COVER STORY

Taking care of care of Africa

Carob Magazine sits down with one of the most extraordinary Africans, President of Afribiz Invest and founder of Collen Mashawana Foundation…We talk to him about the impactful changes he is making in our society.


It’s a beautiful day in Johannesburg South Africa; Carob Magazine Africa has just arrived at the home of one of Africa’s giants, a true leader with an exceptional impact on our society. Collen Mashawana is without a doubt one of the most influential and most impactful Africans right now. He is the Executive chairman of Afribiz invest and founder of Collen Mashawana Foundation.


When Collen Mashawana is not focused on creating continental business opportunities across various infrastructure spaces, he spends his time focusing on the welfare of the marginalized groups in respect of the elderly, child headed homes and people living with disabilities.

In the most meaningful ways Collen Mashawana Foundation continues to touch so many lives. Carob Magazine Africa is here to meet with the force behind all this positive social transformation. And yes he is a force indeed.
The room comes alive as soon as he walks down to meet us. His aura immediately tells us that we are now in the presence of greatness. A true definition of Black Excellence.


Carob Magazine Africa: Mr Mashawana thank you so much for giving us time to talk to you about your work in the comfort of your home. I recently saw an interview where you talk about how most of the help that you have received in your life came from strangers, is that what inspired the Collen Mashawana foundation?
Collen Mashawana-Yes, I guess it’s the liability and debt, knowing that one has to return the favor, but giving becomes very addictive once you start. You might be motivated by one huge factor that occurred in your life but once you start giving, it becomes addictive, and it becomes a ripple effect.

Carob Magazine Africa: You were quoted saying that “The Beauty of Life does not depend on how happy you are but on how happy others can be because of you.” please elaborate more on this…


Collen Mashawana: As CMF we believe that when God wants to deliver on someone’s prayer, they have to use someone else to do that. As a Foundation we have taken that posture to be the people that God uses to answer the prayers of those in need. The more people are happy because of you; you’ll have more people praying for your wellness and health.


Carob Magazine Africa: For eleven years now you have been empowering disadvantaged communities all over South Africa, what would you say has been the highlight of your work?
Collen Mashawana: The housing appeal has touched people more… It has been more of a highlight of the work that we do because a house is a structure that talks to dignity… It talks to a lot of people, especially in the continent of Africa.
As much as the housing appeal is the highlight, Collen Mashawana Foundation does not only focus on donating homes for the elderly, but we have many other programs for example, we adopt elderly centers, we adopt homes of children that live with no parents, we’ve been involved in providing food relief during Covid 19. We provided food for more than 10 000 families… We assist communities with no access to clean water by providing purified boreholes and much more…


Carob Magazine Africa: The reputation poll International named you one of the most influential people in 2020 what is your dream for Africa?


Collen Mashawana: It’s quite an interesting question Ntsako, there’s obviously a big debate around the borders that currently exist that separate us as Africans but when I look at a fellow African, I look at them as a brother or as a sister…It doesn’t matter if they are from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Namibia or Tanzania…As long as they are African… Before I get to classify them as anything else I see at them as a fellow brother and sister.
The challenges that other Africans face are not different challenges that South Africans face, Lack of employment, the issue of not having shelter, not having access to water, sanitation and electricity, the issues that people In Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Namibia are facing are the same issues we’re facing as South Africans…
My wish for Africa is for us to see each other in that manner, to respect each other in that manner, it’s for us as Africans to wish the same for one another, the same progress, the same improvement of life, the same access to basic services that we wish for our children, sisters, brothers, mothers in South Africa should be what we wish for other people that live in different parts of Africa.

Carob Magazine Africa: Collen Mashawana Foundation remains passionate about Development and people, tell us a bit more about your campaign ‘One brick at a time’ and what it aims to achieve?


Collen Mashawana: One brick at a time was an initiative that we started to ensure that there is inclusivity because we believe that the work that CMF does is work that needs a collective. It needs me, it needs you… it needs every single person to contribute. People have this perception that for you to be able to help the next person, you need to have a lot of money. Which is not true, you can start small.

We wanted everyone to get involved; we wanted those that share the same heart as Collen Mashawana to show that that they share the same heart by helping their own Neighbours. So, we called for people to buy a brick for as little as R2000 or they could do it through donating building material, whether is a door frame, a tile, a bag of cement, you could contribute to One brick at a time by those things as a demonstration that with the little that you have, you’re willing to change someone’s else’s life.
The bottom line was us saying that you can build this nation one brick at a time, that is what the campaign was about, and we were successful, we were able to build over a hundred houses through that initiative that was done by our Foundation and a collective of friends, business associates and a collective of other people in the industry.


Carob Magazine Africa: The Youth with disabilities are amongst the most marginalized and poorest of all the world’s youth. Tell us a bit more about your projects for the youth at CMF.


Collen Masqhawana: We have adopted a centre called Sithandiwe in Alexander…The center was founded by an elderly lady that’s living with disability; she looks after young children that are also living with disability. CMF is also in partnership with an organization called ‘The wheelchair doctor’ a youth owned business that manufactures their own wheelchairs; they manufacture different items for people that live with disability. Through our partnership with them, we are currently donating wheelchairs throughout the country. We look for people that are living with disability and cannot afford wheelchairs and donate wheelchairs that are manufactured in South Africa.


Caro Magazine Africa: What motivation can you give to someone who is looking to transform lives by giving, how can you encourage them to go out and make a difference?


Collen Mashawana: Givers sleep better at night. Givers are highly blessed; it’s a secret that many people refuse to discover. They choose to become takers but once you discover the secret of giving, your life will never be the same. It does not have to be a lot, it can be clothes, it can be toys, blankets, any little thing that you might not think makes a difference…Believe me… The impact that it will make on someone else’s life is huge, but once you have done that as I said earlier on, it is addictive, so you will look for ways to continuously give, and God will make sure that you have somewhere to pour from.

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Celina Mosisi
Celina Mosisi
3 months ago

This motivated me a lot . Thank God for people like you Mr Collen Mashawana. The Lord continue to bless you. Thank you Caro Magazine Africa for this story. Inspired

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Celina Mosisi
Celina Mosisi
3 months ago

This motivated me a lot . Thank God for people like you Mr Collen Mashawana. The Lord continue to bless you. Thank you Caro Magazine Africa for this story. Inspired

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