Art & Philanthropy: Investing in Culture, Uniting Communities and Transforming Businesses in South Africa
Swaady MARTIN is the founder & CEO of YSWARA, a woman-owned social enterprise; transforming African agricultural commodities locally to contribute to the reversal of the African commodity trap. With the global rise of the “foodie” market, YSWARA is a Specialty Tea brand offering original African teas & teatime delicacies, beautifully packaged and distributed globally.
YSWARA is perceived amongst Africa’s leading luxury & premium brand and is present at recognized luxury retailers in 17 countries in Africa, USA, Europe, Middle-East and Asia. The brand has won several recognitions incl. Best new Talent in the Luxury Industry 2013 (by the French Center for Creation & Luxury), Best African emerging brand 2015 (Brand Africa).
Swaady has received numerous distinctions and awards. She was named “The Queen of African Luxury” by FORBES in 2013. The same year, she was named by the same publication (FORBES), one of “The top 20 young Africans building the future of Africa”. In 2014, she was listed on Oprah Winfrey’s “O’ Power List” and named one of the “Youngest Power Women in Africa” by FORBES.
Swaady is also the author/creator of the “Luxe Ubuntu” concept, an inclusive luxury business model providing economic value and meaningful income to all the members of the supply chain, who participate in the production of luxury products.
Prior to pursuing her entrepreneurial interest, Swaady had a successful 10-years career at General Electric Co. where she held leadership positions in several divisions across the world with her last posting as GE Transportation’s Director for Sub-Saharan Africa. Among others, she developed GE’s first strategic plans for Africa.
Swaady holds a Masters in Economic Sciences from the University of Lausanne and an MBA from the London School of Economics (LSE), NYU Stern Business School and HEC Paris Business School.