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Millions Online And In Her Designer Pockets



Jokate Mwegelo has more followers than AKA and Bonang Matheba put together. She inspires girls from Angola to Zimbabwe without even trying. For an entrepreneur in a Tanzanian town, she has a celeb-style social media following.

“You are such a down-to-earth and inspirational queen. Your hard work and humility have shown me that there is hope for me no matter what life throws at me,” writes one of her 2.5 million followers on Instagram.

It’s been a long road to here for 30-year-old Mwegelo. Her journey began in 2006 when taking a gap year after high school.

To pass time, Mwagelo volunteered for the United Nations and entered the Miss Tanzania contest.

“I was extremely shy and didn’t want to wear short things but was very confident in my ability to speak in public which kind of propelled me to the finals,” says Mwegelo.

She wasn’t crowned queen, but left an impression, which ushered in opportunities for acting; her debut was a role in a movie called Fake Pastors. The movie’s success was genuine.

“This was at a time when the movie industry was becoming more commercialized in Tanzania. So it was among the first movies to do very well commercially and the promotion was huge, although the pay for us actors was little.”

It paved way for more roles and earned her two awards at the Zanzibar International Film Festival and a stint as a musician collaborating with the likes of Nigerian multiple award-winning hip-hop star Ice Prince.

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Although supportive of her extra-curricular achievements, her family encouraged her to stick to the plan and to go to university after the gap year.

“My parents were civil servants and very strict and valued education. In primary school, I remember my dad would forget to pick me up. Sometimes I would be the last child to leave school and even walk four to five kilometers home after 6PM,” she says.

In the end, Mwegelo listened to her parents’ advice. She graduated in Political Science and Philosophy at the University of Dar es Salaam. It wasn’t enough to fulfil the deep void she felt, six months into her post-graduation studies. Something was seriously amiss.

“As a former beauty queen, actress, media personality and fashion enthusiast, I felt I could do so much more with my image and for the industry… I hated that in entertainment, sometimes you are at the mercy of the people who may give you a job…”

“I felt like we needed a female billionaire. Many industries are male-dominated yet females are the main users. I want to be a billionaire.”

It took soul-searching, research and endless hours at a business incubating program. Her interest in fashion was heightened and her successful stints in the entertainment industry earned her precious contacts. She saw a ripe opportunity to start a business.

Five years ago, Mwegelo used her savings to found Kidoti Company, a lifestyle brand.

“I have a mole or beauty spot on my face and some people call it kidoti so that’s how I came up with the name of the company.”

She started designing clothes for popular artists, and then received a soft loan from Africa’s youngest billionaire, Tanzanian Mohamed Dewji. It changed everything. He gave her items from his company to sell from which she bought her first van.

“When we rolled out our first line of products which were hair extensions, we had such a successful media run and penetration in the market. A lady from an advertising firm called me saying my brand was the most innovative in the market at that time and she wanted to know how I did it. I was ecstatic,” she says.

Kidoti designs and manufactures synthetic hair extensions, sandals and bags.

“So far we have managed to roll out around 60,000 hair pieces in the market with prospects of doing tenfold better once we establish our own factory in the region,” she says.

To realize this, they partnered with China’s Rainbow Shell Craft.

“We were simply looking for someone to help produce our goods… No one in Tanzania was ready to invest in us and our dream. So we had to go to the source of all these factories… Partnering with the Chinese is hectic, language and cultural barriers were [business threatening]. However, it was such an amazing time. We learned a lot from each other especially about values that are vital to sustaining an international bilateral agreement,” says Mwegelo.

The company promises to be a big success but for Mwegelo, it doesn’t end here. She says giving back is a key part of her life.

She launched ‘Be Kidotified’, a campaign which empowers young girls by building sports facilities in public schools, and through education and entrepreneurship. She also launched ‘Msusi Wao’, translated ‘their hairstylist’, which connects hair dressers, financiers and customers.

Africa certainly needs more female billionaires. Given her feisty zeal, hopefully, Mwegelo will one day be among the many to make it.

Mwegelo is one of the 30 under 30 class of 2017 in the June edition of FORBES AFRICA.


From The Arab World To Africa



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




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



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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