The 2nd of November will forever symbolise the manifestation of a 6-year-old dream for Bianca Mari, who tried for years to make her dream of honouring women a reality.

“I’ve actually been trying to do this since 2012, but it hasn’t been working out, ” she says.

Although women are occasionally honoured through award ceremonies, UK based Zimbabwean Mari noticed a tendency to recognize the same prominent faces, whilst sidelining women making a difference in their communities out of the public eye.

“The issue for me was when I looked at the awards we have in Zimbabwe and things that we celebrate, it appeared that the awards would go to people that have already made it. So for me, I wanted to shine a light on those young women who are doing fantastic and amazing things, but we don’t celebrate or put in the spotlight,” says Mari.

Bianca Mari, founder of the Shero Awards during a press run a few days before the ceremony.

This is how the idea of the Shero Awards Gala was born. True to the definition of ‘unsung’, the room was full of unapplauded female achievers; each with an inspiring story to share and that was Mari’s goal.

“Shero means a girl hero, a heroine,” says Mari affectionately in her opening speech.

A few months prior, Mari, a well-being specialist, opened up the nomination platform and received profiles of numerous women doing groundbreaking work in their spheres of influence. It was important for Mari to align her passion for fashion and wellness in curating the awards with mentorship having realized that this was part of her life purpose.

“In the UK, I had been doing a few beauty pageants and what I actually noticed was that a few girls would come, and it would turn into a coaching, empowerment and mentoring session,” she says.

The categories for the inaugural awards held at The Meikles Hotel in Harare included The Art Category, The Girl Boss Award, The Academic Excellence Award, The Mamapreneur Award honouring enterprising mothers, The Charity Award and a surprise category The Gogo Shero Award  honouring an elderly woman making a difference in her community.

MC for the evening Vickie Mlilo opened the evening with a light-hearted dance challenge and introduced Mari and the guests of honour who included The Turkish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, H.E Hakan Kivanç, The Mayor of Harare His Worship Herbert Gomba, Dr Mba of the Cancer Clinic, Moira Ngaru, Executive Director of Proweb Zimbabwe, Ms Mashangwa, Director of Gender at the Ministry of Women Affairs, Ms Barbra Muyengwa, Marketing Director of the Zimbabwe Women Microfinance Bank and Ms Rachel J, CEO of Jarach Investments.


MC for the evening Vickie Mlilo welcoming guests.
Yustina Madende, Director of TinaDi Fragrances won the Mamapreneur Award honoring mothers in business.
Rukudzo Mashayamombe Fashion Designer, Kuxycreations, runner-up in the Art Category.
82-year-old Eunice Dziba won the Gogo Shero Award for her work as an educator in Mberengwa. Eunice introduced an Early Child Development facility in Mberengwa in 1997, an area that previously did not have pre-schools with children going straight into grade one without the necessary foundation.
Jenika Shah, Fashion designer, Moi Amara, won in the Art Category.
Shamiso Ruzvidzo (19) won the Academic Excellence Award.
Founder Bianca Mari (left) with Charity Award Winner Midred Muzuva, founder of Yamurai Women Empowerment Group.
Shero Awards Founder Bianca Mari (left) Yustina Madende, Mamapreneur winner (centre), Ms Barbra Muyengwa, Marketing Director- Zimbabwe Women Microfinance Bank (right).
Shero Awards Founder Bianca Mari (left) Leadership Award Winner Uzillah Hove (centre) and Ms Barbra Muyengwa, Marketing Director- Zimbabwe Women Microfinance Bank (right)
Shero Founder Bianca Mari (left) with Girl Boss Award Winner Sharon Chingwaro founder of Mambokadzi Body and Bath (centre) and Ms Rachel J (right) CEO of J Investments.

We put together a highlights video of the evening.

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