Many have come and gone, but 16 years later Zenzele Hirschfeld is still standing in the male dominated Botswana entertainment circles.
An industry many do not consider viable as a career choice, she has defied the odds as she continues to make a living from the creative arts.
She admits that the cutthroat industry presents a mirage of challenges but well worth the commitment.
“I choose not to dwell on the negative but rather identify lessons one can build from. Yes it can be a headache but don’t all industries have their fair share of problems? She quips “It is a choice to count one’s wins over the not so great times. Like the constant reinvention of music, one learns to reinvent themselves to stay at the top of the game,” the bubbly personality says.
Describing herself as an Entertainment Practitioner of repute with great command in Public Relations, Innovation and Intuition in show business, Hirschfeld has worked extensively as an artist, brand events manager, music promoter and agent.
She also takes her work as a motivational speaker seriously as she deems it a necessity to share her journey in the interest of assisting others to follow their passions.
“It is my way of contributing to building of strong characters that will in turn ply their trade in growing others and indeed Botswana’s economy.
A self confessed workaholic, Hirschfeld quickly claims stake to her most important role; being a mother to her only daughter Halle.
“Raising a child is humbling but fulfilling. It is such a big deal to be accountable for another human being, I cannot think of a greater duty than that. Perhaps this is the reason Hirschfeld is often said to be a mother hen to all the artists under her stable.
“For me it is personal, so I get completely involved in their lives to ensure excellence in all areas of their lives. It is not just fun and games but rather a serious commitment that ought to bear fruit”.
She says knowingly. Hirschfeld shares that; most Batswana don’t grow in the creative industry not from lack of talent but rather due to lack of financial support and recognition.
“Unfortunately the industry is not being recognized as a key economic driver that can benefit many. At national level we don’t seem to encourage and contribute to elevating our talent to celebrity status like we see in other countries.Yet our very own are at par and in some cases even surpass their counterparts from these countries but they remain economically disadvantaged. There are no governing laws that regulate or advocate for our industry. If I had my way I’d advocate and pass motion for parliament to endorse for an arts council with immediate effect.
The Creative Industry is a money spinning sector that needs to be supported as much as Sports is. I would also enforce legislature that governs and protects the industry. Currently it’s a free trade industry that doesn’t need specialization or accreditation to trade. Surely we cannot let this continue”. Learn more about this
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Hirschfeld says this has fueled her to work harder as a leading lady in the creative space.
“It is tough. Being a woman in this male dominated industry has always got me to work twice as hard unlike my male counterpart to gain respect and even funding to support the projects I embark on despite proving that there are viable and stand to benefit many more.”
Pointing out that life is all about creating your own opportunities she says, “As women We are equally able and capable to deliver in any chosen field we aspire to pursue.
No one should try to convince us otherwise. We also need to learn to support and be there for each other as nation builders”.
In recognition of her 16 years in the industry, Hirschfeld reveals that her next chapter will entail pursuing her most important work yet; launching a women empowerment community building project titled Wow (Woman of Works). The project is set to support women in their creative pursuits and create space for them to showcase their talents”.
As president of Botswana Entertainment Promoters Hirschfeld has displayed impeccable leadership skills and business prowess.
This ought to give her good standing in achieving her ambitious goals.
Asked who her greatest influence is, a huge smile lights up her face as she says “My grandmother. She always reminded me of the true meaning of humanity; service to others hence that is the corner stone of all my undertakings. I believe we were all created in God’s image.
“How we look and he clothes we were don’t define us. There is more to us than that .I’m humbled and grateful to still be relevant in my area of trade and driven to see other women succeed in their chosen paths. My hard work and patience have truly paid off.” Difficult as it is to believe the workaholic does take away time from work sometimes to relax and enjoy life.
“You must or else you risk burnout. I love and enjoy my me time away from the hectic entertainment lifestyle as that gives me time for family and indulgence of my other interests; reading ,swimming and listening to great music, She says as a way of winding down the interview.