Mimi Kalinda, a South African entrepreneur empowering fellow Africans through the power of storytelling

Mimi Kalinda, a South African entrepreneur empowering fellow Africans through the power of storytelling

Interview from Lionesses of Africa

 

Shaping the African continent’s positive narrative and opening up the minds of others around the globe to see its full potential, requires making connections with people at a human level. And, there is no better way of achieving this than through the sharing of stories and experiences. Entrepreneur Mimi Kalinda and her company Africommunications Group are both on a mission to harness the power of storytelling to change perceptions of this amazing continent. 

 

LoA heard about Mimi’s story this month and wanted to share it with our community.

 

What does your company do?

Africommunications Group (ACG) is a pan-African public relations and communications agency based in Johannesburg, South Africa. At ACG we understand the requirements of the local and pan-African client, and those of global clients, and can service both with the highest regard for international best practices, with a deep understanding of stakeholder sensibilities. We offer complete and culturally attuned communications services to private, public and non-profit sector clients in the African market, with a focus on Francophone and Anglophone Africa.

 

What inspired you to start your company?

As a communications professional, I believe my responsibility is to empower Africans to tell their own stories, cultivate thought leadership to be able to counter the stereotypical narrative and images of Africa, and eventually contribute not only to the shift but also to the ownership of Africa’s reputation by Africans themselves. I regularly write and speak about how shaping Africa’s narrative positively is vital for the continent to fulfil its potential. I have always been interested in testing the media’s ability to shape narrative. In particular, while living abroad, I became increasingly intrigued by the idea that Africans not only could and had to reshape Africa’s external image, but that Africa’s transformation could only start with Africans revisiting the stories they tell themselves about who they are. I am exploring and testing the concept through PR and communications.

“As a communications professional, I believe my responsibility is to empower Africans to tell their own stories, cultivate thought leadership to be able to counter the stereotypical narrative and images of Africa, and eventually contribute not only to the shift but also to the ownership of Africa’s reputation by Africans themselves.”

 

Why should anyone use your service or product?

ACG is a pan-African communications agency that understands the requirements of the local and pan-African client, and those of global clients, and can service both with the highest regard for international best practices, with a deep understanding of stakeholder sensibilities. We offer complete and culturally attuned communications services to private, public and non-profit sector clients in the African market, with a focus on Francophone and Anglophone Africa. ACG understands that when communicating to Africans, do your homework, do not underestimate cultural dynamics, and do not stereotype or make assumptions as different clients from different countries have different needs.

 

Tell us a little about your team

I am contributing to the professional development of a new generation of narrative game-changers. My team consists of young storytellers who are curious and passionate about leaving their own legacies behind; they envision a world in which an African passport commands as much respect as a European one. I put my experience and skills at their disposal to achieve this goal.

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“ACG understands that when communicating to Africans, do your homework, do not underestimate cultural dynamics, and do not stereotype or make assumptions as different clients from different countries have different needs.”

 

Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?

My lovely grandmother makes and sells hand-made African print dresses and handbags. She has always inspired me to be my own boss. However, my career path has not been straightforward. I found myself in PR/Communications after years in front of the camera (as an MTV VJ!) and then behind the scenes as a producer, working with Spike Lee on the film ‘Inside Man’. Eventually, a global PR firm approached me to work on a short-term project that involved reputation management, and I was hooked.

 

What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?

ACG wants to continue being an advocate and voice for the African people and their stories. And although we are pro pan-Africanism, we would like to capture and service international companies and add them to our client list. In the meantime, we keep flying the African flag high.

ACG Online – An Introduction

Story Telling Around Financial literacy

Master Class – Engaging the African Market

IAT Interview – WEF Africa – Mimi Kalinda

“I am contributing to the professional development of a new generation of narrative game-changers. My team consists of young storytellers who are curious and passionate about leaving their own legacies behind.”

 

What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur is a life-changing experience and it has already positively affected every aspect of my life. Most importantly, it has made me more self-aware, something every leader should strive to be.

 

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?

We have to dream bigger dreams for ourselves and believe that we have the potential to make those dreams come true. That is the starting point. Secondly, we have to look at precedent – history has a lot to teach us and role models abound if only we take the time to look back at who came before us. We need to stand firm as African female entrepreneurs and form a support base for each other. If we stand together, support and celebrate each other’s achievements, we will definitely be a force to be reckoned with. We also have to have a commitment to hard work and excellence.

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