My (unforgettable) United Nations experience

And so everyone is asking me the roving question: “How was your trip to the United Nations?”

Amazing seems to be the automated answer, but there’s so much more to the journey than that!

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We arrived in humid Bangkok, jet-lagged and sweating like pigs. I received ample warning about the weather, but nothing can prepare one to the actual feeling.

Many delegates arrived in groups representing their communities and societies. I came to learn that I was part of the very few representing myself. Well not just myself but the vision.

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Besides the well-themed motivational talks, UN panel discussions and the remarkable, young world-changers who graced the stage with a wealth of insight and experience, what stood out for me were the individuals of the delegation.

Never have I been in a room bursting with such passion, energy and honest hunger for knowledge on how to change the world.

That kind of environment leaves one curious for more, excited to make a difference and overflowing with new ideas.

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Another invaluable opportunity was that of networking and joining forces with not only like-minded individuals, but with people who can share the vision to other communities. Making friends is so easy when your hearts are in alignment. It makes the relationships more meaningful and purposeful.

I have added the well-curated video of the journey, which leaves me tearful every time I watch it. It’s crazy to think I was part of this, I witnessed all that was happening. I will write another entry of how Womandla aims to contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 in Gender Equality.

Stay tuned and follow us on Facebook  for more!

#Womandla

South Africa’s trailblazing sisters

Basetsana Khumalo and Johanna Mukoki are no strangers to South African media and travel aficionados.

These two sisters have great portfolios behind their names and have proven that anything is possible through hard work, great support and prayer. Their story resonates with me as I have a sister and these are the kind of conversations we have about our futures.  When such tangible role models exist, our dreams are validated and come to life as we are led by their example. You see inspiration usually comes from something that exists, ours is to add our own flair and skill to make the obvious difference.

It’s only until recent years that they have exposed their private lives and business projects to us. We see that they too can have fun, enjoy life, have families and still live out their individual purposes.

The Makgalemele sisters are an embodiment of “Women can do it all.”

#Womandla

Sibongile Zungu launches the preferred South African Travel Company

This past week I spoke to Sibongile Zungu, a qualified registered Chartered Accountant, who just launched her Travel Company called Preferential Travel.  She astutely describes herself as ambitious, witty, spiritual and romantic and spares a moment to share her past and prospects with us!
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1. Tell us about your business and background.

SZ: I come from a family of entrepreneurs, yet I never believed in entrepreneurship. I felt it was unnecessarily risky, when I could easily live a very comfortable life with a 9-5 day job, ever-so-often waking up and wondering how much sick leave I still have available.
Preferential Travel is quite simply a travel company that arranges affordable travel experiences (mainly road trips) within South Africa for individuals, couples, and groups of up to 20. We have accommodation partners in most tourist attraction destinations in South Africa, and have an option on our website for clients to obtain quotes for destinations we don’t currently have listed.
Every single listed property on Preferential Travel’s site, is a place I would personally visit and can personally vouch for. I love adventure and natural surroundings, and all the properties offer that – not to mention they’re all very reasonably priced.
To the best of my knowledge, we are one of very few travel companies that also have CSI initiatives. Shammah Safe House is an amazing children’s home and we are proud to have partnered with them.

2. What are the challenges you face as a young, female entrepreneur?

1. Adequate emotional support.
2. Finding a quality mentor that is willing to actually invest time in you.
3. Finances
4. Time management – particularly if you have an 8 hour full-time job.

For my industry, specifically, I noticed very quickly that it’s a very tough industry to break into, and accommodation owners are not very open to helping start-ups. I had a good number of phone calls dropped in my ear and emails not returned whilst I was gathering my initial client base. I remember the first rejection email, of many, I received several weeks ago – “Sorry. The owners are not interested. Regards”. Such things fuelled me, and still fuel me, to push even harder.

3. What do you hope to achieve in your business?

SZ: Preferential means “superior”, “favoured”, “better” – I want the meaning of the name to manifest itself. So naturally, I envision Preferential Travel to be a leading travel company in South Africa, and I am branding it as such. I’m very fortunate to have travelled South Africa rather thoroughly, consequently I’m passionate about promoting local travel. I think our country is gorgeous!

I’m taking it step-by-step, and I truly value the partners that have decided to take this leap of faith with me. My main focus at the moment is on marketing. People need to know that Preferential Travel exists. I have the likes of Safarinow, RoomsforAfrica etc. as ultimate competition and I fully acknowledge that I won’t get to their level overnight. But I will get there. And do far “better”.

4. What keeps you going when the going gets tough?

SZ: Two things – God and my passion for travel. Just like my life, this entire venture is founded on Psalm 23:6.

5. Any words of encouragement to our network of ladies?

SZ: Hold the vision. Trust the process. Pray.

Bio: Sibongile grew up in Pietermaritzburg, Kwa Zulu Natal, with her parents and older brother then left for Pretoria in 2010 to study Accounting Sciences. She is currently working as an assistant manager in one of Africa’s leading professional services firms and is also studying towards a Masters in Taxation.

#Womandla

Ayikho into egqitha ikhaya lakho (There’s no place like home)

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Do you know that paradoxical feeling of being full and empty at the same time? Maybe not.

I just came back from a long, overdue trip home. The weekend seemed quick as lightening,  a reflection of the speed of which this year has gone by.

I feel full in my spirit, because of:

  • The picturesque drives along the sea
  • Pop-ins at my former work and seeing my ex-colleagues (now friends)
  • My dad’s bear hugs
  • Mom’s chocolate breakfasts
  • Granny’s magwinyas
  • Ivumba le heater ye paraffin at their place
  • Brunches and lunches with my sister and besties
  • Kisses, hugs and prayers from my old church people
  • Love

Time is so valuable. People are so precious. I value every moment spent with those who route for me, support me and want nothing but the best for me. I draw strength from them.

My vernac expressions just prove how strong the longing was, how far the distance seemed, a kind of reawakening of what matters most!

I’m back  in Cape Town feeling empty, because I miss it all again.

The 11th hour- God is never late

God goes before us every step of the way. Half of the time we spend doubting and being anxious is all for nothing because everything always works out in the end.

God is never late.

We always want to rush to the end and completely forget about the journey that leads us there. Imagine a book that reads.. “Once upon a time, the end.” How well would this book sell? How interesting is a life built of short sentences with no plots, storylines or anticlimaxes? How would you encourage others who will follow your footsteps or look up to you if everything seemed perfect? You would be empty. No substance therefore no influence.

I experienced this lesson, at the end of 2014, after a year of unhappiness and turmoil. In my mind things should have been a lot different because I have always done things right, asking very little of anyone and achieved everything in record time.

See, I am pedantic by nature. I love knowing things in advance and planning accordingly. I do this when shopping. I plan where I will park. I map out the mall in my head. I expect things to run smoothly especially because my plan B has a plan B.

I WILL spam your inbox and call register, just to make sure we’re still on track with plans. It works well for my career but not so much for relationships and life in general.

To be honest it’s tedious, but it’s ME.

After my big life plan bombed out on me, I was left in the same place as the previous year. I was very despondent to everything. I dragged my feet, I woke up late, I had resigned from things internally for a while.

If it wasn’t for people around me who often reaffirmed things that I had in my heart, told me about my potential and seeking God truly, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.

My life took a big turn of events after months of trying and it was like a surge of energy rushed through my body and reawakened me. Everything that was of the best happened in 2 weeks. I knew God had everything to do with it, because all my pre-planning would have had loop holes and missing links.

But I had hope. I prayed fervently and continuously. I spoke and invited great things and most importantly, I believed.

Ephesians 3: 20 says “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask, think or imagine, according to the power that works within us be all glory.”

This morning, I said, I was in love with my life again and I have God to thank.

To me it seemed like He came through for me on the 11th hour, but to Him it was just on time. His plan made more sense and was less strenuous.

Trust the process, He is the author of time and master strategist. I am expectant of more and excited to accelerate!

15 things you should do at least once in your life

DJ with a difference- Rudzi Sadiki

I caught up with Rudzi Sadiki, a well traveled, tall, dark  bloke who can speak nine languages, as described by himself. I’m pretty sure he left out the word “handsome” to not pose as a triple threat to guys out there, but went on to say they write fairytales about him. I don’t know who “they” are and if you want to know, perhaps you should follow him on Twitter. We chatted about his music addiction and  journey through life as a newbie in the industry and touched on elections, for control .

 

SS: What is your greatest achievement to date?

Rudzi: My greatest achievement was being the resident DJ on SABC 1’s hit music show Jika Majika in 2011

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SS: What are your views on women entering the DJ/Music industry world?

Rudzi: There is a increasing number of very talented ladies entering the music industry. Its only a matter of time before they can shine and show that the industry is very open to female producers, deejays and vocalists. The likes of Dj Zinhle, Dj Sue, Miss Pru, Ms Cosmo and Lady Lea have done it and are key examples.   

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SS: If you weren’t dj-ing, how would you be spending your time?

Rudzi: I would be working as a designer or scoring movies and short films for local production companies

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SS: What motivates you?

Rudzi: I hate losing so everything I do I try not to disappoint myself or anyone that supports me.

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SS:  Our fifth national and provincial elections came and went, any comments about “born free-dom”,  South Africans, democracy?

Rudzi: Politics are personal and emotional for most people so the most important thing was for people to exercise their right by voting and contributing towards the future of South Africa. You can’t complain if you didn’t vote

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Thank you Mr DJ for playing along! (My Brenda Fassie rendition LOL)

Anyway, Rudzi is based in Durban and can sometimes be spotted in Johannesburg. For more artistic expression and picking of his right-side of the brain, check out his Tumblr .