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20 Questions with Bang! Magazine's Emelda Mwamanga

Occupation: Publisher / TV show host / editor

Nationality: Tanzanian

1. Why Did You Pick The Career Path That You Did?

Well, at the university I studied Bachelor of Social Science in industrial, organisational and labour studies and majored in human resources. I worked for Coca-cola company as an HR officer and then manager and thereafter I started a media company and it has been over ten years working in print media. I guess I had a passion for media, but while I was a young girl, I was never encouraged or informed more about the media world but I had a growing passion for reading and writing and I wrote story books from the age of 12 years old.

2. What should every woman try at least once in her life?

Follow your passion!- Follow your dreams, even if your dream is to become a dancer, model, a designer… just quench that thirst and be a damn good one.

3. What is on your bookshelf?

The 40 Day soul fast, Judy Finnigan- I do not sleep, sex and the city, Eat Pray Love , Turning Pro, Seven habits of highly effective people, Stain on my Khanga, 32 steps career success and a life of significance by Modesta Mahiga, My bibble and plenty of magazines.

4. What item in your closet do you wear the most?

My BLD- Black little dress.

5. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I am an extremely shy person.

6. What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

“If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair, you are fooling yourself. That’s like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn’t eat him”

7. What is your beauty secret?

Avoid stress, laugh a lot, find happiness in simple things, take naps, drink lots of water and just wear the best smile at all times.

8. What’s the biggest personal change you’ve ever made?

I've had to think about this question awhile because I don't usually make big personal changes, I make them gradually after putting them off as long as possible. Although there is one change I've made recently. It's not big for most people's standards but it was for me.  I have learned to listen.

9. What motivates you to improve yourself?

Being the first born child in my family, I've got my parents looking up to me and also I have a daughter that looks up to me. I've gotta be the best role model to her and to all the people who are looking up to me.

10. What are some struggles you faced in your life that came about because of your gender?

Well, when I was younger and I just started my company, many people especially men never trusted that I’d be able to run a sustainable company. When I was looking for financial injection in the business from businessmen, they didn't take me seriously and thought I would not be able to return their investments. Banks were not there to give any favours mainly because they saw me just as a woman running a start-up.

11. Do You Wish You Could've Done Things Differently if given the Chance? Please Explain

No!. I have no regrets so far. I think I would do everything the same. But in retrospect, given my career path, I would change my degree and study Mass communication .

12. What and Who Inspires You?

My father, he is a dreamer, I go getter and never gave up in business. My mother, a Godfearing woman, who cares and  supports many people and also Oprah Winfrey, a woman who shines because of her media platform and is an extremely  hard working woman, go getter and damn good at her work.

13. What Do You Count As Your Greatest Achievement?

Running a company for over ten years, being the first to launch a lifestyle magazine in Tanzania, Building a brand and being able to travel the world  through my work and meet very prominent people.

14. How have you overcome these struggles and/or insecurities?

I had to… it’s a tough world and I knew I had to prove many people wrong.

15. In your experience, what do you think are some of the prevalent issues women face in everyday life, professionally?

Defying social expectations: As a woman, when you become very vocal and opinionated, people call you names. When you decide to dress and look sexy, people judge you as if you are in a business to sell your body and many think that you are empty headed. Some women also worry about coming off as too aggressive. Something else to note is that quite a few women don’t have the art of negotiating skills in business. I eventually learned that, regardless of my gender, my business would fail if I refused to defend or fight for it.

16. What Do You Think Needs to be Done to Address These Issues?

Be yourself, and have confidence in who you are. Don't conform yourself to a man's idea of what a leader should look like. –Wear your mini skirt, red lipstick, and high heels and be the best at what you do.

17. What Would You Tell another Young Woman who wants to go down the same path that you have chosen?

It’s not easy but if I did it, you can do it! Just believe in yourself and never give up, even when the going gets tough.

18. What do you do to give back to your community?

I mentor, advice, and I help whenever I see a need.

19. Who and What are some of your Influences?

What influenced me is the fear of failing, I fear regrets, so I hold on to dreams and work hard because I have faith and I always believed that I am here on earth for a certain purpose and I must fulfill my purpose.

20. If you could tell young women one thing, what would it be?

You are your own cheerleader and your own enemy. If you fail in life, do not blame anyone else but you and if you succeed it’s all your hard work. So don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t/ won’t achieve your dream. Achieve your dreams, be a star, shine and all who said you can’t will join you to celebrate those achievements. The world respects hard working women!