Energised to get there with Division E Director Mimi Makupula

When you have a sense of urgency to help others and when you have a deep sensitivity for the world, your heart races and all you can think of is how to nurture and multiply leaders that share your passion so that your dream becomes a reality.  All of this emotion and energy is the driving force behind this edition’s cover star, Division E Director, Mimi Makupula’s passion.  Division E stretches from East London to the northern side of the Western Cape in South Africa.

Mimi’s division is a fully fledged project on its own and sharing energy is their starting point.  According to her, since we are living in these traumatic Covid19 times, we need energy to do all that needs to be done as leaders, so that tomorrow does not find us where yesterday left us.  She added, “Just a little bit of energy is needed to get to the next day and keep on moving. It’s consistent action over a period of time that will get us there. As long as we have that energy and keep on striving for progress, we will definitely achieve excellence.”  

Division E consists of 22 clubs falling under six Area Directors. These are Gina Roper who heads Area E1, Mbasa Jozi is responsible for Area E2, Breda Strasheim who is in charge of Area E3, Johan van Wyk oversees Area E4, Angela Rogers who leads Area E5 and Eric Kaila  who presides over Area E6.  The energetic team is a mixture of the young, mature, inexperienced and those who like to take up a challenge.  Familiarity breeds contempt and so the Division Director tried to circumvent this phenomena by engaging Area leaders who are willing to try both new and old ideas. At the end of the day, the individual leaders’ learning experience is important because, “the reason why we joined Toastmasters was to learn and grow. I think it is very crucial that people get the opportunity and the platform where they can be the best versions of ourselves.”

This woman of integrity, is a democratic leader who leads from behind, so that she can easily check on her team’s progress without leaving anyone behind. Mimi strongly believes that, “everybody has a say and they need to be heard irrespective of who they are.” Mimi emphasized the importance of creating a stage for others because when they win, their leaders win with them. Teamwork is better than individual effort, she added.

Toastmasters has taught Mimi that it’s possible to ride on the belief of those who believe in you, until your self belief kicks in. The great thing is that you are never alone. Help is all around you from those who have been on the journey longer, she said. Part of Division E’s growth strategy is to raise more awareness about Toastmasters because it is still largely a ‘well kept secret’ especially in Port Elizabeth where there have been only two clubs for the longest time.  This is already underway. Since taking office, Mimi has been regularly sending voice recordings about Toastmasters and the upcoming plans to the local radio station. The idea is to charter at least one multi lingual club during this year and pioneer some youth development projects in the townships. She intends to use these and the club DCP points as her success yardstick.

Mimi, who draws her inspiration from reading motivational books, had this to say, “Treat everyone you meet as if they are wearing a cap that reads ‘MAKE MY DAY’ because each one of us is going through stuff and all we need is to be acknowledged and to be heard.”

Division E is on Facebook under the name Toastmasters Division E.