On a late summer evening in the heart of Johannesburg, we made our way to the Sandton convention centre to celebrate Africa Leadership Magazine UK, Persons of the Year Awards and the Induction of CEOs into the African Business Leaders Hall of Fame. We were among the brightest minds in the fields of business, finance, diplomacy and journalism in Africa. The energy in the room was electric as we sat down for a fantastic evening celebrating the very best of Africa.
As someone who regularly MC’s events I had a deep sense of appreciation for the programme director for the evening, Rehema Isa, Co-founder of Hadithi Media. Rehema had us thrilled with her vibrant demeanour and the melodic narrative “My mamma taught me…” weaved through the programme and kept us all captivated.
The welcome address was rendered by Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Meshaba. He instilled in us Joburgers a sense of pride for our bustling city as he spoke about the potential and opportunities that were available in Jozi. A big issue facing many in South Africa and the continent is the prospect of job insecurity. Managing Editor of African Leadership Magazine, Mr. Kingsley Okeke maintained that job and wealth creation, has become a patriotic duty for everyone in the continent
Hawa Charfaray, CEO and Founder of Training Excellence, delivered the keynote address. The year is still young, but I can honestly say one of the best interviews I have done this year was Hawa. Her story inspires me, despite going through so much adversity she has achieved success and yet remains so humble and grounded. I sat in awe as she began her speech with asalaam-ualikum reverberating throughout the venue. Hawa spoke about Africa solving Africa’s problems, and my main takeaway was the fact that where other see difficulty within our continent we should equally observe limitless possibility. Ashraf Garda went on to host a robust panel discussion discussing human development and entrepreneurship.
After a scrumptious dinner another highlight of the evening was the drumming to the beat of the energy in the room with the Drum Cafe. The evening was filled with glitz and glamour and plenty of high profile networking, but as the African skies unleashed torrential rains and we sprinted to our car we left the event feeling energetic and positive. As entrepreneurs on the brink of our own journeys which are fraught with challenges and difficulties is it easy to feel despondent. Leaving the ALM Awards left us with renewed sense of hope and purpose, feeling patriotic and proud to be born and nurtured on African soil.