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

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Naomi Campbell makes her first appearance at the Forbes Woman Africa Leading Woman Summit saying that she is passionate about promoting the continent.


In the coastal city in Eastern South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province, it is all hands on deck at the International Convention Centre (ICC), in Durban.

There’s a buzz in the air, and it is not the sound of the warm summer waves hitting the coast line, it is the chatter of Forbes Woman Africa’s most anticipated event, the annual Leading Woman Summit.

It takes place on March 8, in celebration of International Women’s Day.

It is expected to host over 500 people and on the agenda, women are in the forefront.

The headlining speaker is supermodel, philanthropist and cultural innovator, Naomi Campbell.

She has just traveled in straight from Paris and told media at the ICC that she couldn’t wait to be part of the Summit.

“This is my second time at a Forbes Woman Summit, but I am especially happy to be here,” she said.

Campbell who is very passionate about the African continent said that she is all for supporting Africa.

“Africa means a lot to me, and right now I feel that it is a time where in my industry that this continent is recognized by the fashion industry in having their footprint here,” she said.

Campbell said she is particularity interested in the tech, fashion, business, music, culture, architecture industries.

“[I’m] not afraid to approach anyone on these subjects in trying to open their minds to see that they need to recognize that this continent is one of the leading continents in the world,” she added.

When asked what makes the Summit different, Methil Renuka, FORBES WOMAN AFRICA and FORBES AFRICA editor said the event is much bigger this year.

“In terms of scale and magnitude it is big, and also in terms of both the panelists, the speakers of the day, and also the audience. So we have the best people coming, the CEO’s and all the top women from the industry,” she said.

The event, which is hosted in Durban for the first time, also has a lot to offer the coastal city.

MEC for the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala said that he welcomes Campbell with open arms and noted her as the honorary granddaughter of Nelson Mandela.

EThekwini Mayor Zanele Gumede said “the agenda is clear, this summit is a platform to celebrate female excellence while we inspire, empower and unite as women.”

Gumede also told Campbell to visit more tourist attractions around the province.

One notable site would be the Mandela Capture site, where he was captured 56 years ago.

Coincidentally, KZN also happened to be the province where Mandela first cast his vote.

There for it is only fitting that Campbell, the honorary granddaughter is to speak at the Summit for the first time hosted in the province.

For many, it is one of the most anticipated part of the Summit.

Woman

Noëlla Coursaris Musunka The Trailblazer In The Congo

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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.

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Wealth

WATCH | The Making Of The New Wealth Creators Cover

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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.

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Wealth

IN PICTURES | Leading Women Summit 2019

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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.

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