Emelda Mwamanga: Creating the First Lifestyle Magazine in East Africa

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Name: Emelda Mwamanga

Business: BANG! Magazine

Location: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Industry: Media & Publishing 

Reason for starting? I started my company in 2004. I have had a passion for writing since I was eight years old. I remember, I used to write short stories and give them to my friends to read. So when I finished my university degree and got a job as an HR officer at Coca-Cola, one of my duties was to manage a company newsletter, and there I connected with my passion. I started writing real people’s stories, challenges and successes. In my country, there was no lifestyle magazine that existed. I saw an opportunity to start up a magazine that would be circulated everywhere in my country and outside my country. That was the beginning of my journey in publishing. So I registered a company, I called it RELIM Company Ltd., and the beginning was very tough. There was no magazine culture in my Tanzania. So people did not buy issues, and companies did not advertise for almost two years. All I did was invest in the project, which was not paying me back. We managed to break even in the third year of my business — that’s entrepreneurial drive.

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How do you define success? My definition of success is doing what I love or loving what I do and at the same time making money doing what I love doing and reaching my financial independence. At the same time, I want to be able to travel, eat well, live healthy, support my family and friends and live very comfortably with income generated from what I do. Also if I can inspire others with what I do and leave a legacy. Then I am successful and I will be a happy person.

Biggest success: I am a pioneer lifestyle magazine publisher in my country. I built a brand, BANG! Magazine. I have inspired many young girls and women. I have mentored hundreds of girls who wanted to start up their own businesses and others to pursue media. I hired many young girls and men, whom now have grown and have moved on to bigger organizations. I have received many awards and travelled to many countries due to the work that I do. There have been many challenges, but I love what I do and the slogan for my magazine is “Believe And Never Give Up.” So I have not given up. My dream is still living on, and I am happy.

My goal is to grow our publication and circulate in the whole of Africa, but at the same time grow our digital presence. We are planning to own a TV channel, and all what we do in print can be seen on TV. Our dream is also to diversify and create opportunities to empower more women through what we do. We will be used as a platform to voice women’s opinions and their stories more.

What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Finance and cost of management has been my major challenge. Now with the internet and the entire digital world, print has become a tricky business. Our print publications have been facing major challenges in terms of advertising revenues and sales and marketing. I have been operating singlehandedly, we do not have any sort of financial back up or government subsidies. Therefore managing the business and scaling it has been a challenge.

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Who is your most important role model? Oprah is my role model, and I am very happy that in 2009, I was able to meet up with her at a Time 100 party, where my mentor, Ann More invited me and I met with Oprah. She inspired me, as she started her OWN magazine, TV channel, talk show and I am following her footprints. My goal is for me to own my own TV channel, have number of magazines and to host TV shows. I am on that journey, I believe one day my dreams will be realized.

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Edited by The Story Exchange

Posted: January 2, 2018

Victoria FlexnerEmelda Mwamanga: Creating the First Lifestyle Magazine in East Africa