Ms. Themby Titsha is the brains behind Embrace Africa Concepts Group, an organisation that seeks to enable those previously disadvantaged to access services mainly in the insurance space for which she has been nominated for various awards. Prior to founding Embrace Africa, she was the CEO of Therald Skies Investment Zimbabwe from 2011-2015. Themby is also the Chairperson of Embrace Africa Community Foundation, a non-profit organisation that seeks societal transformation through encouragements and active participation with various stakeholders in different sectors. Annually, Themby spearheads book donations to underprivileged schools and facilities build a dream mentorship within inner-city Johannesburg. She is South African President of Global Empowerment Women Summit, a networking platform that brings together elites businesswomen to promote global trade and networking. Themby is Host of Successful man Talk and Successful woman Talk shows on GauTV, a division of Successful Magazine where she is a Business Development Director.
From her base in Johannesburg, South Africa, Themby speaks to Sunday Oyinloye, Publisher, Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable about her organisations
Would you like to share your experience as the CEO of Therald Skies which you led from 2011-2015?
I am always looking for new opportunities, early 2011 when I visited Harare specifically to research on business opportunities there; I found there was a serious need for grain bags for packaging. There were no grain bags in the formal and the informal market. I had no knowledge of the packaging industry but through research I managed to source the bags from India at competitive prices that allowed our organisation to be the main supplier to both the formal and the informal market over the period we were operational there. The major challenge was the peak demand being only a period of six months within the year.
What is the story behind Embrace Africa Concepts Group?
Embrace Africa Concepts Group was born out of a need to create services and products that Africans can access across border, therefore people are able to use our services wherever they are within Southern Africa. In 2015 when we started the first product was Embrace Africa funeral policy. Looking at the number of foreigners in South Africa, I wanted a policy that would allow people gainfully employed to be able to cover in one policy their dependents in their home countries and allow them the option to access cash benefits as though most people have burial policies, our funerals require quite a substantial amount of cash for other things. Currently we are in the process of setting up a one stop funeral parlour where all funeral needs will be met under one roof. As an organization we realize that our African funerals keep getting more expensive by the day mainly because we tend to go all out for a person when they are gone. In tackling that issue we are slowly introducing to the market other products that can help improve the quality of life for our people. Embrace Africa Medical Assistance is a product to benefit those who cannot afford medical aid offering them unlimited primary care out of hospital eliminating also for a lot of people the need to take a day off work to access their chronic medication. In events of accidents, our product offers in hospital admission. On next product will be Embrace Africa Legal Services to offer legal aid on mainly labour matters.
In practical terms, what impact has Embrace Africa Community Foundation made not only in your country, but other parts of the world?
I consider myself a transformational activist and I am very passionate about seeing change in Africa. Whilst some are advocating for a borderless Africa, I felt we can break that barrier through collaborative work towards one cause in our various locations. Embrace Africa Community Foundation has managed to open a platform for women in my country and in other parts of Africa that allows them to be active advocates of change within their sphere of contact. Our main focus is to empower more women by offering them practical skills that allow them to function independently and to mentor the youth to be well equipped for adult life. Through physical engagements with institutions of the distressed in various countries, we look forward to positive outcomes and to see more African Countries joining us as we embrace our continent.
Why do you spearhead annual book donations, and what are your thoughts about the continent’s reading culture?
Only books have the power to transport us to different times and different worlds, and therefore could possibly be the only source to open a young person’s mind to other possibilities outside their reality. I think as a young person, my vision of wanting to excel was shaped through reading books that told of glamorous dining, sunset cruises and just how a fine lady carries herself. Knowing such a life existed somewhere far from the small township I grew up, it really made me want to work hard towards physically seeing what I read about. By donating books out there, we get to empower those we might not get a chance to ever interact with. I think as a continent we still have quite a lot of work that needs to be done in improving on our reading culture. The major question would be, is the content we are consuming through any medium beneficial for our progression?
What is that special thing about you that the world is yet to discover?
I have found that my sphere of influence is mainly around empowerment. In interacting with women in other parts of Africa, I discovered that the challenges faced by the disadvantaged are the same. Many at times we write off people and communities because we do not take time to understand their daily struggles. As my voice grows within the continent, the world is yet to discover that women hold immense power to pioneer change more specially now that today’s dynamic complexity requires an ability to thrive in ambiguous and poorly defined situations.