The TRUE AFRICA 100 is our list of innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, dreamers and mavericks who we feel are shaping the Africa of today.
Betty Nakato is a Ugandan entrepreneur and writer. She graduated from Babson College in 2013, where she is now doing a masters of science in management in entrepreneurial leadership and was at the forefront of the creation of the Babson Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy (BELA)-Uganda, which organised aweek of leadership workshops for a hundred Ugandan students. She is currently writing a book to inspire others by sharing her own journey.
Why do you think telling your own story and the stories of others is so important?
We all have stories; some we tell ourselves while others are told about us. They contribute to who we are but by no means define us. Some are handed to us by circumstances; others we craft by choice. Ultimately, we write our own stories and can influence how it ends. I couldn’t agree more with the title of Harold Isbell’s book Every Life Is a Story That Deserves to Be Told.
Deep-sharing humanises us, creating an opportunity for us to see each other as one.
Our narratives are more than stories; they are an embodiment of the battles we win; the ones we lose and a representation of some the narratives that shape our lives so deeply that they engrave scars on our souls. We come to celebrate some of these scars as constant reminders of where we have been or our current state, but most importantly it’s a glance into the future – the narrative we have the ability to shape.
When we share stories, we are able to connect despite our differences and build on the fundamental things that make us human… the aspirations parents have for their children, our known but unspoken fears, the dreams that young lovers share and the optimism or apathy we witness in young people lately. Deep-sharing humanises us, creating an opportunity for us to see each other as one, recognising our sameness while celebrating our differences. With every story we share, we start to shed light on our fear of the unknown, ever moving closer to a better understanding of one another.
What youth movements in Uganda are you most excited by?
Like stories, I’m also an avid believer in the power of entrepreneurship and I believe if harnessed well, stories and entrepreneurship will move this planet to the next level.
One of the youth movements that I’m most excited about is Unreasonable East Africa. Co-founded by a group of young people, Unreasonable East Africa ‘gets early-stage companies working on solving tough social and environmental challenges in East Africa’. They want to create an East Africa in which no one is limited by their circumstances.
There is an exciting general awakening of young Africans; we are realising that the future of Africa rests on our shoulders and that solutions to some of our deepest challenges will come from within us.
Who’s your African of the year?
Magatte Wade, she continues to be my inspiration and African of all time in my mind. She is defying the odds, by continuing to build brands that not only highlight the stories of Africa but also celebrate some of our heritage. Tiossan is her current creation that does exactly that. I’m currently in the process of co-founding Facet a luxury retail company whose mission is to build an ecosystem of conscious luxury goods consumers and creative artisans-designers.
She is showcasing a new narrative of Africa and that of the developing world in general.
We seek to create a unique fusion of craftsmanship and modernity, while sharing stories from the niftiest pockets of the world. This concept is in some ways inspired by Magatte’s way of sourcing ingredients and recipes from old traditions and bringing them to the US market. She is showcasing a new narrative of Africa and that of the developing world in general.
Check out more at bettynakato.com
Come back tomorrow for the next TRUE Africa 100 and keep up to date using the hashtag #TRUEAfrica