From social enterprises, medicine to fashion these phenomenal women will leave you in awe of their accomplishments and ambition.
Stay inspired with these African female entrepreneurs who are all under the age of 35.
8 Young African female leaders to look out for in 2018:
1. Sanam Shree
Shree (30) is the chief strategy and investment officer at Shree Property holdings. The business has been successfully running from 2007 and has worked with renowned brands in the industry such as Samsung, Volvo, and Unilever which rent up to 700 000 m² of industrial warehouse space from the group.
“I’m passionate about mentorship, especially for young women in the male-dominated property industry,” says Shree.
2. Carey Townsend
The love of media and passion for fashion and design was a perfect combination to stir up Townsend’s public relations agency called ‘Girl About Town’. Today, she works with a dynamic team that is making waves in the youth culture space, focusing on the “image amplification” of fashion and lifestyle brands.
Carey has a Media degree, a postgraduate degree in Marketing, and has worked as a fashion editor. In Townsend’s words, “If my team and I are able to hit those targets and make a difference in the lives of the people we’re working with, then we’re winning.”
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3. Naadiya Moosajee
The 33-year-old Moosajee who proudly holds her BSc in Civil Engineering and an MSc in Engineering often encountered discrimination and harassment in the workplace, to the extreme where she was even cyber-stalked by a colleague. This is where Moosajee and a friend, fellow engineer Hema Vallabh, hosted a conference showcasing the technical excellence of women under the banner, SA WomEng.
More than a decade later, SA WomEng has become a global instrumental force that develops strong female engineering talent pipelines. The initiative hosts many workshops and campaigns among their recent success is their #1MillionGirlsinSTEM campaign. They are committed to reaching 1 million girls through science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and awareness initiatives in at least ten different geographic locations, in the next ten years.
4. Chantelle De Abreu
De Abreu (26) journey started three years ago when she identified a gap between a balance of sports and academics when she volunteered as a clinical psychology intern at a football academy that focused in developing young talent. “They felt that they had to choose between sport and education,” says De Abreu. “I felt this was an injustice; everyone has a right to education.”
It is this gap that motivated De Abreu to take matters into her own hands and start her own organisation where she educates and supports 18 young sports talents, including soccer players, cricketers and golfers.
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5. Farai Mubaiwa
Mubaiwa started her NGO, Africa Matters which is an NGO that “aims to change the African narrative by providing spaces for critical engagement amongst Africans,” says Mubaiwa.
Her team of 25 with branches in the Western Cape, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Nairobi works tirelessly to host workshops, summits, and leadership programmes, reaching hundreds of Africa’s youth and enlightening them about important issues that are facing Africa.
Mubaiwa’s journey started off at Stellenbosch University, she headed the Student Representative Council’s Woman Empowerment portfolio, working tirelessly to create awareness around rape culture. Mubaiwa teamed up with an academic and a group of student leaders to write a book about rape culture in universities.
6. Nosipho Bele
The wisdom that parents impart can go further than we ever imagined. Bele is a true definition of her mother’s teachings.
In 2012 during her gap year, Bele started her organisation “Mentor Me”, which focused on tutoring high school students at Nyanga township.
Bele was recognised for her efforts by becoming one of the first South African recipients of the Queen’s Young Leader Award in 2015 paving the way for many others. This phenomenal woman also holds a Master’s in Education at Concordia University in Canada.
7. Jessica Dewhurst
Among her many achievements, Dewhurst earned her Master’s degree in Social Development, specialising in children’s rights and human trafficking. She also completed the Edmund Rice International training programme at the United Nations in Geneva, and travelled the world as one of the Group’s UN Youth Ambassadors. The group promotes human rights, and works alongside countless youth and other organisations to bring about positive change.
In 2013, while still a student, Dewhurst co-founded the Edmund Rice Justice Desk in Cape Town. The organisation operates in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. It focuses on educating, advocating for, and equipping youth, vulnerable groups, civil society and governments across South-Central Africa in human rights, justice and advocacy.
It works primarily in township areas and vulnerable communities, empowering and equipping communities to lead their own change. “I want to continue to expand, so that we can reach as many people as possible in every province,” says Dewhurst.
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8. Winnie Makhwanya
After Makhwanya’s parents divorced, she thought about how life circumstances impact psychology. In 2012 she graduated with an honours degree in Psychology. The young woman who is driven up to change the world used up all her savings to set up the Keagile Wellness Development Centre, a non-profit organisation which operates out of various hubs in four townships, north of Tshwane.
The centre is run by four registered counsellors from the Health Professions Council of South Africa, but more and more volunteers are coming on board.
The organisation has worked tirelessly to reach 10 schools in the region which focuses on literally door-to-door, visiting families, schools, and non-governmental organisations to conduct needs-analyses in these disadvantaged communities and helping them with career guidance workshops, as well as psychological and emotional support.