“We are African not just because we are born in Africa, but because Africa is born in us” goes the saying on the Masiwela company website.

The company is livening up the events industry in Africa from its base deep in the Johannesburg CBD.

Masiwela means ‘The one from across the seas’ in Ndebele, one of the local languages in Zimbabwe. The company is staying true to its name by “celebrating diversity and bringing an international perspective and experience to the work that we do”.

“This is complimented by a unique skills set that combines the core business principles of professionalism, process and profitability with empathy, integrity and a high EQ, we take pride in the fact that we don’t just say, we do. And we do with a difference.”

Masiwela offers specialized services in the fields of events and marketing. These services are offered across Africa where it has have a strategic network in place to assist in the execution of all briefs.

Servicing clients across a broad range of industries, they are committed to service excellence, curating creative, innovative and collaborative solutions and to making a difference.

Their highly experienced team ensures comprehensive solutions that are implemented in conjunction with their clients specific set of objectives to ensure results are achieved within defined budgets, anchored on a vision to “bring brands to life”.

Masiwela has hosted a series of events for businesses such as DSTV, Mutlichoice, M-Net Channel 101, M-Net Movies, M-Net Edge, Mzanzi, Kyknet, Deloitte and the Swiss Education Group. Furthermore they have hosted activations, launches and exhibition events at Indaba, Getaway, Pick ‘n Pay Taste of Joburg, Pick ‘n Pay Goodness Expo, African Farmers Expo, and several more.

The thriving events company was founded by Judy Goddard, who was born in Harare and grew up on their family owned farm in Shangani, Bulawayo. She says that whilst they were always based from the farm in Shangani, she spent time at school in Harare (Junior School), Gweru (Junior School) and Bulawayo (Senior School).

She learned by correspondence from Grade 1 and 2, before then spending some time at Highlands School in Harare for Grade 3 and then moving again to Midlands Christian School in Gweru for the rest of her junior school career. From Midlands Christians School she went to Girls College in Bulawayo for high School. “I feel very privileged to have had the schooling that I did, it provided me with a very solid and strong foundation for my professional career. The highlight from my schooling years was being made Head Girl of both my Junior and Senior Schools,” she reflects.

While in Zimbabwe she spent some time working with her family business J.R. Goddard Contracting (www.jrgzimbabwe.com) where she was involved in the human resources and marketing departments.

She then left Zimbabwe in 2005 to go Stellenbosch University, South Africa. From Stellenbosch, she moved to Montreux in Switzerland, where she studied hospitality management with the Swiss Education Group. Whilst studying with the group, she worked with hospitality groups Marriott International in Sydney, Australia for 6 months, as well as with Hyatt International in London, UK for 1 year. “I was blessed to be able to travel Europe, North & South America extensively while I was overseas. I was overseas from 2005 to 2008.”

Living in Johannesburg since September 2008, she notes that her company’s work in business events is central in contributing towards the knowledge base economy of South Africa.

Judy is a holder of a BA (Hons) in Hospitality Management and is aiming to do her MBA in the next few years.

She explained how she got to be in the events industry: “I had been in the corporate world for few years and had always had the dream of starting my own business. I took a leap of faith with only one prospective client on our books, this client was not able to pay us after 3 months and so we very quickly had to bring on more clients to ensure the livelihood of the business. We learnt how to survive very quickly and have always been hungry and never allowed ourselves to get comfortable since.”

Masiwela has been going for 5 years now. Masiwela Management is the founding company and they have since expanded to also include Masiwela Hospitality Management and Masiwela Weddings, which are separately registered entities of Masiwela Management.

“It is a very competitive market with a number of different players, we learnt that we’re only ever as good as our last event / project which has always kept us on our toes and kept us abreast with the competition. We also focus on building relationships and to grow through word of mouth based on the quality of our work”, says Judy.

“Cash flow was also very difficult initially and there were some very challenging times whilst we established better payment terms with our clients.

“Staffing has also been a big challenge for us and we’ve paid very high school fees as a result of having the wrong people on board. The positive to this is that we have learnt to hire for attitude and aptitude, everything else can be learnt on the job.”

She also notes that that in her kind of business it pays to “Always be humble, kind and the hardest worker in the room.”

He secret to success is like this: “I never ever give up. Perseverance is key. No matter the challenges that are faced, we adapt as necessary / required but we never, ever give up.

“I place a strong emphasis on learning and personal growth so am always reading books, articles or listening to podcasts.

“I also learnt very early on in having my own business, that the destination is the journey so I have learnt to enjoy the process, to be patient and to celebrate the small wins!

“And lastly but most importantly, I am very privileged to have a very dynamic and hard working business partner, Brandon Clifford, as well as to have the incredible team that we do! It has taken us some time to get here but we finally have a core team who are motivated, hard working, and positively passionate and committed to the vision.

“Masiwela would not be Masiwela without the people that make up the business! They embody the ethos of Masiwela in every way and I am so proud to not only call them colleagues, but family,” she explains.

The above is perhaps made easier with her motto in business or at work: “We make things happen and there are no problems, only solutions.”

Visit Masiwela on their website www.masiwela.com