I am a wife, mother of 2, the CEO of
Vuselela Herbal Pharmaceuticals SA promoting healthy living with our 100 %
natural herbal products, inspirational speaker, humanitarian working in Eastern
DRC and Mrs. Africa 2014 (Pageants SA) where I have represented our beautiful
continent twice internationally at Mrs. Globe Classic in Las Vegas (1st
runner-up, Contestant’s Choice Award and Heart for Women Award) and at Mrs. Universe
in Belarus (Integrity Award) in 2015. I am the International Brand Ambassador
of Devoted Christian Lifestyle Magazine and Dignity Dreams (manufacturing and
distribution of washable sanitary pads). I write for Devoted on international
affairs under my own brand “International Flair with Janny Djan”. I am
co-director and founder of Latlong NGO, a charity organization in the DRC and
we are in the beginning stages of developing a project to take care of and
educate street children / war orphans and to create job opportunities en skills
development with the commercial component of the project. This will include
medical teams in unreachable areas in Eastern DRC to operate on women with
Endemic Goitre Disease. At the moment I support a couple of orphanages and
local NGO’s in North-Kivu, Eastern DRC in conjunction with Latlong
International and Capt. Tshidi SADF UN.

FAITH: I am one of God’s wildest
children and I go in where angels fear to tread. I walk on water all the time,
not always sure where my journey is leading to, but I keep my eyes firmly on
Jesus Christ for wisdom, strength, protection and direction.
FEARLESS: I have mentioned before that
I go in where angels fear to tread. God placed me in the worst post-war
affected area on this continent where the conflict still continues, much of the
country remains desperately poor with millions of displaces people and the
widespread sexual violence in the eastern regions of the DRC make it
one of the most dangerous places on
earth to be a woman. Despite this, I am determined to establish a multi-million
dollar project there to turn street children / war orphans into responsible
adults and to establish commercial enterprises to create jobs, support
entrepreneurs and develop skills.
INTEGRITY: At Mrs Universe in Belarus I
was blessed with the “Mrs Universe Integrity” award, something I held very
dearly in the pageantry world of make-believe and pretend. Even in the
corporate and humanitarian world you need to stand firm against unethical
practices. With me, you get what you see. I don’t pretend to be what I am not,
I will not lie, cheat or bribe to get somewhere and I am dead honest and
straight forward in my opinion based on facts, not hearsay.
14 Years ago we lost everything and I
tumbled down from a comfortable middle-class existence to end up on the
receiving end of a church food parcel. I fell pregnant with our daughter during
that time and had to sit with my ever growing pregnant body in a government’s
clinic queue every month with the poorest of the poor in South Africa, not
having money to buy 3 facecloths that were on the hospital’s list. This was my
first insight about how clueless the middle and upper class are about the real
life and struggles of the poor on this continent. I gave birth in a government
hospital where I unexpectedly received the most loving, caring and professional
treatment from a rainbow medical team. I have learned here that the majority of
Africans don’t see race, that we do have compassion for each other and that we
all just want a good peaceful life for our children. I couldn’t understand then
why I had to go through it but today I am grateful that I have experienced the
discrimination against you because you don’t have money and how you get
stripped from all dignity from the same people who meant to do good by giving
you groceries, but made you feel worthless and shameful in the process. I made
a vow to always stay humble and to treat especially poor people with the
greatest of respect and dignity. Today I can stand between devastated women in
a displacement camp, knowing what it feels like to have lost everything, not
knowing how you are going to provide for your children and know the feeling of
hopelessness, despair and worthlessness.
Sir Richard Branson for his vision,
unconventional ways of doing business and determination to turn his larger than
life dreams into reality, while uplifting and encouraging people along the way.
Mother Teresa for how she stayed humble
despite the world’s attention on her humanitarian work and her wisdom to not
lose yourself in an overwhelming sea of poverty and despair. She taught me to
keep on making a profound difference in sometimes only 1 person’s life even if
you feel to give up.
Irena Sendler a Polish nurse and social
worker for her bravery and courage to smuggle approximately 2,500 Jewish children
out of the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II, then provided them with false
identity documents and shelter outside the Ghetto, saving those children from
the Holocaust. With the exception of diplomats who issued visas to help Jews
flee Nazi-occupied Europe, Sendler saved more Jews than any other individual
during the Holocaust. The German occupiers eventually discovered her activities
and she was arrested by the Gestapo, tortured, and sentenced to death, but she
managed to evade execution and survive the war, where after she received
amongst others the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest honour, for her
wartime humanitarian efforts.
I have 5 goals I want to accomplish
within the next 5 years:
To establish Vuselela Herbal Pharmaceuticals SA as a recognised and
trusted brand throughout Africa in the natural and traditional alternative
medicine industry and to re-establish herbal medicine as the No 1 choice to
assist with illnesses and good health.
To successfully established Latlong Village in Eastern DRC, a 20-hectare
development that will consist of a 1st world high-tech school, skills
development centre and boarding school facilities for up to 600 street children
/ war victims. The sustainability of the Village will be secured by the 10
commercial components that will also provide jobs and support local
entrepreneurs. My dream is that this project will be used as a blueprint to
copy in other war-ridden areas on our continent to give devastated people their
life and hope back.
To establish The Nzuri Project by having medical teams entering
unreachable areas to operate on and treat women with endemic goitre disease,
together with an information campaign around the cause of the disease.
To persuade the largest humanitarian organisations in the world to
purchase Dignity Dream’s packs instead of normal sanitary pads as part of the
hygienic packs. Dignity Dreams is a washable reusable sanitary pad that is SABS
approved with a 5-year guarantee. Not only is it environmentally friendly and
will give dignity back to thousands of women and place millions of girls back
in school throughout their menstruation, it will also create jobs and income
through the manufacturing thereof.
To become the international recognises and acclaimed voice for women and
children in war-ridden areas in Africa.
I have phenomenal partners with all my
ventures, both here in South Africa as well as in the DRC and Internationally.
You have to have a superb team who share your passion and vision and whom you
can trust to turn your dreams into reality.
African women in post-war areas are
trapped in a world of abuse, rape, violence, poverty and no education. They
have to provide for their children with no means or support and sometimes have
to turn to prostitution and other vices like Trafficking in order to survive.
Sometimes you can’t even give hope, but I have learned in Bulengo Displacement
Camp that you can under any circumstance, give people dignity back by touching
them and pay real attention to who they are. As Mother Teresa said “There is no
greater poverty than the lack of love and attention. I never promise them
anything apart from that I will never forget them and I always go back and keep
contact. Through this, we start to establish a trust relationship and they
start to share their horrifying stories with me.
I currently distribute Dignity Packs
funded mainly by myself and donations from South Africa like clothes, toys, etc
in conjunction with Capt. Tshidi (SADF UN) and Latlong International to various
orphanages and local NGO’s in Eastern DRC. Seeing how bravely our sisters in
these war-ridden areas try to survive, it makes me just more determined to make
a success of our Village project and to provide them entrepreneurial support
and jobs.
One of my personal mottos that I
encourage people to live by is: “Give what you can, for you it might be nothing
special but for someone else it will change their world.”
I cuddle up under my husband’s shoulder
with a glass of good South African red wine over weekends enjoying quality time
with him and the children. I CrossFit 3 times a week at 5 am, run with our
family dog over weekends, work in the garden and read a variety of books. We go
camping regularly, without any make-up or luxuries. I love rowing in my Kayak
where I find myself and re-connect with my Saviour on the water.
–   I.C.E.
African women are the strongest in the
world! Against all the odds they have to endure and survive on a daily basis,
they stay loving, caring and nurturing. They stand together, no matter their
different cultures and they never stop trying to create a better live for
themselves and their children, sometimes under the worst thinkable situations.
I have met and know phenomenal women who can, with the right support become
change agents and leaders in their communities. I always say if women had ruled
the world, we wouldn’t have had any wars, maybe a couple of countries not
talking to each other, but we would have had a prosperous, caring world with
little violence. My greatest privilege was to represent the colourful, vibrant,
strong and courageous African woman twice internationally.
I am passionate to uplift and educate
women in Africa. I believe that once a woman is financially independent, she
doesn’t have to stay in her unbearable circumstances and she can become a force
to be reckoned with, taking good care of herself, her children and her
community. Being a business woman myself, I would love to get involved to
assist African women to become successful entrepreneurs.
Stop underestimating yourself! You are
stronger and more clever than you think, you are more beautiful than you see
yourself, and you were uniquely created by God and He wants the best for you.
But it is up to you to make the best of yourself. Use your resources, never
stop learning, seek help to rid you of your painful past and reach out with a
positive attitude to your amazing future that awaits you. But remember, YOU
must do the possible, and then God will do the impossible.