Africa is Calling: Four Professional British Women Return to Their Roots

How these leaders found career fulfillment in their homeland

Margaret Kadi (Photo: Kadi)

MARGARET KADI: Bit by Entrepreneurship Bug in Sierra Leone

Born in Freetown, Margaret Kadi lived in Sierra Leone until the age of 16 before moving to Britain, where she remained for 18 years.

“The decision to relocate back to Africa was due to the culmination of a lot of things,” Kadi says. “I visited Sierra Leone for the first time in 17 years, and it blew me away.”

During her vacation, Kadi was inspired to launch Project Sierra Leone, a supplier of ethically made accessories produced by local artisans. “I met a group of women who made the most exquisite handmade placemats and bags,” Kadi says.  “Some of them were in desperate conditions because it wasn’t so easy to sell their wares. I decided I would help by buying their products and enlisting retailers to sell on our behalf.”

At the time, Kadi was still based in Kent, England pursuing a career in the media industry. She decided to quit her job and moved to Freetown in 2011 to focus on the business.

Her experience has featured a few frustrations. “The pace is very different,” Kadi says. “I find it hard to deal with slow Internet connection, not to mention the fact that there are constant blackouts due to electricity outages and issues due to the lack of water supply.”

Despite this, Kadi is excited to be focusing her energies on Project Sierra Leone and has immersed herself in community projects. “I am a patron for the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society and I am also a trustee on the board of the Craig Bellamy Foundation,” Kadi says. “Being back in Africa enables me to work closely with my artisans; This is a key benefit.”

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  • Cay Moore

    Congratulations Octavia for securing this role with Black Enterprise. Very informative article.

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  • Catherine Gilhooly

    Really interesting article. I never really thought about people moving from the UK to get fresh opportunities in Africa. You hear so much about the Far East but Africa doesn’t get good press in terms of business and entrepreneurship. The stories of these women helps to challenge assumptions.

  • Greg

    Africa needs you!! The opportunities in Africa are boundless. We need more people finding which country their skills best fit. The more skilled diaspora who move home the more we can continue to develop. If anyone wants a good read of why this works look no further than Dambisa Moyo – Dead Aid. You don’t need to be from Africa either, I moved to Botswana having never visited before…

  • Reena D

    This article reminded me of the beauty of taking risks as a strong woman. These amazing entrepreneurs are courageous. It’s commendable they relocated to a land they are not as familiar with, but yet were open to build their roots and foundation to enhance the local economy. Thanks so much for sharing Octavia!

  • Evan P

    I love this article. It is really inspiring to me that these women are taking experiences and skills to a countries that could use help. They are taking risks by moving from their familiar and comfortable lives, but I think they’ll pay off by opening up these women to new opportunities and experiences. Great article.

  • Juliet Jackman

    Well done Octavia, really interesting and inspiring article. I didn’t want the article to end.

  • Yvonne Ndege

    Great piece by Octavia Goredema. But I believe the moves these women made were not just based on emotion, or sentiment. The cost of living is far less in Africa than it is in Europe or the US. The quality of life is also much higher. And Africa’s economies are some of the fastest growing in the world.

  • Arianna O’Dell

    Great piece. I look forward to reading more by Octavia!

  • RuthY

    Wow…this is a very inspiring article. It’s great to see young African’s going back to help build Africa.

  • Aimee B.

    Thank you for sharing this beautifully written collection of inspiring stories!

  • janice means

    Thank you for sharing this beautifully written story,it was inspriring with good imformation,thanks for sharing.

  • Ronke Ige

    Great article, I look forward to reading many more from Octavia. Well done to all the ladies who relocated too… couldn’t have been easy having lived in the UK for most of your lives, very admirable. I wish each of you all the best! x