OUR STORY & IMPACT
OUR STORY and the PHILOSOPHY
We created MBUNTU because Africa is where it all began. It is where our creative forces formed. In the summer of 1992, Africa had become our playground. Basketball nets were made from cardboard boxes, tennis rackets were used as hockey sticks and our lemonade stand had one guest (thanks mom). Thanks to our father, visits to Africa would become a regular thing, due to his research on the HIV/AIDS pandemic and him founding the Salama SHIELD Foundation. Every time we came and visited, it was like coming home.
The ‘MBUNTU’ philosophy was a word widely used in the social programming of our father’s foundation, but also in neighbouring South Africa where at the time Nelson Mandela was being released from prison near the end of the apartheid. ‘MBUNTU’ as a philosophy essentially means, “I am a product of my community”, or “I am because we are.” For many, ‘MBUNTU’ stood for ‘hope.’ For us, ‘MBUNTU’ represented the awareness that we are part of a global community— that we were all in this together. Realizing how lucky we were (and still are), it is a philosophy we have carried with us since the day we landed in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Living ‘MBUNTU’ is a lifestyle. It’s learning to collaborate with those half a world away. It’s going beyond one’s domestic network to collaborate, partner, invest and innovate. It is why we consider MBUNTU a lifestyle brand, because being MINDFULLY MBUNTU is a way of life.
coffee and tea time in Zimbabwe – 1992
“The old way of ‘helping’ African countries by donating to a charity is thankfully being supplanted by a full range of partnership options. From adventure travel, to mentoring entrepreneurs, investing in an Africa-focused mutual fund or joint venturing with an African firm the imagination is the only limit to engaging the Next Africa” (Bright & Hruby, THE NEXT AFRICA : 2015).
MBUNTU creates social impact by creating new market access and new business opportunities (the core methodology of micro-credit programs worldwide). We understand how impactful social-capital and a business opportunity can be, considering the success rate of Salama SHIELD’S micro-credit program (100% repayment by its beneficiaries). These are the stories and results that have inspired us at MBUNTU to remain focused on the bigger picture — promoting business development in Sub-Saharan Africa through individuals and for communities.
Ultimately, we hope to create an impact by providing Ugandan coffee farmers and cooperatives with new market exposure through a direct-trade model and boosting Africa’s tourism through our vast network of travel partners on the ground. So although we don’t directly contribute proceeds from your purchase, your purchase is part of a much bigger impact: supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs in Africa.
- Luke Willms
- Mark Willms