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Mandela Washington Fellowship: A Career Born Out of Motherhood for Tafadzwa Mkondo

Tafadzwa Mkondo
Tafadzwa Mkondo

A passion for parenting inspired her to found a baby products company and a childrearing magazine; probably the first of its kind in Zimbabwe.

That’s the story of Tafadzwa Mkondo, owner of Bebis Private Limited, and one of 60 Zimbabwean youths taking part in the Mandela Washington Fellowship this year.

After working in asset management for eight years, Mkondo was struck by something that completely altered her career trajectory; motherhood.

“I am a mother of two and when I was pregnant with my first child, the frustration was not being able to get what I wanted specifically for my child,” Mkondo says.

“And I didn’t like the idea of having to travel, I just thought a mother should be able to get whatever she wants within the country at an affordable price.”

That is when Mkondo decided to switch careers; she quit her job as a portfolio manager and went into baby products distribution.

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She has managed to grow her business and currently supplies all leading retail stores in Zimbabwe with baby products.

But that was not enough for Mkondo. She noticed one critical missing link; access to parenting information was limited as only a few magazines from overseas were available on the market.

“I then thought maybe we should have a medium that focuses on Zimbabwean issues with Zimbabwean solutions and for everyone to be able to access,” Mkondo tells VOA Studio 7.

“I established the first parenting magazine in Zimbabwe called Jus Kidz, which provides parents with information on the major aspects of raising a child: health, nutrition, child development, values formation, and education.”

The magazine has partnered with some local non-governmental organizations to create awareness on kids with special needs, child abuse, and childhood cancers, among other issues.

Mkondo, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, will be stationed at the University of Virginia for the six-week Mandela Washington Fellowship program starting mid-June.

This is an opportunity that she says will sure sharpen her business acumen.

“It’s something that I definitely believe will help me to run a better company, more professionally and also to realize the idea of giving back,” Mkondo says buoyantly.