Born in the DRC of Rwandan heritage and raised in South Africa, Mimi Kalinda is a well-known face on television screens across Africa and a respected voice in the media and communications industry.
Launching her career in front of the camera, Mimi was one of the leading presenters on Channel O, Africa’s first 24-hour music television channel. She leveraged her ability to speak six languages, including English, French, rudimentary Portuguese and Swahili, Lingala and Kinyarwanda, to build a loyal and ever-expanding base of viewers across the continent through her show, The Fuse, exceeding channel expectations. Recognizing her talent and charisma, Mimi was invited by MTV to become the first African female VJ for the channel for their Europe and Africa feed, based out of London. From 2003 to 2006, she worked in New York City, where she was a Production Assistant for 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, a production company owned by the Oscar-winning film director, Spike Lee. In 2014, Mimi was the first African producer of the program “Tomorrow” on NHK Japan, filmed on location in Ishinomaki, Japan.
Most recently, Mimi has led workshops on Storytelling and Narrative in Leadership as a trainer for the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program, as well as having given the keynote address for the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business Women in Business Conference. She has moderated panels for the Africa Philanthropy Forum, and featured among the invited speakers at numerous conferences, including the Africa Trade and Investment Global Summit 2018 in Washington, DC, and the Business Leaders Summit 2018.She was a judge for and speaker at the Standard Bank Top Women Conference 2018.
As an entrepreneur, Mimi is the Group CEO and Co-Founder of a pan-African public relations and communications agency headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with offices in Kigali, Rwanda; Harare, Zimbabwe; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire. Their clients include MTN, Barloworld, the IFC/World Bank, the African Union, Accenture, AFIG Funds, Nesta, and the Dalberg Group. One of her most satisfying accomplishments is the part she played in raising $51 million for the African Union Ebola campaign by developing a strategic public relations strategy.
Mimi is the recipient of the One World Media Award for Rien Que La Vérité (‘Nothing but the Truth), a television programme advocating the prevention of HIV/AIDS and an end to violence against women in the DRC. She is the Rebranding Africa Champion for Africa 2.0 and she was a finalist for the International African Woman of the Year Award at the Women4Africa Awards 2016.
Mimi is a World Congress of Science and Factual Producers (Washington, DC) 2012 Bursary Recipient, and she was featured in 2018 as a Forbes Afrique Top 40 Under 40 leader in the communications industry. She is also an Archbishop Tutu Leadership Program Fellow.
Mimi’s book, Talking to Africa: Considering Culture in Communications for a Complex Continent, was released in 2017. She is a graduate of New York University.