Accessibility links

Meet Mawema: A Rising Zimbabwe Business Star

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Vakirai Mawema

Vakirai Mawema

Zimbabweans in the diaspora continue to raise the country’s flag high through achieving many goals in their respective fields.

One such Zimbabwean is Washington D.C-based Vakirai Mawema who was recently nominated by the Washington Business Journal to be among 40 under-40 business leaders in Washington.

Mawema, 36, is an architect at Gensler, a global design and architecture firm, where he has worked for the past eight years. The former rugby player and referee is also a member of the Honey Band, a music outfit at Takoma Park in the United States.

Vakirai Mawema

Vakirai Mawema

“I would describe myself professionally as a designer and an architect who is mostly concerned with the power and the value that design-thinking can bring to problem-solving throughout the world,” Mawema says.

He is also a member of a non-governmental organization, Junior Achievement, a global not for profit organization which teaches young adults about financial literacy.

Mawema, who has been in the diaspora for 19 years, came to the U.S. in 1997 to study and settled in San Diego, California. After completing his education he worked there before relocating to Washington D.C eight years ago.

The father of two says some of his most notable jobs include the renovation of the Philadelphia Eagles Football team stadium in the United States.

He was also part of a team that represented Washington D.C in its bid to host the 2024 Olympics, which was eventually won by Boston.

On going back home, Mawema says, “I would love more than anything to move back to Zimbabwe or to at least be more regular in my visitation to Zimbabwe in the short term.

“And the situation there is a little more challenging as here for folks like me and my industry and also given the network and exposure and the opportunities that are here for both myself and my family and colleagues, but I am hopeful that as things start to change in Zimbabwe as they seem to have been doing, the environment is going to be more appealing.”