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The Smell Of Diesel, Grease And Success

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They are new, blue and as powerful as eight Ferraris; these are the 232 train engines to be built by Rolls-Royce’s MTU South Africa (MTU SA) ready to roll out of Cape Town in South Africa and onto Africa’s railways.

“There are 7.2 billion people in the world, just in Africa, in 2010, we had estimates of 1 billion. By 2040, it will be double. By 2030, we will already need 50% more energy, 40% more water and 30% more food. How will you transport all that? We’re going to see mega cities especially in Asia and Africa. We need power and we need fuel efficiency and this is where rail comes in.”

So says Andrea Nono, CEO of MTU SA, at their refurbished offices in Montague Gardens, Cape Town. Here, MTU SA forked out R50 million ($3.53 million) to upgrade their factory to lay the foundation for expansion into Africa; their next big target.

“The message is simple and clear. We are changing Africa and hope to make a positive difference. It is a big moment for local manufacturing in South Africa. Let’s not forget the successes and the success stories. It is huge that an international company has been localized.”

It means MTU SA can now assemble, test and paint engines destined for anything from warships to mine trucks. The 232 engines are destined for Durban and run at a powerful 3,300kW and weigh 9.7 tonnes. This makes them lighter and cheaper than the Ferraris, jokes Nono.

Andrea Nono and a completed engine

The engines come straight out of a £1.2billion investment into research and development made by Rolls-Royce in 2015, a business worth £76.4 billion.

One of those working on the engines is Pamela Tebogo Maphanga, a technician at MTU SA.

Maphanga, remarkably, grew up in Zebediela, a small rural area in Limpopo, without any electricity at all.

“I was very young. The fact that you could switch on a stove, it was something so amazing. There was no electricity, so we used to go into the field, get wood, make fire and then cook and cook. I had to fetch water because there were no taps,” she says.

“Everyone at my house, my mom, my aunties they are all nurses. I said no I wasn’t going to be a nurse. It has to stop somewhere.”

The 30-year-old Maphanga, started here as an apprentice and worked her way up. She is now an electrical technician as well as dyno tester, responsible for testing the fleet.

“It makes a huge noise when the engine is running. No one is allowed to go in.”

Maphanga also knows too well South Africa’s overburdened train system having had to take them while studying at college in Pretoria.

“The fun of running for a train, that excitement, always when you go home you run for the train going back after college you have to run for the train. I know them very well. The trucks [transporting goods that should be on trains] mess up our roads, they are too heavy for them.”

In 10 years’ time, Maphanga sees herself as a manager and wants to make a change.

“We need more women. I’ve proved that it can be done. April is going to be my fifth year being at MTU. There’s been a couple of challenges, that I’ve overcome. But I am here now and proud to be part of this male-dominated workplace. I am showing them how to do it. Especially since now I am a technician. I’ve grown, I used to be this shy little girl, now I’ve grown up and even have my own small project that I am working on,” says Maphanga.

These days, Maphanga doesn’t even notice the smell of diesel and grease on her overalls, even though the people she comes across when walking home from work do.

“It gets so normal it’s part of the daily bread. There are women and men stopping me on the side of the street asking where I work. They ask me how did I get here. They’ve got their own daughters who want to go to college and get here. To be like me.

“When I [started], everything was hard. Everything was too big for me, everything was too difficult for me, but I fought and fought. I asked questions when I didn’t understand and I learned.”

On this day, Maphanga’s story leaves as large an impression as the massive white engine, still to be painted in the fashion forward MTU blue, she stands behind. Like Maphanga, the boss Nono, also started working as an apprentice.

“I’ve been in this industry for almost 20 years. I grew up in it. For me personally, it’s great to actually have the impact as CEO having the liberty and pushing the diversity agenda even more in the business. The means also giving women the chance to shine in this industry even more,” says Nono.

MTU SA estimates there are 120,000 industrial engines in Africa alone, leaving plenty of work for the factory once the rail engines are complete.

Two women whose lives have changed thanks to engines that are more powerful than Ferraris and will certainly carry more goods than can fit into their boots.

Entrepreneurs

From The Arab World To Africa

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Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi; image supplied

In this exclusive interview with FORBES AFRICA, successful Dubai-based Emirati businesswoman, author and artist, Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi, shares some interesting insights on fashion, the future, and feminism in a shared world.

Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi wears many hats, as an artist, architect, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She currently serves as the CEO of Paris London New York Events & Publishing (PLNY), that includes a magazine and a fashion house.

She runs Velvet Magazine, a luxury lifestyle publication in the Gulf founded in 2010 that showcases the diversity of the region home to several nationalities from around the world.

In this recent FORBES AFRICA interview, Hend, as she would want us to call her, speaks about the future of publishing, investing in intelligent content, and learning to be a part of the disruption around you.

As an entrepreneur too and the designer behind House of Hend, a luxury ready-to-wear line that showcases exquisite abayas, evening gowns and contemporary wear, her designs have been showcased in fashion shows across the world.

The Middle East is known for retail, but not typically, as a fashion hub in the same league as Paris, New York or Milan. Yet, she has changed the narrative of fashion in the region. “I have approached the world of fashion with what the customer wants,” says Hend. In this interview, she also extols African fashion talent and dwells on her own sartorial plans for the African continent.

In September, in Downtown Dubai, she is scheduled to open The Flower Café. Also an artist using creative expression meaningfully, she says it’s important to be “a role model of realism”.

She is also the author of The Black Book of Arabia, described as a collection of true stories from the Arab community offering a real glimpse into the lives of men and women across the Gulf Cooperation Council region.

In this interview, she also expounds on her home, Sharjah, one of the seven emirates in the UAE and the region’s educational hub. “A number of successful entrepreneurs have started in this culturally-rich emirate that’s home to 30 museums,” she concludes. 

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Kim Kardashian West Is Worth $900 Million After Agreeing To Sell A Stake In Her Cosmetics Firm To Coty

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In what will be the second major Kardashian cashout in a year, Kim Kardashian West is selling a 20% stake in her cosmetics company KKW Beauty to beauty giant Coty COTY for $200 million. The deal—announced today—values KKW Beauty at $1 billion, making Kardashian West worth about $900 million, according to Forbes’estimates.

The acquisition, which is set to close in early 2021, will leave Kardashian West the majority owner of KKW Beauty, with an estimated 72% stake in the company, which is known for its color cosmetics like contouring creams and highlighters. Forbes estimates that her mother, Kris Jenner, owns 8% of the business. (Neither Kardashian West nor Kris Jenner have responded to a request for comment about their stakes.) According to Coty, she’ll remain responsible for creative efforts while Coty will focus on expanding product development outside the realm of color cosmetics.

Earlier this year, Kardashian West’s half-sister, Kylie Jenner, also inked a big deal with Coty, when she sold it 51% of her Kylie Cosmetics at a valuation of $1.2 billion. The deal left Jenner with a net worth of just under $900 million. Both Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty are among a number of brands, including Anastasia Beverly Hills, Huda Beauty and Glossier, that have received sky-high valuations thanks to their social-media-friendly marketing. 

“Kim is a true modern-day global icon,” said Coty chairman and CEO Peter Harf in a statement. “This influence, combined with Coty’s leadership and deep expertise in prestige beauty will allow us to achieve the full potential of her brands.”

The deal comes just days after Seed Beauty, which develops, manufactures and ships both KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, won a temporary injunction against KKW Beauty, hoping to prevent it from sharing trade secrets with Coty, which also owns brands like CoverGirl, Sally Hansen and Rimmel. On June 19, Seed filed a lawsuit against KKW Beauty seeking protection of its trade secrets ahead of an expected deal between Coty and KKW Beauty. The temporary order, granted on June 26, lasts until August 21 and forbids KKW Beauty from disclosing details related to the Seed-KKW relationship, including “the terms of those agreements, information about license use, marketing obligations, product launch and distribution, revenue sharing, intellectual property ownership, specifications, ingredients, formulas, plans and other information about Seed products.”

Coty has struggled in recent years, with Wall Street insisting it routinely overpays for acquisitions and has failed to keep up with contemporary beauty trends. The coronavirus pandemic has also hit the 116-year-old company hard. Since the beginning of the year, Coty’s stock price has fallen nearly 60%. The company, which had $8.6 billion in revenues in the year through June 2019, now sports a $3.3 billion market capitalization. By striking deals with companies like KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, Coty is hoping to refresh its image and appeal to younger consumers.

Kardashian West founded KKW Beauty in 2017, after successfully collaborating with Kylie Cosmetics on a set of lip kits. Like her half-sister, Kardashian West first launched online only, but later moved into Ulta stores in October 2019, helping her generate estimated revenues of $100 million last year. KKW Beauty is one of several business ventures for Kardashian West: She continues to appear on her family’s reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, sells her own line of shapewear called Skims and promotes her mobile game, Kim Kardashian Hollywood. Her husband, Kanye West, recently announced a deal to sell a line of his Yeezy apparel in Gap stores.

“This is fun for me. Now I’m coming up with Kimojis and the app and all these other ideas,” Kardashian West told Forbesof her various business ventures in 2016. “I don’t see myself stopping.”

Madeline Berg, Forbes Staff, Hollywood & Entertainment

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Covid-19: Restaurants, Beauty Salons, Cinemas Among Businesses That Will Operate Again In South Africa As Ramaphosa Announces Eased Lockdown Restrictions

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation announcing that the government will further ease the country’s lockdown restrictions.

Restaurants, beauty salons, cinemas are among the businesses that will be allowed to operate again in South Africa.

The country is still on lockdown ‘Level 3’ of the government’s “risk adjusted strategy”.

President Ramaphosa also spoke on the gender based violence in the country.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I stand before the women and the girls of South Africa this evening to talk about another pandemic that is raging in our country. The killing of women and children by the men of our country. As a man, as a husband, and as a father to daughters, I am appalled at what is no less than a war that is being waged against the women and the children of our country,” says Ramaphosa.

Watch below:

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