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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Inspire Africa serves up a surprise as Season I ends


After 14 weeks of intense business tasks and boardroom drama, the first edition of the Inspire Africa reality show that has been showing on NTV every Wednesday and repeats on Sunday, finally reached a grand finale in Kigali last Sunday (April 1).

Clarisee, Inspire Africa Season I winner
The show that hit our small screens in January is only part of the Project Inspire Africa aimed at “identifying the best young business minds in Africa and guiding them through their entrepreneurial cause by providing them with logistical assistance, knowledge and other requisite services to propel them into successful business personalities.”

It was double happiness for the people of Rwanda when their home girl, Clarisse Iribagiza, scooped the $50,000 jackpot as business start-up capital, while the bookmaker’s favourite, Uganda’s Dr Davis Musinguzi was left heartbroken. When the Project CEO Nelson Tugume pronounced the winner, I thought it an April Fool’s Day stunt because I expected Musinguzi to win on account of his stellar performance from the beginning.

Musinguzi was team leader twice and on both accounts helped his team excel. In the first task about humble beginnings, his team was given $40 to buy fruits, add value and make profit. After squeezing and packaging the juice, Davis and team stormed Wandegeya and sold all, their packages, making a profit of over 100 percent, without prior sales experience! The stunning results came from his meticulous planning and dexterous execution. In another task, he led his team to develop a new route and market entry strategy for the new Boeing for Rwanda Air. He convinced the Rwanda Air bosses that Lagos could improve the financial fortunes of the company, and now the airline operates in Nigeria.

At the grand finale, Bobi Wine was asked by the CEO who he thought deserved the money. The singer acknowledged Iribagiza’s leadership skills but said Musinguzi 's brilliance was rare. “Healthcare is a priority in Africa, so Davis deserves the money,” Bobi asserted, alluding to the doctor's Medical Concierge, a company that provides an on-call service of the best medical professionals. The 24-year-old wanted the money to expand the life-saving enterprise.

But what is it about Iribagiza that convinced the uncompromisingly tough CEO that she was the “captain Africa” he was looking for to use the $50,000 to build a business empire that will last? Well, it must have something to do with the girl’s combination of intelligence, confidence and pragmatism.

“It’s tough, rough, harsh business world out there; the faint of heart quit, the weak fall, and only the tough and resilient make it,” the CEO used to say. And to be sure, beneath Iribagiza's charm and loveliness is a shrewd go-getter who at only 22 is already the CEO of HeHe Ltd., a mobile applications development company in Rwanda she founded as a university student. So while Musinguzi is enviably eloquent and assertive, in the end it’s the quiet shrewdness of the software engineer that won over the youthful CEO. That she outsmarted 24 contestants from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda to make it among the final three including Uganda's Manuel Pacutho as well, was not accidental.

At the grand finale, South African billionaire Graham Power, advised the finalists to cling to hard work, truth, integrity, value and determination to excel and transform the entrepreneur world. The reality show, according to the brain behind it, will enlighten over 50 million people with business practice skills from which 100 successful enterprises are expected to start every year. Mr Tugume is optimistic widespread poverty and unemployment will be history, on top of transforming the African economy through these young business-minded people mentored through Project InspAfrica.

Preparations for Season II are underway, with Burundi and Southern Sudan being added to the participating countries.

--Saturday Monitor April 07, 2012

Fan that Flame


When I read Fan that Flame, I was reminded of the boyhood experience of lighting a charcoal stove. After adding the charcoal and a few hot coals, we would point the stove’s mouth in the direction of the wind and let the wind do the fanning till all the charcoal were glowing hot.

And whenever the fire began to wane, we would shake the stove a bit to rid it of the ash, add more raw charcoal and fan with a tray or plastic plate till the coals were alive again and crackling. In the broader sense, Dr Timothy Nduhukire’s inspiration book is about all that; the preparation and fanning it takes to be successful in life’s pursuits. Succinctly, it’s about putting the varied gifts we are endowed with to good use for the cause of the Kingdom of God.

The title is a symbolic call to heed Jesus Christ’s challenge to all men to go to all nations making disciples of all people (Matthew 28). While many look at it as the church’s mandate, you and I must as well get involved to bring the Kingdom of God here on earth portrayed in the Lord’s Prayer.

The author is involved already, considering that on top of being a medical doctor at Kabale Hospital, he’s also a minister of the gospel at Lift Up Jesus Church, where he heads the departments of Radio Evangelism and Discipleship. He is also a conference speaker based in Kabale district from whence he hails, and a husband to one wife, Rachel Luwaga Nduhukire and the father of one son, Joshua Musinguzi, who he is raising to become a responsible citizen.

In the preface, Dr Nduhukire employs the analogy of an army of believers on the battle front, each “fighting as if the outcome of the battle entirely depends on him. This army is such a great force, no longer having enough time to be divided along denominational, cultural or racial lines. They have one message and it is urgent: ‘Jesus saves.’”

In the battle of winning souls; the battle of advancing the Kingdom of God on earth, he argues the point that passion must override everything if we are to win the war against the ills that make this world a dreaded place to live in. Let the combatants infiltrate schools, hospitals, political corridors, factories, banks and homes in every area code winning souls that will help transform a world that is in desperate need of redemption.

Published by Worldwide Harvesters’ Network last year, the 165-page book is broken down in 18 chapters that if summed up come to this: that each one of us has a heritage in God, and indescribable privileges if we quit getting distracted by carnal delights and focus on the things that matter; the things of God, through a daily walk with Jesus Christ as our personal saviour.

He asserts that focusing on God, who is mightier than human limitations is the only way the rootless children of this world; the orphans, the abandoned, the poor, the diseased, the lonely, the unsuccessful, the addicted, the imprisoned, and the guilty will find meaning in life and have some unfailing hope to cling to in spite of their daily tribulations.
Recognising that you’re a child of God, with the DNA of God, the author writes, helps one begin to understand that we have everything we need to do “wonderful deeds and display perfection of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

As far as books on evangelism get, Fan that Flame is up among the very best in Uganda on account of the author’s entertaining but deeply stirring style. Rebecca Manley Pippert, author of the popular book, Out of the Saltshaker, puts it aptly when she calls Dr Nduhukire’s book “passionate, provocative and prophetic."

--Saturday Monitor, April 07, 2012