Young busi­ness minds

As 2018 draws to a close, we draw on the wis­dom of three con­scious­ness war­riors for some spir­i­tual in­spi­ra­tion dur­ing the silly sea­son

Destiny - - Contents - By Wendy Jas­son da Costa

BANESA TSEKI (29), se­rial en­tre­pre­neur (@Bane­sa_Creative)

Mu­sic pro­moter, events co-or­di­na­tor, brand strate­gist and yogi – Tseki is the ul­ti­mate multi-tasker. At an age when many peo­ple are still try­ing to find their niche, she has a string of suc­cess­ful ven­tures to her name and is the per­son oth­ers turn to when they want to build or strengthen their brands.

To date, Kool Out Con­cepts – the events busi­ness com­pany she es­tab­lished with two part­ners – is prob­a­bly the most vis­i­ble of her ini­tia­tives. It op­er­ates from a rooftop venue in the Jo­han­nes­burg city cen­tre, where Tseki and her part­ners rent out of­fice space and host events. To­gether, they also or­gan­ise in­ter­na­tional con­certs and fes­ti­vals un­der the Alchemy brand name.

It sounds im­pres­sive, but Tseki says her se­rial en­trepreneur­ship ini­tially stemmed from need, rather than drive. Born in Le­sotho, she im­mi­grated to SA af­ter com­plet­ing her stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Cape Town and the length of time it took to ob­tain per­ma­nent res­i­dency in this coun­try af­fected how she could make a liv­ing. “En­trepreneur­ship al­lowed me to stick within the work­ing pa­ram­e­ters of what­ever per­mit I held at the time,” she ex­plains.

She’s now a house­hold name in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try. Through her other com­pany, B.Cre­ative, she col­lab­o­rates with artists want­ing to build, utilise and com­mu­ni­cate their per­sonal brands. She re­cently wrapped up the #Bad&Yel­lowTour, which took African artists through six dif­fer­ent Euro­pean coun­tries and gave them a plat­form to per­form and share their mu­sic with an in­ter­na­tional crowd.

How­ever, while the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try en­ables her to travel and cul­ti­vate first-name friend­ships with celebri­ties, Tseki still makes time to find her bal­ance through yoga and med­i­ta­tion. She started out with a 10-day silent re­treat at a Vi­pas­sana med­i­ta­tion cen­tre. From there, this “or­ganic no­mad”, as she calls her­self, went on to be­come a qual­i­fied Kun­dalini yoga teacher. She now teaches at var­i­ous venues in Gaut­eng, but fo­cuses mainly on tak­ing yoga to un­der­priv­i­leged com­mu­ni­ties not usu­ally ex­posed to it. Kun­dalini yoga plays such a cen­tral role in her life that each day be­gins and ends with a three-hour sad­hana (yoga and med­i­ta­tion ses­sion). “Good things will hap­pen and bad things will hap­pen, so what’s the point of yo-yoing be­tween both in­evitable ex­tremes? The abil­ity to find one­self and be at peace lies in nonat­tach­ment – and that’s a jour­ney in and of it­self. Just breathe, fo­cus­ing on each in­hala­tion and ex­ha­la­tion for as lit­tle as a minute and ob­serv­ing what hap­pens to your mind,” she says.

Be­ing in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, Tseki’s tips for stay­ing sane dur­ing in­sane times are in­valu­able. “De­cem­ber’s a hec­tic pe­riod. Not only are our rou­tines dis­rupted, but we feel that the year is over and there should be some­thing to show for it,” she says. She rec­om­mends drink­ing enough water, hav­ing long baths, tak­ing risks, set­ting goals, pro­tect­ing your en­ergy, laugh­ing un­til your stom­ach hurts and lov­ing deeply.

RACHEL NYARADZO (37), Zim­bab­wean coach and Obama Fel­low (@RachelNA­dams)

Nyaradzo’s al­ways been fas­ci­nated by hu­man be­hav­iour. From a young age, she was in­trigued by the choices peo­ple make, the rea­son they of­ten put oth­ers’ needs be­fore their own and why they fix­ate on their weak­nesses, rather than their strengths. Her pas­sion re­sulted in a ca­reer as a spe­cial­ist in per­sonal mas­tery and lead­er­ship devel­op­ment.

“I love the fact that my work’s au­then­tic to who I am and what I came to this earth to do. I wake up ev­ery day know­ing that my job has deep res­o­nance with my per­son­al­ity and soul. When you do work that res­onates in this way, you’re a bet­ter per­former and a bet­ter learner,” she says.

Nyaradzo uses a com­bi­na­tion of neu­ro­science, on­tol­ogy, psy­chol­ogy and an­thro­pol­ogy to cre­ate clar­ity and what she calls “deep ‘aha!’ mo­ments” for her clients. She’s based in Harare, but serves an in­ter­na­tional clien­tele and of­ten speaks at ma­jor events or trains peo­ple in lead­er­ship the­ory and prac­tice. She also does team and one-on-one coach­ing, fa­cil­i­tates in­ter­ven­tions and ad­vises se­nior lead­ers and man­agers.

Nyaradzo lived out­side Zim­babwe for 15 years and was head­ing up the Africa Ini­tia­tive at Yale Univer­sity, USA, when she de­cided to re­turn home. “It re­quired a great amount of courage to leave a com­fort­able setup and opt for one that was less se­cure and def­i­nitely less fa­mil­iar,” she says. How­ever, she be­lieved her work would have deeper mean­ing and im­pact if she prac­tised in a space where the lead­er­ship the­o­ries to which she sub­scribed could be put to the test. “My work in­volves bring­ing clients out of their doubt into their au­then­tic power. I help them re­con­nect to their strengths, their pur­pose and their great­est im­pact,” she says.

Her clien­tele com­prises mainly cor­po­rate lead­ers and their teams, but she also works with start-ups, NGOs, univer­sity ex­ec­u­tive pro­grammes, univer­sity stu­dents and high school pupils. In ad­di­tion, she’s trained peo­ple in pro­grammes such as Obama Lead­ers, EVE Africa and the Africa CEO Fo­rum – Women in Busi­ness Meet­ing, among oth­ers.

De­spite her heavy sched­ule, Nyaradzo re­mains calm and grounded. “Chaos is cre­ated in­ter­nally and emo­tions are cul­ti­vated by the in­ter­pre­ta­tions of what we’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing,” she says, adding that what make De­cem­ber so hec­tic are our own ex­pec­ta­tions of it. These lead to im­bal­ance and off-cen­tred­ness. Be­ing fully present with your loved ones dur­ing the silly sea­son can be much more valu­able than any gift you could buy for them, she says.

MICHELLE BANDA (41), yogi and world trav­eller (@black­yo­gi_in_jozi)

Banda calls her­self an “ur­ban yogi” and has per­fected the bal­ance of work and play. Born and based in Jo­han­nes­burg, she cre­ates re­treats in places she’d like to visit and trav­els the world teach­ing yoga and med­i­ta­tion. Her usual des­ti­na­tions are Switzer­land and In­dia, but she says there’s noth­ing more sat­is­fy­ing than teach­ing in lo­cal town­ships, where yoga’s still rel­a­tively un­known. The ef­fect the prac­tice has on res­i­dents in these ar­eas, she says, is pro­found. “See­ing them open up to them­selves and ob­serv­ing their light shine from within is price­less.” Her mis­sion is to change the mis­con­cep­tion in town­ships – based on what they see on TV – that yoga is a “white prac­tice”.

De­spite her ab­sorp­tion in tran­quil­lity and si­lence, though, Banda’s also par­tial to the fun of big-city fes­ti­vals, mu­sic and club­bing. To recharge her be­ing, she says she taps into the power of dance, but it’s ul­ti­mately her yoga mat and med­i­ta­tion which help her re­lo­cate her cen­tre. “Some­times I don’t feel like sit­ting on my mat, but I find my­self set­ting my alarm and sit­ting on it any­way. Yoga is al­ways what hap­pens,” she laughs.

She be­lieves the no­tion of “find­ing your­self” is over­rated and says too many peo­ple de­fine them­selves in terms of tran­si­tory ex­pe­ri­ences. Peo­ple change all the time, she ex­plains, so find­ing our­selves is a con­stant jour­ney of dis­cov­ery through the mul­ti­ple lay­ers we con­sist of and learn­ing to be com­fort­able with who we are.

She ad­vises those feel­ing over­whelmed by the prospect of the De­cem­ber hol­i­day sea­son to slow down, do yoga or try a med­i­ta­tion class. And if that’s not enough to re­lax, they should cre­ate qual­ity time for them­selves with sim­ple things like hav­ing a long bath, read­ing a good book, light­ing in­cense and danc­ing. “Be selfish with your time and do some­thing that will feed your Zen,” she says.

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