A Zimbabwean, Cynthia Masiyiwa Mukoko, who has been nominated for the prestigious Black Entertainment, Film, Fashion, Television and Arts Awards, has started looking for employment opportunities for Zimbabweans living in the United Kingdom struggling to get jobs.
Mukuko, who has won several awards including the 2014 Invictus Games Media Champion linked to Prince Harry and the Unsung Hero of the 2012 London Olympic Games, told VOA Studio 7 life is tough for most immigrants in Britain.
She has been fighting for immigration rights of Zimbabweans and other nationals since the age of 18.
“I came at the age of 15. When I came here at the UK, obviously coming very young, I experienced challenges of settling here going through the whole immigration system whereby you got to find a representative to fight for your case to stay and going through the whole paper work of having to say why you want to stay here .. that’s why my passion grew of working in the community,” she said.
Mukoko noted that over the years she has been able to meet with state officials including British Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss some of the challenges faced by immigrants, including thousands of Zimbabweans living in the UK.
Mukoko said she was not initially trained to handle some immigration issues which took her to various offices. “I wasn’t trained this all came from passion but as time progressed I did sign up for training on how to be a great leader and community leader.”
In terms of challenges faced by Zimbabweans living in the UK, she said most of them were struggling to get proper immigration papers while facing difficulties in getting formal employment.
“This year I moved my focus to go into getting people employment. Working for an organization called Citizens UK, I work with employers to find talent in our community. It’s all about changing the way in which recruitment is done and giving opportunities to people that wouldn’t usually get the opportunities.”
She said Zimbabweans trying to regularize their status in Britain are at times short-changed by some legal practitioners who get money from their clients and never finalize their immigration paperwork.
On being one of the nominees in the Youth Leader of the Year category of the Black Entertainment, Film, Fashion, Television and Arts Awards, Mukoko said she is happy that some people are recognizing her work.
“This is not my first award but I am still excited because someone out there saw what I do,” she said. Some of the awards she has won include the 2011 Young Leader of the Year (Citizens UK); 2011 Spirit of London Awards Ambassador (Finalist Young Hero Award); 2012 Unsung Hero (for contribution in 2012 London Olympic Games); 2013 Young Woman of the Year (Women on the Move Awards); 2013 Zimbabwean Young Achiever of the Year; 2014 Invictus Games Media Champion (by Prince Henry founder of the games); 2015 Civic Recognition for Outstanding Achievement (by the Mayor of Bexley) and Legacy Holder for the Steve Redgrave Fund.
Mukoko also co-directs Brand Design Solution, a successful online marketing company founded by her husband and business partner, Tawanda.
The other Zimbabwean-born contestant in the BEFFA Awards is Nicolle Ndiweni, who was recently elected British councilor under the Labour Party.
BEFFTA Awards is a distinctly special awards ceremony honouring the best showbiz and entertainment personalities in the black and ethnic communities in the UK, USA, Africa, Caribbean, Canada and globally. BEFFTA Awards is the first of its kind rewarding under one roof outstanding achievements and contributions from Africans, Caribbeans and Asians in entertainment, film, fashion, television and arts.
This international prestigious ceremony celebrates an all round accomplishments of a hard working community within entertainment and showbiz especially the unknown talent that need exposure. The awards ceremony founded by Pauline Long also aims to inspire black and ethnic personalities worldwide to achieve at the highest levels. It provides a networking platform for industry personalities.