Under 30: Zimbabwean Entrepreneur Vimbai Masiyiwa On Learning From Her Famous Parents

Published 20 days ago
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The milestone speaks for itself: it’s the 10th anniversary of FORBES AFRICA’S 30 under 30 list, and just like the honorees who have come before them, the class of 2024 too are driven by impact. Profits aside, it’s about achieving success with innovation, influence and individuality. They aren’t looking to fill big shoes but rather lace up their own and forge ahead with giant strides, leading by example and leaving an indelible path for the changemakers to come.

Words and Curation: Chanel Retief
Additional research and reporting: Nicole Pillay With inputs from: Oluwatomisin Amokeoja
Art Direction and Layout: Lucy Nkosi | Photography: Katlego Mokubyane | Photography Assistant: Sbusiso Sigidi | Studio: NewKatz Studio, Johannesburg | Styling: Deneal Van Wyk | Outfits supplied by: B Mashilo Designs, DFLO, Franc Elis, Ephymol and Preview Accessories | Hair & Makeup: SnehhOnline Beauty

“Entrepreneurship is in my blood,” Vimbai Masiyiwa tells FORBES AFRICA. “I grew up watching my parents work hard to build their businesses, and I knew that it was something I intrinsically wanted to do.”

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As the daughter of African billionaire Strive Masiyiwa (with a real time net worth of $1.9 billion as per Forbes on March 22, 2024) and Tsitsi Masiyiwa, she knew that there would be pressure on her to succeed. Diagnosed with cancer at “a pivotal stage” of her education made her reevaluate what she really wanted to do with her life and career.

“This moment catalyzed me to change direction with a focus on creating a meaningful business of my own,” says the cancer survivor today.Determination helped her launch Batoka Africa, which, for Masiyiwa, is the culmination of four years of ideating, fundraising, building and growing.

In 2019, she had the vision to turn Batoka into a successful social enterprise tourism business with an entirely new property component, which she spearheaded.Masiyiwa required a $4 million capital investment to build the property and while she could leverage existing staff and resources, a signifi cant component required fundraising.

From 2019 to 2021, it was one of her biggest challenges.

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“I am a believer in building great agile teams that have the ability to succeed, no matter the hurdles. Working with my incredible team on the ground and collaborators from all over the continent (with the majority of them being women) meant that we pulled together in the worst of times,” says the young Zimbabwean entrepreneur.