Community trailblazers: Mandela Washington fellow, Tadzie Madzima ignites Zim youths

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Award-winning life coach, Tadzie Madzima, a fellow of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, is topmost as an advocate for youth-led social change in Zimbabwe.

By Albert Masaka THIS week I received a phone call from a young lady. She did not mince her words and boldly declared to me that her work qualified her as a trailblazer in our increasingly popular column.

I must confess that her audacious manner removed all doubts that I might have had on the capabilities of this stranger.

An interview soon followed, and a trailblazer indeed she is.

Award-winning life coach, Tadzie Madzima, a fellow of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, is topmost as an advocate for youth-led social change in Zimbabwe.

Tadzie, is also a marketing guru and  has chosen a purposeful career path that focuses on empowering the young minds.

It came as no surprise when in 2018, she launched the IGNITE Youth Organisation.

By working in collaboration with communities and various stakeholders, IGNITE Youth is changing the narrative for young Africans by developing a new generation of local talent and leadership.

Through its programmes and events, IGNITE has reached out to more than 10 000 youths in Harare, Mutare and Bulawayo.

The youth empowerment organisation is churning out a generation of purpose-driven, innovative and responsible young African leaders.

Most importantly, these history-makers are driven by a desire to change their communities for the better.

Notable among them is Adonai Corporation owner, Tendai Handina.

Handina was to give a start-up grant of US$ 4 000 to IGNITE, an organisation that mentored him to become the successful businessman that he now is.

Other mentees are rugby player Shingi Katsvere, Eyehelp Technology CEO Munya Edson, writers and photographers Lennox Makurumidze and Lameck Gowero.

A communications expert with over 12 years’ experience in creating high-impact marketing campaigns for corporate and nonprofit organisations, Tadzie has trained more than 300 social entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Her focus is on the areas of branding, marketing, fundraising, storytelling, and pitching.

How did this come about?

The harsh economic situation in many countries including Zimbabwe is forcing many parents to concentrate on making sure that their children are fed and sheltered.

As a result, they are forced to overlook other aspects of a child’s life that need attention.

These include but are not limited to psycho-social support and career guidance.

The trailblazing journey of Tadzie is no different. She was raised by a single mother in Braeside, who is a tailor and would also multi-task to make ends meet.

In her case, the mere thought of opening up to her mother and seeking advice and direction was like adding more weight to the heavy burden she already had.

“By not telling my mother about my teenage concerns, I thought I was being helpful, but it led to a lot of crisis and confusion when I was young,” she said.

The good news is that it was from such an experience, that a passion was born to help other young people gain access on mentorship and give them guidance on their career paths.

“Realising that there were other young people in similar or worse situations, I decided to do something by creating opportunities for them for their overall personal growth and developing them into future leaders,” Tadzie spoke to me with conviction.

Key to her was the need to increase access to resources and opportunities that would help prepare the youths for the workplace environment or run successful businesses of their own.

The journey

She begun on a small scale targeting her church members.

“I started working with the youth in my church, where I became the youth leader and coordinator.”

After a while, she expanded the work by engaging with young people outside her church.

“I began to mentor young people in schools, colleges, universities and the community at large,” Tadzie said.

This led to the formation of IGNITE, a one-stop centre that supports and provides young people with a purpose-centered approach to career guidance and coaching.

IGNITE Youth Organisation operations

Through nine holistic programmes that focus on nurturing their talents, leadership development, mentoring, and access to resources and opportunities, participants find their purpose-driven career paths and hone their skills in their area of talent.

Young people are taught to rise above socioeconomic challenges bythinking critically and creatively on providing solutions to challenges in their communities.

This is done through an intensive purpose-centered curriculum and programmes that offer a holistic approach to youth development.

Their four core programmes are:

Hope (civic engagement through volunteerism and social justice advocacy), Ignite Mentorship (mentor pairing, as well as hard and soft skills training), Ignite Lifeline (mental health and wellbeing), Ignite Innovation and Influencers (innovation and entrepreneurship.)

“In addition to the programmes, we also have what we call “Tribes” that support the four core programmes,” Tadzie said.

Tribes are groups of like-minded youth who have the same occupation or interests.

The organisation is now aiming to grow it’s footprint into other cities in Zimbabwe, and establish its presence in other African countries.

Career highlights

In 2018, she was selected as a Fellow of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders and spent six weeks at the University of Texas Austin McCombs School of Business.

In 2020 she was one of the honourees of JCI Zimbabwe Junior Chamber International’s Top Outstanding Young Persons.

She also won the Youth Mentorship Award in Shield Foundation’s 2020 Zimbabwe’s Women of Excellence Awards and featured in Bulawayo-based Amahle Magazine as one of Zimbabwe’s 25 Influential women.

She was also featured in the Simuka-Arise Hidden Gem’s video series.

In 2021, she was selected as a Gratitude Fellow by the US-based leadership development organisation, the Gratitude Network.

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