A passion for architecture and a love of East African cityscapes led three young women, all highly creative and ambitious architectural students, to come together with a fourth male colleague to create an online platform and magazine dedicated to showcasing East African architecture and cityscapes. ANZA Magazine is a beautiful and highly aesthetic publication and online platform and forms the backbone of their entrepreneurial venture together.
Lionesses of Africa spoke to three of the women entrepreneurs behind this inspirational and world-class venture about their company, their work and their future aspirations.
Tell us a little more about your entrepreneurial venture, ANZA
Comfort Badaru - We are an architectural platform for media, publishing and the communication of architecture, people and spaces.
Comfort Mosha - We produce an architectural magazine dedicated to exploring people and spaces through in-depth articles, images, scenes, and discussions that go beyond the lines that divide building and sky in East Africa. In addition to the magazine, we host events that enable the community to learn from and share experiences that contribute to architecture.
Anitah Hakika - We publish a bi-annual architectural magazine dedicated to people and space.
"At Anza, we have the determination to see change in the way young people experience their spaces and use their talents."
- Comfort Badaru
What inspired you to start your company?
Comfort Badaru - When we started the company back in 2011, we were just a young group of students at the university who wanted to do something more about the architecture that we were learning about through our studies. Beyond that, we wanted to really explore the many opportunities that architecture had to offer to students and professionals. We wanted to put East African architecture and creativity out there for the world to see.
Comfort Mosha - My passion for architecture and the community, especially in our fast growing developing East African cities e.g Dar es Salaam. As architecture has a strong influence on the community, I felt the need to provide a platform where people could share and discuss this subject in a fun and interactive manner.
Anitah Hakika - I love writing and I am an architect, which means I can combine my hobby with my career.
What would interest people most about ANZA and its online architecture platform and magazine?
Comfort Badaru - Architecture, although we often don't realize it, has always played a central role in our culture and life: in our homes, places of worship, offices, and shops. The 21st century has brought much social-economic transformation to Africa, and it has been coined as the century of the cities. The African continent will most probably experience immense population growth – the United Nations estimates that Africa’s population may more than triple during this century. Most of this growth will take place in cities - and in architecture. At ANZA, we provide a service whereby people are able to learn and understand their surroundings more, and hence learn to take advantage of this.
Comfort Mosha - They will learn and get to share their experiences relating to our growing East Africa cities. This will not only appeal to architects, but to anyone affected by the spaces around us. I believe we all have a word to say, or a lesson learnt, to share on our built environment.
Anitah Hakika - Because at ANZA, our platforms speak about how people can use their spaces - in the most simplest and most illustrative manner.
"The four of us are determined to see ANZA magazine as the number one magazine in East Africa where information about spaces is published."
- Anitah Hakika
Tell us a little about your team
Comfort Badaru - The team comprises of four graduate architects - all directors, and each one having a specific section of the Company that we can best deliver on. We have learnt most of the operations and management of the company on the job. We had no prior experience and, in fact, all we had was a drive and determination to see our vision come true. We have the Editorial director (me), the Executive director (Ms.Anitah S. Hakika), the Business Production Director (Ms. Comfort A. Mosha) and lastly the branding director (Mr. John Paul Senyonyi). Although we each have these different sections of the company that we are responsible for, we all try to help each other wherever we can.
Comfort Mosha - My team is passionate and determined to get ANZA magazine to the stage it needs to be as a platform and forum. We are all motivated and want to make a difference as East Africans and representing the youth of our region. We each feel we have a contribution to make.
Anitah Hakika - We are a team of 4 people (currently all the directors of the company) who are connected by the love of architecture and making people aware of their built environment. We started with 20 people originally, but as time went by, the rest became less interested and gave priority to other aspects of their lives. The four of us are determined to see ANZA magazine as the number one magazine in East Africa where information about spaces is published.
"One very important thing about our journeys is that as a team, we have two idealists and two realists, and this in itself is such big strength at ANZA."
- Comfort Badaru
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Comfort Badaru - We have all never really been in the entrepreneurial field per se. I would say we simply have a common passion for creativity and design. We have the determination to see change in the way young people experience their spaces and use their talents. One very important thing about our journeys is that as a team, we have two idealists and two realists, and this in itself is such big strength at ANZA.
Comfort Mosha - My direct family for the majority are academicians and employed in their respective fields. A few have started up businesses in the community. My own entrepreneurial journey started in 2011 when a group of us got together to start up the magazine ANZA. At that time, I had already started up a company with a friend in the previous year, that aimed to share and promote construction related events in Dar es Salaam. We were drawn to the project and we joined the team and made it part of our goal. We have since then worked together as a team, with the two companies united to contribute to the growth and architectural progress of our cities.
Anitah Hakika - I have a love of starting new and exciting programmes and projects related to architecture. For example, back in 2008, I started a programme for children where we went around schools to talk to students about architecture. Currently, I am working on ANZA.
"We are all motivated and want to make a difference as East Africans and representing the youth of our region. We each feel we have a contribution to make."
- Comfort Mosha
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Comfort Badaru - We intend to see ANZA doing what we have always established it to do. To represent East African architecture and design to the world. We also look forward to having young people be inspired by our team and do the same.
Comfort Mosha - For the company to flourish in Tanzania, as we get to successfully set up and enter the market here. The next step is then to cross the borders into other East African countries and in turn cities.
Anitah Hakika - I want to set up a company which can progress and function without me, with a proper system. I want to step back from the day-to-day administration and focus on the writing of articles and other causes in which the company will be involved. Besides, I want to give room to other creative minds who can take ANZA to greater heights.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Comfort Badaru - The fact that we are braving our way through something that has never been done before.
Comfort Mosha - The ability to have control and to take action to make the change in the community and to harness the area of expertise that you are passionate about.
Anitah Hakika - I control my time and what the product will be.
"It begins with you. Once you have your mind set and you believe in something, that is enough to keep you going."
- Comfort Badaru
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Comfort Badaru - It begins with you. Once you have your mind set and you believe in something, that is enough to keep you going.
Comfort Mosha - Do not give up, no matter how hard or slow the progress. Remain confident, network with those around you, and stay eager to learn more, to seize the opportunities that come your way, and to reach your initiative and goals.
Anitah Hakika - Nothing comes over night or easy - before you can convince somebody else that your company is worth it, you have got to convince yourself first (through investment and all).
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Why LoA loves it ….
There is a real passion and dedication that sets the team at ANZA apart from the rest of the architectural publications and online platforms in Africa. Through their company, they are looking to stimulate interest, debate, engagement and awareness about the most incredible transformation of the East African architectural scene. We love what they are doing, and their platform and magazine are truly beautiful and engaging, even for those who are newcomers to the architecture scene. Watch out for the ANZA founders in the future - they will be positively helping to change the cityscapes of the African continent for the better over the coming years. --- Melanie Hawken, Lionesses of Africa founder and editor-in-chief