Menoosha, International Artist and marketing professional
1) Please introduce yourself and tell us your name, country of origin, profession and hobbies.
My name is Menoosha. I am a Cameroonian by blood line, but I was born in the Ivory Coast. I am a marketing professional and a singer.
2) What was your academic cycle?
I studied Communication Design at the Master’s degree level.
3) How long have you been living in Germany and why did you decide to live in Germany?
I have been living in Germany for the past 15 years. Quite honestly, it was my father who decided I would study in Germany. I originally wanted to go to South Africa.
4) How long have you been working in your profession in Germany? Why did you decide to work in your profession in Germany?
I have been working in my professional for the past 6 years. The choice felt good because being a person who has a message to put out, and wanting to do that by any means necessary, learning about the essentials of marketing seemed to be the right thing. This helps me a lot in music too.
5) Have you ever thought of returning to Africa to pursue your career there after your studies? What experience have you made?
I am still at the thought level, still observing trends! Our countries need us badly. There is a paradigm shift currently happening in Africa’s top emerging markets, which will change its face in 10 to 15 years from now for the good. So we ought to carefully plan our return.
6) Are you involved in community projects that benefit the African diaspora or African communities? Please describe them?
Sure, with my husband, I co-chair of a non-profit called Pencils4Africa. Our goal is to improve educational standards in African countries and promote our artistry and culture in the Western world.
In 2011, we had a Christmas action with the sponsorship of Thomson Reuters and UBS in order to make a gift to a school in Yaounde: we donated 940 EUR, computers for an ICT room and miscellaneous school materials. In 2013, we launched an African festival in Seeheim-Jugenheim which received very positive feedback. And in the same year, we won a Thomson Reuters Community Champion award for our efforts.
7) What was your motivation before starting?
My husband had a school friend who although very intelligent, dropped out early because both his parents passed away. He had no other relative to step in and take care of him. This gave us the idea to start the non-profit organization.
8) Now let’s talk about music. How did the passion start?
Having the late Bebe Manga as an aunt, I think, set off everything. She liked to sing early in the mornings and I secretly wished I could do that. She sensed the admiration I had for her and suggested to my parents to introduce me to a children’s music group. That is how it all started.
9) What experience did you make and what was your best experience?
I have been blessed enough to have had very rewarding experiences in my music life. In 1988, I was the member of a group called ‘les Oiseaux du Monde’ that opened for Stevie Wonder and Kool and the Gang. I personally did the same in my later years for Myriam Makeba and Lou Bega. Then I got award nominations in the UK for my first album. With our charity, we won the Thomson Reuters Championship Award last year. It feels good to be acknowledged for your work.
10) How does your project affect the youth and women in your community?
We hope to be able to help the most schools possible to get hold of basic material. This requires continuous work. As for young women, we hope to offer them chances of getting better access to education. When you educate a woman, you educate a community.
11) What opportunities do you see for African women and youths studying in your field in Germany?
There are still not many African women working in marketing and media in Germany. Most have gone for the technical fields. Though opportunities are hard to grab, they are there and the ground is still pretty much virgin. We need to make ourselves heard.
12) What advice would you give women or youth willing to study or pursue a professional career in your field in Germany?
Press on. Gone are the days when family or gender was a reason to give up your visions. The situation is still not perfect for working women or working mothers. But there is room for those that work smart and persevere. Don’t be a slave to somebody else’s standards. Finally don’t try to be a superwoman: you will fail at times but will grow once you learned from your failure.
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