When we introduced Every Woman, I could count with the fingers on one hand, the number of women that had made an impact on me at the very first meeting.
Now, 19 months later, I am astonished at how fast those numbers seem to be growing. I am amazed at how, during the course of my job, I encounter people who leave me open-mouthed as soon as we hold a conversation. As these women let me into their minds, give me tried and true formulas for dealing with lifeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s essentials, point out the goals they have set for themselves and, with words, paint their hope and dreams, I marvel at how much talent we have in Malawi and beyond.
Some of these women touch me because of their gentle hearts and humble spirits. Sakkar Sacranie, who helped Malawians fight for independence, has been in more than her fair share of boards and organisations, runs three companies and owns two thriving schools is one such gentle soul. We featured her in our birthday edition last year and, to this day, each time I replay the interview I had with her, I learn something new about myself, about this country and about the true meaning of humility.
Others touch me because of their intense passion for what they do, for an inner drive so strong they will not take no for answer or allow even the smallest bit of complacency into your hearts. Lebo Mashile, renowned South African poet, performer, actress and presenter, is one of these women. Our interview quickly turned into a lively conversation and in the two hours that I spent with this star, I learnt a lot about humility, being down to earth and being passionate about oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s talent in order to succeed.
All the women that have inspired me to greater heights have been older than me, which is why I was somewhat skeptical about this weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cover (I am very ashamed to admit this!) Being our youngest cover story yet, I just wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sure what direction my interview with this 23-year-old would take, even though, by virtue of the fact that she has been selected to represent Africa at this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s student festival, I knew that she is anything but ordinary.
I was therefore astonished when Hellen let me into her world and I caught a glimpse of raw passion, determination, drive and organisation that she possesses. She is undoubtedly one of the most driven women that I have spoken with since we established Every Woman and her story will inspire both old and young alike. I particularly like how she explains her inner drive:
“My great fear of failure. I know that one thing is promised in life and thats death. I believe God has mapped out certain milestones in every personÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s life and when these are missed due to disregard, laziness or a general lack of commitment to the greater good, then on judgement day the Almighty will ask you: You spent most of your life asking for me to bless you, yet when I left a door open for you to walk through, you chose to ignore it! Why? I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to disappoint God for giving me the blessing of life which so many others would do so much more with.”
If that does not push you to something significant, then I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what will!