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
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.