2017 ZAA UK Nominees Announced

Zim Achievers 7th campaign produces another Superlative Shortlist as 2017 nominees are announced

THE Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (ZAA) nominee shortlist is out and, like the last six years, it keeps producing bright, brilliant and extraordinary Zimbabweans excelling in the UK.

Organisers of the high profile event announced over 80 nominees across a reshuffled 18 category list at a press conference held at the Isle of Dogs in London.

The Music Video of the Year award is the latest gong to feature in this years categories, and with the standard of music videos produced in the past year, the contenders include Charlie Kay’s Vimbai, Lamont Chitepo’s Maiwe, Karizma ‘s Shisha Pipe, Xavier Offishal’s Check Your Balance and Kambo Boys’s Melo

ZAA Panel Chair Tawanda Chiwira praised the team of panellists for doing a remarkable job whittling down the shortlist.

“We have been inundated with some outstanding nominations this year, and it highlighted the exceptional work that Zimbabweans are doing, not only in the UK but aboard,” Chinouya said.

“The Zim Achievers have been around for seven years and in that time, the vision that started simply with highlighting and recognising what Zimbabweans are doing in the UK has turned into something bigger.

The community spirit that has been built and the calibre of individuals and organisations that we have recognised over the years really shows how talented, determined and studious Zimbabweans are in building something we can all be proud of,” she added.

Voting will commence on Monday the 20th of March and will run until the 30th of April. Thereafter, votes will be verified by ZAAs Panel of professionals who will arduously assess shortlisted candidates and match up their achievements with the set criteria before emerging with this year’s list of winners.

“We would like to thank the members of the public for taking their time to participate and nominate their peers.

“It is truly pleasing to see that seven years on people are still engaged with the awards programme and that more people are taking up the opportunity to help us highlight the hard work of so many individuals and organisations. We received over 2000 nominations again this year,” said Chinouya.

The awards for the past seven years have celebrated the accomplishments of individuals and organisations in fields that include business, sport, entertainment, arts and culture.

Profiles of this year’s nominees will be featured on www.zimachievers.com/uk  and will detail the noteworthy successes of the shortlisted candidates.

This year’s awards will be held on Saturday 6th May 2017 at the Cumberland hotel right in the heart of central London where Oxford Street meets Parklane.

The spectacular venue is a stone’s throw away from the popular high street and the British Museum and offers breath-taking facilities.

The Organising team have a new ticketing system in place, with a three-tier ticket campaign ongoing throughout March and April. Tickets are currently on sale for £65 until the end of March.

ZAA Chairman, Conrad Mwanza urged the public to take advantage of the current ticket discount before the offer ends.

“Our revised ticketing system will give all those wanting to attend an opportunity to get their tickets early and at a discounted price.

I would encourage all those wanting to attend to get their tickets and reserve the best seats in the house as they are being snapped up daily.” Mwanza said.

“There are a limited number of early bird tickets for £65, and this campaign will end on the 31st of March. Thereafter, tickets will be £75 until the end of April,” he added.

The ZAA annual gala dinner has become the society red carpet event and the most popular date on the Zimbabwean community’s calendar. It remains the pinnacle of celebration for the accomplishments of Zimbabweans who are settled in the UK.

The organisation is set to announce Australia in the coming weeks. Australia will become the fourth country in the world to have a ZAA presence.

The organisation is also adding another rousing programme to their annual agenda and there are plans for a global summit in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Economic Society in Dubai in September.


Full List Of The 2016 ZAA UK Winners

The Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (ZAA) rolled out another spectacular event on Saturday  when they hosted the sixth annual awards gala in London. Hundreds turned out to celebrate the achievements of this year’s nominees and winners. 

Kazz (Mr Boomslang) during his performance at the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards 2016 in London
Kazz (Mr Boomslang) during his performance at the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards 2016 in London

Held at the five-star Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, the awards,which ran under the theme Celebrating Women in Media and the Arts honoured five women excelling in the media,music and the arts industry.

Head of Publicity for Columbia Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Taponeswa Mavunga, Forbes’ Magazine contributor Farai Gundan, award winning writer Petina Gappah and actress Chipo Chung were among the women who received the Chairman’s special recognition award for making remarkable, consistent and outstanding contributions to the Zimbabwean community in the UK and abroad.

In her speech, ZAA Chair of the Panelists, Dr Martha Chinouya hailed the work that the ladies were doing and the barriers they have broken in the industries that they are in.

“It is not easy to be a woman,let alone a woman who holds a very high position in fields such as media,music and film, and  we celebrate these women who are breaking the so-called glass ceiling and emerging as powerful and influential women in their various industries,” said Dr Chinouya.

The Chairman’ Honorary Award for contributions to charitable causes and children’s welfare went philanthropist and social entrepreneur Tsitsi Masiyiwa.

ZAA Chairman Conrad Mwanza saluted Masiyiwa’s humanitarian work and how she continues to positvely impact the wider community.

“Mrs Masiyiwa’s work is admirable and truly inspiring. We can all certainly learn something from her, and we can all make a difference and contribute to building a community that we are proud of, and a nation that we have all envisoned,” Mwanza said.

Jeff Madzingo, founder of Diaspora Funeral Cash plan and CEO of NewZimbabwe was honoured for his pivotal role in business and services to the community, while Football legend, Japhet Mparutsa, received the Legend’s Award for services rendered to sport.

Deloitte’s Debbie Thomas received the Friend of Zimbabwe award for her continued support and contribution to initiatives in the Zimbabwean and wider African Community. DJ Edu also received special recognition for his work in pushing and promoting African music.

The entertainment lineup did not disappoint. Gemma Griffiths who headlined the blacktie affair, dazzled the audience with her rendition of Winky D’s Musarova Bigman. Xavier had the audience in stitches with his comedic sketch of Na2lani and Kazz  took the audience back in time with his classic hits Amina Kadeya and 7 Wonders.

The guests were also treated to a surprise special from Gospel star Tembalami who flew in all the way from Zimbabwe to give them a memorable experience.

This years awards were proudly sponsored by Econet groups umbrella of companies, Eco-cash Diaspora ,Chitoro and Steward bank. Reputable Care Agency Local Care Force were also a proud sponsor of the awards.

ZAA CEO, Peter Soko extended his thanks to all the sponsors for their continued support.

“An event of this magnitude is not easy to put together.”

“Alot of work goes on in the background to produce a night like this; but none of it would be possible without the support and partnership of all our sponsors who have believed in this brand and the vision it has to building a stronger and viable community,” Soko said.

Now a permanent fixture on the Zimbabwean community calendar,the awards have grown over the years and in a few weeks the brand will open its doors in the US as plans are in motion to launch there.

Here is the full list of all the winners on the night:

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Company of the year: 

MTM Accountants

Female Entrepreneur:

Nicola Holden

Male Entrepreneur:

Nkosinathi Zvimba

Business Innovation Award:


International Music Artist:

Jah Prayzah

International Gospel Artist:


Community Organisation:


Community Champion:

Linda Satimburwa

Author/ Academic Award:

Professor Ben Chigara

Tourism Award:

Imbabala Zambezi Safari

Fashion Designer:

Rahima Mohamed (RAAAH)

Sports Personality:

Walter Gahadza

Radio Presenter/Club DJ:

Pelagia Mutake

Media Organisation:

Star FM

Event of the Year:

Summer Splash

Personality of the Year:

Kevin Ncube

Peoples Choice:

Ofishal Xavier

Young Achiever:

Nyasha Duri

Tsitsi Masiyiwa 2016 Chairman’s Honorary Award Recipient

AFRICAN philanthropist and social entrepreneur Tsitsi Masiyiwa will this year receive the Chairman’s honorary award at the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (ZAA), for her contribution to charitable causes and children’s welfare.

Masiyiwa, co-founder and chair of the Highlife Foundation has devoted much of her life to empowering disadvantaged children through education and harnessing technology to create employment opportunities for young people.

Married to telecoms magnate Strive Masiyiwa, Tsitsi has for nearly two decades dedicated her life’s work to orphaned and vulnerable children, overseeing five trusts operating in several countries include Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Burundi and South Africa.

Through her foundation, Tsitsi has supported the youth with basic education and created opportunities that have enabled many of them to go on to college and vocational training.

Masiyiwa has also been involved in identifying and nurturing young talent by selecting hundreds of gifted African students, and offering them scholarships that cover a broad scope, from high school right through to university, including top Ivy League colleges such as Harvard and Yale.

“Tsitsi Masiyiwa is the personification of a woman using the resources she has at her disposal to help those in need, and we salute her for her incredible philanthropic work and her personal commitment to promoting and fostering change,” said ZAA Chairman Conrad Mwanza.

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“She is a credit to the community and a great ambassador. Her unyielding efforts in empowering children through education and giving them a hope for the future is admirable, and this year we are celebrating the wonderful work she has done and that she is still doing,” Mwanza added.

In the last 17 years the Higherlife Foundation has invested time, money and resources in sending tens of thousands of children to school in Central and Southern Africa.

Through the Capernaum Trust that she set up with husband Strive, the trust pays fees for over 40,000 students across Primary, High school and Tertiary levels.

They have also established the Andrew Young Scholarship, a $6.4 million-dollar fund that sends African students to attend, among others, Morehouse College in the US.

Three other individuals have also made it on to the honour’s list. The recipients include Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan founder, Jeff Madzingo, former Dynamos and Warriors goal keeper, Japhet Mparutsa and Deloitte’s Debbie Thomas.

“We have so many outstanding men and women who are, on a daily basis, working to strengthen and build our ever-growing community in the UK.”

“The work these individuals are doing, their vision, determination and persistence to bring about positive change in the society we live in is truly an inspiration to us all,” said Mwanza.

Jeff Madzingo is to be honoured for his pivotal role in business and services to the community.

Having previously helped thousands of Zimbabweans acquire properties in the UK over the years Madzingo five years ago founded the bespoke diaspora funeral cash plan which pays US$ cash immediately on an individual’s death. In the face of an old age solcial ill where diaspora communities have had to resort to bereaving and begging, the Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan has helped transform the realities of so many Zimbabweans and other African nationalities worldwide. He is also the CEO of New Zimbabwe, one of the leading online newspapers.
Football legend, Japhet Mparutsa, well known as the Shortcat, is to receive the Legend’s Award for services rendered to sport. Mparutsa, who played for Dynamos, Black Rhino’s, South Africa’s Bloemfontein Celtics and Darryn T, overcame a series of challenges during his career that spanned 17 years to emerge as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. Mparutsa also broke several records during his illustrious career.

At 19, Mparutsa made history when he became the first goal keeper to win the Soccer Star of the Year award while playing for Dynamos. He also helped the Black Rhino’s win the League and Cup double in the same year. In 1985 he won the Vaseline Blue Seal Goalkeeper of the year accolade.

Mparutsa has since released an autobiography that centers on his journey into football and his persistence and determination in the face of adversity to become one of the most sought-after goalkeepers.

Debbie Thomas of Deloitte is to be honoured with the Friend of Zimbabwe award for her continued support and contribution to initiatives in the Zimbabwean and African communities in the UK.

Debbie, who is a Partner in Advisory and heads the Africa Services Group at Deloitte, has over 20 years’ experience assisting African companies to enter the UK and UK companies to enter Africa.

She has lead the UK firm’s relationships with 51 African firms to deliver cross-border services across industries for several years. She also sits on the African Taskforces UKTI and TheCityUK, the South African Chamber of Commerce board and chairs the UK chapter of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.

The Zimbabwe Achievers Awards are being held this Saturday, 7th May, 2016 at the prestigious five-star Royal Garden Hotel in London. The hotel has become home to the annual gala since 2014.

Now in its sixth year, the ZAA’s recognise excellence in areas that include business, the arts, literary and academic, as well as community initiatives.

Running under the theme Celebrating Women in Media and the Arts, the awards will this year give recognition to women excelling in various sectors of the media and arts industry.

First held in the UK in 2011, the brand is now established in other parts of the world including South Africa, and will soon be launched in the United States.

There are also on-going talks of expanding the brand to Australia, Canada and Zimbabwe, and according to organisers, this plan could be executed in the next 24-36months.

This year’s event is sold out for the sixth year running. However, organisers have announced that there are a limited number of after party tickets being sold exclusively at zimachievers.com for £30.


ZimAchievers To Honour Women In Media And The Arts

THE Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (ZAA) will this year give special recognition to women in the media and arts industry.

Running under the theme, Celebrating Women in Media and Arts, the awards ceremony will celebrate five outstanding women who have excelled in the areas that include broadcasting, film and literary arts.

According to organisers, Head of Publicity for Columbia Records,Sony Music Entertainment,Taponeswa Mavunga, Forbe’s Farai Gundan, The Walking Dead actress Danai Guriria, Author Petina Gappah and former Dr Who star, Chipo Chung will be honoured at the ceremony on the 7th of May at the Royal Garden hotel in London.

“Over the years we have recognized various individuals and a number of institutions, but this year we wanted to show our support for the extraordinary work that women do that aim to uplift the community in various ways,” said ZAA Chairman, Conrad Mwanza.

“Many women are still undervalued in a number of industries, including business, and we applaud successful businesswomen like Taponeswa, Farai, Danai, Chipo and Petina who are climbing the ranks in their various industries with their passion and energy,” added Mwanza.

The prestigious awards ceremony, which celebrates its sixth year, will provide a reflective context to examine the achievements of women in the field of media, the arts and emerging technologies.

“Women have always been an integral part of crafting culture, and now, with help from the internet, they’re at the forefront of the current “maker” movement around the world.

“From television to holding top positions in a tough industry like music which has over the years been dominated by males, these women have broken barriers and are inspiring the next generation of female Zimbabweans to pursue careers in journalism, literary arts and business,” Mwanza said.

“From the suffragettes of the 20th century, the Bra burning campaigners of the 1970s, to the third wave of feminists trying to crack the so-called corporate glass ceiling, women have been fighting for equal rights for centuries.  While there may still be wider issues, women are continuing to break the mould and are emerging as power-houses not only in the corporate world but in the media industry, as we are now seeing an increase of female directors and producers in the film sector who are influencing major projects and shaping things for the generations of women still to come.”

Mwanza said ZAA salutes and appreciates the efforts all women of Zimbabwean heritage, especially the journalists, media professionals, writers, actresses and producers who are continuing to make immense contributions to the growth and development of the media and arts world in Africa and abroad.

“Incredible women like the five being recognised at ZAA this year are all around us, leading, innovating and mentoring the next generation.

“Every once in a while it is important to shine the spotlight on women and celebrate the inspirational journeys and achievements of some of the brightest talent in the media landscape,” he added.

Over the years, the Zim Achievers has continued to evolve. With the UK awards well established, and with South Africa up and running for the past 3 years, the organisation continues to spread its wings.

With plans for expansion, ZAA will be launching in the United States in the next few weeks and nominations will open shortly after.

Voting for the UK version of this year’s awards has ended and the ZAA’s panel of experts are currently deliberating to come up with the list of winners for the awards ceremony.

Special Recognition Awards Recipients


Forbes Farai Gundan

Farai Gundan

Farai is a 2015 Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum and a Dangote Fellow. Farai has been listed as the number one among top 10 writers for Forbes.com. She also writes for ESSENCE, a leading US publication that focuses on women of colour. She is the recipient of the 2015 Media Excellence Award by African Women Awards and 2014 Emerging African Leader Award by Temple University. Ladybrille Magazine named Farai as one of “20 Influential African Women Entrepreneurs in America to watch in 2015”. In 2013, Forbes named Farai as one of its Top 30 Best Entrepreneurs from Africa. Farai runs FaraiMedia, a media consultancy that focuses on Africa.



Head of Publicity at Sony -Taponeswa Mavunga

Taponeswa Mavunga

Taponeswa Mavunga is the Head of Publicity for Columbia Records,Sony Music Entertainment. She was recruited from Viacom Africa after spending a year as Head of Talent and Music across MTV, MTV Base and the recently launched [in Africa] BET channels.

Prior to this, she was Senior Publicity Manager at Atlantic Records UK where she oversaw numerous campaigns over the years, including JAY Z, Estelle, Ed Sheeran and Rudimental, for which she won a Music Week Award for Best PR Campaign in 2014.


Third novel out in November … Petina Gappah

Petina Gappah

Petina Gappah is a lawyer and an author. She has law degrees from Cambridge University, Graz University in Austria and the University of Zimbabwe. She completed her PhD at the age of 26. She works as Counsel at the ACWL, an international organisation in Geneva that advises more than 70 developing country governments on the laws governing the World Trade Organisation.

In 2014, Petina was nominated by the government of Zimbabwe to be a Member of the Appellate Body, the tribunal that arbitrates word trade disputes. She was the only third African woman to be nominated since 1995, the first being her mentor, Ambassador Amina Mohammed, currently Kenya’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister. Although she was closely beaten to the post by Ambassador Shree Servansing of Mauritius, Petina considers this her most successful professional achievement.

As a writer, Petina uses both English and Shona. Her first book, An Elegy for Easterly, was awarded the Guardian First Book Prize in 2009, an honour she shares with Dambudzo Marechera who received the Guardian Fiction award in 1979. The book was also shortlisted for Zimbabwe’s NAMA Award for Outstanding First Book, Ireland’s Frank O’Connor Prize, the Los Angeles First Book Award and the Orwell Prize. Her second book, The Book of Memory, was shortlisted for the NAMA Award for Outstanding Fiction, long-listed for the 2015 Financial Times Oppenheimer award and the 2016 Baileys Prize, making her the first Zimbabwean writer in twenty years to be recognised for this honour. Her third book, Rotten Row, will be published in November 2016. One of the stories from that book has been shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Award, the world’s richest award for a single short story.



The Walking Dead Actress – Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira

Danai is an actress and playwright. She has started in numerous films and TV shows, including popular series The Walking Dead.

In 2007, Gurira starred in film The Visitor for which she won Method Fest Independent Film Festival Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has appeared in films Ghost Town 3 and Restless City. From 2010 to 2011, she appeared in HBO drama series Treme. In 2013, Gurira played a lead role in director Andrew Dsunmu’s independent drama film Mother of George, which appeared at the Sundance Film Festival. She received critical acclaim for her performance as a Nigerian woman struggling to live in the United States.

Gurira has also written and starred in a number of Broadway plays. Her 2009 play, Eclipsed, which starred Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o made it to Broadway from Off-Broadway. The play is set in war torn Liberia and focuses on three women who are living as sex slaves to a rebel commander, and is about how they deal with this difficult situation. The play was inspired by a photograph of female fighters and their tale of survival.

In January 2016, it was announced Gurira had been cast as Tupac Shakur’s mother Afeni Shakur in All Eyez on Me, a biopic about the rap star.


Doctor Who Star … Chipo Chung

Chipo Chung

Chipo trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London and graduated in 2003. She is known in science fiction circles for her work in Doctor Who where she has appeared in several episodes. Other TV appearances include, The Last Enemy and as a reporter in an episode of Sherlock.

In 2011, she had a recurring role as Vivian, an indentured servant at King Uther’s court in the medieval romance drama series Camelot. She appeared in the 2015 British TV series Fortitude as Trish Stoddart. In the same year, she won the acclaimed role of Mary Magdalene in the TV series, A.D The Bible Continues. The show was hailed for its international and multi-racial casting and opened to 11 million viewers in April 2015.

Chipo co-founded alongside founder Nick Reading, the charity SAFE- Kenya which develops theatre for social change in Kenya, focusing on HIV education and abolishing clitoridectomy. She currently sits on its Board of Trustees. She works closely with the charity Peace Direct in support of Envision Zimbabwe, a women’s trust that works towards consensus-building and peace in Zimbabwe.



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