community builders:with Takemore Mazuruse
At face value, multi-award winning businesswoman, philanthropist and fashion enthusiast Cynthia Bizure Sithole strikes you as an unapproachable and sophisticated go-getter, who has no time for random people, let alone community development.
However, behind all that finesse and the unmistakable serial entrepreneurial spirit she is known for, lies a soft heart and a community development acumen that has seen some naming her the modern day “Mother Theresa”.
She is always ready with advice on how to conquer adversity and her trademark smile has made her a darling of many even before they get to know about her philanthropic activities.
Bizure Sithole, who is the founder and MD of fashion power house JanJam, told Standardstyle that she was grateful to God for the runaway success that she has become and for that reason community development was her way of giving back and empowering others.
“I am Zimbabwean woman born to loving parents, Pastor and Mrs Bizure who taught me to work hard, and be the best of myself,” she said.
“I grew up with my four siblings, who remain pillars of support to my every endeavour.
“I know many people look up to me but beyond the hard work and demonstrated tenacity in my interest area, I believe God made me and I am duty bound to play my part in the community as well as national development.
“I am work in progress and I believe Zimbabwe and the world is yet to see the best of me.”
Bizure Sithole attended Southerton Primary School, Girls High in Harare and Macheke High during her formative years and she believes her upbringing influenced the modern day businesswoman she has become.
“I went to school just like everyone but I believe one of my life’s major highlights is getting married to a loving husband, Tanaka Sithole better known as TK,” she added.
“This man completes me and is the perfect partner even as we seek to entrench and spread our business tentacles in Zimbabwe and beyond.”
A mother of three amazing kids namely Janice, Jamie and Jordan, Bizure Sithole had a brief stint in the corporate world before embarking on her entrepreneurship journey.
“I always felt that there was something more that I could do. With support from my husband, I started doing cross border trading,” she said.
“I would sell wares at the Gulf Complex in Harare and slowly the business grew in spite of the many obstacles and challenges I had to circumvent.”
The JanJam boss believes she was an born entrepreneur and will stay in that lane for as long she has breath and is inspired by the unique niche that her brand has craved over the years.
She added: “JanJam is the sum total of all our aspirations and we feel it’s a generational business undertaking, which we should pass on to our children hence we named it after them; Janice and Jamie (JanJam).
“Our entry into this industry was inspired by the fact that the fashion industry needed new entrants who would bring trendy styles at an affordable cost, and that’s what we thought we could offer people.
“So we got into the industry, delivered exactly what the customers wanted, and that uniqueness has become part of the pillars of our success.”
True to Bizure Sithole’s assertions, JanJam has remained a leading light in the local fashion industry in spite of the many players that have come on board thanks to its consistency, quality apparel, respect for the client and of course the goodwill born out of giving back to the community.
“JanJam is the people’s brand and we believe we don’t just sell clothes,” she enthused.
“We are an embodiment of ubuntu and those that have interacted with us and what we stand for bears testimony to this.
“That goodwill has set us apart and carries the day for us.
“We give our clients an unforgettable experience and that is a culture we have instilled in all our staff.
“Beyond service, we strongly believe we have a role to play in promoting brand Zimbabwe through projecting the right image while remaining alive to community challenges around us.”
JanJam has dressed some of the biggest names in the local showbiz industry, especially at key national events and awards ceremonies and has also continued to reach out to the less privileged; a practise that Bizure Sithole believes will remain a part of her organisation for generations to come.
They have even dressed some of the virtually unknowns just to appreciate and encourage them.
“Dressing some of the local luminaries, especially at key national events, that are beamed across the globe speaks to our desire to promote brand Zimbabwe and we are happy with the trend that we have set.
“Our peers in the fashion industry have also followed suit and we feel that has helped bring in healthy competition while presenting Zimbabwe as a place with great fashion sense in spite of the various challenges that we face.”
JanJam has dressed some of the big names in local showbiz among them Alick Macheso, Stunner, Sabastian Magacha, Mudiwa, Tafadzwa “The Boss” Zimoyo, Zaza and Candice, to name a few.
Last week they capped it all by inking a two-year endorsement deal with the multi-award winning and internationally acclaimed Jah Prayzah.
“We strongly believe we have played our part in the local fashion industry and we will continue to do so.
“We have dressed some of the big names in the industry but we are happy to have officially engaged Jah Prayzah as our brand ambassador.
“We feel this is a match made in heaven and we are so excited about it.
“His life story resonates with ours and we are complementary to each other in one way or another.
“Our hope is to value-add each other while contributing to the growth of the community around us and indeed the Zimbabwean economy.
“We also want to touch lives through various philanthropic interventions.”
Bizure Sithole has reached out to many in disadvantaged situations among them children’s homes, orphanages, homes for the elderly as well as the generally disadvantaged in Zimbabwe.
However, the high riding businesswoman emphasised the need to remain low key even as she touches lives because giving to her is not for show off but the heart to assist.
“We do not give because we have plenty but we do so because we have the heart to touch lives and our prayer is that we become a foundation that reaches out to the disadvantaged in a more structured and sustainable manner,” she added.
The JanJam boss, who has been recognised countless times by various institutions for her philanthropic and entrepreneurial exploits, also encouraged fellow citizens to continue pursuing their dreams in spite of the economic challenges.
“Running an enterprise in Zimbabwe has its challenges. Some say it’s a difficult environment, but we define it as a challenging environment.
“A difficult environment defeats you, but a challenging environment stretches you, and opens your mind to new dimensions of thinking, hence all the challenges of this environment have taught us many lessons.
“Issues of exchange rates, declining customer disposable income and competition are real issues but we always put our best foot forward, keep giving our customer value and remaining true to our principles and values.
“We encourage our peers and fellow citizens to soldier on regardless, quitting should not be an option and above all lets remain humane and find ways to assist the less privileged.”