Darlington Mawoneke is a twenty-two-year-old entrepreneur and brains behind Ishenville Events, an event planning and management services company based in Zimbabwe. Currently, he is also pursuing a degree in Human Resources Management at Midlands State University and interning at the Judicial Service Commission of Zimbabwe.
What inspired you to pursue event planning and how much work did it take for you to get where you are now?
Since my childhood, I always had a passion for planning events. The event I did was my little sister’s first birthday party and at the time I was eleven years old. Everyone in the neighbourhood talked about it and next I was invited to plan and host my cousin’s birthday party. Since then, I became responsible for planning family gathering events and I made sure to be involved with any events hosted at my high school be it seminars, speech and prize giving days or workshops. At church, I was also part of the administration team and helped to plan and host events. All this equipped me with the experience to develop my skills and eventually turn my passion into an income-generating project. I am self-funding my education, so this events business is helping to sustain me especially now when the market is saturated with people looking for employment. It took me a lot of courage and hard work to be where I am today because when Ishenville Events started I didn’t even own a one-metre length of cloth.
Every journey has its share of challenges; what were yours? And did you ever feel like giving up?
Just imagine yourself, walking in this long road without any sign of life besides it. You can’t even see where it starts or where it ends, you are just walking hoping you will finally get to your destination that you can’t even imagine. But you can’t stop because you have faith and belief that you will finally get there. That was me, a year ago. I only had faith on my side when I started out. When I shared my dream of starting Ishenville Events, some people said I was being wishful, and nothing would come of it since I did not have capital. At some point, I even felt like giving up due to the negativity and discouragement, but the dream was like fire shut up in my bones and would not allow me to quit.
It has not been an easy road as I have faced many challenges since launching. For instance, some people discriminated against me because of my age thus questioning my ability to plan an event for them regardless of my expertise. Capital, was also another challenge since the events industry requires a lot of equipment to start while a lot of upgrades are also required along the journey to keep up with new design trends. In 2021, COVID-19 proved to be the biggest challenge of them all since the demand for event planning plummeted due to back-to-back lockdowns. However, somehow my team and I managed to stay afloat, and we are hoping that 2022 will bring better business opportunities our way.
How do you manage school and the events planning business?
Sometimes it’s hectic having several assignments and events that need to be covered. I am grateful to the team I work with who provide me with the support that enables me to balance school and business. This balance is very important to me because my goal is to be successful academically and in business.
Any notable milestones or achievements you would like to share?
I am happy and content that now Ishenville Events is a household name and recognised brand in my area of operation that is around Chegutu and Kadoma in Zimbabwe. It has only been just over a year since we started and to date, we have hosted countless birthday parties, weddings, and bashes etc.
What is the big picture i.e., where to from here?
The future is bright for me, and I am confident that the company will grow to become one of the leading events companies in Zimbabwe. With small steps I know we will get there. I would also like to establish an events management school in the future to share my skills with others. Once I finish my degree, I plan to go into events full-time and work on growing my brand!
What word of advice would you like to give to other young dreamers reading your story?
Never underestimate your potential, you are a priceless jewel, give all to the world and the world will give its best to you. Never at any point in time allow people to discourage you from becoming the person you have always wanted to be. You have the power within you to become whoever you want. Your present circumstances do not determine your future, keep fighting and never back down. Rome was not built in one day after all!
One /two interesting facts about you
I write articles and short stories in my spare time.
I am almost a jerk of all trades, as I am yet to find anything my hands cannot do.