Who is Ziwani?
Ziwani equips and partners with the Christian business community so that they can meaningfully and practically live out their marketplace calling on the African continent.
The Swahili word ‘Ziwani’ means ‘at the lake’ which represents a place of refreshment, community, and commerce for Christian business leaders in Africa.
Ziwani is an initiative of Mergon, an entrepreneurial investment company that distributes its proceeds through the Mergon Foundation to fund Kingdom impact organisations in South Africa, Sub-Saharan and North Africa and the Middle East regions, and seeks to inspire and equip others to do the same.
We believe that as Christian business leaders we have been called to:
Not just to generate profits and thereby financially support other redemptive influences in society, but to also have a redemptive influence in and through doing business.
To be redemptive stewards of the capital entrusted to us and the influence it affords us.
To shape our business and industry practices to reflect the nature and character of God (to be salt and light).
To inspire others to take up this marketplace calling, so that together we can creatively and positively change culture and lead the way in building a flourishing and just society.
To recognise that all of the above can only flow from an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ as our personal Redeemer.
As members of the Ziwani community, our conduct is underpinned by the following values:
Collaboration and co-creation
Humility and integrity
Skilful and diligent work
The Ziwani Code of Conduct
As members of the Ziwani community, we commit ourselves to the standard of responsible and ethical behaviour which is expected of a faith community, and which will bring honour and glory to God.
We accept the fact that working with Christians, and working to reflect Christian values, means that we are responsible for striving to act as Christ perfectly demonstrated. However, we also acknowledge that there is a diversity of thought regarding how we live out a Kingdom calling in and through business. Thus, our Code of Conduct is underpinned by the trust and belief that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity.
This Code of Conduct gives guidance as to what practices (actions) are supported, and what practices are not condoned. It is not exhaustive and does not foresee every set of circumstances that may arise across a variety of community events and activities.
We commit ourselves to:
- Esteem the local church. Ziwani is an interdenominational platform that brings together Christian business leaders from different walks of life. Therefore we will refrain from speaking against the local church – rather we will esteem and value it, and work to see it flourish.
- Remain apolitical. We are not a collective that seeks to criticise the local authorities, but rather want to honour and submit to their authority as those put in place by God. We want to work to see them flourish in their governance role for the sake of broader society.
- Treat others with respect and dignity. As a community that is about facilitating authentic relationships, we will respect relationships with other members and their rights and opinions, just as we expect them to respect our rights and opinions.
We want to see impactful relationships and connections occur through participation in the Ziwani community:
- We are not trying to find definitive answers, but rather journey together in finding Biblical wisdom.
- We want our communities to be safe spaces where people can bring their triumphs and struggles, as well as ask questions and bring lived experiences to the conversations – therefore we commit to confidentiality and respect.
- Ziwani brings business leaders together into a community. No solicitation of finances is permitted. If a relationship formed within the community naturally leads to a professional and/or commercial relationship, it is not prohibited – but this community is not the place to solicit funds, or market products and services.
- We will work to promote the common good of the Christian faith. We believe that together we can have a tremendous impact for God’s Kingdom by widening the network of those that consider and act upon their Christian values in and through their business.
Statement of Faith
We affirm the Apostle’s Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried, He descended into hell, on the third day He rose again from the dead, He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father almighty, from there He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Our community of marketplace leaders and thought leaders across Africa have generously shared their stories and thinking with us so that our community can continue to equip and support each other in their marketplace calling.
Leader of Africa Advocacy Programme
Standard Bank Group
Nelson Ashitiva (Kenya)
Senior Partner & Head of Strategy
Ashitiva Advocates LLP
Paul Venter (US)
Rodger A. Schmidt
Septi M. Bukula
Founder and Director
Osiba Analytics and Seeza Network
Charles Washoma (Zimbabwe)
Corporate Governance Facilitator
The Institute of Directors (Zimbabwe)
Meet the Advisory Panel
The Ziwani Advisory Panel is a diverse group of marketplace leaders. They were instrumental in establishing this platform and have contributed many hours of their time and insight into developing the Ziwani framework. They continue to provide oversight and direction to the Ziwani team.
Valentine Gitoho (Kenya)
Director, LEEDS Consulting
Chris de Villiers
Chris du Toit
Chief Excitement Officer
Founder and MD
Meet the Team
Our team is made up of a small but passionate group of Christ-followers who believe that business can be a powerful vehicle for God’s justice and peace, which will transform societies, countries, and continents.
CEO of Mergon Group
Director of Mergon Group
Executive Head of Ziwani
Project and Programme Manager
Gwenda-Mari le Grange
Product Development and Community Liaison
Community & Events Coordinator
Martha Mukama Asiimwe