1. What does your business/ career entail and what does your typical day look like?
We are Sophie A Kanza Foundation. An NGO started by Sophie and Louise Kanza in 2014. We are actively involved with the youth in Johannesburg, we have several community upliftment initiatives to help the most vulnerable members of our society and to raise awareness around their plight. We both have full time jobs that are completely not related to our foundation, but as it’s our passion to give back, we always make time to plan and organize our weekends and free time to volunteer.
2. What are some of the things you’ve had to do to turn you passion/art into business?
We are self-funded. We rely on the generosity of our members and we approach sponsors to fund specific projects. We mostly deal with donations and not so much physical cash.
3. What inspired you to venture into this kind of business?
We have been inspired by many of our life experiences, we were born in the DRC and moved to SA at a young age. We have had some very life changing experiences and realities in Johannesburg and we have dedicated ourselves to helping as much as we can.
4. What are your goals? (Career-wise)
Our goal is to run the foundation full time across the continent.
5. Who are some of the women you look up to?
Benazir Bhutto, Wangari Mathaai, Condoleezza Rice, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. We meet amazing selfless women who inspire us almost daily.
6. What are some of the principles you believe should never be compromised in business and personal relationships?
Integrity, ethics, respect, a climate of non-discrimination and compassion.
7. Do you believe you lead a healthy lifestyle?
Yes, a healthy lifestyle contributes to having more time on this Earth, more time to do good and change the world.
8. What are some of the challenges you have faced?
Some challenges that we have faced are lack of funding and resources. We also have not been able to register our NGO because of explicit rules by the government who require a percentage of our board to be only South African, yet we are not and we have a lot of members who are not too.
9. How do ensure that you stay motivated even when things go southward?
We have some very supportive team members who help to motivate us, we also document our events and revisit the pictures and videos to give us an extra boost.
10. Do you think the success of your business is determined by your physical appearance?
We do not believe that physical appearance does or should contribute to our success under any circumstances.
Definitely do the adequate research and gain experience before venturing out on your own. Actively participate in projects and learn before establishing your own brand.
12.What’s your favourite quote and why do you relate to it?
“Live for yourself and you will live in vain. Live for others and you will live again”. – Bob Marley. This quote represents our lives and what we stand for.
13. Best book you’ve ever read? Why is it your favourite?
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and Roots by Alex Haley. Bob Marley said it best when he said “If you know your history then you will know where you’re coming from”. It’s very important to be informed of your origins because it’s so easy to get caught up in modern day mediocre.
“Girl-love is amazing, we shouldn’t even have to be motivated to practice it, and it should be a natural thing. We believe that girl-love in full force worldwide has the potential to rid the planet of all its ills.”