Homecoming Revolution: African New Yorkers want to come home

30 September 2015

Executive recruitment firm Homecoming Revolution’s Speed Meet: New York interactive event was held on the 24th and 25th of September 2015 at the Thomson Reuters building in Times Square, in the heart of New York City. The two day event included an informal dinner on the Thursday evening, followed by a full day of networking one-on-one discussions between Homecoming representatives, businesspeople from Africa and 130 Africans living and working in the USA, interested in exploring career opportunities on the continent.

Top companies, including Thomson Reuters, Deloitte, Nigeria’s CSCS and Brand South Africa, as well as incredible keynote speakers, inspired the audience with very real examples of the potential and opportunities back in Africa.

Brand South Africa is a partner of the Homecoming Revolution initiative. It is aimed at inspiring South Africans and Africans living and working abroad to consider returning to their home countries to work towards creating positive change for the continent, economically and socially.

“It was surprisingly encouraging to see how hungry candidates were to make a name for themselves back on the continent,” said Homecoming Revolution chief executive Angel Jones of the gathering. “No longer is New York seen by Africans as a place to make their mark; instead, the likes of Johannesburg, Nairobi and Lagos are now regarded as the key cities to drive your career.”

There had been a substantial shift in people wanting to do transactions and deals that contributed tangibly to their home countries, as opposed to working on deals in first world countries, explained Faye Condy, Homecoming Revolution director.

“People are no longer being pulled home just by family and emotional ties. Ambition and drive are key factors that are drawing Africans home,” added Jones.

With Africa’s economic potential and growing global significance being unlocked, it was the perfect time for Africans with skills and talents to offer the continent to come home, said Sneha Shah, the managing director of Thomson Reuters Africa. “You are meeting people with ideas and solutions in Africa all the time. There’s a sense of purpose and belonging. It’s a fantastic adventure.”

Shaori Ajodha, talent acquisition recruitment leader at Deloitte, echoed these sentiments, saying, “there are endless opportunities to make an impact that matters in Africa”.

Africans overseas were encouraged to consider the possibilities of returning to Africa by Acha Leke, senior partner at McKinsey & Co Africa. Leke was a keynote speaker at the New York event. “Before we were begging people to come home and make a difference. You are missing out if you aren’t on the continent right now – you have seen all the statistics.

“If we don’t change things, who will? My message is simple: come home. You will look back one day and question why you didn’t,” Leke added.

Africans abroad were truly missing out on an incredibly exciting time on the continent, added Alex Okosi, senior vice-president and managing director of Viacom Africa. “I encourage you to all think about your African journey. You can all take us to the next phase of the African renaissance.”

Africa would only thrive if Africans supported and believed in it, stressed Global African branding and reputation architect Thebe Ikalafeng. “When you see challenges in Africa you should take it as an opportunity. Come back to Africa because it has a future.”

Other speakers included Liz Ngonzi of Afrika Tikkun USA; Mudunwazi Baloyi of Brand South Africa; Feyisayo Oshinkanlu of Young African MBAs; and Amadou Daffe of Coders4Africa. The event was also an opportunity to showcase the Kisua fashion brand. Kisua, based in New York, promotes the continent’s brightest design talent to the rest of the world.

Attendees spread the good word on social media, with photos and words of support for the work done by Jones and the team at Homecoming Revolution.

These South Africans decided to sneak into NYC with the Pope. #HeartAfrica #SpeedMeetNYC

A photo posted by Gustavo (@partywithgmack) on

Homecoming Revolution will host its next Speed Meet in London at the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel on 4 and 5 March 2016.

Source: Homecoming Revolution South Africa