#thinkpositive moments from free thinkers. is an initiative started by the 50 Days in Afrika team in which well known personalities provide insight on what keeps them positive and going. #thinkpositive is a series of short videos that gives a sneak preview of a few of the faces to look out for in the 50 Days in Afrika documentary to be released later in 2014. Like a well brewed cup of coffee our #thinkpositive feature is a great way to start off your day with uplifting affirmations from some of Afrika’s most inspirational figures. We want to knows what keeps you positive, so tweet at us @dseshorts and #thinkpositive.
This month we focus on the backbone of our society – our women. Throughout history, the black woman has always been revered as a symbol of courage, strength and perseverance. Apart from the much publicized stories of Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Nanny of the Maroons and so on, there are countless others who demonstrate the embodiment of strong, positive ideals. Relegated to the bottom of the social strata based on both race and gender, black women had to claw their way up the ladder in order to attain some semblance of equality in a post-colonial society. As such, DSE Shorts exemplifies the character of black women around the world.
Dr. Nkozi Okonjo-Iweala – Finance Minister
A positive thought from Dr. Nkozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s current Finance Minister. Dr. Nkozi Okonjo- Iweala is iconic in every sense of the word, being the first woman to hold the Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs positions in Nigeria. Listed as #83 on the Forbes’ top 100 list of Power Women, Okonjo- Iwealas’s entire life has been defined by success. A graduate of Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she has held the posts of corporate secretary, vice president, and managing director of the World Bank. She has been labelled by many as one of the most influential African women because of her position in control of the continent’s second largest economy.
Nneka – Singer/Songwriter
Think positive with Nigerian singer/ songwriter Nneka. Nneka combines the hard hitting lyrics of a Lauryn Hill with the soulful vocals of an India Arie in a well put together package of reggae, hip hop, R&B, soul and Afrobeat. Raised in the discordant Nigeria of the 80’s and 90’s, her message is one of social commentary and honest soul searching. This uncommon sincerity in her music has won over fans across the world and has seen her touring with the likes of Sean Paul, Lenny Kravitz, Nas & Damian Marley. The singer continues to grow from strength to strength with more tours across Africa, Europe and South Africa in 2014.
Anisa Mpungwe – Designer
Tanzanian designer and business owner Anisa Mpungwe has demonstrated the value of embracing one’s own culture in your professional field. Her bold use of African prints has gained recognition on the world stage, with her work being featured regularly at Swahili Fashion Week, South Africa Fashion Week, and world renown New York Fashion Week. Anisa is no stranger to breaking records as well, being the first black woman to win UK’s Elle New Talent competition. This success has translated into her founding her own brand Loin Cloth & Ashes, currently making waves in Africa.
Nonzi Bogatsu – Writer
When looking at the creative industries, the contribution of writers cannot be overlooked. South African Nonzi Bogatsu has made a name for herself as a well rounded creative writer, creating content for a wide range of genres both on TV and on stage. Nonzi explores the issues faced by women in modern day society with a feminist approach to her scriptwriting. Her activism goes beyond writing into social development campaigns and event coordination. Currently, Nonzi acts as resident writer for popular South African soapie “Isidingo” which airs on SABC3.
Nancy G – Musician
Musician Nancy G’s talent seemingly knows no bounds. This guitarist/singer/songwriter/producer from Swaziland creates a uniquely universal sound, drawing from influences like Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, Peter Tosh and Dolly Parton to name a few. This talent has seen her touring the UK and Africa, even performing at the 2011 staging of Felabration with her band The Human Family. The beautiful songbird has faith in the power of her art to transcend all boundaries of race and nationality to positively impact the lives of people all around the world.
Hauwa Mukan – Broadcaster
From public relations to celebrity styling, Nigerian broadcaster Hauwa Mukan’s versatility seemingly knows no bounds. After studying journalism and public relations at Howard University, Mukan returned to her homeland with her heart set on journalism and fashion. Since returning she has worked as a magazine editor, celebrity stylist, scenic designer and public relations officer before beginning her current role of radio broadcaster with Smooth 98.1 FM where she has gained a sizeable listenership.
Jackie Motsepe – GM SABC
Over the last decade, Jackie Motsepe has been a key player behind the scenes of South Africa’s film industry. During her seven year stint at at the National Film and Video Foundation as Head of Marketing & Public Affairs, her promotions contributed to a major increase in the number of film productions taking place in the country and spearheaded the establishment of the South African Film & Television Awards. These and other initiatives helped to establish a South African presence at major international film festivals around the world. She moved on to becoming General Manager of International Content at SABC where she spent three years before taking up the mantle as Chief Operations Officer at the Kwazulu Natal Film Commission, where she continues to help with the development of the film industry in South Africa.
Doreen Noni – Designer & Creative Director
At just 24, Designer and Creative Director Doreen ‘Dori’ Noni has made strides not only in the fashion world, but also as a member of the esteemed Global Shapers Community. Since 2012, she has been the voice of the youth at the World Economic Forum speaking alongside African heads of state and other dignitaries. As Creative Director at the multimedia company Miracle Films & Studios, Dori uses film and other visual art forms to raise awareness about societal issues common to countries across the African continent.
Rebecca Young – Development Advisor (THT)
After completing a Masters degree in Poverty Reduction and Development Management at the University of Birmingham, Rebecca Young took her expertise to Tanzania where she began working at the Tanzania House of Talent(THT). Appointed as Development Advisor, her presence was felt almost immediately as she devised a model which fuelled the growth of the organization from the grassroots level to being an internationally recognized NGO. She has presented this model in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia after it was recognized as a revolutionary concept for the entertainment and music industries of East Africa. The THT has also been a place of refuge for the underprivileged youth of Tanzania, providing not only food, a living allowance and medical treatment but also the platform to develop a career in music.
Story written by Learie Holt.
Song: “Think Positive” by M.