At the age of 19, I recall my cv being read out during a Humanology course. The lecturer pointed out that; “This young lady has done more in her life than a 40-year-old.” Now that I am 40 I’ve had to summarise my life in order not to overwhelm those who wish to take a view of it.
I feel 22, (sometimes act like it too). I’ve never lived up to stereotypes – always created my own paths when I couldn’t find one that suited my needs, or what I envisioned for myself. This makes me stubborn ~sometimes~ but I’ve learned to listen and take criticism to improve and work toward a better version of myself.
I’ve never believed that something “can’t be done” – I’ve always believed that “anything is possible”. I’ve never stopped learning, dreaming and exploring and wanting to be more. and testing my own limits. I guess that’s why I feel like a cat with nine lives. Without boring you to death, here’s a summary (yes it’s a summary) of my nine lives…. hope it inspires you to LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE XOXO
LIFE ONE OF NINE LIVES ~ the philanthropist
Serving the community.
Growing up, I was always involved in community work. My mom worked for the South African Red Cross Society. It is here I would spend most of my days as a youth, attending soup kitchens, events where my mom was on duty as a first aider, taking blankets and learning aids to the townships, and fundraising for various causes.
Throughout high school, I was involved in community projects. As President of the Interact Club, I was a companion to the aged and mentally and physically challenged children, Vice President of the Teenagers Against Drug Abuse (TADA) club and acted as a peer counselor, Fundraiser of the Muslim Society, Play writer and Director of the Drama club and of course I represented my school as Prefect. It was important for me to be a voice, and to utilise my voice for the good of others. I knew doing work in the community was my calling.
My career started in very much the same way. I was comfortable and happy with community organisations. Working with a Family Law, Labour Law, Wills and Testaments Departments and a Halal Certification Body, taught me so much about human nature, family issues, divorce, death, and building a nurturing environment. These organisations laid the foundation on every business venture I would carry out in the future.
Lessons learned: Struggles are what people go through to reap the full potential of who they can be come when they face their challenges, work hard, to provide a better life for themselves and others in triumphantly creating a purposeful and successful life.
LIFE TWO OF NINE LIVES ~ The Voice
Radio Broadcasting was such a far off dream, I never thought would unfold. Until the opportunity arose to participate in a voice training course at Radio 786 with the late Hadjie Isghak Agherdien (who also happened to be my Grandfathers brother). I applied as everyone did and was welcomed to join the course. I loved it, radio was my calling.
During my tenure at the radio, I attended many other courses sponsored by the Radio. Small Business, Big Success, Radio Presenting and Producing and Covering the Elections. Besides the ones at external education institutions, I also learned so much inhouse: programming, sound technician, outside broadcasting, editing, producing, news reading, storytelling, poetry recitation. I was so excited about the broadcast space I was in, I proposed a new Youth programme and together with the team named it Youthopia. I did such a great job on the Outside Broadcasts as a presenter, that I proposed a “best practice” for Outside Broadcasts and was hired as the Outside Broadcast Coordinator.
I fell in love with Radio Broadcasting and every facet of its making, on air and off the air. The jobs I fulfilled were endless (just like my dreams): Programmer, Studio Technician, Producer, Presenter, News Reader, Promo Script Writer, Outside Broadcast Coordinator, MC, Continuity Announcer.
Lessons Learnt: You can do anything you put your mind too. Hard work certainly pays off. Good pay isn’t always everything, especially in a community organisation, however, the practical experience gained was worth far more than a pay cheque. This was the building blocks of my broadcast career.
LIFE THREE OF NINE LIVES ~ The Medium
After a few years of 24/7, I realised I needed to earn a decent salary. I needed to by a car to get around and stop hitching rides with friends and colleagues. I needed to be independent of my parents so that one day I could help them. I needed to grow, to learn, to find out what was out there. It was such a strain looking for a job. Apparently, people have issues with hiring a young woman who wears a scarf. Worst of all is when a muslim woman told me: “If you take off your scarf you’ll probably get the job”.
I was twenty-two years old and I knew full well that she was not my maker and that the Almighty will provide a job that would suit me, my values and not expect me to be any different. After being declined by so many businesses I was eventually accepted at two companies- but that’s another story.
I accepted the position at e.tv and after spending only a few weeks learning the ropes – TV Broadcasting was my calling.
My career at e.tv was extraordinary. I grew from Transmission Scheduler to Supervisor: Commercial Time Sales, to Manager On-Air Promotions, to Manager On Air Scheduling, to Group Manager On-Air Operations, to Station Manager in a space of fourteen and a half years. My first management position was at the age of twenty-three. I was like a sponge ready to suck in all I could learn, whilst being an innovative manager that encourages and motivates her team to achieve their very best.
Lesson learned: No matter what life throws at you; know when to duck, when to catch, and when to throw it right back. No matter what position you find yourself, you simply can’t please everyone. People will hate you or love you. Helping others grow alongside you will empower them to be the best at what they do, so they too can reach new heights. And lastly you are not perfect, so don’t expect things to go right all the time, challenges are there because you are ready to embrace the next level of your personal development.
LIFE FOUR OF NINE LIVES~ the Wife ~ the Mother
I finally settled down and married the man of my dreams. We had 2 children and lived happily ever after. Yeah right!!
Marriage had its challenges. Motherhood had its challenges. Being a wife was not a carbon copy of the white picket fences portrayed on television, and let’s not talk about the kitchen… cooking, cleaning, washing clothes and cleaning up kids puke …. was just not my thing. But is it anybodies?
Being a wife and a mother is the best love anyone can experience. It is learning to love even when you’re angry. It is allowing yourself to look your worst while loving those around you as best you can. It is listening, engaging, understanding, learning, embracing, nurturing, preparing, debating with love in mind. I knew right then that being a nurturer was my calling
Lessons learned: Blessed are those who realise that Love is not the devotion of a man to a woman or a woman to a man, but a sanctified agreement of two people who live together, to build a harmonious fort, grounded with common values in which the structure of the building can never be weakened.
LIFE FIVE OF NINE LIVES ~ the Pilgrimage
Hadj 2011. In 2010 I made two intentions – 1) I wanted another child and 2) I wanted to perform my hadj. Alhamdulillah, Allah blessed me with both. So in 2011, I left my 6month old baby at home, to perform my pilgrimage. The Hadj requires an entire post on its own, but to explain why this was life five……
Performing your hadj is like being reborn, cleared of all your wrongdoings, like coming back into the world like a newborn baby. I enjoyed my hadj. My hadj was performed with patience, mindfulness, and love for my Creator, which carried my soul while my body was carried by the spiritual arms of the hadj itself.
I was expecting difficulty, hardship, exhaustion, and the dreaded toilets, but what I received was harmony, calmness and was deeply grateful with being honored to perform my hadj and have such a beautiful experience. I was answering to a higher calling and my soul was opened to listen.
Lessons learned: When you see yourself neither above or below anyone’s stature, you will see everyone as equal. You can be both a student and a teacher, for there is always someone waiting to learn, and someone waiting to teach. Be open to accepting the purpose required of you at any given time ~ to learn or to teach. Money does not define the worth of any individual. Intelligence does not define the heart and excellence of any individual. Your relationship with your creator, yourself and others, that defines you, that enhances the livelihood of your position in this life and the hereafter.
LIFE SIX OF NINE LIVES~ the Style Patriot
Fashion is my passion.
On my return to work, after hadj, I felt on edge. Like my time at the broadcast station needed to come to an end. I’ve always loved what I do. Never a day went by without looking forward to coming to work and getting my hands dirty, but I couldn’t shake the feeling I had for 3 years, post hadj. I had a feeling that I needed to leave. I questioned what I was doing there. I didn’t feel the current job fulfilled me entirely.
In search of something more, while standing in front of a magazine shelf in a store, I didn’t see any magazine that appealed to me as a modest woman or as a muslim woman or as a South African woman, and so I began to dream…
In 2013 the company Style Africa was born for the sole purpose of being a voice in a crowded arena of foreign media, sharing only a small percentage of who I was as a South African. Style Africa would be my way of expressing the identity of South Africans through fashion. Note that I never had an instagram page, never knew of insta people or anyone in the fashion industry, and here I was about to dive in and take on the giant of the fashion industry. This had to be it, fashion was my calling.
Lesson learned: If you dream it, it’s achievable. By now I already knew anything was possible. I was confident in my approach to people and business. I must be honest – I would do a whole lot different in the way I spent on my business, but at the same time what I spent my time and money on gave me the credibility required to stand tall within the fashion industry. There were times I’d be two minded about people and things. So my biggest lesson learned was to trust your gut. Your gut is never wrong.
LIFE SEVEN OF NINE LIVES ~ the Modest Fashionista
Modest fashion representative.
While on the journey of discovering South African Fashion, I wanted to share with South Africa the modest fashion designers they never heard or saw in South Africa. I also introduced my turban styling workshops of which I hosted once a year. During this period I did research around modest fashion representatives and my journey as a representative on a Muslim Fashion Council began. I spent about 3 and a half years as the Country Director before moving on to where I am now; The Africa Region Director of The Council of Modest Fashion Africa.
Connecting with like minded individuals who had each been working toward building a strong and powerful proudly South African fashion and design industry, was the best solution for South African Designers. Although only recently introduced to the world and South Africa, The Council of Modest Fashion is steadfast in their aim of building an industry that will see a positive, vibrant and successful future in fashion. There we have it, servicing the modest fashion industry was my calling.
Lesson learned: We cannot work alone. Collaborating with the right people, at the right time is essential to creating a healthy and sustainable business. I sincerely believe that when you give more than you receive in the course of doing good, the Almighty will reward you abundantly.
LIFE EIGHT OF NINE LIVES ~ the Eternal Student
Student for Life.
I don’t think I’ve ever stopped studying/learning. Without saying too much, here’s the list of things I’ve learned through educational institutions.
- Business Administration
- Business Management
- Digital Marketing
- Voice Training
- BA: Communication Science with a major in Economics and Business Management
- BA: Honours Film and Media with a discipline in Costume, Makeup and Styling
- Chairing Disciplinaries
- Broadcast Workflow Operations
- Train the Trainer (incomplete)
- Assessors Course (incomplete)
- Radio Broadcasting
- Radio Presentation and Production
- Fashion, Image and Personal Styling
- Personal Beauty
- Makeup Artistry
- Humanology Course
Awards and Accolades:
- Poetry Award – International Society of Poets
- 3rd place winner – Margaret Hirsch Business Women of the Year
- Finalist alongside Jane Raphaely (CEO of Associated Media) and Lynne Du Toit (CEO of Juta Books) for the CEO’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government in the Media Sector
- Credited on all e.tv local programming
- Selected as part of a strategy team to assist the Namibian and Ghanaian Broadcasters with improving their broadcast operations
- Successfully established e.tv’s promotion planning process directly impacting ratings.
- International experiential research visits to various broadcast companies namely, Fox, NBC, ABC, CNN, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky, Turner, TV3 etc. The aim of the visits is to learn about their broadcast operations and bring the knowledge back to South Africa enabling us to customize the future of broadcasting based on research evaluations
- Selected as a juror for the International Fashion Film Festival Awards for 2015, 2016, 2019.
- Invited by the World Islamic Economic Forum to moderate a discussion on whether Islamic fashion can become Haute Couture.
I love learning new and inspiring things, perhaps being a student for life is my calling.
Lessons learned: I’m still learning, I’m still wandering, I’m still excited about experiencing the best life has to offer. I will never feel like I know or have experienced enough. My accolades are a testament to work achieved but they do not reflect the person I am.
LIFE NINE OF NINE LIVES ~ the Philanthropist
At the end of 2019, I was presented with an opportunity to take over a jewellery brand, but not just any jewellery brand, an ethical jewellery brand.
No Memo provides sustainable employment opportunities for many formerly unemployed men and women in the dynamic field of African craft-art. It is here where I get to work directly with a team of dedicated local women who are empowered to generate income for their families. They are taught the art of jewellery making. Quality is of utmost importance, and the team works exceptionally hard at executing a well crafted design ready to be worn by our valued customers. On top of being able to support a group of women from the community, No Memo also reels in small businesses as it partners in producing a truly 100% local design – Proudly South African. So all the raw materials, from the bead, to the leather, to the ribbon, to the stitching are all sourced locally – Proudly South African.
No Memo certainly fit me like a glove as it fulfilled my innate need to benefit not only myself but uplift and empower a community simuiltaneously. My success is your success and vice versa.
If you recall my first life was also Philanthropy. So I guess my 9th life lead me to a full circle 🙂 which reminds me that everything and anything I will and have ever done: is to empower others consisitently, continuously, and passionately during my journey in this life.
Empowering Communities —- WAS ALWAYS MY CALLING.
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”