General News - February 2011
Zimbabwe Achievers Awards - 8 February 2011
Zambezi Safari and Travel has been nominated for the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards Cast a vote for us in the special category - we're worth it!
Recognising those who beat the odds
Awards launched for Zimbabwean high achievers in the UK
Feb 5, 2011 11:40 PM | By IRENE MADONGO
'Zimbabweans face many challenges, and have pushed the boundaries to achieve. That's why I think they need to be recognised," says Conrad Mwanza, founder and chairman of the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (ZAA) in the UK.
Mwanza's words ring true, considering the challenges millions of Zimbabweans living abroad face. Many in the UK find themselves in a foreign land having to build their lives afresh, which is not always easy. Despite this, some Zimbabweans have managed to rise above the tide and to excel in different fields.
"Just being in a foreign country is a handicap - the fact that you are a foreigner means you are already disadvantaged, things are easier for locals, as in any country," says Mwanza,
"Secondly, the doors of opportunity are not easy to open. One of the biggest problems in the Zimbabwean community is that they have been forced to do careers they didn't want to, like nursing, because it's easy to settle into. But breaking away from these careers is hard, you can't just quit your job. There are a few people who can go on to do what their heart desires, but they are in the minority."
Mwanza, who hails from Bulawayo, recalls how he also was faced with the career dilemma when he first came to live the UK in 1999. The starry-eyed young man had been studying marketing in Bulawayo. But he was met with the harsh reality that his options were very limited.
"That time a lot of Zimbabweans were doing nursing. I had a difficult decision to make - it was easier to be a student nurse as you'd get a grant," he says, "it also had job security and a visa."
"But I took a decision not to. I felt it was not my thing, it was not something I was passionate about. I decided to pursue marketing. When I arrived in the UK I went to study business and accounting, and then marketing."
After his studies, he managed to get a job in the marketing department of a leisure company. Then things took a new turn when he partnered with a South African company, Loxion Culture, which distributes trendy South African gear, and began distributing clothes for them in London.
"In 2004 I thought about doing a fashion show for Loxion. Those days Zimbabweans and South Africans were very close. We used to socialise a lot. So I thought of doing a show that would include both South Africans and Zimbabweans. We had to price our tickets highly - at £45 - because the venue was expensive. People came anyway. I think this was one of my best events."
That same year he formed his company, CM Events Consultancy, and he began organising other events for the Zimbabwean and Southern African community.
"I started the Southern African Summer Fest. It's a football tournament among Southern Africans, a braai and music. In 2006 my company was contracted to promote the Bafana Bafana vs Ghana match, and then Bafana Bafana vs Afghanistan in 2008. I was promoting Bafana Bafana. People asked how come you are a Zimbabwean but promoting South Africa? I would say my company is not just Zimbabwean but I promote other things too."
He then decided to form an awards event to celebrate the people's achievements. Together with fellow Zimbabwean Shelley Cox and others, he put together the Southern African Achievers Awards, which was to encompass people from the various countries in the Southern Africa region.
"The ZAA was born from the Southern African Achievers Awards. We did this in 2009," Mwanza says.
"It was a good turnout, and I noticed that 90% of the people there were Zimbabweans. I noticed that other Southern Africans, for instance from Namibia and Botswana, just come to the UK temporarily to study, so the awards were not representative of Southern Africans as most of the nominees were Zimbabweans."
They then decided to focus on Zimbabweans, and hence the name became the Zimbabwean Achievers Awards.
Working closely with this community, he identified a trend that needed to be addressed. "With Zimbabweans in the UK we have different communities: Shona, Ndebele, coloureds and whites. They tend to do things separately, organise and attend their own events," he says.
"When I set up ZAA it was one of my aims to bring all the communities under one event and celebrate all things Zimbabwean. The main reason is to recognise what Zimbabweans do. The good things that they do. We are very resourceful and successful in some of the things we do in the UK," he says.
One of the challenges they faced was getting the sponsorship. "Our money comes from sponsorship. It is hard getting sponsorship in the UK because the ethnic market, especially Zimbabwean, is small," explains Mwanza,
Last weekend on a cold night in London, Mwanza and his team launched the 2011 Awards at an up-market venue. It was attended by black and white Zimbabweans from various fields - including the professional/business and charity sector.
Article courtesy Times Live
Meet Zambezi Professional guides - 2 February 2011
This week-end at the Destinations Show in London the Zambezi team will be joined by:
Abraham Banda from Zambia, (Wanderlust award winning professional guide and director of Norman Carr Safaris)
Marvin Mutangara from Zimbabwe, (rising star and MC to Sir Ranulph Fiennes' most recent public engagement in Harare).
Both are exemplary ambassadors for Africa!
We had a hugely successful showing at Adventure Travel Live in Victoria last week-end. The "Planning and African Safari" talk deserved an auditorium twice its size and our "Rediscover Zimbabwe" initiative was full!
Thanks to those of you would could make it.
Yellow fever vaccinations Zanzibar - 1 February 2011
We have received a communication this morning from the Ministry of Health in Zanzibar, warning that following a severe outbreak of yellow fever in Northern Uganda, ALL visitors (not just previously designated countries) to Zanzibar will be required to present a valid yellow fever certificate of vaccination on entry. All guests are advised to ensure you valid vaccination certificates before travel.