Vimbai Angela Butawu is a Zimbabwean young social entrepreneur. She is an energetic, goal-oriented young lady with a heart for social development especially focusing on child and youth development. She holds 2 degrees from the University of Monash South Africa. She graduated with her first degree in Bachelor of Social Sciences (2017) double majoring in Child and Youth Development and Criminology and holds a Postgraduate Degree (2019) in Business Management specializing in Corporate Governance.
Vimbai’s commitment to service is outstanding and has been internationally recognized. She was one of only 10 students out of more than one million students worldwide in the Laureate Universities network (200 campuses worldwide) who were recognized as honorees of the Here for Good Award—for making a positive social impact in their communities and countries. In the same year, through the MSA LEAD program, she was selected as one of the top 10 social entrepreneurs in South Africa.
She started My Africa Child and Youth Development Organization in 2018. Her dream is to make a positive change in Africa, creating opportunities for young people. She believes that young people are the future leaders and giving them a platform for positive growth will be beneficial to the development of the continent. Her vision is to create an organization that focuses on making a profit for good, thus creating a self-sustainable organization making a positive social impact on the continent.
Thank you for making out time to chat with us — in your own words — who is Vimbai Angela Butawu?
Vimbai Angela Butawu is a young 27years old Zimbabwean social entrepreneur. She is the Founder and President of My Africa Child and Youth Development Organization (MACYDO) International and the Chief Executive Officer of MACYDO Zimbabwe. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Social Sciences (Double Major in Criminology and Child and Youth Development) and Postgraduate Degree in Business Management Specializing in Corporate Governance from Monash University South Africa. She is passionate about Africa’s socio-economic development, the positive development of young people, and their involvement in the development of the continent.
Amazing! Tell us more about the work you do at My Africa Child and Youth Development Organization (MACYDO).
MACYDO is an organization that focuses on the development of young people in Africa. We aim to groom young people to become influential leaders and change-makers in their communities and countries and play a vital role in Africa’s economic and social development. We believe that young people are tomorrow’s leaders; therefore, it is of utmost importance to invest in them positively.
MACYDO focuses on various sectors that play a role in young people’s lives: education, Entrepreneurship, Health, and Entertainment. MACYDO has been operating since 2018. The organization was found in South Africa and has impacted more than 50 young people through our talent-based Saturday classes.
In 2020 MACYDO Education launched a scholarship program in Zimbabwe, and we currently have 20 scholars benefiting from the program. The scholarship program focuses not only on providing education funding for the scholars but also on self-development, leadership, and entrepreneurship training for all our scholars.
In 2021 MACYDO Entrepreneurship pioneered a fellowship program for young entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe – MACYDO Leading Entrepreneurs foR African Development Program (LEAD). The program focuses on empowering entrepreneurs with projects that impact the country.
Well done on all the amazing work so far; What’s your motivation?
God is my primary motivation and the Holy Spirit at work in me.
In our continent, Africa, there are so many opportunities to exploit. Africa gives me the drive to always be on my feet, thinking of new ideas to explore and be significant. There is so much that needs to be improved in Africa, and I believe that success is making the world better than you met it. Investing in young people and giving them access opportunities is an opportunity to make the world better than I met it.
I also get motivated by my mentors that are continually driving me to reach my full potential and to become significant in my continent: Pastor Chris Oyakhilome (LoveWorld), Pastor Christian Akhuemokhan (LoveWorld), Ms. Esther Benjamin (CEO – World Education Services, USA), Professor Alywn Louw (Vice-Chancellor – Torrens University, Australia), Dr. Chamu Chiwanza (CEO – Cernic Holdings, Zimbabwe), Mrs. Rose Charehwa (Founder and Managing Director – Surdax, Zimbabwe) to mention just a few.
Not forgetting my mother, my siblings, and friends that continuously support me.
You are committed to empowering young people to reach their full potential, grooming them to become effective leaders and change-makers in their communities and countries; how has that journey been?
The journey has been a success thus far. I can not say it’s an easy road, but it has been a fulfilling journey. Investing in young leaders is investing in the future of our continent. I can say I have the future of Africa in my hands (laughs). The investments I make today towards young people play a vital role in how our tomorrow becomes.
In South Africa, through our talent-based program, we have successfully impacted more than 50 students. Most students were at the edge of dropping out of school, and the program motivated them to stay in school and advance their studies as we recognized their talents and used that as a catalyst to keep them in school.
In Zimbabwe, we have given the opportunity to 20 students to advance their studies. 2020 was quite a challenging year financially for many young people who saw their dreams get shattered with no hope to advance their studies. We had the opportunity and privilege to use our resources to give the young people hope through our scholarship program. I believe this was one of our greatest successes, as we were able to achieve this during a pandemic (Covid 19).
How much impact has MACYDO made; and would you say that it has made a noticeable difference in the lives of children and youth?
I think we have made a significant impact thus far, but we still have more work to do. What we have done so far is just the beginning, and we are not stopping here. There is so much work that still needs to be done with the organization; more countries to reach, more young people to empower. It is, however, important to recognize the positive ripple effect; when you impact one child, you have impacted the whole community. We have impacted a significant number of young people, and through them, we have indirectly impacted their families and communities.
As I said earlier, there are so many opportunities in Africa. It’s time for young people to take a stand and become significant in their countries as they play a role in the continent’s economic and social development. We have made a noticeable impact, but it’s just the beginning of more extraordinary things to come.
We imagine that there’ve been highs and lows. What are the significant milestones and challenges you have encountered in your social impact journey?
One of my milestones will be the privilege to be networked with the right people that help me achieve my vision with their continuous support.
Another high would be how we successfully launched a scholarship program in Zimbabwe during a Covid 19 Pandemic. A lot of companies and individuals were trying to recover from the economic meltdown caused by the pandemic. Still, regardless of this, we successfully launched and raised funds for the scholarship program. In 2021 we move a step further as we launch an entrepreneurship program for young entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe.
I have faced a fair share of challenges, but every time I meet a challenge, I am at a point where I get so excited and charged because I know it’s an opportunity for me to come up with a solution and an opportunity to learn. The highs result from your reaction to your lows; if you handle the lows with wisdom, you will produce more remarkable results in the future.
One of the challenges I have faced is being young with big dreams (laughs). You sometimes get a lot of negative responses from those in the industry for a while. I keep hearing people say, no Vimbai, your dream is too big you won’t be able to achieve it, but unfortunately for them, I love a challenge, so every time I hear those words, I’m so charged and pushed to make sure I make my dream come to pass to its fullest and prove them wrong.
Being a young female also means you will meet many people that undermine you and try to take advantage of you, so it’s essential to be vigilant, believe in yourself, and know your value.
What do you plan to achieve in the next 5 years?
Wow! I might need a whole book for that one (laughs). To sum it up, in 5 years, we aim to make sure that MACYDO is active in at least 5 Southern African Countries. We also aim to ensure that all our sectors, Education, Entrepreneurship, Entertainment, and Health sectors are fully operating. As a social impact organization, currently, our finances are dependent on donor funding, but in the next 5yrs, we would want to make sure the organization is self-sustainable.
Tell us your favourite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I don’t know if I should call it a quote; all my guidance comes from the Bible, whether in business or personal life.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It’s a constant reminder that quitting is not an option and whatever I set my mind to do is undoubtedly possible.
What are some of your favourite books that you have read?
Bible – I get all the life principles from there. I apply them to my personal and business life.
Power of your Mind (Pastor Chris Oyakhilome) – I believe it is the best self-development book. It has helped me with mind management, how to think, and to guard my thoughts. As a man thinketh, so is he.
Act like a lady, think like a man (Steve Harvey) – The funny thing is that it’s a relationship book, but I use some of those principles for business, lol. In a business world dominated by men, I think it’s important to think like them so that you are not behind and use the fact that you are a woman to your advantage. It may sound a bit crazy, but this has been working for me.
What does self-care mean to you, and what three things do you do to unwind?
You cannot pour from an empty cup, so it’s essential for me to continually renew my mind and refresh my body so that I am well equipped to lead others.
To unwind, I take time to study and meditate, watch movies, eat ice cream or go for a spa day. Alone and quiet times are my favourite; they help me to relax and think.
The LLA Grassroot Series is a monthly interview series that highlights the achievements and journey of an African female who has demonstrated exemplary initiative at the grassroots level.
The vision is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through impact at the community level.
It is an offshoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things at the grassroots level, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.