As I stressed in the first part of the Africa rising profiles, Africa needs to empower its young people to create businesses and jobs if it is to realize its growth potential that has been very well covered in the media so far.
Today, I would like to share with you my interview with Ms. Pearl Maphumulo, another young African whose passion and vision is second to none. Ms. Pearl aims to change the perception of Africa both within Africa and abroad. She does this through her work in Television, social media and also through her numerous speaking engagements. As a result of her work, she was recently nominated for the 2015 African Achievers Awards. She is also a member of the World Economic Forum global shapers community.
Below is my interview with her where she talks about her work and inspiration. The interview has been edited for clarity.
1. Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Pearl Maphumulo and I am a South African Entrepreneur with a passion for business development and branding. I am an alumna of the Raymond Ackerman Academy for Entrepreneurial Development at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Additionally, I am a business speaker, business TV show host and a curator for the World Economic Forum Global Shapers in Soweto, South Africa.
I am also the founder of Prolific Designz, a South African based media company. At Prolific Designz, we focus on corporate branding. We work with many small and mid-sized enterprises and help them develop top African brands
Furthermore, I am the founder and managing director The Business Development Agency, a private company based in South Africa. The company recently began the first phase of a project for the South African Women's Entrepreneur Network (SAWEN), a former subsidiary of the South African Department of Trade & Industry now under the South African Ministry of Small Business Development. With this project the company trains South Africa female entrepreneurs about how to do marketing effectively.
2. How was growing up in Africa for you?
I have never lived in another continent before and so I do not have somewhere else to compare my experience with. However, growing up, I have always had this passion for solving problems in Africa. I think Africa, South Africa specifically is a very inspiring place to live and I can’t trade my experience so far with anything else.
3.What do you do to change Africa?
To me, the word “change” sounds sudden. “Transform” is a more comfortable word for me to use here. I believe there’s a lot to do in order to transform Africa for the better and it is an impossible task for one individual to undertake. Transformation is an entire process, one that really never ends. I believe that my involvement in Business Development and the other ventures I have founded play a part in the greater goal of making Africa better.
3. What motivated you to take up that role?
It’s my passion and calling. The wonder in a ‘calling’ is that embracing it is passion acted out and the feeling of satisfaction from walking within your call fuels the motivation.
4. What have been the successes of your initiatives?
I wouldn’t be able to remember and count them all, however, the recent results of the successes and milestones over the years has seen me being selected as one of 80 young Africans from 40 different countries to attend and participate in the 2015 World Economic Forum on Africa Summit. I have also been selected as one of the 30 young leaders from around the globe to attend what is probably the world’s biggest technology and innovation Summit in Dalia, China called the Annual Summit of the New Champions. All technology companies and CEOs like Google, Yahoo! Microsoft etc. attend this prestigious event.
5. What inspires you about Africa?
Apart from the beauty and the people, I am definitely inspired by its incredible potential for growth. Depending on how one looks at the unfortunate situations Africa faces, I personally am extremely excited and motivated by the fact that Africa’s economy is about to bloom and this obviously means loads of opportunities for entrepreneurs & innovators.
6. Do you think that Africa is really rising?
Yes, absolutely. This is an exciting time for the continent. Without getting technical on details and statistics if one looks at recent reports either from the World Economic Forum, African Economic Outlook or any other economic research platform, one would realize the great focus that is now upon our continent. Most of the world is pretty much developed and when compared to Africa, you would notice that Africa is the next big thing & those who will reap the harvest are those sowing in its rising.
7. What are we not doing to contribute to the rise of Africa as Africans?
I will scale it down to one challenge that really bothers me. That’s collaboration. I’m not sure what it is but many Africans have a tendency of isolating themselves, instead of working collaboratively. One tragic example would be the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa against foreign nationals. Outside of the many dynamics that ignited these attacks like unemployment and false feelings of entitlement, I really am bothered by our short sightedness when it comes to working together.
The Soweto Global Shaper hub spearheaded a research survey following these attacks asking people on the ground as to why they loot foreign owned tuck shops or even go to the extremes of killing a fellow brother. Many of them expressed their views saying that they feel like, and I quote, “foreigners are stealing our jobs”.
A significant number of my ventures and opportunities have come through networking and establishing relationships with other Africans. This, however, is not possible if one isn’t willing to look beyond nationalities and cultures, and instead explore skills the other one has to offer.
When will Intra-African trade kick-off & gain momentum if there are many who still cannot identify another African counterpart as a potential partner in helping Africa’s economy grow?
8. Which other young African Inspires you and why?
There are too many to mention. I have had the privilege of meeting young people from most African countries. However, a young African that sticks to mind is definitely Yemi-Babington Ashaye; he founded the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community, and alongside his team successfully launched the first 400 Hubs in cities in over 175 countries across the globe.
9. Inspire Africa in one sentence
Like any person with a big dream, he was told he couldn’t pull it off…well, today I’m part of this Global Shapers Community dream, alongside 5 000+ young leaders from across the globe. This information is enough to inspire anyone to dream right now!
To nominate a young African to take part in this program, please send an email to [email protected] and he will reach out to you for an interview. The African Exponent is publishing the Africa Rising interviews in partnership with the African Viewpoint Journal, the official blog of the African Achievers Awards.