Plaxedes Wenyika aims higher

HARARE - She is an award-winning musician, a respected housewife with two children, a radio personality, businesswoman and actress.

With a Mother Theresa heart, having raised money for charity, songstress, Plaxedes Wenyika-Joka is arguably one of Zimbabwe’s most successful women.

She is still counting her successes and as the old adage says, only the sky is the limit for this free-minded woman.

Wenyika-Joka is blessed with two boys; one aged nine and in Grade 4 and the last born is in Grade 0 and is five.

Despite all these achievements at a young age of 34, Wenyika-Joka told the Daily News she would not stop aiming high until she reaches her full potential.

Born in a family of four girls, one would expect a lot of competition, but Wenyika-Joka says they were raised to be independent from each other to succeed in their various careers.

“Women have so much potential but are just afraid of success.

“It’s good to measure yourself against the best, even if you cannot be as good,” she said.

“I have been inspired by Divine Ndhlukula, (founder and managing director of Securico Security Company) because she proved that something started locally can be made big, and I also draw inspiration from reading,” she says.

The Daily News spoke to Wenyika to find out how she has made it in a patriarchal society like Zimbabwe and she reveals some secrets to her success and the challenges she has faced.

History:  “My dad was an army officer and my mom was a nurse. We moved from place to place, so I can fit in everywhere,

“I stayed in Mutare, Harare, and Bulawayo. After my dad passed away, my mother raised (us) four girls, on her own and although she was strict, she always taught us to be independent and do our own stuff but also to support each other. Lessons from my dad were — to have confidence and to speak our minds out.”

On music: “I got married to my husband (Dr Mike Joka) when I had already started singing, as I did my third year at University and people think I went quiet for a while because of marriage.

“What people don’t get is, I was blessed with so many talents and I am into many things. That is why I went to school and sometimes it just depends on the phase I am at in my life at that moment.

“The time I seemed to have gone quiet, I went and worked as a marketing manager and I acted in short films like Sharing Day with Tsitsi Dangarembwa and I also did a soul city series with Rumbi Katedza in a film called Big house, small house.  I was nominated for a Nama (National Arts Merit Award) for my role, meaning I was doing something good.

“When I launched my current album, I wanted to take it to another level. I then did a video for a song titled Love you better which has received airplay on Channel O.

“I am currently working on something to be released soon, but now I think I want to focus on singles and videos instead of albums. That is how I want to translate my brand into value.

“I had to be strategic because the returns in live performances are low so I stuck to doing cooperate functions.

On business: “Women are going through so much and this shop (which she recently unveiled)  Munhanga (girls’ bedroom) is sort of a getaway where women can come and get out feeling good.

“We are the first line of defence for women. (The shop sells lingerie, accessories and bath treatment range)

“This shop has been my dream for two years, at first I just wanted to do a supplying business but I got to be part of an association of women in business where I got an opportunity to interact with successful businesswomen like Jessie Muzvidzwa who mentored me.

“In January, I became serious about opening a shop here and I also want to make this point — it is not about what you have at the moment, you start saving bit by bit.

“Now I can’t complain because business has been well for a start, and one thing about us is, we value customer service.

“Our bath accessories are made from Zimbabwe products; I have a pharmacist who I am working with on the original range we sell at the shop. We have our very own aloe and baobab oil and Marula butter.

“I will not stop until I have, maybe, a department store to my name, I am aiming high.”

On motherhood and family: “I have good help at home but when I am there I am the kind of mother who doesn’t wait for parents’ day, I just pay the teacher a visit.

“And I maximise the time I spend with my family by going on outings together and making sure we eat together at the table.

“My husband (Joka, the Corporate 24 chief executive officer and a medical doctor by profession) has been achieving awards and I am proud of him.

“We support each other and are not in competition. We give each other time to shine.
Other achievements: “I am a board member of Institute of Creative Arts for progress in Africa which is a film trust and it is also a learning path for me

“I have BSC Hons in Economics and a Masters in Business Administration degree.

“The PHD is coming soon, and reading keeps one abreast with things, and I always advise people to read because it also enriches the mind.

“In 2013, I was appointed brand ambassador for Chinyaradzo Children’s Home and my term is coming to an end this year.  I helped them with their fundraising.

“I also won the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) award  in collaboration with the Women Alliance of Business Associations in Zimbabwe (Wabaz) for outstanding contribution to arts awards.

Comments (3)

Well done Plaxedes!! Honestly as a professional,business woman/ married mother of 51 I have always gotten fascinated with you! Your 'ndazipira song' your enthusiasm to life, your juggling this and that for your fulfilment and joy in this life!!! Makorokoto. Asi uzoenda ka ku church. Spirituality keeps us stable and assists our sanity. Otherwise 'this is good! God bless

ratidzo - 8 July 2014

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