LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – In the world of business journalism in Zambia, the name Maimbolwa Mulikelela stands out. She has been a business journalist with the Times of Zambia for 11 years now and is currently the chief reporter on the newspaper’s business desk.
While Ms Mulikelela has had a successful career as a journalist, she grew up with her heart set on a different career.
“I had always wanted to become a lawyer, speak for the voiceless and uphold the rule of law, but that did not happen. Due to some financial difficulties I could not pursue law,” she explained.
Not ready to give up on her dream, Ms Mulikelela found another way to speak for the voiceless: She enrolled at the University of Zambia and obtained a Diploma in journalism and economics.
However, Ms Mulikelela faced another challenge as she was kicking off her career in journalism: “My first experience was what I had learnt in class and what I was experiencing in the newsroom were completely different. To be a business reporter you need specialised skills; I learnt most of my skills on the job.”
Despite the challenges, Ms Mulikelela enjoys her job: “I love writing and interacting with various business sources, particularly small and medium entrepreneurs because they have interesting stories to tell and their growth or fall can be measured.”
Ms Mulikelela has had a wide variety of experiences throughout her 11-year career. Her favourite and proudest moment came when she met the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde at the IMF spring meeting in 2015.
“It was a great experience to interact with important economic and business leaders in the world and to be amongst the best business reporters from across the globe.”
A self-proclaimed workaholic, Ms Mulikelela’s duties as a business journalist include pitching business ideas to the editor, collecting information, writing articles and coordinating assignments on the business desk.
Ms Mulikelela has received several accolades for her work as a journalist. She was awarded best Zambian journalist in print media by the Zambia Agriculture Show Society for an impressive five times.
Although she is no stranger to being celebrated, winning the Stanbic Bank Anakazi Woman of the Year in Media award came as a surprise.
“I was not expecting it; I went to the Anakazi Awards to cover them and I was surprised to find that I won the award. I was happy that my contribution to the journalism fraternity was acknowledged.”
Working as a business reporter Ms Mulikelela interacts with many business people including women. She is pleased with Stanbic’s Anakazi Banking initiative.
“I think it is a great idea to empower women in business. I commend them for training women and offering them financial inclusion. I would like to see them also give more opportunities to women in the rural areas.”
Going forward Ms Mulikelela hopes to reach out to more people making a difference in the business world and tell their stories. She also hopes to someday start a business publication of her own.
Her journey as a journalist started as an alternative to her dream career but it has turned out to be her true calling, one which she has excelled at.
“It does not matter what path you’re put on. Make the best of what life gives you and do your best to succeed at it,” she advises.