From Mediocrity to Greatness
Heartfulness eMagazine|March 2020
NANCY SUMARI, former Miss Tanzania and Miss World (Africa), is also a published author of children’s books, a businesswoman and social entrepreneur. Here she speaks with PURNIMA RAMAKRISHNAN as part of the GLOW Webinar series, on her roots, being crowned Miss World, the work she has been doing with children and youth, and the role of the heart.

Q: In 2017, Africa’s Youth Awards named you one of the 100 Most Influential Africans. You are a business graduate from the University of Dar es Salaam and the managing director of Bongo5 Media Group Ltd, which focuses on digital media creation. You are the founder and the executive director of The Neghesti Sumari Foundation and the Jenga Hub that runs programs to teach kids from marginalized backgrounds how to do software coding. You are interested in improving the state of your community by working towards digital literacy for all. And your foundation has transformed learning outcomes for youth and little children through its digital literacy programs and applying design making methodology to create value. Today you are going to inspire all of us to break out from mediocrity to greatness. Welcome Nancy.

Thank you so much for having me, this is a great honor.

Q: Likewise. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Nancy.

I’m the third-born of five children. One of my parents is a farmer and the other runs her own hotel business, she’s into catering. I had a very interesting childhood, I grew up on a farm and as you can imagine it was full of adventure, mischief, and just joy and love. My parents were very keen for us to get a good education, and to also grow up in a close-knit loving family.

I have very fond memories of my childhood.

Beyond that, I went to school in Kenya, graduated from high school and came back to Tanzania, and did my bachelor’s degree here in Business. I hope to still continue with my studies at some point, soon hopefully. I’m married with a daughter who’s wonderful. I feel like I’ve had an interesting journey so far, and I’m very thankful for that. But I often reflect and feel that it’s almost like an out-of-body experience where I couldn’t imagine having the love that I have right now and the work that I’m doing, the opportunity to meet people. To offer what I have been given throughout my life is something I’m very thankful for. So, that’s a bit of who I am.

Q: Thank you. How has it been since becoming a beauty queen to becoming a philanthropist working for the education of children? Can you tell us a little bit about that journey too?

Yes, I think the journey through the beauty pageant was almost by chance. It was an opportunity that just happened to me. I suppose it was meant to be part of my journey, but it was a very big surprise, because I had just finished high school and I was hoping to pursue my university education at that point in time. By chance, at a local restaurant here in Dar es Salaam, I met a young lady who felt that I should be part of the competition, that it was a great opportunity. It felt like it was an opportunity, and when an opportunity comes knocking, I’ve always been one to make the most of it, so I did.

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