Contributing our quotas to making impact in the lives of others, and making a positive mark in the society is very important because it guarantees a better life for so many people across the globe. The impact we make in these lives, engraves us in the hearts of men even when you are not there.
Just like the story of the matriarch, late Winnie Mandela, who recently left the world and whose impacts will continue to speak because it benefitted millions of people, there are also other women whose selfless stories have been shared all over the world, even here on the impact inspire category of Amazons Watch. They have been tagged selfless because they chose to go the extra mile for others. They left their comfort zones to enable them impact in the lives of others.
One of such women is Tsitsi Masiyiwa, the woman behind one of Africa’s self-made billionaires. Tsitsi is the wife of Strive Masiyiwa, founder, and owner of Econet Wireless, One of Africa’s largest Telecommunications service providers. Within Tsitsi’s story, you will find a woman with a heart of gold, pursuing a unique vision and purpose.
Tsitsi Masiyiwa is from Harare, Zimbabwe, born on the 5th of January 1965, as the youngest of five sisters.
She completed most of her education in Zimbabwe, starting from the Chishawasha Primary School Harare, Zimbabwe, to the Dominican Convent School, where she completed her primary and secondary education respectively. She moved further to obtain a degree in business studies from the University of Zimbabwe and also an MBA (Master of Business Administration) in the same school.
In the 90’s, Zimbabwe experienced a surge of HIV/AIDS. During the periods of the disease outbreak, many lives were lost including breadwinners of various homes. At that time, her husband’s telecommunication business was already in existence, and many of their companies were greatly affected by the disease, having lost some of their employees to the disease, there were others who also lost some members of their families.
The disease outbreak was so intense on the people that Tsitsi and her husband always attended funerals of either an employee or a community member. At first, they attended funerals almost every month but it became dire that it moved to every week and it didn’t stop there, it became almost every day. And as lives were lost there was sorrow everywhere.
Tsitsi was broken as she watched the community and children of the lost employees grieve over the loss of their loved ones, and in the midst of that pain, she was filled with a burning desire to lend a helping hand. She took up the responsibility to support the young children and orphans whose happy lives were altered by the pandemic. She was dedicated to this mission and in 1996 she founded Higherlife Foundation with the help of her husband Strive.
Higherlife Foundation, since its inception, has been touching the lives of many children, giving them the opportunity to live again.
The foundation has also moved beyond Zimbabwe to other parts of Africa affecting the lives of thousands of children by providing them with tertiary scholarships to study in top ranking universities around the world. Higherlife Foundation runs one of the largest scholarship programs in Africa, supporting over 250,000, children in the African continent.
In 2008, during the Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, the foundation supported the resuscitation of operations of the College of Medicine in Zimbabwe, and from 2008-2010 it provided food packs to starving families during drought periods.
Higherlife Foundation has over the years, restructured the foundation’s system to focus on seeking out orphans, vulnerable children, and highly talented students to nurture, and help them fulfill their potentials through education. This strategy has been successfully affected in Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and Burundi, where the Foundation has expanded operations and has its in-country presence.
Besides her activities with the Higherlife Foundation, Tsitsi Masiyiwa has committed herself to other areas of philanthropy. In fact, she turns every business into a means of giving to the people. Much like her husband Strive Masiyiwa, she is driven by her passion for technology and innovation, however she is more interested in meeting needs than business.
This interest must be the reason behind the Muzinda Hub, an entrepreneurship and innovations project which she co-founded in Harare, Zimbabwe. Muzinda Hub is an incubator lab for youth digital skills development and business mentorship that leverages technology to promote youth entrepreneurship. It is the fastest growing tech hub in Sub Saharan Africa with more than 1,000 coders. The scale-up of Muzinda Hub initiatives is being supported by Econet Zimbabwe.
Tsitsi is also the founder of Ruzivo, an online interactive digital learning platform targeted at primary and secondary school students. This e-learning platform provides and facilitates the use of blended learning models in class. Ruzivo is designed in a way that it provides services to all students including those in most disadvantaged schools. It has zero-rated e-learning products, offering unique and high-quality educational content, exercises and tests developed locally, based on the Zimbabwean national curriculum to students across the country. Ruzivo disseminates its product in partnership with Econet Zimbabwe and Higherlife Foundation.
Other Philanthropic Activities
Through the story of Tsitsi Masiyiwa, you will discover that she is sold out to meeting societal needs with children and youths as her focus. Beyond her personal initiates, she has worked with many local and international organizations who are also interested in improving the livelihood of children, one of which includes her work with World Vision, Imbuto Foundation, Let Girls Learn, and fund, PATH.
She is also a member of the boards of director of PATH and ENDFund. She co-founded African Philanthropy Forum, a regional affiliate of Global Philanthropy Forum, and she is also a member of the Giving Pledge together with her husband.
Tsitsi is happily married to Strive Masiyiwa and the couple is blessed with six children.