Iris Zemza Nozizwe Mhlanga: A Model for the Next Wave of African Women Leaders

African female leaders usually face challenges such as cultural prejudices and stereotypes, a lack of mentorship and business networks, limited access to financial resources, and legal obstacles. Despite these hurdles, some Zimbabwean female entrepreneurs have achieved excellent success and have established themselves as leadership role models. Iris Zemza Nozizwe Mhlanga is one of these extraordinary female leaders.

“My name is Iris Zemza Nozizwe Mhlanga (the name Nozizwe translates to Mother of Nations). I am a Zimbabwean woman, the mother of Christian Andrea, Ana Alicia, and thousands more. I’m a qualified Pharmacologist, Media Consultant, and most recently, a Social Worker, and Trauma Counselor. I am the founder of the Nozizwe Mother of Nations Trust, established in 2018,” Iris shared in her introduction. The Nozizwe Mother of Nations Trust assists underprivileged, orphaned, disabled, widowed, homeless, and other marginalized members of society by providing financial and material support.
Iris’ accomplishments as a humanitarian and business leader set her apart.
“I am the first African to contribute my literature to the book “Women Making a Difference,” which features stories from 25 women across the world. The book aims to highlight the achievements of women with global ambitions and those who are future leaders, advocating for greater representation of women in the industry.

Furthermore, I just won the Great Companies International Women Entrepreneurs Award 2024, which is a great milestone. I have been selected by Global Woman Magazine as one of their Top 100 Global Women Entrepreneurs and also nominated as one of the 50 most influential women in Africa ahead of the African Women Summit. I was a finalist in the Women Changing the World Awards 2024 and was voted Woman Icon 2024. I have been shortlisted for many international awards this year. My dedication and influential work have garnered international acclaim, and I continue to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable communities through my trust and community of helpers,” explained Iris. 
Without challenges, there can be no success. The challenges provide opportunities to do better, to grow as a person, and to try something new. Iris exemplifies this brilliantly.
“I encountered numerous difficulties along the way, mainly red tape and a lack of funding for our causes. Logistics has also been a nightmare, as 80 percent of our beneficiaries live in remote, hard-to-reach areas. Ensuring that they have access to food, clean, safe drinking water, healthcare, and education has been a great challenge because of their location,” stated Iris.
Every woman’s life goal is to live a luxurious life, and entrepreneurship and self employment are the only ways to achieve this goal. Due to her excellent expertise as a business leader, Iris’ business success tips may inspire the next generation of female leaders.
“Always be willing to learn from others.
Teamwork makes the dream work.
You rise by lifting others up.
If the pond becomes too small, be brave and jump into the ocean.
Dear young ladies, Your fellow sisters are not your competition. Be open to learning from other men and women alike; making mistakes helps you grow as an individual; and be open to constructive criticism and encouragement. The sky is not the limit as long as there are footprints on the moon; you can be and do anything you want to in this life; it all starts with you,” advises Iris.
Iris’ accomplishments are just too numerous to mention here. Empowered women empower other women. Female leadership role models such as Iris may inspire young women to pursue leadership roles in all spheres of life, which is the only way to help them achieve financial empowerment and independence.

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