Uganda Innovates

Nelly Matte: We are in the business of elevating, exposing and empowering anyone that is elevating Africa’s stature

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Guided by her love for Africa, this young woman has set out to empower, elevate, encourage people that are working hard to make Africa a better place. This is Uganda met Nelly Matte to share with us the  Africa Elevation story

Who is Nelly Matte?

To be frank, I am not quite sure who Nelly Matte is yet, I’m still figuring her out. I suppose that’s the essence of life, using your various encounters and experiences as a learning tool to finally attain self-mastery. What I do know for sure is that my life will always be guided by love and compassion because I really believe that’s what makes our existence worthwhile.

What Inspired you to start Africa Elevation?

Africa has innumerable success stories that need to be told and even though quite a lot has been done to shed more light on our growth as a continent there is still so much more we can do to expose African achievement, this I believe will harness a hope and a stern belief that anything really is possible in Africa by Africans. Secondly, I was inspired by the tenacity of the African people, we are such a colourful people right from the way we dress to the way we speak in our dialects, i don’t know what it is exactly I cannot pinpoint it, but there is something very magical and beautiful about us.

So then what is Africa Elevation all about?

Africa elevation is all about being part of a movement that is charging towards African prosperity. We are in the business of elevating, exposing and empowering anyone regardless of ethnicity whose main aim is to elevate Africa’s stature. Africa elevation will always be an upward journey. one that hopes to one day enhance the value of the African dream and making these dreams regardless of how grand they are; valid in Africa.

Why empowerment of women?

There isn’t an economy in the world that can boast of the irrelevance of the woman. In fact, almost all developed economies will emphasize on their undeniable relevance yet this demographic in many parts of Africa most especially in rural areas are still being marginalized and for the most part disregarded. empowerment of women definitely takes eminence in our list of objectives because we believe firmly in gender equality and that the rights and privileges rendered to a man must also be rendered to a woman without discretion. I could point out the obvious reasons as to why a woman is crucial in various settings from a home to a board room but all that will not take away from the fact that we are first human then woman or man, why then should there be any restriction on what a human being deserves on the basis of their gender?

Africa Elevation is based in Uganda, do you have any plans to go regional or continental

Haha I have plans to go global. I’m not one for placing caps on dreams, for Africa elevation the sky isn’t the limit its our starting point.

Where do you see Africa Elevation six years from now?

why six? ha-ha. well six years from now I see Africa Elevation expanding into other countries and relentlessly tackling issues around poverty as that in essence sums up our focus and that is to gradually design and establish platforms and projects that will provide and make room for African affluence.

You have an event My Crown My Pride happening a few days from now, what is it about and why shouldn’t anyone miss out?

my crown my pride is about celebrating the African woman. as a women-led and youth-led organisation, we are very excited about this event. essentially we shall be conducting a one-hour dialogue that addresses concerns around perceptions beauty for women of colour and how this has affected our pride in our ethnicity. we shall be asking a number of questions such as; why we are buying more weaves and more skin lightening creams as women of colour? must our hair be straight and our skin lighter to feel more beautiful? is Africa evident in how we adorn ourselves? Are men placing pressure on what is considered attractive in a woman of colour or is this pressure elusive? all this and more by key note speakers we have identified as experts in the aforementioned areas of discussion these include Charlyn Kentaro, who was recently featured on CNN start-up; a lawyer by profession and founder of the good hair collective, a Ugandan based hair care line, Humphrey Nabimanya, founder and team leader of Reach a Hand Uganda, an established social enterprise that has dedicated all their efforts to empowering youth to make informed decisions in regards to sexual and reproductive health, Monalisa Umutoni; a self-taught makeup artist who has made waves in the beauty industry in uganda, with a track record of making up celebrities such as Anne Kansiime, Sylvia Owori, Juliana Kanyomozi etc she has definitely garnered ample experience to let us in on beauty.

In addition, we shall also have a pop-up shop that showcases and exhibits hair and skin care products as well as other complimenting products made in Uganda. This will be a great platform for small to medium entrepreneurs to gain publicity. As part of the dialogue, representatives from DFCU BANK will also be providing financial literacy skills and tools for potential young entrepreneurs which is a great learning opportunity for anyone interested in knowing what it takes to start up a business.

Aside from all that we shall also have a networking and mingling session with entertainment by Dj Karo and Ugandan poets who will infuse art to the African woman. it’s a great chance to get contacts and exchange ideas around the beauty industry in Uganda. missing this would not be wise. This event will be held on 12 Feb at the Goethe Zentrum or the German cultural society on bukoto street, plot 52 and it starts at 7pm till late. we hope to see you there. for further details on the event please contact us via email: info@africa-elevation.org

So besides that upcoming event, what other events should we expect from Africa Elevation this year?

Well, we will be hosting our very first Africa elevation awards ceremony this year where we shall acknowledge Ugandan achievement in various disciplines both individually and on an organizational basis so please keep an eye out for that. we are also in the process of designing a series of seminars and workshops under our Africa Elevation Talks platform, My crown My pride being a first; which we hope will engage various interested parties in conversations that will question the status quo and spark change where needs be.

Let’s talk about personal inspiration. Which people inspire you in everything you do?

undoubtedly my parents. I cannot even begin to explain just how invaluable their guidance has been in all that i pursue. my mom for teaching me compassion and instilling the love of God in my life and my dad for teaching me to never give up on my ambitions and also to always step out looking fly ha-ha

Again at your age, most girls are after personal happiness and caring less. What makes you different?

I am definitely after personal happiness though am not sure exactly in what context your question was directed. i think our happiness is a personal mission and one that we all must work on daily. in regards to what makes me different, that’s simple, no two people are the same. my passion, my ambitions, my hopes and dreams are not likely to be the same as the next girl but am not saying that makes me any better. my aim is simply to extend as much love as i can and to promote individuality because I believe once you are yourself you have no competitor

If someone wants to contribute to Africa Elevation where and how do they go?

our website www.africaelevation.org will be up and running before the end of this month as we make upgrades and update information about our campaigns and upcoming activities soI ask that you please be patient with us. our online market space, Kupandisha is going to be a stand-alone site that will sell African sourced and made products online, this we hope will provide global access to the African product.

If you were given an opportunity to change Uganda, what would be that one thing you can change?

I have a long list but at the top of my list would be the education system.I would alter it to allow for learning that challenges the mind to think for itself as opposed to simply cramming and reinterpreting information. i would endeavour as much as possible to create an education system that allows for innovation and creativity.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be like you?

Don’t! be yourself, take time to discover who you are as a person, explore your genuine interests and follow that. the biggest mistake we make is we are often in awe of our role models and wish to model our lives after theirs but i find that incredibly dishonest. if I am by some miracle someone that anyone admires, I would hope that my character inspires them but not necessarily directs them.

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