Nozizwe: The Name that inspired a philanthropic journey


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Writes Panashe Gwesu

Iris Nozizwe Mhlanga, a Zimbabwean woman deeply rooted in the Anglican faith, has harnessed the inspiration behind her given name to create a profound impact on vulnerable communities across Zimbabwe.

Nozizwe, a name bestowed upon her by her father, Jonathan Temba Mhlanga, meaning “Mother of Nations,” has been the driving force behind her establishment of the Nozizwe Mother of Nations Trust.

The legacy of her late father, a prominent figure as the President of the Highlanders Football Club, has instilled in Iris a passion for philanthropy and community engagement. Drawing strength from the unwavering support of her family, she has channeled her father’s leadership and community-driven spirit into the establishment of the Nozizwe Mother of Nations Trust in 2018.

“I was inspired to start the Nozizwe Mother of Nations Trust by a combination of personal experiences and the legacy of my late father, Jonathan Temba Mhlanga who was the President of Highlanders Football Club who left a lasting legacy of leadership and community engagement that continues to fuel passion for my philanthropic work.”

“Nozizwe, is the name given to me by my father, means “Mother of Nations,” and over the years, I have realized how this name has molded me and driven me to be who I am today, a mother to many nations,” she said in an interview.

Her social impact organization aims to empower vulnerable communities by providing access to clean drinking water, supporting community gardens, offering free healthcare, and sponsoring education for orphans.

Mhlanga commitment to uplifting the underprivileged is evident in the various initiatives undertaken by the Trust, including educational support for orphans, daily nutritional aid for vulnerable children, free health services, and disability assistance programs.

” I’ve been involved in feeding programs and assisting the homeless, impacting the lives of over 1,200 vulnerable children and 60 homeless individuals in Bulawayo CBD. These initiatives have garnered attention and support on social media, amplifying our mission to make a difference.”

Iris’s dedication to philanthropy has not gone unnoticed. She has been nominated for numerous international awards, receiving recognition for her outstanding work as she has been shortlisted for the prestigious Megafest Business Women’s Awards 2024 and has secured 11 international accolades for her humanitarian contributions.

“I have been nominated and shortlisted for over 20 International awards and I have won 11 so far . The Megafest Nomination came as a surprise to me honesty because I had never heard of it and I wondered who nominated me for this prestigious award. I have never been nominated for any local award in all honesty so I was extremely surprised and emotional,” she said.

She has gained international recognition as a finalist for the 2024 Women Changing the World global awards. Her remarkable achievements in sustainability, humanitarian work, leadership, and advocacy have earned her the International Women Icon Award and a feature in the renowned Global Woman magazine based in the United Kingdom.