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A Brief But Spectacular take on creating opportunities for others

Linda Maduwura was raised in Zimbabwe and came to the U.S. in 2006, where she studied to become an accountant. She now has her own practice that creates new opportunities for her fellow Zimbabweans back home, especially young African women.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Tonight's Brief But Spectacular features Linda Maduwura.

    Raised in Zimbabwe, she came to the U.S. in 2006, where she studied to become an accountant. She now has her own practice that creates new opportunities for her fellow Zimbabweans back home.

  • Linda Maduwura:

    One of the things I have always understood coming to the United States was that Africans have generally been portrayed as basket weavers, coffee bean farmers.

    But we're more than that. When you look at the grand spectrum of what Africans have been able to do within the United States, they're everything. They're doctors. They're engineers. They're venture capitalist. They're mathematicians. And I really wanted to do my part to change that narrative.

    I was born and raised in a small mining town in Zimbabwe. I am the only girl in a family of five. The expectations my parents had for me were very different from the expectations they had for my brother. Their expectations of me were that I would become a good African housewife, I would cook and clean for my family.

    And I remember the yearning for the books that my brother would get from the library that he never read. In my heart, I knew I wanted to be an accountant. And when I got to school, I snuck away from the fashion and fabrics class and into the accounting class.

    Somewhere along the line, my parents had realized I was probably just as smart as the boys and wanted to give me the same opportunity as the boys.

    I am a CPA by profession. And when I first moved to the U.S., I recall taking weekend classes. I drove every weekend to take extra classes, so that I could qualify to sit for the exams. I had a young child. My family was young. We had just moved to a new city. But within about two or three years, I had done enough classes to be able to sit for the exam.

    And I recall the very long and late hours that my husband, who, when I first met, I had told him, the most important thing to me in a man is he his ability to do laundry. I cannot tell you how valuable that was in those years.

    My practice, Fife Avenue Partners, is a back office and CFO solution for venture capital and high net worth individuals. Fife Avenue Partners was formed in 2017. It is named after a street in the capital, Harare. That street has so many memories for me. I met my husband on Fife Avenue. I walked down the street on Fife Avenue to my very first job.

    Zimbabwe has a very high illiteracy rate. So, one of the critical things I wanted to make sure was that, whatever we did, the solution we brought to our clients was a cloud-based solution that allows folks in Zimbabwe to work for us and make an honest living.

    Currently, folks have to work in the middle of the night because that is when reliable electricity is actually available. The thing that breaks my heart the most is the lack of opportunity. There's plenty of women, there's plenty of young girls out there who are smart, who are driven, who have ambition, but they lack the opportunity.

    What I would say to any girl who feels like maybe their dreams are not heard, maybe no one's listening, ask yourself, what breaks your heart? Because, when you can answer that question, I really believe that you will harness everything within you to be able to push yourself to do beyond what you could ever, ever imagine that you could possibly do.

    As a girl who made it out of a small village of 8,500 people, there's a reason I'm here. And I have got to make sure that I use the opportunities awarded to me to help somebody else who otherwise would never be able to dream of such an opportunity.

    My name is Linda Maduwura, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on creating opportunities.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Just wonderful.

    And you can find all of our and you can find all of our Brief But Spectacular segments online at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.

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