Women of Rubies


Kalahari Honey is a Botswana-based social enterprise founded and established by Mavis Nduchwa,  that uses beekeeping as a tool to reduce conflicts between humans and wildlife by supplying rural farmers with beehives and training them how to make a beehive.

Bees make great fences to keep the wild elephants away from farmlands, as there are more elephants in Botswana than any other country in Africa.

Kalahari Honey trains farmers in beekeeping, then collects, processes, packages, and supplies – Dessert Raw Honey and Botswana’s first Mead (Honey Wine) to over 100 pharmacies and supermarkets in Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.

Kalahari Honey currently creates jobs for more than 500 women.

Mavis Nduchwa has won numerous awards including – Woman Owned Business Of the Year 2019 Botswana (Grant Thornton), Most Outstanding African Entrepreneur Award 2018 (Tony Elumelu Foundation), Botswana Innovation Award 2019 (Desert Honey Wine),  and Top 100 Meaningful Businesses 2020 among others.

Mavis Nduchwa, CEO Chabana Farms and Founder, Kalahari Honey.

When asked what she wished she knew about entrepreneurship before she started, she said in her own words:

Entrepreneurship is a journey filled with stumbling blocks. It can be likened to a maze. You know where to start, you see the finish but the path from start to end is a process. A process of shedding old habits, developing existing skills and becoming aware of that which is innate and somewhat dormant within yourself.

“Then again, life is unpredictable and I guess that is entrepreneurship. If I had known that mentors were available and willing to help startups I would have started there.”



Meet Dr Nothabo Ncube, Zimbabwean born Medical Doctor, TEDx Speaker, Life Coach and Millennial Mentor.

Having overcome her own personal and professional obstacles, her powerful story encourages this generation to face their challenges and conquer them.

Dr Thabo who lost her mother at the tender age of 14 to a tragic road accident, made a promise to her mother before she died that she would become a doctor in Zimbabwe.

Fate led her to Canada where she and her family found themselves living in Community Housing in Toronto, subjected to social ills that could have deterred her from her path, despite these circumstances she rose from the ashes like the phoenix.

Her story led her to meet the media mogul, Oprah Winfrey and went on to share her life journey on the TEDx platform.

Dr Thabo strongly believes that looking at the way her breakthrough came it could only be divine. It became very clear that the way they were pursuing her, it was for a big thing and she was convinced that more than anything it was the universe communicating something to her about who she is. Being part of that Oprah Winfrey’s class and being part of that community where Oprah shares how she came from rural Mississippi to having emerged as a voice of hope, light and inspiration for this season served as a reminder that she too is possible. It also created a shift in how she saw herself and her story and she somehow knew intuitively that she was created for something bigger than herself and that the hand that life had dealt her with was preparing her to use that journey to inspire and to give hope to the masses.

Through a whirlwind of inspirational lectures, round table discussions and media appearances on stages such as Global News TV, she positively influences, challenges and reconnects youth with their passions. She uses incredible wit and candor to empower young girls and women.

She is a story of grace, hope and faith and she is a living example that you can turn your pain into a message of hope that rescues others from their own pain and gives them something to believe in.

Dr. Thabo envisions a world where all millennials are given the opportunity to become the best versions of themselves, not only to dream bigger dreams, but to create and shape the world they have always desired.

Thabo states that she wouldn’t be the woman she is without her mother’s influence and she appreciates the fact that the gratitude comes from the life that she led and her having instilled all the values in her which she had used as a foundation for everything that she is becoming now. She also believes that God also used Oprah Winfrey as the vessel used to remind her of the seed of purpose that had been planted in her.


Marta Vânia Uetela is a Mozambican born Mechanical Engineer, Certified Welder and Entrepreneur that is committed to changing the lives of amputees with her prostheses.

While some despair and cower in the face of challenges, there are those who choose to make the best out of any challenges. They search for opportunities in the midst of challenges by rolling up their sleeves in search of a solution.

This is what happened with Marta Vania Uetela, an entrepreneur and student of mechanical engineering, who after seeing the difficulties a friend with an amputated leg faced in acquiring a prosthesis, decided to help him overcome this challenge by producing a custom-made prosthesis so that he could continue to do activities and live a life with fewer limitations.

She is the Founder and Industrial Designer at BioMec Prosthetics, producers of high performance prostheses based on plastic collected from the oceans, aimed at increasing access to artificial limbs at reasonable prices, using a technology that increases compatibility between the residual limb and prosthesis creating comfort.

BioMec’s prostheses meet the needs and functions of individuals who suffer from amputations, traumas, or physical disabilities at birth.

“After some research we realized that 90% of amputees in Mozambique do not have access to prostheses, either because of the high prices, time taken to obtain them, or even access to health care. The other 10% who do have access don’t feel very confident and safe due to the prosthesis design itself and prices are inaccessible.”

“Using the plastic residuals from only 6 bottles or 250g of fish net discarded in the ocean we’re able to build a prosthesis for someone who has suffered an amputation below the knee,” said Marta.

According to Marta, the key to success is persistence: “everything is complicated, but we must be bold and willing to take risks. My appeal to young entrepreneurs is not to give up the journey”.

Captain Irene is Kenya Airways’ first female Pilot and Captain, she commanded first father/daughter flight and first all female flight in Africa.

Her father was a Pilot at Kenya Airways, flying with him from a very young age ignited her passion to became a Pilot and she never looked back.

At age 17, she attended flight school at Nairobi’s Wilson Airport, where she obtained her Private Pilot’s License. She went to obtain her Commercial Pilot’s License from the Federal Aviation Administration, USA.

Captain Irene Koki Mutungi.

In spite of challenges she encountered during her training, Captain Irene Koki managed to rise through the ranks.

Far from having complexes, she maintains a cordial relation with her colleagues.

In her words,  “I feel at ease in what I’m doing, whether it is during late working hours, days off and my working hours, everything goes well for me. I cannot work in a structured environment, although air transport industry is structured in its own ways.”

“My first flight was just few days before I turned 18 and it was the most amazing experience. My most memorable flight was the one I got to do with my father, it was his last flight in the airline, he chose to retire early and wind up his career with a flight he did with me and that was very memorable,” said Captain Irene Koki Mutungi.

After obtaining her Commercial Pilot’s License, she returned to Kenya and was hired by Kenya Airways, as their first female Pilot and she has been with the airline for more than 2 decades. She is currently commanding a Boeing 787 “Dreamliner”.

Dr. Lindiwe Sidali has been a medical doctor for over a decade. In 2018, she conquered all the odds and societal norms by becoming the first black female Cardio-thoracic Surgeon in South Africa and one of the few in Africa.

A cardiothoracic surgeon is a specialist who operates on the heart, lungs and other chest organs.

Dr Sidali was born in a large family of 8, in a small town called Dutywa, in the Eastern Cape. She later on moved to Wonderkop, in the North West Province, where her father used to work as a mineworker.

She matriculated at Rakgatla High School in Wonderkop.

She went on to receive a bursary from the North West Department of Health to study medicine in Cuba, where she obtained a degree as a Doctor of Medicine.

She is known to have completed her Fellowship of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban.

Dr. Lindiwe Sidali

Dr Sidali is an avid believer in education for all, and free education at that – especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“I had always been interested in most surgical disciplines, and could not decide what to pursue. But then interesting enough, every time I was on call as a community service or medical officer, there was almost always a patient with a stabbed heart, or chest related trauma and after seeing a heart beating on my hands, I knew that I didn’t want to do anything else but cardiothoracic surgery.”

Sidali is just one of the many South African women who has beaten the odds to achieve success in the medical and surgical fields.

Ashaba Faridah is a commercial pilot, CEO of Bambino Life Foundation, TEDx Speaker, International Speaker, UN Women Model, Director of STEM Queens Uganda and Chair of the Global Goodwill Ambassadors in Uganda.

She is the Founder and CEO  Bambino Life Foundation, an organization that focuses on promoting girl child education & empowerment, creating awareness about children living with disabilities and providing a sustainable environment to children living in orphanages.

Ashaba believes in breaking stereotypes. In September 2018, she became the Director of STEM Queens Uganda, an initiative that encourages young girls to participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

In the same year, she also became the Chairperson of Global Goodwill Ambassadors (GGA), Uganda Chapter to promote great opportunities for those in need.

In 2019, she was appointed as the international spokesperson for the Global Goodwill Ambassadors and a spokeswoman for the World Youth Summit Dubai Act 2019.

At the beginning of 2020, Ashaba Faridah was named among the Top 40 outstanding people in Uganda under 40 years of age by New vision, a national newspaper.

As a piece of advice to budding women in STEM, she said:

“To believe in themselves but above all to never forget who they are and where they come from. Once you know this, your path will be clear on where you want to go or in being whoever you want to be. It goes without saying that without God we are absolutely nothing, so put him first and everything will come by easily.”

Despite many career strides, encouraging Black girls to pursue STEM careers is still greatly needed. For example, in 2019, Edutopia published an article written by Carly Berwick about how stereotypes and cultural norms dampen girls’ interest in STEM. However, educators could counter the disparities with small changes to their practice. Additionally, Nicole Joseph, assistant professor of mathematics and science education at Vanderbilt University research, was quoted as stating that research has shown that Black girls view themselves as outsiders in mathematics, and teachers view them as outsiders, too.

But solutions are at work, to close the gender and race gap, with the help of companies and organizations, in addition to educators. Tech leader Microsoft, and Beverly Bond—who is founder and CEO of the award-winning women’s empowerment, lifestyle, and philanthropic brand BLACK GIRLS ROCK!® — just announced ‘a strategic partnership to build technology infrastructure and empower more Black girls to become leaders through access to culturally relevant programs, leadership development, and STEM skills.’ Black Girls Rock Inc. has been devoted to the healthy, positive identity development of young women and girls by providing programs that support critical thinking, leadership development, sisterhood, innovation, civic engagement and career exposure. Now, more goals can be achieved in some of these areas.

The press release stated that the goal of the alliance is to strengthen the transformative work of BLACK GIRLS ROCK!® with the technology and scale of the Microsoft’s ecosystem.

“It’s remarkable to be championed by a towering institution like Microsoft to propel the work we’ve been doing at BLACK GIRLS ROCK!® to educate, empower and inspire the next generation,” Beverly Bond said in the announcement. “This partnership gives BLACK GIRLS ROCK! the support necessary to expand our work to help more girls find their voices, define their truths, and forge the futures they envision.”

Marcie Nymark, director of Strategic Partnerships for Microsoft, added that Microsoft shares BLACK GIRLS ROCK’s commitment to empowering women and girls.

“We also recognize the challenges facing women, especially Black women, are complex – no one organization can solve them all. That’s why we’re excited to partner with Beverly and BLACK GIRLS ROCK! to bring together our efforts to educate and inspire the next generation of innovators,” Nymark also stated in the press release.

Resources, programs, and tech solutions will reportedly support three key initiatives, which include a BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Book Club launching this month, BLACK GIRLS ROCK 15-year Anniversary Fundraising Gala in June, and a BLACK GIRLS LEAD Leadership Conference in July.

Further details explained that the partnership will officially kick-off with the launch of the first BLACK GIRLS ROCK!® Book Club and workshop April 14, at 12pm EST/9am PST featuring Bond’s book BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Owning Our Magic. Rocking Our Truth!, and facilitated by BLACK GIRLS ROCK alumna Kathie Duperval. The virtual event will be free and open to the public. Registration should be completed through Microsoft Store events.

Additionally, Microsoft Store will host each book club event which will be followed by an interactive virtual workshop designed for students and inspired by the book’s core themes and motifs. Microsoft will be the presenting sponsor of the BLACK GIRLS ROCK 15-year Anniversary Fundraising Gala. Musical performances will include Chaka Khan’s. It was also announced that the BLACK GIRLS LEAD conference, powered by Microsoft Teams, will bring together teen girls to participate in workshops, panel discussions, and lectures led by world-class educators, artists, business moguls, scientists, entertainers and other influencers.


LinkedIn has added “stay-at-home mom” and other role titles to its public resume function in a move to better reflect high numbers of people – particularly women – who have left the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Options added this week also include “stay-at-home dad” and “stay-at-home parent,” and the Microsoft-owned platform has also removed the requirement that resume entries be linked to a specific employer.

The move comes following a post on Medium’s ‘Better Marketing’ website that criticized LinkedIn’s lack of flexibility on its language as biased against women who have left the workforce.

Jobs data shows that the pandemic has hit women much harder than men.

As part of its larger profile redesign, the company on Tuesday also unveiled several other changes, including a dedicated, formal field for LinkedIn users to add their gender pronouns to their profiles. Such a pronoun entry has also been long requested by many LinkedIn users, who until now have found informal workarounds (like adding their pronouns to the end of their names).

“Pronouns are a core part of our identity, and how we want to present ourselves—and within the jobs marketplace, we believe that clarity about someone’s gender pronouns is very, very important,” Ayenew says.

He adds that making all of these changes to LinkedIn’s profiles “has taken more time than we would like” because of the degree of technology redesign it has required. “The profile is very, very core and foundational to our entire ecosystem—so we have to be very careful and deliberate about the changes we make,” he says. “We are finally getting to it—and we’re excited to be rolling it out.”

Nigerian athlete, Aminat Idrees, just won the Taekwondo gold medal while eight months pregnant, Blavity reports.

Idrees participated in Taekwondo’s Mixed Poomsae category, a form of exercise that showcases the hand and leg techniques of the sport at The National Sports Festival in Edo, Nigeria, last week. After her electrifying performance, Idrees took home the gold medal, she was praised by festival organizers for being “inspiring.”

“It’s such a privilege for me. I just decided to give it a try after training a couple of times…It feels really good. Before I got pregnant, I have always enjoyed training, so it didn’t seem different with pregnancy,” Idrees told reporters.

The 26-year-old underwent a complete medical exam before she could participate and was cleared by doctors after training for months. She feels like her win is an opportunity to introduce others to the art of Taekwondo.

“A lot of people don’t understand what Taekwondo is actually about. I feel this is an avenue to educate people about this. Taekwondo has two branches: the combat sport and Poomsae…I participated in [the] Poomsae event,” Idrees said.

In addition to her gold medal, Idrees also took home a silver medal in the female team Poomsae category and an individual bronze medal. She lead as a top athlete at the festival and made history as the first athlete to win a gold medal for her hometown, Lagos state.

“I felt there wasn’t much risk attached to it, so I decided to give it a try. My doctor, as well as the organizing body of the games, certified me fit to participate in the non-contact sport,” said Idrees.

Congratulations Aminat!

A single mom of 7 turned her last $5 into a million-dollar cupcake business, AfroTech reports.

Mignon Francois struggled financially to support her family between 2005-2007 after a job offer for her former husband fell through. A neighbor knew her plight and penchant for baking and offered her an opportunity to turn her situation around. She put in a request for 600 cupcakes at $1 each.

With just $5 to her name, Francois wasn’t sure how she would make it work, but she used her last bit of coin to purchase the ingredients, baking 60 cupcakes, and gaining a $60 profit that same day to buy the rest of what she needed. She launched The Cupcake Collection, selling custom cakes and cupcakes and growing her small business which now generates more than $1 million annually. 

While she is proud of herself, her journey was not without its share of challenges. As a Black woman, one of the biggest obstacles Francois faced was funding. Instead of relying on banks and facing loan denials, overdraft fees, or credit card debt, Francois relied on an old envelope system trick. 

“I think a lot of times in my community, we often have been used to rejection from banks. Having my money in a bank account at that time, if I had messed up even a dollar, it would have caused me to get a bank overdraft, which would’ve cost me $30, and then that’s just a vicious cycle of snowballing in a negative way,” she said.

The entrepreneur used the system to designate her money via envelopes, categorizing her profit into an emergency fund, set a budget, and a debt snowball method to help reel her finances in. Today, the New Orleans native uses her story to help others. 

As a now successful entrepreneur, Francois has begun paying it forward, funding scholarships at Tennessee State University, and partnering with community organizers to support education and food insecurity efforts. She also sits on the Pathways Women’s Business Center and Nashville Entrepreneur Center board and works with grassroots organization Corner to Corner to help other aspiring business owners. 

To learn more about Francois and the work she’s doing, visit The Cupcake Collection.

Congratulations Mignon!

Source: Becauseofthemwecan