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

How these leaders found career fulfillment in their homeland

Cathy Phiri (Photo: Phiri)

CATHY PHIRI: Need to Reconnect with Family Sparks Zambia Move

“I wanted to be with my family and coupled with the recession, I thought there were better opportunities in Africa,” Cathy Phiri explains.

Born in Lusaka, Phiri went on to spend her childhood in Sweden and Britain.  She returned to Zambia as a teenager before making the move back to the UK. In London, Phiri spent eight years pursuing a career as a social responsibility vice-president at MTV.

Phiri relocated to Lusaka in May 2011 and is the managing director of Media 365, the creative media agency she founded with her siblings. The company works with commercial and non-profit clients to enable social and developmental change.

Despite spending time in Zambia during her childhood, it took Phiri a while to adjust. “It’s a culture shock when you’ve lived away for so long,” Phiri says. “Africa is not for everyone.  It’s a hard and challenging continent, but a beautiful one nonetheless.”

Life in Lusaka has enabled Phiri to propel her company forward and improve her well-being.

On a professional level, being able to use what I learnt in the UK has been beneficial,” Phiri states. “Because Africa is an emerging market, there are so many opportunities. I also have a much more sustainable work-life balance.  I generally feel happier working in this environment.”

Octavia Goredema is founder of relocation resource Crash Course City and the Twenty Ten Club, an award-winning networking organization and online resource designed to connect, inspire and support black female entrepreneurs. Goredema is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an international network of accomplished individuals in the arts, manufactures and commerce patroned by the Queen Elizabeth II.

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