#LionessMom (Part 1)

__Preparing your children for a future as entrepreneurs and job creators.

I have told you before how my mother encouraged my entrepreneurial zeal when I was a child. She did so many things that I marvel at as I look back, more than 50 years later. She encouraged me to have my own little business when I was about 10 years old. I knew how to market, sell, and bank money (even though she was the banker). She bought me board games like Monopoly when it was so novel. Above all she always encouraged my curiosity.

If I was a child today, I could see my mother getting Kwesé TV, and encouraging me to watch channels like Discovery Science, Nat Geo, and Kwesé Know. She would never have allowed me to watch sports all day or to wander around unsupervised. My holidays were totally structured. Every day I had tasks to complete that she set even when I was at boarding school.

She drove my capacity to read books. She always asked me what I was reading, even though she did not have the same level of education as most of you. My mother was a #LionessMom, and I would not be here today if she had not driven my development with such an insatiable appetite.

She sent me to the best schools. Her sacrifices for me were immense. She was able to do this with minimal education on her own part and using her small business. She never travelled outside Africa until I paid for her as an adult.

Truly, I shudder to imagine what some of you women out there could do with your own children if you set your heart on it, because you are more educated, and more exposed than she was.

This is my next topic. Let’s start…

In this series, I want to focus on the modern #LionessMoms who are helping the next generation of Africa’s children to be future world-beaters!

My first story comes from Tanzania where some of you will remember I held my first Town Hall meeting last July. The moderator who interviewed me was Tanzanian entrepreneur, Irene Kiwia, CEO of Frontline Management. I had never met her before the actual interview, but I learnt from my staff that she followed this Facebook platform.

Fast forward: I was in South Africa watching BBC News (Kwesé channel 710) a week or so ago, when my attention was drawn to an amazing story about a six-year old African child called Ethan Yona who had helped develop a computer learning game about a superhero called “EthanMan.” (His story has already gone around the world on big media channels like BBC and Africa News).

I almost fell off the treadmill, as I was in the gym at the time!

As soon as I got off the machine I asked my team to do some research on Ethan. Sure enough, first grader Ethan had launched an Android app, a book, and a superhero character (named after himself) to commemorate the Day of the African Child last June in Tanzania.

And in their research, my team also came to realize that Ethan’s mother was the one who interviewed me in our Tanzania Town Hall. We were all so excited!

How did Ethan’s “career” get started? Even before he was two, Ethan apparently loved gadgets of all kinds. He kept asking his parents for his own, but they kept saying no. Ethan persisted until finally his parents told Ethan he must first write a book (at age four), before he could have a phone. And he did!

In addition to loving tech gadgets, Ethan also loved all action superheroes, but by the time he was five, he was frustrated and said to his #LionessMom:

“All their superpowers are fake. I can’t fly. I can’t have laser beam eyes… I want to create my own superhero figure with real live powers! I want to show things that are POSSIBLE and that I CAN do, things that will motivate and inspire other kids to be more responsible — to dream big and know that they can be anything they want to be, like a footballer, rock star or astronaut…

So what did his parents do? Did they tell him he was too young? No, at age five they introduced Ethan to some edu-tech experts (i-Learn East Africa) who he worked directly with to create his first animated book called “When I Grow Up.” (They were fascinated that such a little kid would want to do such a big thing, at age five!)

Then came the EthanMan app and computer learning games, developed together with a digital company (Tujenge Technology) who worked with Ethan to put together the games and make sure EthanMan’s character reflected on Ethan himself and his own “super talents,” with skills like writing inspirational books and creating learning games by a kid, for kids.

In the next month, I will be looking at other #LionessMoms from across the African continent. Remember Elon Musk was raised by a #LionessMom from Africa!

If you are a #LionessMom already, I want to hear from you. Please comment about what you have done with your own little Ethan. And if you have not done anything yet, today is the day to start working on it.

To be continued. . .

Ethan Theodore Yona‘s app is available for download on the android play store.

by 14 Replies

About Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

14 thoughts on “#LionessMom (Part 1)

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Mpho writes,

    @ Achuku Benjamin ,no one is going to dig it up for you.If Strive does that I will be convinced that he does not love you.just go back to all those posts and read. @Tracy here is the concept in simple language buy your kids goods that will help build their tomorrow teach them from a young age so that when they grow old they will not move away from it. You do not have to buy them expensive goods ,instead of buying guns buy kids books or puzzles .look do anything that prepares your kid for the future.

    My reply,
    Come and have lunch with me when I’m next in SA!
    My team will pick this up and reach out to you.

    Reply
  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.

    “Train up a child in the way he should go (and in keeping with his individual gift or bent), and when he is old he will not depart from it.” King Solomon

    If you encourage your child to be an entrepreneur, when he or she is an adult they will not depart from it! If these things that I have been teaching on entrepreneurship, and the underpinning values of ethical integrity are important to you, then “train up a child” in them. All our future depends on it!

    Reply
  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.

    We are going to invite Ethan and his #LionessMom to join me at my next Town Hall meeting in Tanzania, and I will also plan to visit his school. We are also going to get our App development team at Kwesé Digital to take a look at Ethan’s App, and see how we can help improve its technical presentation, and also promote it for him. We want this to inspire all African kids and #LionessMoms throughout the continent.

    In our next Town Hall meeting I will be the one interviewing Ethan’s #LionessMom, about how we prepare Africa’s kids for the future. Meanwhile you can download the EthanMan App yourself and also track the progress of his newest book “Responsibilities of Kids” on Facebook – TheEthanMan. Tell me what you think.

    Reply
  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.

    I will give two month’s free subscription to the first Kwesé TV customer (from any country where we have Kwesé TV) who can list all the knowledge channels on Kwesé TV (including the channel numbers), and can also name at least one show that they have watched on each channel. Only put your answers here under this Afterthought and remember to put your country.

    Reply
  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 4.

    I will give a free decoder to the first #LionessMom from any African country who can list by name and channel number all the Kwesé TV children and teenager channels (including knowledge channels). Only put your answers here under this Afterthought and remember to put your country.

    Reply
  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 5.

    In Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong they would not be surprised that a six-year old could be interested in developing an App, because coding is now a school subject just like English and French (and believe you me, it’s more important!)

    Reply
  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Charles Chukwu writes,

    Thank you for this piece, sir. The central theme may not be coding, however, you have highlighted the need for coding to take it’s place as a subject in its right!

    I teach children coding and have hosted what was accomplished by twins who I trained last December, here in Lagos, Nigeria. The link is

    http://erikamara.somee.com

    Coding using Scratch, a visual language is not yet a subject in many schools in Nigeria, however, we are getting there. Most children get exposed to Scratch at code boot camps held on weekends or during holidays.

    At
    http://skillstreams.business.site we don’t only advocate for computer science to become a subject in Nigerian schools, we equally advocate for more ladies to learn it as the number of females in the infotech space is still appallingly low. Thank God one of the twins is female and her parents are so proud of her!

    We see a future where more young ladies who will learn coding in a language like JavaScript will become #LionessMoms because they will see the value of coding today!

    My reply,
    Awesome!
    My team will be in touch with you!

    Reply
  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Abel writes,

    What about those that lost their #lionessmom when there were around the age of Ethan.Growing up I was soo fascinated with computers,the internet and video games.
    I foresaw today. I read wide and got my first e-mail in 1998, at age 11 it was a yahoo and ended with .ca saw the most expensive computer Apple in 1999 had visions of creating my own computer . Learned DOS and mastered it at age 14 but eventually there was no #lionessmom to inspire me. There are many of such talented kids out there I hope you come up with a program which could unearth these one too.

    My reply,
    Whatever I do will not be enough, unless you get involved. You are the one who has this burden, and it must be your mission to accomplish.
    Even if you only manage one child, it is a start.

    #Never wait for someone else to do what you feel needs to be done.

    Reply
  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought:
    Some of you will remember that at Christmas I gave a list of the type of toys you need to buy children, which help them to understand Coding techniques.
    Within 20 years it will be almost impossible for someone to get a job if they have no understanding of Coding!
    It will be like giving a job to someone who does not know how to count to 1000!

    Reply
  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Talenta writes,

    Im a lioness mum i educate my two kids alone thy knw hw to market save selling . My boy is nw a teenager doing frm four in zim . SINCE HE WAS 6 HE KNEW HW TO PICK UP THINGS AND MAKE ANTYHING OUT OF IT BY THE TIME HE WAS IN GRADE HE COULD FIX IRONS ANTYHING HE IS EVEN WORSE IM ONLY A SINGLE MOTHER DOING SMALL TRADING TO RAISE THM SO MANY THINGS HE IS FINANCIAL LIMITED . RIGHT THY RE ZLL AT SECONDARY I STRT RAISNG HIM ALONE WEN HE WAS 2 ALONE . WHATEVER THY DO THY DO IT WTH ALL THEIR HEART . IM IN DEED A LIONESS MUM THIS LST TERM THY PASS WTH GOOD GRADES

    My reply,
    Go Talenta, Go!
    You are a LionessMom!
    Africa is being built silently by people like you.
    Never ever give up!

    Reply
  11. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought:
    I sometimes think that the generation of my parents understood the power of education, and sacrificing for their children’s future, better than my own generation and even those that followed mine.
    Each one of us (who have children or plan to one day have children) must be constantly asking ourselves: “Am I doing enough to equip my children to succeed in the world they will live?”
    And even if we do not fall into either of these categories, it is actually a national question: “are we (including myself) doing enough to equip our children for the world that is evolving around us?” If we do not answer this question with urgency, others will enslave us without even stepping foot in our countries!

    Reply
  12. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Adedayo writes,

    Hello Ndidi and others, I appreciate the fact that you mentioned Singapore and South Korea.
    I have written a book titled ‘ The 7 Secrets of Chinese and Asian Students.’ It contains empirical data and theoretical evidence responsible for the rise of the ‘Asian Tigers and their cherished Economies.’
    My team and I have begun conducting seminars for Nigerian and African students: online and offline, in that regard.
    Also, I have published educational essays in leading tabloids in Nigeria, revealing the fundamental factors responsible for the high IQs of Asian students.
    Kindly Google Education: Secrets of Chinese and Asian Students, part 1&2; published by The Punch.The Guardian, The Nation and The Leadership newspapers have been publishing my academic articles, all geared towards elucidating the scholastic secrets of Chinese and other East Asian Students.
    As Mr. Strive Mayisiwa stressed (LionessMum), in Asia, experts also stress the critical roles which ‘Tiger Mums’ and Tiger Parenting play in the success of Chinese and Asian students.
    I wrote about this phenomenon in my book. I have stressing it in my academic articles, always.
    Thanks all.

    My reply,
    I coined the concept #LionessMom on the Asian concept of #TigerMum. I’m a “fast follower”.

    I have studied this concept and I believe it is at the center of what we see across the whole region from China, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore etc!
    It is the role of these women who have completely taken control of the training of their children for the future.

    We can easily do the same. In America, Nigerian women are doing the same and the results have been absolutely spectacular!
    It’s time for #LionParenting in Africa!

    Ps, please compile everything you have written so I can read it. Someone in my team will reach out to you!

    Reply

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