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Personality of the Month

Trevor Noah is our Personality for the month of July

Globally renowned comedian and host of America’s The Daily Show, Trevor Noah is our personality for the month of July. We share his inspiring story as well as his encouraging quote to young people in Africa.

Noah was born on 20 February 1984 in Johannesburg (South Africa). At 34, Trevor Noah’s career keeps soaring to new heights. The Soweto- born comedian has come a long way since breaking into the entertainment industry at the age of 18. He began his career as a comedian, a presenter and an actor in South Africa in the year 2002. He held several television hosting roles with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and he came second in their fourth season of Strictly Come Dancing in 2008.

Early Life
Trevor and his mom (Patricia Nombuyiselo) suffered physical abuse from Trevor’s dad (Ngisaveni Abel Shingange). Even after Noah’s mom divorced his dad and married another man, Noah’s biological dad shot his mom in her leg and through the back of her head. Sad right? The bullet though went through the base of the back of her head, avoiding major nerves and organs including her spinal cord and her brain, but the bullet caused minor damage to her nostril. Trevor then called his dad to confront him about the shouting, his dad threatened to kill him then he decided to leave for Los Angeles.
Noah has described himself as being progressive and having a global perspective. However, he has clarified that he considers himself a “progressive person”, but not a “politically progressive”

Influences
Trevor credited his comedic influence to American actor/comedian, Eddie Murphy, who he claimed changed his view on comedy and he definitely looked up to him as a comedic influence. He also mentioned Jon Stewart as an influence and a mentor, following his appointment to succeed Stewart as host of The Daily Show. In an interview with The New York Times, Noah likened Stewart to “a Jewish Yoda” and recounted the advice Stewart gave him, saying, “The most amazing thing that Jon did was he didn’t give me a mandate. He didn’t say, ‘You need to make my show.’ He specifically said: ‘Make your show. Make your best version of it.’ I apply those teachings of Jon’s to everything that I’m doing.”
Noah’s efforts have earned him several worldwide recognition. In 2017 and 2018, The Hollywood Reporter named him as one of “The 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media”, also in 2018, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.

His advice to young people is, “Be determined. Go where the work leads you. And take the no’s as an opportunity to find the yes’s. Be excellent here in Africa, don’t wait for overseas. Just work on making the best thing possible in your country and then you will find that overseas will come knocking and you may not even want it then.”

You can catch Trevor Noah on The Daily Show Tuesdays – Fridays at 21:00 CAT on Comedy Central, DStv 122.

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Bogolo Joy Kenewendo is our personality for the month of May

At 31-years-old, she became the youngest minister in Botswana. Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, who is an economist as well as a politician was born and bred in Motopi village in the Boteti area of Botswana. She currently serves as the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, in the Cabinet of Botswana.

However, her accession to parliament and cabinet at such a young age is not the only reason why she should be everyone’s career goals – Kenewendo, is more highly qualified than many of her older counterparts on the continent and her accession was on merit – something that also sets her apart.

Kenewendo made this statement after her appointment; “My path has kept changing as my life changes and as I see new opportunities, but the consistent undertone is my desire to impact development through policy in one office or the other. I am passionate about youth and women empowerment. There is so much more we can accomplish by ensuring that we invest in these resources. There is also a need for economic development, especially through private sector growth.” “I now get to serve my country and look forward to being a voice for many more young people out there,” she added.

Although it might seem like the young dynamo burst onto the political stage from nowhere, her journey has included admirable work through Molaya Kgosi, a women leadership and mentorship programme. Kenewendo was one of the founders of this programme following her encounter with the US First Lady Michelle Obama during her Young African Leaders Initiative (Yali) experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bogolo Kenewendo has so many achievements under her belt, and it is clear that her country will benefit from many more to come.

If you think you’re too young to lead… think again.
Ask yourself this question; what will it cost me to make a difference in my community/country?

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Africa’s Leading Women – Funke Opeke

Meet our personality for this month – Funke Opeke from Nigeria. She is an electrical engineer, founder of Main Street Technologies and Chief Executive Officer of Main One Cable Company, a communications services company based in Lagos State, south-western Nigeria.

Her company – MainOne is West Africa’s leading communications services and network solutions provider.

The company, built West Africa’s first privately owned, open access 7,000-kilometer undersea high capacity cable submarine – stretching from Portugal to South Africa with landings along the route in Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria.

Funke Opeke is recognized as the woman powering broadband in West Africa.

In 2005, after moving back to Nigeria to take on the role of Chief Technology Officer of MTN Nigeria, Funke Opeke noticed the low internet connectivity in Nigeria and decided to do something about it. In 2008, she started MainOne.

The idea of running a 7,000-kilometer undersea high capacity cable submarine from Portugal to Lagos, Nigeria seemed unachievable, too ambitious and may be utterly ridiculous but Funke Opeke had a vision and she was willing to give her all to make it happen.

The value we seek to add is the only true path to greater success. This much, and more, we can say about Funke Opeke, whose desire to add value to her home country birthed Africa’s biggest cable company.

Funke Opeke’s achievements are a source of inspiration to many.

After pledging all her savings, facing more challenges of raising capital for the start-up cable business, carrying out in-depth foundational works, feasibility studies, business plans, and technical plans, Main One Cable Company become more tangible.

One of the things that kept her going in the midst of challenges was her determination to keep moving forward with the idea. There was no going back for her. So she became relentless in engaging more persons who could help fill the financing needs that the company needed. Often times, Funke came across persons who doubted the success of such a business in Nigeria but she didn’t let that stop her. She was never bothered about the glaring truth that she was a woman in a business path that was dominated by men. She kept her focus and ran with her dreams.

Today, Main One cable has succeeded in signing over 100 customers across Africa.

Funke Opeke believes that if everyone can think about how they can utilize the opportunities and the assets that they have to generate value then they would be successful in any business.

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January Personality of the month

Our personality for this month is Otto Orondaam and he is the founder of Slum2School Africa.

His initiative was founded in 2012 during his national youth service as an intervention to advocate for and improve access/quality of education for disadvantaged children in slums and remote communities.

Otto Orondaam is a young African born and raised in Nigeria. He has a bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the University of Port Harcourt and holds an executive masters in project management from CUPE UK and a certificate in Social Change, Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship from the United Nations University for Peace, Costa Rica.

Otto’s passion to improve the state of his country and continent made him volunteer and work for several Non-Profits organizations and International Development Agencies in Nigeria and within African countries since the age of 16.

Otto Orondaam’s contributions to the social sector have fetched several recognitions for him and since inception Otto has worked with over 3000 young volunteers from over 25 countries to provide scholarships for over 600 children from various slums and several thousand have benefited from several other health and psycho-social support programs. He also led campaigns to renovate dilapidated schools in remote communities and equip slum schools with more facilities like computer room, library, and health center.

“We shouldn’t live our life just to earn a living, we should live our lives to make an impact. Everyone has a gift and with that gift, you can transform the society and make the lives of millions of people better.” – Otto Orondaam

What are you doing for your community?

(Video Source: Ndani.tv)

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November Personality of the Month – Ifeoma Fafunwa

Our personality of this month is Ifeoma Fafunwa – Founder and chief creative director of iOpenEye, a Nigerian production company driving social change through performance art.

Born and raised in Lagos, Ifeoma Fafunwa’s craft is inspired by the city of Lagos and most of her work debuts in Lagos but also has an international appeal. Her creativity has been expressed across a range of different media including advertising, architecture, interior design, film and of course, theatre.

Ifeoma Fanfunwa left the shores of Nigeria when she was 16 and coming back was the catalyst she needed to take up the banner for her country, which she describes as her “biggest love and heartache.” “When I came back I was very fascinated by choices, decisions, limitations and how the country was affected by the way women see themselves in society.” She said in an interview.

Ever since her return back to Nigeria, she has been involved in the creative industry from directing The Vagina Monologues to founding her company iOpenEye Limited, which has gone on to create workshops and produce her signature play, “Hear Word”.

One key interest to Ifeoma was to ask Nigerian women these questions after the release of her play Hear Word!; “Where is your focus? Do you not care about your children? Do you not care that the country is on the right track? Stop whining and moaning and get to work, this country needs everybody.”

Ifeoma believes that women are the nurturers of society around the globe. She once said in an interview; “The story of women is so important because women, right now, are what we have not tried for Nigeria. Women are what we need in terms of their involvement. Unfortunately, women are not effective, they are not engaged in the proper things. What if we put our resources into empowering those women to nation building?” asks Ifeoma Fafunwa

In 2014, her own production HEAR WORD! hit the stage in Lagos Nigeria. The play has been performed for thousands around the world and to a wide variety of audiences. This epic production describes life from the grassroots up. it talks about the small things every day that we take for granted.

Ifeoma Fanfunwa is empowering women Nigeria and most especially Africa through theatre arts. She has joined the league of inspiring African women into taking action and doing remarkable work to improve the health and well-being of Africans. It is important that we bring women to the forefront of leadership and decision making in order to improve the state of our country, says Ifeoma.

 

 

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Motivating Africa Personality of the month

 

You are not too young to make a change in your community, city, country or continent at large.

Zommi Kungne Vanessa, a young lady from Cameroon is definitely a change agent. She identified a problem in her community and she found a solution to it.

Born into a family of six, Vanessa developed a keen interest in social entrepreneurship from her teenage years. She has the vision to affect a lot of lives through entrepreneurship.

She found an opportunity to bring her vision into reality when her mother was diagnosed with diabetes, a chronic disease that had earlier taken her grandparents. Vanessa carried out a research on how she could help her mother. Her research led to her discovery of the Moringa plant which has numerous qualities. The plant has more than 40 antioxidants and can solve more than 50 diseases including diabetes.

At a very tender age of 17, Zommi Vanessa started making her own tea made from moringa and went ahead to establish Afya Tea made from moringa. The tea is quite popular in the Buea region of Cameroon and is gradually spreading to other parts of Cameroon, Africa and the world at large. Vanessa is also empowering local farmers in Cameroon by teaching them how to plant moringa. She also gives them the seeds so that they can plant it and make money.

Afya tea is aimed at addressing diabetes, a chronic disease drastically reducing the Cameroonian population. Moringa tea is a natural solution with the ability to increase the energy in the body as well as reduce the sugar level in the body. Vanessa’s vision is to see her community, nation and continent healthy through her Moringa tea.

Vanessa is currently a graduate student at Villanova University where she studies for an award of an M.S degree in Chemical engineering by Fall 2017.

Vanessa’s tea has gotten a lot of media attention as well proposed investment from global organisations.

Zommi Vanessa is the first woman from Cameroon to be selected as an Anzisha Fellow. Her work has been featured on CNN, ThisisAfrica, Media 256 and Forbes.

In May 2016, she was named amongst Forbes Africa 30 under 30 most promising African entrepreneurs

In the same year, she was chosen as a Forbes under 30 summit scholar.

Her interests are in sustainable consulting, life cycle assessment, marketing, business development, manufacturing operations and brewery operations.

 

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