January 5, 1965
|Alma mater||University of Zimbabwe|
Tsitsi Masiyiwa is an African philanthropist and the founder of Higherlife Foundation, a non-profit operating in Zimbabwe. She is wife to Strive Masiyiwa a telecoms mogul who is founder and chairman of Econet Wireless International a global telecommunications group.
Tsitsi was born 5 January 1965, in Harare Zimbabwe and youngest of five girls.She attended her primary and secondary school education in Zimbabwe. She completed parts of her primary education at Chishawasha primary school. The remaining part of her primary and secondary education was completed at the Dominican Convent in Harare Zimbabwe. During her studies, Tsitsi was an avid hockeyand basketball player, representing Zimbabwe schools at regional tournaments.
Tsitsi Masiyiwa attained an MBA from the University of Zimbabwe.
Tsitsi Masiyiwa and her husband Strive have six children:
Tsitsi Masiyiwa started working in philanthropy in the early 1990s through the work of her husband, Strive Masiyiwa, in the telecommunications business in Zimbabwe. During that time, the country was gripped by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and many families lost breadwinners.
The impact of the pandemic touched the heart of Tsitsi Masiyiwa and she started supporting the children of employees and community members that would have passed on due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
In 1994 Tsitsi was appointed Executive Director and Head of Empretec Zimbabwe; a joint programme sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Zimbabwe, through the Zimbabwe Investment Centre (ZIC). The programme’s goal was to help develop indigenous entrepreneurial capabilities, encourage linkages between SME’s and larger transnational corporations, stimulate cross-border ventures within the Southern African region, and build institutional foundations to help promote SME development.
Tsitsi Masiyiwa began her philanthropic activities in Zimbabwe during the early 1990s following the HIV/AIDS epidemic that affected the country.
She is a founding board member and the current Board Chair of the African Philanthropy Forum; a Trustee of the Legatum Institute, the END Fund, and UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited Initiative; a member of the Sesame Workshop Global Advisory Group, the International Advisory Board for Texas A&M University, the Yale Institute for Global Health Advisory Board, the Africa University Board, the Prince’s Trust International West Africa Advisory Board, and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. Tsitsi and her husband, Strive Masiyiwa, have been signatories to the Giving Pledge since 2014.
In 2017, Tsitsi established Delta Philanthropies, as a vehicle for impact investing and grant making.
Honours & Awards
In 2016, Morehouse College, an all-male institution and one of America’s oldest historically black colleges, presented Tsitsi Masiyiwa with an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters for her work in continuing to support the orphaned and vulnerable African children with a focus on education, healthcare and technology.
She was also given an Honorary Doctorate degree from Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe. She also received the Champions for Change Award for Leadership from the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW).
Tsitsi and her husband Strive Masiyiwa were awarded “the Points of Light Award” on 13th June 2018 by Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, for their commitment to improving the learning opportunities of underprivileged children across Africa. The award recognizes outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.
Higher Life Foundation
Tsitsi Masiyiwa co-founded Higherlife Foundation together with Strive Masiyiwa in 1996. The non-profit is funded primarily by the Econet Group. The organisation has programs in education, health, orphans and vulnerable children.
About the founding and running of Higherlife Foundation, Strive said in 2018:
Now here is something I want to put on record:
- 1. Higher Life Foundation and the Joshua Nkomo Scholarship program, is entirely the brain child of my wife Tsitsi Masiyiwa.
She is the one who set them up and EVERY OTHER PROGRAM and manages them on a full time basis.
She just comes to me for the money. She is also the one who finds all the donor partners who we work with throughout Africa.
I have never seen the foundation, and I have never participated in any of its activities, beyond providing the money. I’m not even a board member.
In December 2018, Tsitsi Masiyiwa closed her Twitter account, following alleged cyberbullying from Zimbabweans after she had tweeted something which attracted a backlash. Her husband, Strive Masiyiwa, later closed his Twitter account too after he commented that some Zimbabweans had cyberbullied his wife off the social network.
- DR. TSITSI MASIYIWA, CONCORDIA, Published: September 11, 2020, Retrieved: January 5, 2022
- TSITSI MASIYIWA, ashinaga.org, Published: no Date Given, Retrieved: January 5, 2022
- Who We Are, Higherlife Foundation, Retrieved:02 Jan 2019
- Strive Masiyiwa comment on Facebook, Facebook, Published: 31 December 2018, Retrieved: 02 Jan 2018
- Jonathan Moyo, Dewa Mavhinga, Jealousy Mawarire Gang Up Against Masiyiwa, Zoom Zimbabwe, Published: 1 January 2018, Retrieved: 2 January 2019