top of page

ZAA Interview

This year our founder Jay Mawaka-Smith was nominated for the Community Champion award at the eighth edition of the Zimbabwe Achivers Awards.

The Zimbabwe Achievers Awards were born out of a simple vision, to create an event which seeks to recognise and honour Zimbabweans who have pushed the limits against all odds to succeed and do both themselves and their fellow countrymen proud. (


Zimbabwe Archivers Awards (ZAA) caught up with Jay and this is what he had to say:

ZAA: Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

JMS: I am a social entrepreneur and author. I find pleasure in challenging complacency and championing common sense. Often looking for new ways to solve the deep-rooted problems that tend to hold back progress. Injustice and inequality of opportunities anger me; much of my work involves levelling playing fields so everyone can play. For example, I founded LeNior Foundation, to create a new pathway for bright youngsters by providing access to education and the emotional support needed to develop the potential found in each of us.I am extremely passionate about economic empowerment and Innovative Educational Programs to significantly improve the quality of life for youth by expanding their educational, vocational, and employment opportunities under a unified collaboration with local schools in Zimbabwe & India.

ZAA: What motivates you?

JMS: My strongest source of motivation is my vision for the future.For myself, my family, and communities we serve. It is the possibility of attaining my goals that make life worth living.I can’t ignore the enduring problems our society faces despite economic growth, like poverty and environmental degradation.When I realised I could use social entrepreneurship to achieve the change I wanted to see in the world that was all the motivation I needed. I knew I had to be in this space!

ZAA: What are the three most important things in your life?

JMS: Health - Poor health will both reduce the time I have in this world and my capability to live an abundant life.Credibility - Without it, we have nothing.To be surrounded by passionate and honest people.In order to truly live the "Good Life": I try to balance the four major pillars of life - health, wealth, love, and happiness.ZAA: How did you find out you had been nominated/shortlisted?JMS: Via Instagram - Hence the reason I wasn't convinced until I saw it on the official website.

ZAA: What was the feeling when you found out you had made the shortlist?

JMS: I was perturbed. I kept imagining that someone would call or message and say they’d made a mistake. A few days later, I realised I was going in the right direction. Not necessarily good, but getting there. I am up against some incredibly talented people – That can only make you think: “Keep going, you’re getting something right.”

ZAA: What would it mean to win?

JMS: Winning the award will have incredible benefits; it offers “necessary acclaim”, something that’s needed for anyone in a leadership position. It boosts team morale, definitely. It makes everyone feel part of something larger and something very successful. It also builds my organisations profile, so other social enterprises and companies become aware of you and what you are aiming to achieve.

ZAA: What projects are you currently working on?

JMS: My main focus over the coming months is to publish my first book on Social Enterprises and how one can go from idea to implementing solutions following the steps provided. Parallel to that, I am currently working on an online platform offering recent graduates or young Zimbabwean professionals, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses and workshops towards the enhancement of personal skills and proficiency throughout their careers. We have already started offering Project Management e-learning courses. (

15 views0 comments
bottom of page