Telling Africa’s Stories: Scholar And Activist Sitinga D. Kachipande

Telling Africa’s Stories: Scholar And Activist Sitinga D. Kachipande

Sitinga D. Kachipande is a young woman to watch. With master’s degrees in marketing and African Studies, the citizen of Africa and the U.S. is determined to make a difference in Africa’s future.

She’s making her mark working in two continents on African issues as she continues her studies – she started a Ph.D this fall with a focus on Africa and the global political economy at Virginia Tech.

Kachipande has been interning at two organizations: Consultancy Africa Intelligence based in South Africa, and TransAfrica based in Washington, DC.

At Africa Intelligence, she has worked on social media and researched and written articles and blog posts on a variety of subjects concerning Africa.

Her article, “A New African Dream: The Benefits of Satellite Cities for East Africa,” published on Africagoodnews.com, is an exhaustively researched analysis of the subject from all angles, including the concerns voiced by some on the topic. She describes satellite cities as “the new vision for urban expansion in East Africa,” a positive way for cities to expand without further overwhelming their large urban centers.

For the education and advocacy organization TransAfrica, Kachipande has served as research and communications intern for the radio show “Africa Now!”

She also serves on the board of directors of the Malawi Washington Association. The organization helps increase cultural awareness of Malawians based in the U.S., as well as raise money for people in Malawi suffering the effects of famine and floods.

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With a resume so lengthy and intricate – much of her work occurs simultaneously – one wonders not only when Kachipande sleeps but what motivates her to seek solutions so diligently and in so many directions.

“I am driven by curiosity to learn about the world around me and the larger world,” Kachipande said. “I am also driven by optimism…about Africa’s future and growth as well.” In spite of the problems she knows abound in every country – or perhaps because of them – Kachipande focuses on the opportunities and how to bring them to fruition.

A great believer in arming oneself with knowledge, Kachipande has dedicated years to research and study. Along the way, she worked in communications, advocacy and nonprofit environments in an effort to increase her understanding and promote awareness on a larger scale.

Kachipande was born in Malawi to parents who were in the U.S. Civil Service. Family discussions often revolved around world events, ideas and people, which ultimately influenced her career path. They lived for five years each in Malawi, Germany, South Africa and the U.S. She remained in the U.S. to pursue her education. Spending her teen years in South Africa during apartheid influenced the way she approached thinking and learning about the world, she said.

“I also had a history teacher at Pretoria High School for Girls, Mrs. Badenhorst, who always encouraged us to read and think beyond what was written in the textbooks,” she said. “Our textbooks were sometimes skewed because I was at a legally white school. Her advice has always stuck with me and so I try and read and think beyond what is written before me.”

Kachipande earned her bachelor of science degree in African American studies and international studies at Truman State University in Missouri. There, she co-founded the African Students Association and served as its president, as well as being president of the International Club. She earned her MBA at Hood College in Maryland and her MA at Syracuse University.

“Many people asked me why I did an African Studies master’s after my MBA,” she said. “This is because I saw that Africa and African interests were not being taught in many MBA classes – and when I read beyond what I was being taught in the classroom, I saw that Africa had a different story to tell than what I typically encountered. I also saw that Africa was in the process of a new transformation. So I am driven by being able to tell Africa’s story in an informed way.”

Once she earns her Ph.D , she may teach or work for a nonprofit. Certainly she will continue to read, research and write. While her short-term goals keep her on track, Kachipande tries not to set long-term goals because she wants to remain open to the future, which is always changing.

Kachipande knows her future will involve contributing to the development of the continent. As she embarks on her latest journey at Virginia Tech, she’ll be keeping her eyes and ears open.

“Everyone has a story to tell and a lesson to teach,” she said.

It will be interesting to see what stories and lessons Kachipande brings to light in the years ahead.