Marigold Series

I met Nomaliso when she was a high school girl at the Bulawayo Dominican Convent. Even back then you could tell that she was highly intelligent and destined for big things. Her YouTube political commentary on her No B.S webseries was my go-to source for political discussions. She has chartered her way through the Zimbabwean agribusiness and become a household name through her work at Fresh in a Box which she is Founding Director of.

Did you ever see yourself becoming a farmer?

I had never dreamt of being a farmer, at the very least even a farm administrator. Now I cannot imagine not being a Farmer.

You’re a Mathematician, how does that help you as a farmer?

It’s more of a pain than it’s beneficial. I pay a lot of attention to details, and iterate a lot of my processes. Sometimes that frustrates my team but it’s for the better. I have mastered the science of growing a big sized cabbage at a small cost so I guess, Thank you Mr Jowa for Optimization class 🙂

How did you get into farming initially?

As fresh in a box grew, the demand for a supply chain that was consistent grew, and the farmers were not showing up as expected, the farm itself was God’s Plan. Our landlord called us and offered us the place based on the work we were doing, and we jumped on the opportunity.

What are some of the resources that taught you critical lessons about farming?

The INTERNET, everything is found on there, YouTube was a godsend because in farming you learn by seeing, and joining farmer unions helped me a lot.

What’s your typical day like in farm life?

We start the operations at 6AM, we have harvesting and order deployment, move to land preparation, some housekeeping, and later in the day we do planting.

Besides, the current heavy rains, what other factors impede the business?

Rain is most welcome in our work, but resource tracking(fertilizer, chemicals) and management is important, it’s the make or break of our farming business.

What 3 things would you say have contributed to the success of your business thus far?

I would say, paying attention to detail, learning, implementing and living my life more publicly than most would. People buy people!

To what extent would you say your personal brand has impacted the growth of your business?

To a large extent, we believe that the people we are impact our brand and product and how customers interact with it.

Where have you gotten the most support as a young farmer?

The Farmers Union Club (FYFCZ) that I am a member of has supported me the most in my journey as a young farmer.

What’s the hardest thing about farming?

The hardest part of farming is stomaching losses in the field. Farming in itself is like gambling, the hardest bit is always beating the house.

What are some of the associations that you are in specifically for farmers?

Federation of Young Farmers Club of Zimbabwe is the organisation that I am affiliated with.

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring farmers?

If you have no intention of being in the field yourself,don’t venture into farming. Capital is everything, farming is possible with bootstrapping but it’s painful, you may quit before you finish your first season.

What can be done to improve market linkages for Zimbabwean farmers?

A disruption in how customers consume, and creating markets that are farmer-centric than they are customer-centric.

It’s 2023 next year, will we see a return of No B.S?

While I enjoy political analysis and banter, 2023 I am looking towards expanding the Fresh in a Box business across the region. That will make No B.S impossible to pull off. Soooooo No BS come 2023… LOL

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Elinah Mangena is truly the epitome of success and what it means to be a go getter. I started following her work online a few years ago through my wonderful friend Mbo Mahocs. I knew there was something special about her magic touch. I am a huge cheerleader of women who are successful and those who are yet to discover the lioness in themselves. So I made a promise to myself that I would book her services as soon as a glamorous opportunity showed up on my doorstep. It did. Elinah was my make up artist for the Bulawayo Arts Awards that I was privileged to host. She did a stellar job. Apart from that she is a serial networker, a solid business woman and an award nominated make up artist. She is also a self published author who uses the power of the written word to inspire any woman or man to go after their dreams and stretch themselves. I couldn’t wait to introduce you to her. Meet one of our Marigold Series woman, Elinah Success Mangena.

Who is Elinah Success Mangena?

Elinah Success Mangena is a 30 year old young woman , highly motivated and strong willed . She is an award nominated make up artist , author and image consultant.

Did you ever imagine yourself as a make up artist? What led to this career choice?

No , if there is any career I could  have pursued professionally it would have been in athletics or dancing, but a huge part of me is also academic. Being a make up artist fell into my lap by a sheer coincidence , or I as believe by God’s grace. I never had any interest or knowledge of the beauty industry. My roommate showed me the ropes . I later enjoyed beautifying myself and people took interest and asked me to do their make up. The rest is history.
You recently hosted another successful make up Masterclass. What was the experience like? 

This was special , it was the first time I did a 3 day masterclass . The planning was very overwhelming yet so rewarding in the end. When you get to see the students progress from beginner level to proficient level it’s an empowering experience for myself as well as my guests. To have some of my celebrity clients involved and being models for the day was truly humbling.

What has been your favourite milestone in your journey thus far?

I would have to say it’s having to see my clients  happy with their personal transformation for a special event or milestone in their lives.  It’s something that I cherish and seek to achieve each day. 2021 was also a monumental year for me as I was nominated for the ASEA Awards. I was blown out of my mind that my work was shortlisted for this honour. Publishing my book was a scary process that also stretched my limits but certainly a mile stone to celebrate as well.

Who would you say is the biggest artist or celebrity you have worked with and how did that shape your career further?

Basetsana Khumalo is my favourite high profiled client that I have previously worked with. I learnt a new level of poise from her.  I remember I was a bit late getting to her . I was getting lost trying to find the main gate to the venue.  When I got there I was panicking because this is “Basetsana” we are talking about , but she was calm and offered to make me tea . My highlight of the experience was for her to be happy with the finished look . It was affirming to know that I was on track.

What is the one mistake most women make when it comes to skin care or make up?

The one mistake that I have observed that women make is that they use other people’s experiences to make decisions on what to use on their skin. My advice would be , identify your skin type to know which skin products are suitable for your skin. The same applies to makeup , and also never sleep with your makeup.

What is your favourite brand for the following products?

Foundation … Kryolan
Lipstick … Hues and Tones
Eyeliner … Essence
Lashes … Esmangena
Mascara … Yardley

What is your fav holiday destination and why?

Victoria falls is a beautiful destination . It was once named as one of the 7 wonders of the world . It is such a magnificent place to refresh , enjoy the culture of our country and the people are very welcoming.

BMW or Mercedes Benz? – Both ( lol)

Ice cream or chocolate?  – Ice Cream

Vogue or Elle Magazine? – Neither

Durban or Cape Town and why? – Durban. It has friendly people , much warmer weather and their food is much nicer.

Your 5 favourite bible scriptures?

Ex 23 vs 25
Isaiah 54 vs 4
Psalms 91
Leviticus  26 vs 9-13
Proverbs 3 vs 24- 25

Your favourite bible character and why?

It would have to be Jesus. There is no one better than him. He is a teacher, healer and a patient friend.

Any future plans of expanding the Elinah brand?

Yes, certainly a beauty academy and a cosmetic line are in the pipeline.

What other initiatives are you working on that you would love our readers to support you on?

I run Elinah initiatives that focus on skills  development, providing free beauty  masterclasses (hair, nails, makeup etc )   and stationery. We also have a soup kitchen that feeds any one that needs food on special occasions.

Which M.U.A would you live to collaborate with?

Make up by Elana or James Charles … definitely
Words of inspiration to self taught creatives?
I would say just start, find your lane and stay in it as well as ensuring you find means to invest in yourself . Success requires focus so  shut your ears to the noise no matter what people say about the industry being saturated …. just GO or it.
Elinah Mangena is definitely the girl next door. Someone we all can see ourselves in. Going after all her dreams and impacting the men and women around her. Inspiration is always around us. I hope to those that follow her work and look up to her you have been inspired. Thank you for honouring us and sharing your story Elinah!!
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Vitiligo is a common depigmenting skin disorder with an estimated prevalence of 0.5 to 2% of the population worldwide. It is often characterised by the selective loss of melanocytes (a cell that produces and contains the pigment melanin) which results in chalky white patches on the skin. Though often dismissed as a cosmetic problem, the psychological effects are devastating and lead to esteem issues. 

Over the years we have seen a rise in so many influential people coming out of their vitiligo shell and thriving regardless of their skin condition. This has helped usher in a generation of young people who are unapologetic about how they look and are following closely behind the footsteps of their predecessors by being activists towards the vitiligo cause. 

In Zimbabwe we have our very own Christine Tafadzwanashe Matyavira. She is a bubbly character, a gift to young women and boys alike suffering from vitiligo and self-esteem issues. Getting in touch with her and requesting for an interview for the Marigold series was the highlight of my week, like the queen she is, she was welcoming and more than delighted to take the interview and share her story. 

Cliché……..but let us give it a go, who is Christine Matyavira?

Christine Tafadzwanashe Matyavira is a short soon to be 22 year old little woman (LOL!) from Kwekwe, Mbizo. She’s a 2nd year film student at the University of Zimbabwe who is an aspiring script writer and a story teller.

Tell us who else knows you best apart from yourself and how does this person inspire you?

My baby sister knows me best more than anyone else. Evelyn inspires me in a million ways. She’s a bold woman who is firm and honest to herself. She’s the most confident being I know. A hero……my hero. She stands up for me in every aspect of life.

Please tell us about your current work in regards to vitiligo, do you feel you are making an impact, are you happy with the response, has it made a difference in the local, regional and international community?

To be honest. I’ve been going through a lot. I’ve kind of taken a step back. However, ever since I posted a picture embracing my skin, the outcome has been remarkable. People with vitiligo and different self-esteem issues in Zimbabwe are taking things positively and beginning to love themselves and feel comfortable in their skin. I hope to make an impact regionally and internationally with time.

We have seen a rise in celebrities speaking openly about vitiligo from Michael Jackson, Winnie Harlow (Americas Next Top Model) and Leleti Khumalo (South African actress) amongst many others. Which celebrity inspires you the most and what do you love about their story?

I love Winnie Harlow’s story more than anyone else because I kind of relate to it especially linking with when she started experiencing vitiligo patches. She was still a little kid like I was when she started experiencing the skin changes which were accompanied by a tough and rough childhood. She was being called names and stigmatized for having a different skin. However, she grew up to be one of the most recognized super models celebrated for her beauty.

As an Activist, what is guiding your choice of actions?

The way I grew up definitely! The gut wrenching experiences……No!…. I’d never want anyone else to go through that mental abuse and physical bullying I went through. I believe whoever starts going through the process of skin changes credited to vitiligo should at least have someone who is there as a support structure to tell them that it will all be okay. This is what guides my choice of actions as an activist.

What is your biggest fear as an activist?

My biggest fear is having bullies or people who are against everything that is for the good. Yes, as an activist or anyone who has made it at that, you will still come across cyber bullies and trolls who seek to bring you down. I do not want to break under this pressure and wind up losing my motivation to be helpful and make a difference.

Did you ever go through a phase of trying to cover yourself with make up?

With this one I’ve never, thankfully! I have just always been confident in my skin regardless. Thus, have never felt the need to hide. I recall my parents trying to protect me from the burns by advising me not to expose the spots. Am sorry mum and dad  but I never did and I’ve never really wanted to cover up.

Do you believe the world has shifted and is accommodating towards vitiligo?

The world is working towards it definitely, kudos world! However, I can’t say we are at a point where people like me feel safe and proud 100% as most of the people still don’t know what vitiligo is. Overall the numbers are growing, more are accommodating and taking time to learn about vitiligo and that is indeed comforting and assuring that we are headed in the right direction.

Kindly share with us one laughable myth you have heard about Vitiligo?

So people think vitiligo is contagious, they think if you are to come in contact with someone who has it you automatically get it (lolest).

What is your favourite holiday and why?

Africa day as it is my birthday    

What is your idea of a perfect first date outfit?

I’ve never been on a proper date before but I think a short little dress and heels.

Any new projects in the pipeline?

Yes ma’am, might pursue acting, it’s something I’m taking a keen interest in.

Acting wow, interesting, what is your favourite movie genre?

I love Crime investigation movies.

Would you want to play the part of an Iron Lady that everyone fears or the sweet girl next door?

It has to be a role similar to Annalise Keating’s in “How to get away with murder”……She was a bold, fearless, risk taker and at the same time the most caring woman there was.

When did you first realise you were making a difference and how did you feel in that moment?

8 February 2020. When I had my first shoot, the comments were overwhelming and the DMs….gosh! People were asking questions. Some were asking for help and most wondered how I was that confident to put myself out there. It was a beautiful moment for me because I celebrated my courage and realised that it had inspired somebody else to be comfortable in their skin which was “unbelievable!”

Finally, what message do you have for young girls and boys out there being bullied?

All I can say is we can’t fight everyone out there who has a foul mouth or bullies us. However, we can stand against them and not let them bring us down. Bullies are intimidated easily when they see that you’re not having anything they are dishing out. Again, the route of ignoring them is ideal if one isn’t confrontational. Silence intimidates a bully.


Doing this interview left me inspired and I hope it inspires you too. It had me somewhat nostalgic and thinking about one of my first articles with Girl Grandeur, “No Scars To your Beautiful”. I believe the message still stands true, relevant and I will repeat it…..One does not have to succumb to the worldly standards of what beauty is and isn’t. Each of us are beautiful in our own unique way, thus, we do not have to a change a thing, the world will eventually change its heart. “No scars to your beautiful, we are stars and we are beautiful!

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Sharon Chingwaro is the founder and formulator at Mambokadzi Bath and Body. I first got to know of her in the Mambokadzi Facebook group which is a community of women who are passionate about beauty and health. My first Mambokadzi purchase was the Clarifying Gel which made my skin silky-smooth and gave it an undeniable glow. That’s when I started getting more and more products and the one thing that stuck out for me was that Mambokadzi had a product for any feminine ailment you can think of. As an added bonus, Mambokadzi products are made from natural ingredients with minimal to zero side effects. I had the opportunity to speak to Sharon about Mambokadzi Bath and Body and I hope you find something you like.

What are ancient age secrets?

It comes as no surprise that our ancestors were quite the beauty enthusiasts. They indulged in beauty rituals they believed not only enhanced their appearance, but also had magical and religious powers. Ancient beauty secrets included various natural ingredients that have stood the test of time. Age-old remedies for clogged pores and dry skin are anything but antiquated, with many antidotes for dull skin sitting on the shelves of the common kitchen cabinet, the garden and the forest. This is the backbone of Mambokadzi Bath and Body.

What inspired you to get into cosmetics?

l got into cosmetics because l was broke and l liked good, expensive cosmetics which l could no longer afford. This pushed me to explore alternative methods of taking care of my skin. My route of ending up in the beauty industry is probably different from most. My background is in Hotel and Catering. After getting pregnant with my second son, I became a single mother. I was broke and couldn’t afford high-end beauty products anymore. So l decided I would make my own. I am beauty and wellness obsessed, so that helped, but really just research, gift, determination, and a lot of passion got me to where I am.

How did you choose the name of the business?

Our government name is Wild Child which means from the wild (harvested) but over time as l delved deep into my roots, I am from the Royal House of the Soko Wafawanaka Chingowo Dynasty. Besides that, in African Spirituality, Culture and Tradition, the Woman is Sacred. She is protected and served by African values, principles and taboos making her a natural and divine royal archetype by design. She is Mambokadzi.

What was your very first product to make?

The Mambokadzi Demabrasion scrub was our first product! My clients call it miracle in a jar.

What’s your best selling product?

the miracle jar! Mambokadzi demabrasion scrub because results are instant and Vhunze remoto from our wellness products.

What makes your products stand out from the rest?

It’s simple, they work and our clients are proof. We get most of our business from referrals. Our products are organic and handmade from indigenous herbs and oils that grow wild on the Zimbabwean landscape. They’re are carefully handpicked using environmental friendly methods, mostly by women in marginalised communities who in turn sell them to us at fair prices. Using old age beauty, healing and wellness secrets, we turn them into user friendly and recyclable products.

What have been some of the obstacles and how have you overcome them?

Our biggest obstacle was our own people. Self hate. Until we learn to love and embrace ourselves and appreciate what our ancestors and nature has given us, we will always look outside for self-actualisation and help. We have created a toxic relationship with consumerism. We consume everything, as long as it’s from outside our borders and our people. In the end, we fail to create a value chain amongst ourselves making other people and nations richer while we remain poor and average. Instead of just selling the products, l started educating consumers about natural beauty products so they could appreciate before buying.

What are some of the treatments that women can get at your spa?

Yoni-steaming is an ancient practice used in our culture to promote overall vaginal health with gentle and effective care techniques that utilise heat and organic herbs/salts to assist the body’s natural cleansing processes.

River luxe is a full body exfoliation treatment using a textured glove, oils and herbs that removes dead skin cells and layers of grime. It stimulates circulation and leaves your skin silky smooth. Complemented with a milk rinse and a relaxing oil rub.

How did Mambokadzi become the popular brand that it is now?

My mentor always says, “get good, get seen, make money.” I spent years getting good and my people accepting and embracing the brand is a result of all that work 

Which 3 products do you recommend to women as essentials they can’t live without?

Definitely the Gogo Moyana steaming herbs, Vhunze Remoto and Makanaka Liquid Gold you will thank me.

Your products deal with some of women’s top issues such as period pain, skin care and womb health, how do you stay informed about the plight of women?

Firstly l am a woman healing women that certainly helps. Then as a brand our products are designed to be solutions to every day challenges. So we have social media groups my team and l interact with women of different backgrounds about all kinds of issues.

You offer Chinamwali sessions, why are they relevant to women?

What is Chinamwali? Chinamwali is not a new concept. It is about teaching  women about their bodies, about interaction with men and about managing a household. Our Chinamwali  class is rooted in the understanding that sexual energy is the creative life force at its most elemental. The Chinamwali Class provides insightful instruction that will empower you as a sexual and sexually actualised woman no matter what your current experience of sex is. The course is structured to prepare individuals to conduct meaningful relationships and interactions. 

How can someone become a distributor for Mambokadzi?

It is easy all you need is to get in touch with us, purchase products worth US$50 and you are automatically part of strong  team changing lives.

How did you build your virtual community of women in your highly interactive Facebook group?

The ‘Beauty, Health and Wellness Zimbabwe’ Facebook group was built upon being real. l had to be honest about who l am and my experiences and l guess many women identified with this. Also posting daily! To keep the pages active.

What’s the big picture vision for Mambokadzi Bath and Body?

The beauty and wellness industry is still dominated by colonial or foreign products. It does not address the needs of our own people’s skin, hair nor immune systems. It’s not from our own cultural, traditional and value system. My inspiration comes from that imbalance and void. Above all, I am inspired to continue from where our grandmothers left off to evolve and grow the legacy and create nhaka for myself, my family, our nation and our people globally.

I aspire to merge natural, organic skin care and wellness products with high pharmaceutical standards only using nature’s own pure ingredients. Building a global personal care brand which encourages a more conscious culture is our vision.

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I met musician Berita through a former client of mine who is also a musician.  We were getting ready to launch his album and during a strategy  meeting  he mentioned that he had shared the stage with Berita when she was just starting  out in the industry.  I thought that story and their  history deserved to be told. So we arranged to meet her in  Joburg in order for us to pitch this idea we had in mind. That was the first time I met her. She is as warm as she appears to be, very kind and obviously  talented. She has taken so many bold strides in her career  that have paid off well.  I definitely  believe she is a Marigold  woman. Here’s  my interview  with her.

1. Congratulations on your SAMA nomination and win. How does it feel?

Thank you so much. I am very excited and I feel very honoured for the acknowledgement by the South African Music Awards. Having worked in the South African music industry for almost a decade now I am very excited. I feel blessed. I feel like the SAMA came at the right time. It comes at a time where I have really defined my path as an artist and my path in the South African music industry so I am very excited and very honoured.

2. What has the journey been like since you became an independent musician and also an Entrepreneur.  

My journey has been amazing in the music business. I recently posted pictures of my 4 albums. As I was listening to my songs the last couple of days I realised that with each album I continue to grow. I continue to work on my song writing. I continue to grow my voice and delivery as well. I continue to grow my sound. I really enjoy making music.

The decision to be an independent artist and to also be a business woman was a natural progression. Having worked in this industry for 9 years and also having realised that the industry is shifting. We are now in the digital era. There are more opportunities as an artist. I really enjoy the freedom that being an independent musician allows me. I also enjoy the freedom to run an organisation like W.O.M.B ( the Women of the Music Business) a non-profit organisation which is a pan-African women empowerment organisation. It was formed to support and elevate women across Africa in the music business. I believe in my community and I am very excited about the work that we are doing at W.O.M.B.

3. After relocating to South Africa did you ever see your brand becoming what it is today? A recognised and well known brand.

When I came to South Africa I came to study and I secretly knew that I wanted to be a musician. I came with just a guitar and my suitcase. I think that I had a dream. I knew that my dreams would be realised. I loved music. I had a dream to sing  with my guitar and sing my songs and I knew it was going to happen. I really knew it. It’s one of those things I was really sure about.

4. What keys or strategy do you use when collaborating with other artists on your albums?

When it comes to collaborating with other artists, it has to do with the artist. How they carry themselves as well as the music and the sound. A lot of my collaborations from the past have been unassuming. One of my favourite ongoing collaborations at the moment is with Amanda Black. I have known her for a very long time. At some point we were neighbours. Although we were not close back then, there is a history we share. So when we collaborate it’s really genuine. It’s organic. I have also done a lot of collaborations with DJs. When “Thandolwethu” first came out, Oskido remixed it and introduced me to House Music. I didn’t know anything about House Music. Since then I have worked with Mobi Dixon, Da Capo and Black Motion. I resonated with their sound.  I was able to work with them. In my album ‘Songs in Key of Love’ I collaborated with a lot of artists. I worked with Bekezela. I worked with Mo T from MiCasa. I also worked with Bongani. I really enjoy collaborating and creating beautiful music in studio.

5. You had a close relationship with the late legendary music icon Oliver Mtukudzi? What would you say to him today? 

Yes it’s true. I had a very wonderful relationship with Bab’ Oliver Mtukudzi. I was very fortunate enough that when I first started my career I met Baba Oliver Mtukudzi. From that very instant he took a liking to my music and my style. He invited me to Zimbabwe to join him at Pakare Paya Arts Centre many times. I got to perform at his solo festival. I also travelled around South Africa with him. I also travelled the SADC region. We travelled together for quite a bit.

6. What do you miss the most about him?

I miss his gentle spirit and his love for the community. He taught me that your music and what you do can come together. For him, he made music that was about uplifting the community and he ran a community project at the Pakare Paya Arts Centre. Watching him doing what he loved most I really learnt a lot. I miss him.  I feel like he went home too soon.

7. Tell us about your W.O.M.B project and how can artists get involved?

The W.O.M.B is a non profit organisation. It is a pan-African women empowerment platform. It’s a space for conversations. It’s a space for technology. It’s a space for programs and tools that elevate and empower women. We have hosted 2 programs now,  namely  Finance for social enterprises and community leaders specifically on how to manage their businesses. We believe music is special. Women face different challenges in the music industry compared to men. Taking the time to have conversations on Instagram with different women in the industry made me realise we have different challenges in our journey in the music business. It’s nice to come together as a community and talk about these things.

8. You recently announced the dates of your album tour . What inspired that?

I always wanted to put together an album tour for ‘Songs in the Key of Love’ to celebrate my journey in music as well as to amplify the album. With the SAMA endorsement, I definitely think it deserves a tour. I believe the time is right. The tour was initially supposed to happen in 2020. We all know what happened in 2020. This is the right time. I am looking forward to performing firstly around South Africa. I am still looking at Zimbabwean dates.  If you are in South you can catch me at a number of venues across the country.

Johannesburg – 19 December 2021

Durban – 24 February 2022

East London 5 March 2022

9.What is your favourite song from this body of work?

Wow! That’s very difficult (Berita chuckles).  I love so many different songs in the album.  I can never choose one particular song. At the moment I can say ‘Yours.’ It is a song I really enjoy. I love the approach I took when I created the song.

10. What can fans or lovers of your work expect during this tour?

It’s going to be beautiful. It’s going to be about love, joy, music as well as being victorious. I think we have gone through a difficult year. It’s good to come together and just celebrate the life we have. We can celebrate love. There is obviously all the sing-along songs that I have written, co-written and sang. I am really looking forward to seeing all my supporters in one space just having a moment of joy and gratitude.

Is there a chance Amanda Black will be joining you on this tour or any of the artists featured in it? 

There is definitely a chance that I will be supported by some of my friends and collaborators. Amanda Black joined me for the first concert that took place on the 18th of November in Pretoria. I am looking forward to singing with her. I recently joined her at her own concert at Emperor’s Palace this past week.

11. Please give your fans a sneak peek of a day in Berita’s life.

I actually started a Vlog on Youtube. You can check out my YouTube channel and get more content there. I am very particular about taking care of myself so my day involves a lot of healthy habits. I can start my day with a visit to the gym, meditating, journaling, prayer, praise and worship music and affirmations. I do all the works. I also eat very healthily and spend time on my music and some of the day-to-day management work that needs to be taken care of in the business.

12. What does Berita do for fun to unwind?

I recently discovered fun. To be quite honest, for the longest time I was not having fun. I play tennis every Sunday. I love tennis. If I wasn’t a musician I believe I would have been a tennis player, that’s how much I love tennis. It’s a sport I enjoy. I also enjoy spending time with family and people I love.

13. I remember chatting to you about your pan African recognised brand. How is that coming along? In spite of Covid-19? 

Brand building is a continuous exercise. I think more than that I am focused on my values as an artist. The work that I am doing speaks for itself. A perfect example is my SAMA award it’s titled “The best of the rest of Africa.” It recognises artists that are doing well in South Africa. In addition to that, it’s the work that I am doing with W.O.M.B. I make sure it’s pan-African. I am still keeping that pan-African dream in mind across all touch points.

14. What is your favourite novel or book of all time?

You know what? That’s a very good question. I recently started reading Steve Jobs’ autobiography. I have to say I just love it. I read one chapter and I learnt so much as an entrepreneur, so I have to definitely say Steve Jobs.

15. Lastly what are you grateful for this year?

I am grateful for life, love, music and really taking the time to work on myself. I think I spent a lot of time for the past 9 years working on the music. What has been wonderful about this year is that I took the time to work on Gugulethu. Behind the Berita brand is Gugulethu. I took the time to work on that.

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I had the pleasure of chatting to musician Martha Longwe for our Marigold Series for phenomenal women who are thriving one step at a time in their industries. 

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

A: I’m Martha Longwe, and l was born and raised in Bulawayo. I’m a born-again Christian singer, songwriter, beautician and a mother.

Q: Every musician has that one unforgettable event in which they’d have participated. Which one comes quickly to mind here?

A: What quickly comes to mind is the opportunity I was accorded when l was requested to be one of the backing vocalists for Jimmy D Psalmist when he came to Zimbabwe on tour. It really was an awesome experience!

Q: You were once a member of the Zimpraise Choir. How was your experience there like?

A: Being part of the Zimpraise Choir was a great experience. l enjoyed being part of the band, and l can safely say l learnt a lot during that time.

Q: Zimpraise Choir does tours. May you kindly share with us your travel diaries, and how they positively impacted your career.

A: We went on a couple of local tours, and it was always fun going out as a band and doing what we loved most: spreading the word of God through music. The tours exhibited that music is a powerful tool in spreading the Word of God, and my experiences at Zimpraise Choir also taught me to pray more and to have a closer, personal walk with God. I won’t trade these experiences with anything else because they have helped me in my solo career as well.

Q: How has your background as an ex-Zimpraise member aided in shaping you into a solo musician?

A: Zimpraise Choir had a certain level of excellency associated with it, and being a member means “high expectations” are automatically anticipated from you. Looking back, I regard it all as positive reinforcement, as it encourages one to work hard. My Zimpraise background was all fundamental to my solo career, as l believe it has aided in shaping it. I work so hard, because I’d like to keep getting better and better each time, and as I release new songs, I feel motivated to keep excelling.

Q: Everyone has an icon they look up to. Who inspires your vibe as a musician, and why?

A: Hahaha, one is too little because I have a lot of people that inspire me though they may all have different vibes from mine. Seeing or hearing them perform leaves me feeling a certain way, and I always have this thing inside of me that shouts, “l wanna be like that!” BUT, if I were to pick one musician: l love Ntokozo Mbatha because besides being a hard worker, she is full of the word, and her ministration is power-packed.

Q: Do you have recent musical releases and offerings that are currently being aired on our different channels?

A: Yes. I released a single called “Ofana Naye” in April, and it has been doing well on local radio stations.

Q: Everyone has their ups and downs. Which moments did you feel like you had reached rock bottom during your musical career?

A: I actually hit rock bottom when l started my solo project because l faced a lot of discouragement and momentarily gave up. Three years later and by the grace of God, I am back! I finally pulled myself together and got back into the studio.

Q: How did you work your way out of the dark place?

A: l am thankful to God who sent the right people just-in-time to assist me in getting back in my groove and to start all over again. I believe that if God puts a desire in you, you need to pursue it to the very end. He gave me this gift, so He will see it through.

Q: How has your career as a musician influenced other aspects of your life?

A: Besides being a musician, I am also a Beautician who specializes in doing nails and make-up. l also run a beauty shop named MarLo Beauty situated at Chinhoyi Mall Hop A7, where I sell cosmetics. Music has made me link up with quite a number of people, which is all a blessing as it also directly boosts my businesses and increases my clientele base.

Q: You are in the limelight, and that lifestyle is a bit demanding. How do you juggle your different tasks day-to-day?

A: Well, I would be lying if I say my schedule is that cramped up. With where l am for now in my music career, the pressure is still less so l can still juggle my tasks around easily. I wouldn’t know how it will be like in future though, but I am anticipating the hustle it’ll all bring.

Q: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

A: I envision myself travelling around the world, and doing the work of God through music.

Q: Being a mum can be a tough call. What’s most memorable about this journey?

A: Watching my child grow is so amazing. Sometimes I feel as if I’m not yet ready to see her getting taller than me!

Q: Are you the only musician in your family, and is your daughter also talented music-wise?

A: So far, l’m the only musician in my family. My daughter loves dancing, and she is good at it. I’d like to urge her to pursue her talent as well, because the only limit is self-doubt.

Q: When taking a casual rest after work or recording something, which movie is your go-to?

A: Pitch Perfect (It says it all.)

Q: As Girl Grandeur Zimbabwe, it is our responsibility to uplift other women. Feel free to share with us any works you’re currently engaged in.

A: Currently, I am working on my second album which is almost complete. The “Ofana Naye” video will also be coming out soon. Be prepared!

Q: All good things come to an end. As we conclude the interview, kindly leave words of advice to other Ladies who might be dreaming of embarking into this career.

A: l would like to just say to budding musicians: Know who you are, whose you are, and who you serve. Never look down upon yourself, because inside of you is greatness. Let Jesus be at the center of it all, and I guarantee you success. If you follow your heart and His lead, you will be walking in greatness.

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Hello Ms. Sue Chigorimbo. I’m Miss Miriam C.R. Mushaikwa from Girl Grandeur Zimbabwe, and it’s my pleasure to have you here for this interview.

Q: To kick off the interview, kindly tell us more about yourself.

A: My name is Sue Chigorimbo, and I am the eldest child in a family of three. I was born in Harare 40 years ago, then we moved to Mutare when my mom passed on. I am a single mother to three lovely children, two boys Tinashe aged 18 and Noel 15; and a little girl Nicole aged 6.

Q: Childhood is an exciting phase in life. What is your most vivid childhood memory? 

A: Well, my childhood was like any other in the 80s and 90s. I was energetic and loved playing ‘Maflawu’ and ‘Hwishu’ with my friends. My most vivid childhood memory would be when I was in Grade 7 in 1993 when I was chosen to travel from Harare to Victoria Falls [all expenses paid!] The program was planned by an organisation that chose two intelligent and well-behaved children per school from a couple of Primary Schools. It was amazing because the journey was by train, so it was a memorable experience. I had the time of my life.

Q: Success is not an overnight thing. Kindly walk us through your journey. 

A: Like you rightly stated, success is a journey and I am still far from where I aim to be, but the journey so far has been insightful. I started off knitting in 2018. My daily routine had become boring and I bought myself some yarn and knitting needles. I began by making headbands for my daughter. One day I posted them on Facebook and Instagram and people loved them. Next, I made placemats, accessorized them with buttons and orders started coming in. Then I thought, “Why not knit a cushion cover?” I did, people loved it and began getting orders. An aunt of mine saw my work on Facebook and she came by and asked if I could use a knitting machine. I had never used one before, so she offered to get someone to teach me. I learnt how to make cushion covers on a knitting machine in 3 hours. From then onwards, I was making up to 20 a day. I bought my own knitting machine, and that’s when Knits n Krafts by Sue was born. The cushions were a hit for a while then I stopped because I was battling depression due to some personal problems. The whole of 2019, I didn’t make anything and when the depression got really bad, I attempted suicide. As time went on, I figured out that keeping busy kept my mind off my problems. I needed to keep busy to ward off the anxiety, so I started knitting again in 2020. I wasn’t so sure if it was going to help, but I started posting again on my then dormant Knits n Krafts by Sue page, but the responses were amazing! I started getting calls and messages from all over, women were inspired by my work, and some even wanted to be taught how to knit. I then started writing my patterns and listed them on Etsy, Lovecrafts and Ravelry. The money started coming in from the pattern sales and this pushed me to keep going. I am yet to achieve my goals, but I have come so far.

Q: I saw some of your knitting works on Twitter and I was immediately drawn to them. What motivated you to venture into this enterprise? 

A: Initially boredom was the motivation for me to start knitting. Then personal problems and my battle with depression and anxiety also created a knitting zeal, because the craft became therapeutical. It was my outlet. Each time I felt the anxiety coming on, I would start knitting and would produce amazing creations. I realized that when knitting, my mind was constantly focused on what I was creating. I didn’t allow myself to think of anything else other than my creation. Knitting is also highly Mathematical; with so many sequences to follow, a lot of counting and remembering involved, so you really don’t have a choice but to block out everything else. I regard it as a highly cognitive craft.

Q: You are an entrepreneur and a mother. How well are you juggling both roles? 

A: I won’t lie to you here, juggling motherhood and entrepreneurship is challenging. Especially now, with the lockdown and home schooling. I have to monitor my children`s work on a daily basis. My daughter is in Grade one and I have to take her through her work step by step. I’ve have had to adjust my work times. I now start a lot later than I used to, and most of the time I have to work late into the night to meet orders. My 24 hours feels like 12 because there is always so much to do and very little time! Further to that, raising teenage boys and trying to run a business is hectic. There’s a time where I want to be involved in everything they do, but at the same time I have so much on my plate… but I try.

5b) In the household, what’s your favourite chore as “Mummy”?

I enjoy shopping for my kids, if that’s even a mommy chore. That’s the only time they listen to me and play along! Besides this one, I don’t think there’s a chore I enjoy anymore. I used to, when I was younger. I guess I got burned out [Laughs].

6.a) The public space can be hectic. What’s your best or worst experience with a client?

My best experience with a client so far has been when a client pays much more than I asked for. That happens a lot when people see my “kraft” and appreciate the talent. The worst experience I’ve had so far is when I received a knitting order and made it, only for the client to ghost me. Knitting takes some time, so I was gutted.

6.b) How well are you managing your social media presence, and is it effective enough?

I majored in e-commerce so I am a social media freak. I understand what a powerful tool it is in business, how effective it is in building a brand and I have also learnt so much through my social media marketing journey. I used to advertise and post my work on Facebook mainly, never on Twitter. There are some conclusions that I have drawn with regards to the effectiveness of the various social media platforms. I can confidently say my brand grew more via Twitter than any other platform. The same applies to sales. More than 90% of my orders have been via Twitter. Facebook Ads really helped me push my pattern sales globally. Entrepreneurs in this tech era need to embrace social media marketing, it is highly effective. It is less costly than the traditional marketing means, the reach is global and it is ubiquitous. An aggressive social media marketing approach is one of the most important strategic tools that a businessperson can possess.

Q: The line of work you’re in is still a niche market. Do you plan to start teaching others too?

A: Of course, imparting my craft skills is one of my goals. My skills are so diverse and it’s been difficult for me to focus on just one. I am literally all over the place, I make anything and everything. This made me think long and hard on how to make the most from my diversity, and the dream is to open a crafts school. This would offer opportunities of employment to other creatives like myself to teach what they know. My dream is to nurture young creatives from a young age, instil confidence in them to showcase their talent, and change the perception that crafts do not pay. I have been teaching knitting virtually for a year now, and I am working on turning it up by doing face to face classes once Covid-19 dies down.

Q: Apart from being the Knitting Lady, what else are you involved in?

A: At times I am into retail hustles, but currently I am focused on growing my brand.

Q: Being a woman is not easy. What are some of the struggles you face in your line of business?  

A: Perception is my greatest challenge and it trickles down to my pricing strategy, as people expect handmade crafts to be cheap. There is general lack of understanding and appreciation of the creative process, how taxing and complex it is. Talent needs to be appreciated and the prices of our products need to reflect the worth of the creative process. I once applied for funding from an organisation that was giving out loans to start-ups. The moment I told them I needed funds to import yarn for my next line of product: a baby range, they switched off. If perception changes and crafters get support from government, our journeys would be a lot easier. Women are not taken seriously if they do not have a white-collar job. We are expected to take on the more ‘respectable’ careers such as being a lawyer, doctor or an engineer. Crafting has always been looked down upon and not taken seriously. The moment someone asks what you do and you say you are a crafter, they think you are a joke, that you are not smart. Like I said before, a lot of people do not realize how mathematical knitting is, it is for the sharp mind. So there needs to be a lot of education from a young age, on how important crafting is alongside other career paths.

Q: As Girl Grandeur Zimbabwe, our role is to celebrate women. Do you have anything you would like us to prepare for that you’re working on in the shadows?

A: As alluded to earlier, I am working on opening a School of Krafts to nurture crafting from an early age and create employment for lots of crafters locally who have hidden their talent for fear of ridicule or because they are not confident it will put food on the table. So, watch the space.

Q. As we wrap up the interview, are there any words of advice you would love to give to fellow women who would like to follow in your footsteps?

A: My advice to fellow women who want to follow in my footsteps is: go for it, the sky is the limit. Start today, with the little that you have… voice shaking, trembling legs, just start! Unleash your creative giant, do what you love regardless of what they say, even if they don’t support you, go on. I always tell myself that my greatest supporter is my hands because they are capable of doing so much.

 Q. Kindly share your social media handles so that we can like, share, follow and buy your products..!

A: I am on Facebook as Knits n Krafts by Sue, same as Instagram. My Twitter handle is @KraftsQueen

M: Thank you very much for your time.

S: The pleasure’s mine.

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