Connect with us

Woman

Something To Wine About

Published

on

Prudence Ukkonika’s wine shop is by a dusty petrol station in Wandegeya in Kampala.

A giant wine bottle is positioned outside her shop, and inside is a profusion of pink – pink wine bottles and cases from floor to ceiling, and finally Ukkonika herself, who climbs down the stairs from her upstairs office, in a pink dress.

She is Uganda’s most famous female wine entrepreneur. The 61-year-old grandmother of 10 is the owner of K-Roma, a company that manufactures, packages and distributes Bella Wine and a range of natural fruit concentrates, ready-to-drink juices and teas.

As a teenager, Ukkonika would watch her father trade local brew in Kigezi, a district in southwest Uganda. That stoked her interest, and with several public administration and business administration degrees under her belt later on in life, she started the wine business.

Her unique selling proposition for Bella, which derives its name from the acronym ‘Belief Leads to Long-lasting Achievement’, is that her wines and juices are sourced from organic and natural fruits, free from chemicals and other additives.

Besides the sweet reds, her best-sellers, she says, are hibiscus wine and a range of hibiscus teas, especially conducive for those with diabetes and high blood pressure.

“I refuse blood pressure tablets. I take hibiscus tea and wine and I am okay,” she says.

The real inspiration for the wine business was her late son Godwin. He was in his 20s when he saw a future in wine.

“He saw people enjoying local wine more, so he took an interest in it, and like me, he was an entrepreneur, selling wine after school,” says Ukkonika.

When tragedy struck and Godwin passed away, she says she wanted to run away from Uganda, but stayed.

“He was so close to me, and he inspired me to continue the business,” she says.

By 2013, she took courses in wine-making and started marketing the wines in a big way.

For the last 37 years, Ukkonika has also worked at the Ministry of Finance. So she has had a fully-fledged career.

“They supported me the most, as I was running the wine business and also selling to staff.”

She was producing the wines in her garage at home. With business growing, she then rented a place in Muyenga, using 200-liter drums to store the wines.

Today, she sells the wines – an average of 200 bottles a day – to retail supermarkets across Uganda, and they are also popular across the borders in Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya.

Her company makes seven different types of wines, among them those made of passion fruit, tree tomato, and a combination of pineapple and hibiscus that she calls ‘special wine’.

The variously-colored labels on her bottles are from China.

“There are many people trying to copy our products and put on fake labels, so I had to go to China to get special shiny labels,” says Ukkonika.

These labels can also be customized. In her shop, an entire rack is devoted to wines personalized for prenuptial events, weddings and graduation ceremonies. These include images of happy couples on their wedding day plastered onto the bottles.

Ukkonika regularly attends wine expos around the world, and has plans to expand her business as she already has a factory.

Pointing to the wall adorned with the numerous certificates and awards she has won over the years, Ukkonika says: “I started with nothing; and reached where I did.”

She attained all her business degrees after age 31 and “giving birth to six children in seven years”.

Today, her weeks are busy but the weekends are filled with family and lots of Bella Wine.

“Everybody else’s wine is from grapes, but I make it from all fruits. I never look at competition but work on how to make my wine better,” says Ukkonika, who, like the wine she sells, seems to keep getting better with age.

Woman

Noëlla Coursaris Musunka The Trailblazer In The Congo

Published

on

Prev1 of 2
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

The story of love, loss and triumph. The story of humanitarian, model and mother, Noëlla Coursaris Musunka.


This is a tale of generational loss. A tale about how, at the tender age of five, a child lost everything she held dear. She lost her mother, her father, familiar surroundings and was relocated from the country she’d come to know as her home. However, in losing so much, she seemed to have gained everything and insists on sharing it with others.

After the death of her father, when Noëlla Coursaris Musunka was five years old, her mother could not afford to keep her and was forced to give her only child (at the time) away in hopes that she would get better opportunities.

Musunka moved to Belgium, and later Switzerland, and was away for 13 years with very little communication with her mother back home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

READ MORE |Ravaged by Ebola and War, Congo Named Most Neglected Crisis of 2018

“It was a tough time… I received two or three letters from my mom and spoke to her only twice on the phone,” says Musunka. On her return, at 18 years, she was so struck by the abject poverty that she vowed to contribute to the education of her brothers and sisters, and would give back to her country.

And she has done so in spectacular fashion.

Musunka has since had a flourishing career as a model and has graced the pages of fashion magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire and Elle. The exposure propelled her to pursue her passion for humanitarian and philanthropic work.

When asked about what accolades, such as the one she received from the Nelson Mandela Foundation (in November 2018) and the Enhle Cares Foundation, mean to her, Musunka beams and says: “It’s very special. I’m a pan-Africanist. I love Patrick Lumumba, I love Mandela, I love Sankara. I love all these revolutionary people… who want the best for Africa… The spirit of Mandela is [his] legacy. When people remember Noëlla, I want them to remember my legacy. And my legacy and my message is to give back.”

The Malaika school. Picture: Supplied

“I’m very happy that the Mandela family contacted me and said ‘this is what our dad would want. You are a young woman investing in education and that’s the reason we want to honor you’. It’s very touching and I’m not into awards, but this one is very special.”

Since founding the non-profit organization Malaika in 2007, it has grown from a one-room school house to a world-class school that accommodates 314 students of all ages. As the school continues to operate, it plans on adding approximately 30 girls each year.

The Malaika Foundation, which is in the village of Kalebuka, in the southeastern region of the DRC, has also established a community learning center, recreational facilities, 17 water wells and farm land.

This is due to the tenacity and collaborative efforts of 31 Congolese staff members working on the ground in the DRC, and support from a team of 30 volunteers working in the US, Europe, the DRC and other locations.
In Kalebuka, the community plays an integral role in the daily running of the school.

“We have 30 parents a day who come to maintain the school. The whole community is driven. The village takes care of the program and protects it. The community center is good because it’s also important to teach the parents. We have the youth and the parents who come to the community center to learn to read, write, sew, and we have key messages. We also distribute malaria nets.

“So, we have 5,000 people who go there and all programs are free. The school is for free. The staff [members] give of their time, their skills and their money. We have a pro-bono lawyer, pro-bono auditing … [and] we teach the mothers to make the uniforms. We give the girls underwear, socks and shoes.”

The colloquail term ‘say it with your chest’, means to say something with determination, self-assurance and without fear. During her interview with FORBES WOMAN AFRICA at the Da Vinci Hotel in Sandton in Johannesburg in November, Musunka was wearing a t-shirt with the word ‘Revolution’ across it. The education revolution has swept the village of Kalebuka, in the form for Musunka and her team.

Prev1 of 2
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Continue Reading

Wealth

WATCH | The Making Of The New Wealth Creators Cover

Published

on

The New Wealth Creators is the first of its kind list by FORBES WOMAN AFRICA. Herein is a collection of female entrepreneurs on the African continent running businesses and social enterprises that are new, offbeat and radical.

These 20 women have been selected because they have created significant impact in their respective sectors by transforming a market or company, or innovating a product or service, and are pioneering their organization(s) in generating new untapped streams of income.

VIEW THE FULL LIST|Businesses Of The Future: 20 New Wealth Creators On The African Continent

These women come from across the continent, from the villages and the suburbs, and are in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. They have all adopted sustainable development initiatives in one way or another to help solve Africa’s problems.

They may be wealth creators but their businesses, ironically, did not stem from a need to make money,  but rather from the need to solve Africa’s persisting socio-economic challenges.

 Economically empowering women has shown to boost productivity. It increases economic diversification and income equality, in addition to other positive developmental outcomes.

Simply put, when more women work, economies are likely to grow.

FORBES WOMAN AFRICA put in months of rigorous research, searching near and far for these inspirational entrepreneurs.

We took into account their business model, new ideas, potential, struggles, social impact, growth, influence, resilience and most importantly, their innovation.

Speaking to FORBES WOMAN AFRICA last year at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, said: “Innovation [is] becoming the cornerstone for our economy going forward.”

As Africa’s population is reported to increase by 53% by 2100, according to the United Nations, new solutions must be created in order for us to keep up.

READ MORE | Naomi Campbell: Africa Is One Of The Leading Continents In The World

One question remains: can Africa translate its significant population growth into economic development, and invest this wealth to improve the quality of life?

Entrepreneurship could very well be the answer, or at least, one of the answers.

Last year, the Founder and Chair of the Alibaba Group Jack Ma paid Africa a visit to discuss tangible investment and technology development.

He encouraged African entrepreneurs to take giant leaps in solving the challenges facing the continent and to take advantage of the digital economy.

From left to right: Rachel Sibande, Arlene Mulder, Miishe Addy, Sarah Collins, Dineo Lioma, Jessica Anuna. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla
Assistant Photographer: Gypseenia Lion

He said that opportunities lie where people complain.

And these women, through their businesses, have identified just that.

Vijay Tirathrai, director of the Techstars Dubai Accelerator, shared the same sentiments with FORBES WOMAN AFRICA.

“The new wealth creators, for me, are entrepreneurs who are very conscious about finding solutions in the market place, but from a lens of having social impact or having impacted the environment,” he says.

Tirathrai believes that while servicing consumers, new wealth creators are also “making a safer and a greener planet in the process, eliminating diseases, improving health conditions and advocating for equality for women”.

Women on the African continent have been making headway as drivers of change, and in many ways, they embody new wealth.

They are the true wealth.

As FORBES WOMAN AFRICA, we seek to celebrate such women.

Through this list, money is no longer the central indicator of new wealth creation.

It is about job creation, contributing to healthy societies, recycling waste, giving agency to those who are financially excluded and developing solutions for some of the socio-economic problems we grapple with.

IN PICTURES | Leading Women Summit 2019

These women may all come from different places but they are bound together by one common thread, and that is the thread of new wealth creation.

This compilation is innovative, exciting, inspiring and shows what businesses of the future may look like.

Meet the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA New Wealth Creators of 2019.

Continue Reading

Wealth

IN PICTURES | Leading Women Summit 2019

mm

Published

on

The FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit which was hosted the by KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government took place on International Women’s Day (Friday, 08 March) at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.

Full list of winners | Leading Women Summit award winners

READ MORE about the New Wealth Creators | Businesses Of The Future: 20 New Wealth Creators On The African Continent

The 2019 Leading Women Summit was a full-day event, with an audience of over 500 women.

The goal was to bring together leading, influential women to share their ideas that are idea-focused, and on a wide range of subjects, to foster learning, inspiration and wonder – and provoke conversations that matter. The 2019 theme for the event was the “New Wealth Creators”.

The New Wealth Creators list, which is the first of its kind, was unveiled at the Summit. It is collection of female entrepreneurs on the African continent running businesses and social enterprises that are new, offbeat and radical.

READ MORE | Naomi Campbell: Africa Is One Of The Leading Continents In The World

READ MORE | Naomi Campbell Announced As Headline Speaker For The 2019 Forbes Woman Africa Leading Women Summit

The Summit celebrated a host of female trailblazers, game-changers and pioneers in African business and society.

Supermodel, philanthropist and cultural innovator, Naomi Campbell was the headline speaker among other global influencers in business, sport, science, entertainment and leadership.

Continue Reading

Trending