practising law since then. I did my service year at the law firm where I work now, ACAS Law firm and got retained. I started working fully in 2007. I’ve been with them ever since. I’m a senior counsel of the firm and I head the entertainment law group of the firm. The entertainment law group used to be part of, well; it’s still part of the corporate commercial group/intellectual property unit of the firm. Until the department became a standalone.

DANG: The entertainment group, did it have something to do with you performing well…?

Yemisi Falaye: Yes. Prior to the department standing alone, we had been doing one or two things for celebrities, a couple of them are my friends. We’ve been doing stuff for them on a corporate commercial law basis and intellectual department basis. The managing partner then was, Mr Folabi Cacs Martin, who is my direct boss, he decided to make the department stand alone because of the emergence of entertainment law or entertainment as a whole in the economy of Nigeria. We thought that it was an evolving market and we should concentrate on entertainment. He went ahead to make me the head of the department because entertainment is my forte and I have a cordial relationship with celebrities.

DANG: So, how long have you been head of the department?

Yemisi Falaye: About 3 years now, we started 2015.

DANG: How has it been?

Yemisi Falaye: It’s been awesome. I have found something I will always want to do. The entertainment law group keeps me going. It wakes me up in the morning, energizes me, it makes me want to go to work, makes me want to work. I love to see an agreement that has to do with entertainment law. I discovered that’s my flair, that’s my passion, that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.

DANG: What has given you the push you all this while? When there are hitches, timelines? What keeps you going?

Yemisi Falaye: Meeting timelines, crazy timelines have always been a part of me. I grew up in practice meeting terrible timelines. Meeting deadlines, being under pressure hasn’t been a problem for me because of my passion for entertainment and entertainment law.

DANG: So you are saying that if you have passion, you really don’t feel the pressure?

Yemisi Falaye: Exactly. It no longer becomes pressure. It no longer becomes work. You know, like comedians, it is work for them but then again, it is a hobby. For musicians, it is work for them but then again, it is a hobby and talent. That’s how it is for me as an entertainment lawyer. Entertainment law and entertainment law related agreements are like food to me. As a matter of fact, when I receive an email from my clients it gives me lots of joy. It gets me excited.

DANG: It took you 8 years to get here.

Yemisi Falaye: Yes. I think God actually has a purpose for all of this. I believe that, because, prior to 2015, work was work. Getting up to work every day was a real chore. But at the point where I personally discovered entertainment law, work now became or has become a pleasure for me. It’s become a passion for me. I find rest. I’m laughing. I meet my deadlines. Nobody needs to put me under any form of pressure. As a matter of fact, I now begin to put people under pressure because I want to impress my clients. So, I’m thankful to God; albeit late, but I’m still thankful to God.
A lot of people say to me that “finally, Yemisi you’ve found your passion…” I’m glad that I’ve eventually found it. And I’m pursuing it.

DANG: What do you go back to when it’s crazy?

Yemisi Falaye: I turn to God. I’m a very spiritual person. It’s amazing the kind of things that I “disturb God for”. The minutest things ever like where to park when I attend a party. I talk to God about everything. Most especially, when I’m worn out because, to be honest, it does get tiring. In my down time, I find rest in God and if it is work related I sort it out with my colleagues.

DANG: Entertainment law in Nigeria is not really keyed into in Nigeria. Can you explain more to my readers about it?

Yemisi Falaye: In the past creatives and entertainers did not see the need for entertainment lawyers but the narrative is changing now. It is never just an agreement to read and sign, it is important to consult a lawyer to avoid signing a deadly deal. Some agreements are capable of wiping out an entertainer’s career this is why it is important to hire a lawyer, let the lawyer guide you how to hire a business manager, road manager, record label and some. At the end of the day, you focus on your craft while the lawyer handles the nitty-gritty of the business side of it for you

DANG: So who and what do you cover as an entertainment lawyer?

Yemisi Falaye: I do everything. I deal with musicians, I deal with actors, I deal with bloggers, I deal with creative’s generally; songwriters, authors, sportsmen and women, everybody generally.

DANG: Who are your clients right now?

Yemisi Falaye: On my roaster right now, I have Toke Makinwa; incidentally, she is my first client and then I have Chidinma, Adekunle Gold, I have Small Doctor. I have Ice Prince, Waje, Beverly Naya and more.

DANG: Do you handle cases outside of entertainment law?

Yemisi Falaye: Yes. Absolutely. Entertainment law is just part of what I do. I still do intellectual property law; I do some form of corporate and commercial related law. I do company secretarial work as well. I do immigration law. I’m all-encompassing.

DANG: What edge do you think you as a person have over everybody?

Yemisi Falaye: For me, I tell my clients that when I say it, I mean it. “You have my 24 hours”. You can reach me at any point in time. I don’t see my clients as just clients. I befriend them and I try my best to make them comfortable around me. That way, they can confide in me to tell me what they are going through and I can give them a clear and objective advice. I am a friendly person which makes it easier for me. My clients can reach me at any time of the day even if it’s 1 am and I work very hard to meet their needs. No brags. That’s the truth.

DANG: I know people will have questions about being an entertainer. So what advice do you have for them?

Yemisi Falaye: The first thing is to focus more on the work aspect. The work will make you go for those shows. You can’t afford to mix it with play. Your diligence and your hard work will attract the glamour of the work to you.

DANG: I’m a lawyer and I want to go into entertainment. What part of Law should I focus on?

Yemisi Falaye: Do corporate commercial law. Become a transaction lawyer. I hate courts. I’ve never been to court. Litigation is not my forte. Focus your attention on corporate commercial law where you will be taught all forms of agreement; tenancy law, property law, telecommunication, tax, every form of law asides criminal law.
Expose yourself to all forms of contracts and specification of law. That way you will be well grounded and you will have sufficient knowledge that will be helpful to your clients. Spread your wings and don’t limit yourself to entertainment law.
Don’t limit yourself to entertainment law. I didn’t start with entertainment law. I was doing and I am still doing all forms of law. That has made advising my clients and doing entertainment law a piece of cake for me.

DANG: Have you had conflicts about your faith and law sometimes?

Yemisi Falaye: I have never had conflicts between my faith and my work. I work in a firm where our core values are; integrity, creativity, and excellence. These three items are somewhat God related. Creativity is of God, excellence is of God, integrity is of God as well.

DANG: So, you are a single woman working hard, how old are you?

Yemisi Falaye: I’ll be 38 in September. 37, now.

DANG: Do you ever get people making assumptions of what you do? Do you feel pressured?

Yemisi Falaye: I’ll tell you a quick story. I remember when I was going to buy my first car; I was going to buy a brand new car. I remember somebody saying to me, “Oh Yemisi, you are a young girl. You are not married yet, I don’t think you should buy a brand new car. I think you should just buy a Golf 3 that would cost you lesser than a brand new car. So don’t chase guys away from you.
I said to him, whether married or single, I would enjoy my life. I love the good life nothing is going to stop me from having a good time. I live once and I must make the best of it.

DANG: Have you ever pressured yourself?

Yemisi Falaye: There was a time in my life when I did. I would attend almost all singles program in every church. I have stopped doing that now. In fact, I rarely pray about it. Whatever happens, I’m good. That’s the point I’m in right now. If you pray for me, I’d say Amen. If I remember to pray about it, I pray about it. But I have stopped putting myself under pressure to get married. All I want to do right now is to advance in my career. And make money, good money.

DANG: In five years, where do you see yourself?

Yemisi Falaye: In five years, I will own the best and the only properly structured record label in Africa. And guess what? It’s going to be an artist-friendly record label because most record labels are not artists friendly.

Interview: ™Diaryofanaijagirl©

Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu

She’s 18, Nigerian, A College Graduate and Already Has Plans For Her Doctorate Degree- Meet Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu

Meet Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu

“My name is Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu and I am 18 years old. I recently graduated magna cum laude from Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. I am planning to continue my studies with a Ph.D at UC Davis

My academic journey started quickly I guess, because I was double promoted in my primary school in Nigeria. I graduated from the British school system where the highest level of education was the 11th grade, and then went on to start at Howard at the tender age of 14 after studying for the SAT

I’m overwhelmed with emotions, it was just a happy day for me. I came into college for Chemical Engineering because I wanted a really broad field and I liked the idea of engineering, because its basically just solving problems Read: Work in Your Time Zone

I studied every day, Monday through Sunday, every day for four hours. My mum says it’s the best Mother’s Day gift she could ask for. She always pushed me. I would say she’s my biggest motivation. In my first test, I made 87/89, which is a ‘B’. My mom would tell me, “Nkechinyere, you are not a ‘B’.”

However, I don’t think graduating at 18 is a big deal, because it is common for children in Nigeria to graduate from High school at 16 years of age. But when everyone else said they were proud of me, I felt emotional to get recognition from so many people

I’ve never felt that learning was age related. If you were taught the material and are serious about learning, you’ll be fine- regardless of your age. I didn’t find courses any more difficult than the typical college student. I think I just had a really good support system

I want to help fix illnesses like Ebola and other diseases- major or minor. I want to help people in Nigeria”

the first black PhD holder in Biomedical Engineering

“I Hawked Pepper On The Streets of Ibadan From Age 10”- Dr. Adeola Olubamiji, First Black PHD Holder In BioMedical Engineering

My name is Dr. Adeola D. Olubamiji and I’m the first black PhD holder in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

As the 5th child of 5, I always had to wait for my turn. I was the last, a girl child and raised by a mother who is a farmer and a father who has little. I hawked pepper on the streets of Ibadan as early as age 10 to help my mum. Went to public primary and secondary school in Ibadan. Attended OOU and studied Physics. Because I had a 2.1, it opened the door for me to proceed to Finland for a Masters Degree in Biomedical Engineering. During this masters degree, I worked part-time as a cleaner and did this after my Masters as well

Out of determination, I applied to over 100 schools for my PhD and finally got a full 3 year scholarship (later extended to 4 years scholarship) at University of Saskatchewan, Canada to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. While in that PhD program, I worked part-time as a makeup artist, teaching assistant, braided hair and fix weaves to make extra money Read: The Only Combined Cardiologist and Nephrologist (Heart and Kidney)Specialist in the World is a Nigerian, Dr. Olurotimi Badero

Today I walked the stage as the first black person to bag a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from University of Saskatchewan, Canada!!! I walked this stage for you Mama Africa and for my Motherland Nigeria!!! I walked the stage for all of you black women disrespected and looked down on!!!! I walked for all of you from my ghetto hood “Mokola”, Ibadan. I walked for all OSU students and ex-students that got that look from people who think we are not brilliant!! I walked for all of you Africans in Finland wondering what is next for you!!
Specially, I walked for you my parents. siblings and extended family in fulfillment of your dreams! Specially, I walked the stage for you my late sister Omoleye Olubamiji and my late mentor Ayodele Olatunbosun.

Today I walked for my future husband and my unborn children who patiently waited for me to fulfill my dreams so that he can have a wife he will be proud of and they can have a role model to look up to. I walked for all immigrants and all young adults who strived everyday chasing their dreams!!! I walked in celebration of the unfailing love of my first and one truly true love Jesus Christ (in you I walk in you I live and in you I have had and will continue to have my being)!!!

Be bold, be innovative, be different, be you, be everything you want to be but remember to put God first!!! Let no man, upbringing, money, circumstance, colorism, past mistakes, institution, company, partner, background, let nothing tell you you can’t do it. Go smart! Go hard!! Go for Gold!!! Go with God!!! Just Get Going!!!!

Amitabh Bachchan

“Every Single Reason I’ve Been Rejected Has Become My Success Factor”- Amitabh Bachchan

“Every Single Reason I’ve Been Rejected Has Become My Success Factor”- Amitabh Bachchan

The journey to the top wasn’t a piece of cake for me. I’ve had my share of failures, rejections, losses and low moments

I’ve been rejected for several reasons. One time, I was once rejected by movie producers for being too tall, they said I was too dark skinned to be put on film. Another time I applied for a role on radio and I was rejected because of my baritone voice. But every single reason I’ve been rejected before now has become my success factor today

I constantly have to reinvent myself. When I was starting out as a young man, my movie career seemed like it was going nowhere. I had to reinvent myself in the movie ‘Zanier’. All of a sudden I had fans and a large followership. Producers began to call me for roles, they knew that once I appeared in their film, it would be a hit. They forgot that they had once called me ‘unfit’ for film. Read: “All You Can Do is Plant Your Seed in the Ground, Water it and Believe”- Tyler Perry

I once got injured on set of a film-Coolie; it was the beginning of health challenges. I had an intestinal injury and it [my stomach] has troubled me ever since. I’ve had to undergo several operations to deal with it. And each one has not been easy on my family. I was later diagnosed with myasthenia gravis [illness that causes weakness in muscles] and I thought of leaving the industry altogether

The amount of things I’ve been through and the way my body reacted has been phenomenal.No wonder I became religious, because you don’t know why something’s happening to you and you don’t know how you bounced back.

Another trying moment was when my production company went bankrupt. I almost lost everything. I thought to myself, ‘At this age, where would I start from? How would I support my family?’ I had put in so much into it, so much energy and love and passion, and here it was all crashing down around me. I couldn’t bear it.

Without a doubt that was one of the drakest moments in my 44-year professional career. It made me sit and think, I looked at the options before me and evaluated different scenarios. I got up and walked to Yashji (film director), who stayed behind my house. I implored him to give me work. That is when the worm turned.

Soon, I was able to pay back one and all. When they asked for the interest component, I did commercials in lieu for them.

“Koi bhi insaan chhota nah hota”. No man is small/insignificant. Here I am today, Amitabh Bachchan, not the actor, but the person. I overcame it all, and I’m not done.

Amitabh bachan is 74 Years Old.

Strive Masiyiwa

“The God Factor In My Success Story”- Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman Econet Wireless.

“The God Factor In My Success Story”- Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman Econet Wireless

I was born in what was then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and I was barely 4 years old when conflict started — first over independence from Britain, and then against white-minority rule. In 1968, my family fled to Zambia, across the border. Our neighbors were Scottish and had a young son, and that’s more or less how I landed in an Edinburgh boarding school.

Sometime in the mid-1990s, I guessed that cell phones would become a major growth sector in African countries. The government of Zimbabwe certainly didn’t. I offered to develop a cell phone network in tandem with the state telecom company, but the Mugabe-controlled government rejected my offer — a refusal that must surely rank amongst the greatest follies in the world of business: They could have owned the Econet Wireless Group, but instead they declared war on me! They refused to grant us a license, claiming they had a monopoly. So, I took them to court, and it took five years…Read: Kenny Blaq’s Grace story

When we lost the Supreme Court case in June 1994, I was totally devastated. Two years of work appeared to have gone down the drain. My dream was shattered. The lawyers made it clear that there was no appeal possible, and we packed up the files…My wife had been trying to get me to church since we got married, but I refused. Church for me was a place of funerals or wedding ceremonies. One Sunday though after dropping her off, I drove around the block and returned…It was the first time, in my life, I had listened to a church service, without the compulsion of duty for an event held there. It seemed as though everyone in the room, except me was so happy! The young American pastor, was preaching about Jesus Christ, whom I thought I had known all my life. And yet now I realised that I did not know Him; I only knew of Him. Disturbed, I left hurriedly and went and sat in the car.

I went again another Sunday…and arriving home that day, I realised that the misery of my court defeat, had completely lifted. It just seemed so unimportant. Sitting down that afternoon, with a borrowed copy of the New International Version Bible, I sat down to read the bible for the very first time, in my life. I read it everyday and finished it in three weeks…what I did not tell anyone at the time, (including my wife), was that almost every night I laid my head down to sleep, I would begin to have quite extraordinary dreams…

One evening, I attended a special church event, held at a local hotel. The Pastor preaching, had never met me. As he preached, he suddenly stopped: ‘There is a man in this room, you have been having these dreams…. in these dreams, you are building towers, rather like broadcasting towers…everywhere, all over the world. God is asking me to tell you, that He is the one giving you those dreams, and He is going to make it happen. He has also given you a new heart, you are going to have such compassion. Please come forward, if you are that man.’ There could have been 500 people in that room, that Sunday evening. I got up, and made my way to the front of the room.

Some years later, I won the case. Econet now has a majority share of users in Zimbabwe and operations in more than 15 countries. It started offering mobile banking through its phones a few years ago, and within 18 months, some 20 percent of Zimbabwe’s GDP was passing through its networks.


Strive Masiyiwa is a London based entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist. He is the founder and executive chairman of international diversified telecommunications group, Econet Wireless. He sits on board several organizations such as the Rockefeller foundation, US Council on Foreign Relations International Advisory Board, and the Asia Society to mention a few.

Red flags

Forget What People Want. It’s Your Life. What Do You Want?

Everyone is quick to tell you what to do and how to do it. Admittedly, their advice is coming from a good place, It’s Your Life. What Do You Want?

When I wanted to resign from employment, no one, not even my dad encouraged me initially. Everyone was afraid for me, they wanted to keep me safe and secure in employment. But I was miserable, I wanted to do better, even though there was no assurance of success, I had confidence in God and myself. What did I want? I wanted to own my own business and find fulfilment in working tirelessly for myself.

What did I do? I prayed, felt peace in my heart and resigned. No one was happy, I was. Those who asked me not to resign, are quick to tell everyone today how proud they are of me

I remember when I almost got married to the wrong person. I had collected money for Aso-Ebi, MC had been paid, sugar band had been paid, hall was paid for but I knew deep in my heart If I went along with it, I would regret it. What did everyone else want? They wanted me to worry about my age, to try it and see if love will come later, some of my friends wanted to wear aso-ebi

What did I want? I wanted out, I wanted to stop choking in my sleep knowing the magnitude of mistake I was about to make. I wanted to marry for love. I wanted to stop crying every day. What did I do? I called it off. No amount of money was worth my happiness. Today, I couldn’t be more proud of myself

I started this blog to tell my story, and hoped that in time, people would trust me enough to tell theirs too. My very dear friend told me, “no one will pay attention to your blog if you don’t include gossip. Just mix things up a little”. That wasn’t what I wanted but I was almost tempted to do it. My friend didn’t mean any harm, he just wanted to stop seeing me write everyday and only my friends noticing the hard work.

Then, I asked myself, “Is this who you are? Is this what you want?” I hate gossip, I believe only small minds indulge so I stuck to what I wanted: To portray myself, as I was, and as I wanted to be. Today, my friend couldn’t agree more that that was bad advice

What do you want? Not what others want. You. Who are you deep in your heart? Life isn’t an exam, there are no model answers but what you must understand is that doing what is right for you is a definite pathway to getting the answers you want. For the rest of your life, you will continue to feel more inadequate and unsure of yourself until you step into your own.

Don’t be deceived, life sucks! The path you know in your heart is right for you may not be easy or smooth, or both. But this is the path you have chosen, if you ride the waves, I can assure you, you will arrive at shore in victory

“I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier” —Oprah Winfrey

Taraji P Henson

At The Age Of 26, Taraji P. Henson Ran Off To Hollywood With $700 And A Baby, Here’s How She Made It

At The Age Of 26, Taraji P Henson Ran Off To Hollywood With $700 And A Baby, Here’s How She Made It

1) You are the sum of your work and effort, not other people’s opinions.

“We went to Paris and screened the pilot [of Empire] for a thousand people. Lee Daniels [the series’ co-creator] brought me onstage. The audience stood up on their feet and clapped. I cried because, for so long in Hollywood, I’ve been told that black women don’t do well overseas, that they can’t open a film overseas. That moment for me was the best moment of my life. That’s better than any trophy, any award, any nomination. You know how they say music can heal the world? I feel that way about art in general.”

2) Trust your journey, avoid looking in the rearview.

“I don’t think about other people. They are not walking in my shoes. They are not paying my bills. What makes me happy is when I do what I like to do, for me.” Read: I Disguised as a Man To Work in The Mines

3) Your obstacles are only as big as the power you give them.

“When I got pregnant in college, people said, ‘This is it for her.’ But I did not stop. I never missed a class. I was in the school musical when I was six months pregnant—we just made the character pregnant. When I graduated, I carried my son across the stage. I wanted to be an actress; I moved out to L.A. with him. People were like, “Are you crazy, moving to California with your son?” My father was like, ‘Leave him home.’ I said, ‘I can’t leave my son at home.’ [And eventually] my father said, ‘That’s your baby. That’s your blessing. He’s going to be your strength.’ And you know what? He was. I didn’t have time to go to the club to “network.” That’s B.S. No business deals go down at the club. So I didn’t get caught up in that. I had a mission. I had to make my dream come true. If I didn’t, what was I proving to my son?”

4) Avoid Situationships! Develop Relationships with partners who are willing to grow with you

“I’m a mother first. I’m not trying to bring this guy and this guy around. I’m raising my son, and he’s gonna respect women, and that starts with me. [Dating] in the spotlight—I have to consider my son. I don’t want to make it uncomfortable for him when he goes to school with his peers. And I have to answer to my mom too.

I’m not twenty-something. I’m not trying to find myself—I know exactly who I am and exactly what I want. And I don’t want a fan. I want a man who understands me, who challenges me, who calls me on my sh-t instead of letting me get away with it because I’m supposed to be a star. I want a best friend.”

5) Fear is a Jedi mind trick that can cripple you if you aren’t careful

“Fear will cripple you, fear will kill you, fear will make you believe you’re not worthy. After 17 years in prison, Cookie feels there is nothing to fear. She made it out alive. In her mind that’s how strong she is. We all have that strength inside us. We just have to choose it.”

Via: Glamour Magazine

Children's day

Children’s Day: “I Want to be The best Electrical Engineer in The World”- 13 Year Old Lekan

Because it’s children’s day today, we brought back Lekan’s story and his childhood dreams

My name is Lekan. I am 13years old. I have always liked to repair things from a young age. Things like television, Iron and DVD players interested me. I would pry them open when they don’t work and find a way to make them work

These days, after school I come here to learn how to do it better. MY mother advised me to come to this workshop so that when I want to repair things at home, I can do it quicker. When I’m confused, I borrow phones so I can go on the internet to read about some problems I’ve encountered. This really a lot.

DANG: Knowing all these now, would you still like to go to University?

Lekan: Yes. To study electrical electronics. I know it now and after university, I will be the best in the world.

Body Image

Body Image:”I Compared Myself to Others and Became Focused on What I Saw in the Mirror” Nicola King

“My name is Nicola King, I’m 24 years old. When I was 16, I became obsessed with my weight (Body Image) and started counting calories which led me to become sick. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with anorexia (an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat)

Growing up, I always had a healthy appetite, but when I got to my teens, I started having mood and anger issues. I became more aware of my looks and began obsessing over my weight. I always wanted to be slimmer or a different shape or size. I compared myself to others and became focused on what I saw in the mirror. The illness slowly crept into my head. It started with chocolate, and then I kept cutting out food and calories until I wasn’t eating anything at all. Read: Building Our Kids’ Self Esteem. A Lesson From my Mama

I could refuse to eat for six weeks straight or even drink water because I was scared of adding weight. A few years ago, it got so bad that I had to be admitted into intensive care. The doctors told my parents to say goodbye to me because my organs were shutting down. My hair was falling out, my periods stopped and I was in constant agony.

At my worst, I weighed four stone (25 Kilograms), had a BMI of eight and I felt dead. Some how I survived, because the doctors sedated me and kept me tube fed. Six months after, I was discharged from the hospital. I channeled that negative obsession towards weight building and started going to the gym

Going to the gym has given me focus and something I can get up for in the morning. It’s my therapy and escape and it’s a liberating feeling to push your body to the extreme but in a positive and healthy way. Its been a very long road since then but for the first time, I am proud of myself

I never thought I would get to this point. I didn’t even think I would still be here. Its surreal to have come this far- its overwhelming. When I look at the photos from when I was ill, it hurts, but I feel like I have come so far. If it wasn’t for my family and bodybuilding, I don’t know if I would still be here.”.

Millionaire

7 Signs You’ll Never Be a Millionaire

Almost anyone has what it takes to become a millionaire. Are you on your way to striking it rich? Or does your behavior shoot up red flags? To help you figure it out, we’ve rounded up 7 Signs to watch out for. Of course, everyone’s situation is different, but if you’re routinely making these mistakes, it may be time to make some changes when it comes to managing your money.

You put too much emphasis on saving
Every rich person knows the advantage of saving, but they also know that saving will not earn you money. So, while they do not disregard saving, they focus their energy more on earning. Saving is going to prevent you from running out of money, but continuous earning will ensure you become a millionaire. Change your main goal from savings alone, to earning income too. Read:Choices I hope You don’t regret in 10 years

You don’t have future plans for your money
What do you want your money to do for you? What do you want to do with your money? If you want to build wealth, you have to have a clear goal, specific plan and hard deadlines. And when you’re setting goals, don’t be afraid to think big. For example, by 2018 December, I want to have made a certain amount money from blogging. For that to happen, I have to invest a certain amount of money on adverts.

You don’t work on your goals
After I have set money asides for adverts, the next thing for me is to work towards making sure there’s readable content on my blog. I have spent some money so I can earn more money, but I will lose that money if I do not put in the work. The rich set their expectations exceptionally high and are up for any challenge so when you set that money goal, be ready to work to achieve it

You haven’t started investing
Investing is one of the simplest, most effective ways to build wealth, and the sooner you start, the easier it will be to reach seven figures.
“On average, millionaires invest 20 percent of their household income each year. Their wealth isn’t measured by the amount they make each year, but by how they’ve invested over time,” writes personal finance expert Ramit Sethi in his bestseller “I Will Teach You to Be Rich.” . Money sitting in the bank is worthless

You have only one source of income
Sure, you can get rich on one stream of income, but your chances aren’t great. As author Thomas C. Corley found in his five-year study of self-made millionaires, the rich “do not rely on one singular source of income,” he writes in “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life.”
“Sixty-five percent had at least three streams of income that they created prior to making their first million dollars.”
These additional streams could be real-estate rentals, a side hustle or a part-time job.

You rarely step outside of your comfort zone
The average person wants to be comfortable. Rich people, on the other hand, are stimulated by uncertainty. World class thinkers learn early on that becoming a millionaire isn’t easy and the need for comfort can be devastating. If you like to sleep and wake up at your own time, disregard what you have to do because you “don’t feel like it”….then you may be stuck in mediocrity

You think being rich is reserved for a lucky few
If you think getting rich is out of your reach, you’re probably not going to make millions. The masses think they aren’t worthy of great wealth. “Who am I to become a millionaire?” they ask themselves. The truth is, in a capitalist country, you have every right to be rich if you’re willing to create massive value for others. Start asking yourself, “Why not me?” After all, that’s what the millionaires and billionaires do.

I Disguised As A Man To Work in The Mines, Until I was Accused of Rape - Pili Hussein

#WCW I Disguised As A Man To Work in The Mines, Until I was Accused of Rape – Pili Hussein

“I Disguised As A Man To Work in The Mines, Until I was Accused of Rape”

“My name is Pili Hussein. I was born into a large family. My father had six wives and 38 children. From childhood he treated me like a boy, giving me livestock to take care of and I didn’t like it…Marriage was not kind to me either as my husband was abusive to me, so at age 31 I ran away. Somehow, I found myself in the town of Mererani where the precious stone Tanzanite is mined

I heard there was fortune to be made mining these stones, that they were a thousand times more profitable than diamonds. I didn’t go to school so I didn’t have many options and women were not allowed into the mines…so I disguised myself as a man to get work there. I entered bravely like a man. I took trousers, cut them into shorts and appeared like a man. I spoke like a man and could cuss like one too. I changed my name to Uncle Hussein

I could go 600m under, into the mine. I not only acted like a man, I was a leader of men. I acted like a Gorilla, I could go places even men were scared of going. I would dress like a Masai warrior, carry a big knife and talk tough. Nobody ever suspected I was a woman.

“I was able to work there for 10 years. I built houses for my father, mother and twin sister, then I began to employ miners to work for me.” Pili Hussein Read: What if I Didn’t Wait?- ASA

And her cover was so convincing that it took an extraordinary set of circumstances for her true identity to finally be revealed. A local woman had reported that she’d been raped by some of the miners and Pili was arrested as a suspect.

“It was when I was wrongly accused of rape and taken into custody that I had to reveal my true gender. Even then, people found it hard to believe it, I had successfully fooled them for so long. Shortly after, I met my current husband.The question in his mind was always, ‘Is she really a woman? “It took five years for him to come closer to me.

…I have no regrets. Today, I own my own mining company and I employ over 70 workers. I have sponsored over 30 of my nieces and nephew to school. “I’m proud of what I did – it has made me rich, but it was hard for me,” – Pili Hussein

Source: BBC Worldwide

From Hardship to Inspiration: Nnamdi Ezeigbo, Slot MD

“My name is Nnamdi Ezeigbo, and I started SLOT SYSTEMS by accident. Immediately after NYSC, I applied to work with Exxon Mobil. Like many graduates of my era, it was a dream to work for an oil company. Unfortunately or fortunately, whichever way you chose to look at it, I failed the final interview because I falsified my age and state of origin

It was then that I promised my self that I would always live a life of integrity.”

“I became jobless for two years. Since I studied Computer Engineering, I decided to take up the practical aspects of my passion. This led me to squat with a friend in Computer village where I learnt how to repair computers and phones. The arrangement was to be for six months; I told him not to bother paying me any stipend because I was just all about learning. It was here that I first got exposed to the Nigerian business environment and realized a serious lack of value creation.

Customers were being cheated massively because they could be charged as much as N50,000 for a repair of N500. It was then that the opportunity for SLOT was born.

“Though I later fell out with my friend as a result of this same misunderstanding, I think that was the best thing to happen to me. I started out on my own, developing my own customers, working from a small corner in a bookshop. When GSM came into Nigeria, I saw the opportunity and grabbed it…that was how I began selling phones with warranty. I have come a long way from the days when I had no office, when I was just squatting. I would go to customers homes or offices to repair their gadgets

Today, we have outlets in every region of the country. In some states like Lagos, I have as many as four outlets, all because I was able to see an opportunity and keep at it. I did not back down.”

Life is Too Short to Attach Yourself to Anyone’s Boxers

Women like me are tagged “radical”, “fiery”, “tough” etc but I since realized a long time ago that my happiness stares me in the face.

I’m solely responsible for my own happiness.

Marriage doesn’t validate or quantify one’s success.

I’m not a manager of happiness. It’s ALL or NOTHING with me.

Prayers are good but only when both souls agree to it.

I won’t whittle out for anyone who doesn’t prioritize me.

I’m Afolake. I’m different. I’m not scared of societal labeling. I validate my own truth.

As I’ve prepared myself as a treasure as a wife then he who marries me, must be lucky to get me.

No half measures. No second guessing.

Life is too short to attach your happiness to another’s boxers, moods or emotions.

I will continue to challenge the unfounded traditional myths that equates marriage with suffering. NO. The status quo must change and give way.

There’s no special place in heaven for best Miss or Mrs.

Till we rid ourselves of the congenital and societal backed belief that marriage is the solution to life’s problems, certain women shall continue to live in grief, violent, grey and toxic marriages.

No woman’s worth should be validated by marriage much less an erring husband returning home as a prized possession.

This is my creed. _ Folake Oyetesho

“All You Can Do is Plant Your Seed in the Ground, Water it and Believe”- Tyler Perry

“My fathers answer to everything was to beat it out of you. I suffered so much physical abuse from him while growing up that I changed my first name from Emmitt to Tyler because I wanted nothing to do with him. I never felt safe inside or outside my house.

I remember one occasion I was brutally whipped by my dad with a vacuum cord. I cant remember what I did wrong but I remember him cornering me in a room and hitting me with this vacuum cleaner cord. He just would not stop. There were all these welts on me, flesh coming off from my bones and I had to wait for him to go to sleep so I could run out. I lived in constant fear that something would set him off. I just wanted out so bad that I once attempted suicide by slitting my wrists

I was watching an Oprah Winfrey talk show at work where she said writing could be therapeutic…I began to write my problems out; talking to myself made it better. That was how my writing career began. My first stage play, “I know I have been changed” was a huge flop. I spent all my savings $12,000…but when a seed is planted in the ground, all you can do is water it, you cannot control the sunshine, you cannot control the weather and you cannot control what the locusts would do when they would come to destroy it. All you can do is plant your seed in the ground, water it and believe

I would not stop believing. Read The Power of Positive Thinking

So, I never gave up. I tried it again[the play] and this time, it sold out! My first film, “Diary of a mad black woman” earned ten times its budget. I became first a director, a producer and a co-producer of several other films…but for me, my biggest success is getting over the things that tried to destroy and take me out of this life. That’s my biggest success” – Tyler Perry

“I Was The Biggest Failure I Knew”- JK Rowling

Harry Portter Author, Jk Rowling had this to say about her journey to being a billionaire

“My name is JK Rowling… as soon as I knew who writers were, I wanted to be one. I’ve got the perfect temperament for a writer; perfectly happy, in a room making things up

The most traumatizing moment in my life was the day my mother died…and it shaped my whole life. I was writing Harry Potter the moment she died, so it’s not surprising that my books are largely about death. I know why Voldemort wants to conquer it. We’re all frightened of death…

After she died, I moved to Portugal to try to cope with the grief. Took up a job teaching, fell in and …out of love. I had a miscarriage, got married and gave birth to my daughter, Jessica. But my marriage lasted a mere 13 months and then I was a lone parent, jobless, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless

I had just three chapters of Harry Potter when I moved back to Britain…By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

It took me seven years to complete the first Harry Potter book- ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone’ and it was rejected twelve times by top publishing houses in Britain and I was told it would never sell…especially if kids knew a woman had written it. I had to initialize my name to give the book a fighting chance

Today, all seven Harry Portter books have sold over 450 million copies, been made into movies and keeps earning far more than I ever dreamt”.

Jk Rowling is estimated to be worth a little less than A Billion Dollars. She has made £526.54 per word written in the Harry Potter books