Sipho Gumbo is an entrepreneur and philanthropist. She is the founder of Yangu Beauty, a beauty line that promotes the use of ancient African oils and modern chemistry to create skin care products specifically designed for Black and Brown women.
She also founded Munhu Inc., a charitable organization that has supported 12,000 children orphaned by AIDS in rural Zimbabwe.
As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower to be?
[I am a] visionary.
What key skills make you unique as an African American female leader?
Being able to see people of color in history past and history future. My skills are creativity, focus and tenacity, guided by the knowledge that we are in [the] process of conquering the world. I want Black people to conquer the world through wealth creation and our knowledge set, not to be leaders of organizations created by others. [I want us] to lead the world with organizations created by us. I see the past and the future.
Why is it important for women of color to work in leadership roles and decision-making capacities?
In the U.S., I find that women of color are underestimated. … In Africa, Zimbabwe, Bantuthere, is a proverb that says, “Musha mukadzi,” a home is a woman. What that sums up is that, without a woman, there is no family. Without a woman, there is no Black society, Bantu or African American. In Bantu divination iconography, there is the symbol of the young woman as the progenitor and equally important symbol of the older woman as the ropes that tie the entire family, past and present, together through time, and in time. We are the essence of Blackness itself.
What encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Believe in yourself. There is none better than you, despite what the world says. Then just do it. Do not wait for the perfect moment. Problems are opportunities. Start the project.
Why is it important for experienced Black women to reach back and help younger women of color?
It fits the iconography of the woman as the tie or rope that binds. We have always been doing this, reaching back and helping the young women become the ties that bind, become the future, become the leaders. It’s prescribed in our DNA. When these young women succeed, they continue us. With older women holding their hands, they can show them the way forward confidently as they will also do when their time comes.
As a successful woman in business, what is your proudest achievement?
In business, the proudest moment was the launching of Yangu Beauty, the skin care line for women of color. It is the proudest moment because I managed to create a luxurious line using ancient African oils and wisdom from our foremothers combined with cutting- edge chemistry to produce a product line to make women of color’s beauty shine.