Lillian Masebenza established Mhani Gingi in 2006. Since then, Lillian has received numerous awards and nominations, including being a finalist for the Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2010.

Lillian worked as Old Mutual’s Marketing Manager and instead of retiring, Lillian moved on to address a social need in South Africa and work towards her vision of an empowered Africa.

With her intentions firmly rooted in the African soil of her heritage, Lillian combines her sensitivity for the needs of Africa, with a sound and visionary understanding of business practices that can bring much needed productivity, dignity and security to the people of her motherland.

Lillian promotes personal responsibility rather than pandering to disempowering handouts that do not serve the evolution and growth of Africa’s tremendous raw potential. From the rich larder of her life and business experience, Lillian shares her understanding of the power of effort and perseverance and the role stretching for a goal can play in the development of confidence and self assurance – those vital ingredients for empowerment.

“What drew my interest to community work were my own roots in a rural community; I have valuable first hand knowledge of problems that the poor and marginalized face. Through my work experiences I have realized that the problem of poverty in our society can be addressed more efficiently if those affected are empowered to help themselves. I have seen women who are forced to stay in abusive relationships for economic reasons, as well as gifted young people who, with proper assistance, have the potential to do better in life. It concerns me that there are so many orphans because of the HIV/Aids pandemic. To prepare for a better future, all these problems have to be addressed so as to come up with sustainable solutions. I see the Mhani Gingi model as one such solution; it is based on the premise of social practice amongst communities, not in the sense of handouts, but rather on the basis of working together and sharing where possible. Its creation was inspired by my desire to solve our pressing social problems.”

– Lillian Masebenza

View the videos made by Spirit Sisters Productions when Lillian was nominated for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Awards 2010 here