Strategies for SuccessUntil four years ago I had never been to business school. I learnt business by doing business, and making lots of mistake. I only went to business school when I was well into my forties to help me deal with the challenges of running a growing business. Alpha Media Holdings is now the largest privately owned media house in Zimbabwe, with three newspapers in South Africa and one of Africa’s most prominent websites.
I have succeeded in life through unconventional means. I am helped by the fact that I am acutely aware of my short comings and compensate by surrounding myself with people who are far much smarter and more talented than me. I give them space to follow their dreams and passions and they in turn have made me shine.
Press FreedomThe role that the independent press in Zimbabwe has played to defend press freedom of expression has strengthened my belief in the ‘fourth estate’ [the press]. Under very difficult circumstances the private press in Zimbabwe has ensured some degree of transparency and accountability and kept pushing the envelope.
My treatment by my publisher and being fired for publishing what turned out to be a correct story is what has cemented my belief in editorial independence. I passionately believe in appointing editors and letting them get on with their jobs with little or no interference from myself or the board. My opinions, and my business and personal relationships, should not be a factor in editorial decisions.
A Future for our ChildrenI have a seven year old daughter who is my princess and whom I love so dearly. Her name is Maya. As most parents I find myself preoccupied with what Maya’s future is going to be like. Africa currently has the youngest population in the world with 40% of the population under 15 years of age. I often find myself wondering what role I am playing to bequeath Maya and her generation with an Africa rich in opportunities and a stage for their dreams.
One of the driving forces in my life was a determination that I never wanted to lead a life similar to my parents’ existence. In a way the fear of poverty helped get me where I am now. And I want to suggest that we should all work towards ensuring that the future of this continent is a better one for our children and their offspring.
The key to this is listening to the voices of the young people and helping them live their dreams and passions in their places of birth. The young must be active participants in building Africa and not spectators on the side-line.
Africans are beginning to come back home from the diaspora. Let us act to make sure there is an avalanche of talent from the diaspora and that more of our people choose to stay rather than leave in droves to pursue their dreams in foreign lands as has happened over the past 60 years.
For this to happen Africa needs a new breed of leaders across the private and public sectors and civil society. This must be an enlightened leadership that is visionary and open to ideas.