As Africa steps into the future, the continent needs to shed its skin of negative narratives, primarily influenced by Western bias. The Africans for Africa Network, brainchild of Vanessa Perumal, is making bold, creative moves to ensure that there is a shift in narrative that not only celebrates all that is positive on the continent, but drives Africans to challenge, influence and disrupt the status quo.
To date the Africans for Africa Network has thrown itself behind Mali’s renowned, but now exiled Festival au Desert and in 2013 brought the spirit of the Festival to South Africa in a groundbreaking North-South collaborative residency which culminated in the African Peace Concert. Now Perumal is stepping it up with #EntrepreneurConnect, an innovative digital solution that, through social media, aims to unify and mobilise African entrepreneurs in a bid to create wealth and secure economic freedom.
Through her desire to change the African narrative, Perumal has experienced the remarkable power social media has to influence the mainstream media’s agenda. A creative entrepreneur and communications specialist, Perumal has spent the last ten years building JT Communication Solutions CC, known as JT Comms. During this time she has not only promoted some of South Africa’s and Africa’s finest musical talent, she has also developed the JT Comms African Media Resource Centre of Excellence and spearheaded the Africans for Africa Network. A graduate of the Goldman Sachs-Gordon Institute of Business Science 10,000 Women Certificate Programme for Women Entrepreneurs, Perumal has twice been nominated for the Arts and Culture Trust’s Publicist of the Year award and recently won the 2014 Mbokodo Award for Women Promoting Arts in the Media.
#EntrepreneurConnect is a collective of entrepreneurial women, all thought leaders in their fields, who, through leveraging their own social networks, will be able to capture the attention of a much larger network, shift opinion and influence change. Currently the collective is building the #EntrepreneurConnect network through interactive Twitter conversations on various topics.
Among the savvy entrepreneurs who share Perumal’s vision and are embracing the opportunity to work in collectives using technology to its advantage are Zinokwande journalist, film maker and alumni of the Mandela Washington fellow, Khanyi Mugubane. Other serial entrepreneurs in the network are experienced social activist, formally trained economist, developer and community engager Nomsa Mazwai.
Changemaker and social entrepreneur Hema Vallabh who through The Passionate Professional is creating a paradigm shift in the leadership development space. Rayana Edwards from Harem Clothing who is promoting a sacred economy through her project Saris for Change project is also championing #EntrepreneurConnect.
Other Entrepreneurs from across the country in the network include KwaZulu Natal social media strategist Amanda Mathe. Cape Town based Triple M Entertainment director Razia Myers joins #EntrepreneurConnect to show the value artist connecting to take their brands to market. Visionary innovators, creative’s, business influencers and innovators Maxine Jafta and Thuli Magubane and Audrey Mbuyazi are among the entrepreneurs in this growing network who are determined to use the opportunity the digital era enables to hunt in packs.
The first discussion was held on 11 February 2015, marking the day Nelson Mandela walked out of prison and at each session a new topic is discussed. Please join our conversation and use the opportunity through #EntrepreneurConnect to talk business.
Currently Perumal is developing an internet radio and TV platforms that will allow for these conversations to take place over two different mediums.