I must get this down before my reason goes. There is not much time. And, there never will.
The keyboard is slippery and my fingers are sweating profusely.
My tired eyes are rolling in disbelief, turning to the silver witch-bowl hanging by my window.
It is a strange thing: that witch-bowl it fascinates me not, but still, I bought it. I purchased it, not because I wanted to, but because someone cleverer, and smarter convinced me to buy what I wanted not.
But this story has nothing to do with the person we are profiling today, neither the witch-bowl stated herein- nor is it about my weary eyes.
Perhaps, the only connection is that the person who pushed me to willfully like something I didn’t want is a marketing and sales wizard who knew how to dispense of a shadowy pan, with, ahem, just a pun!
And, so, is the mystery – or mastery, of the man answering to the name Maurice Newa.
Marketers are the cleverest lot. They are witty, gutsy, calculative and convincing. Haven’t they sold iceblocks to an Inuit?
This is a life story about one of our own, a professional maestro, a corporate world great, an international marketing, public and corporate relations guru and a management expert at par with the best in any global central business districts.
If you are old enough and have lived in Malawi the larger part of your adult life, then there is a good chance that Maurice’s rings a bell and a familiar fixture.
If not, you have come face to face, or brushed shoulders with his work.
There is no escape.
After all, he is Maurice Newa. The Maurice Newa.
Maurice Newa, if truth be told, is the godfather of marketing in Malawi. He made the profession attractive. There was a time in Malawi where and when everybody, wanted to be a marketer regardless of what discipline they read in college or University.
He is a professional goldmine. And a fine gentleman.
In his prime time, almost everyone graduating from university with any other degree save for medicine, law and engineering joined marketing, sales and management all because of Maurice Newa.
The maverick Maurice Newa made a lot of people smoke Benson and Hedges, drink Carlsberg, use Lifebuoy for a bath and subscribe to airtel through his professional charms od selling and sales management.
Ironically, all the notable big names that sprung out in the corporate world, especially marketing gurus at that time including the incumbent vice President Saulos Chilima, Wilkins Mijiga, Khwesi Msusa, Ralph Kamoto, Rachel Mijiga, Darlington Ndasauka, Fredrick Changaya and Chris Sukasuka.,
Some more other familiar names include, Ralph Mhone, Stanley Mkwamba, Wilma Chalulu, Chipiliro Katundu, Alfred Chalira, Dan Tambala, Suzgo Ngwira and Isabel Maziya – Tembo among the very many others – who were directly or indirectly influenced by Maurice Newa’s brilliance.
Wherever he went, everyone followed him. From Unilever to Candlex; from BAT to Carlsberg; and, from Cocacola to Celtel Malawi, he was followed.
‘The Professional Maestro’
In April 2021, news filtered through and cascaded across social media platforms that one of Malawi’s premier business executive exports and career expatriate had picked up a prestigious role with a global payments’ platform service provider, VISA, as Managing Director for Southern Africa effective March 2021.
This was vintage Maurice Newa, whose journey in the club of global corporate leadership is replete with a stellar constellation of epic levels of achievements.
In March 2021, he joined the VISA Sub Saharan Africa management team hot and fresh from Vaya Technologies Limited, an Econet Group subsidiary, where he served as Chief Executive Officer.
In coming into the role of Managing Director for VISA Southern Africa, Maurice Newa brought to VISA over twenty-five years in regional and global roles spanning across a broad spectrum of strategic roles including board membership, general management, business strategy, innovation, product development, marketing, sales, and brand management: having worked across the breadth and depth of leading corporations in telecommunications and FMCGs (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) industries.
Maurice Newa is a cream and a star that shines brighter. Mgolosi, Nkhwantha or Katswiri, if you want, munthu mulara.
He is a world class marketer and a management guru that Malawi must embrace as a national icon on the international stage.
The man is a connoisseur of sorts and a driver of professional ambition – one that does not do things in half measures. Only full-throttle.
Maurice, who looks just as ordinary as the average guy next door is dangerously witty, resolute and focused in every sense is dangerous and deceiving.
He is handsome, fair-skinned but that is not what defines him. He is a professional beast. He gets things done and by his standards – which are way above too high.
Newa is a legend and an unsung hero, who must be given his flowers while his sun still shines.
He is a great inspiration for those who aspire to be great – a go-getter, who neither stops to push to reach for the stars nor be satisfied with success at hand
Maurice Newa’s career started in earnest at Lever Brothers, a Unilever operation in Malawi, in the early 1990s straight from Chancellor College , then a constituent college of the University of Malawi, where he obtained a Bachelor of Social Sciences majoring in Economics.
He proceeded to Malawi College of Accountancy to obtain a Diploma in Accountancy to get a grounding in the languages of business numbers and matrices; as well as a conversion course in Marketing that propelled him into a role in marketing with Unilever, which was the cradle of what has over the years become a sterling career path taking him around the globe as a modern corporate multinational executive.
Maurice, a consummate marketer at heart, is a Fellow of the Institute of Marketing, an alumnus of INSEAD, London Business School and Harvard Business School in leadership, strategy development and management.
He has a solid and robust track record of achievements in the digital financial services, telecommunications, beverages, recreational (cigarettes), beauty and personal care industries innovating new products, rejuvenating, and livening tired and sagging brands and in the process growing and turning around businesses.
Maurice, carved his reputation as an innovative energizer of brands, quite fresh at Lever Brothers in the mid-1990s when he was at the centre of the re-introduction of the Miss Malawi beauty pageant through the Lux soap brand.
For Lifebuoy, the more mass-market personal wash brand, Maurice had the Lifebuoy Super League Sponsorship initiative to bolster the fortunes of the brand.
Newa moved on to British American Tobacco (BAT) in its peak days in the late 1990s in the period before the peak of anti-smoking lobby and there he energized the Benson and Hedges Cigarette brand with the Turn to Gold Campaign that introduce Beach Parties along the pristine shores of Lake Malawi – for the first time in 1998.
The brand rejigging energy of Maurice Newa were on display and at work at Carlsberg – Coca Cola in Southern Bottlers Malawi when in the early 2000 he built a vibrant marketing team that made Carlsberg brands spring to life with a gusto that fended off the heavy competition from South African beer imports, mostly from the global beer supremo SAB (South African breweries), perceived at the time as premium to local brands.
That team went on to create a myriad of unprecedented innovative initiatives including the Carlsberg Cup that had razzmatazz at a level never seen before in Malawi including aerial convoys of army helicopters to chaperon the Cup at the finals, the Carlsberg Beer Festivals (Street Bashes), the Carlsberg Beach Bashes, the Carlsberg Music Jams and the Carlsberg Miss University Beauty Pageants.
The Carlsberg brand itself was totally overhauled and given a fresher, younger hip and happening attitude to make it attractive and the pride of the middle class.
The innovations at Carlsberg were buttressed by the introduction of KucheKuche, a clear beer brand that was tactically introduced to capture the Carlsberg beer consumers that were pressured to downgrade to opaque beer due to tightening economic circumstances of the time.
In the soft drink’s arena, Maurice Newa pushed for initiatives to make the Sprite brand appeal to the youth with a cool label through the Sprite Basketball sponsorship campaign.
With all the brand energizing initiatives and momentum that Maurice expended on Carlsberg and Coca Cola and related products with Southern Bottlers, it was not long before he was translocated from Southern Bottlers in Malawi to Coca Cola in Johannesburg, RSA and in the process setting in eternal motion Maurice Newa’s era of globe-trotting as a corporate executive.
From Coca Cola in RSA, Maurice moved to Celtel and was first stationed in the Netherlands, the then Headquarters before moving to Kenya heading up the commercial strategy business unit before moving on to Safaricom in Kenya and then on to Airtel in Kenya.
Then, he journeyed to Namibia Telecoms where he was Chief Commercial Officer, then to Airtel in Nigeria, and back with Airtel in Malawi.
Newa then then moved on to Econet Wireless, where he worked for a good part of five years until early 2021.
Maurice Newa being the Maurice Newa that he is, then made a yet another calculated move and move strategically moved to VISA where he is presently prying his professional trade.
Besides, his larger-than-life professional brilliance and high-profile stature, Maurice Newa is a normal human being.
He is an avid and fun-loving personality that plays, just as he work hard. He is a complete teetotaller.
The Maurice Newa parties with the hommies like a brother who partakes, yet without indulging. He does not forget a friend, and those who know him can attest.
Newa is a person of consummate faith in his religion as a Christian and has had a long history of senior and strategic roles in his church.
He is widowed by his late beautiful wife Linda who sadly went to be with the Lord in September 2020, leaving behind two boys and one girl.
Maurice Newa is a witty and an odd-out charming character. He has an infectious smile but more importantly, very reserved and yet very humble. He is a people’s person.
The Maurice Newa is not just a brainy professional, he is also endowed with a natural talent and a funny man.
He was an avid and fine performing artist, both in college and in the early days of post-college, when he used to perform theatre with Malawi’s most decorated and greatest playwright, actor, director and dramatist of All times, the late Du Chisiza Junior of Wakhumbata Ensemble Theatre.
Newa acted on higher level but also played basketball.
During his time in university, Newa was not only a brilliant student academically, he was also a top-notch stand-up comedian in university.
Maurice Newa just has immense energies all round.
Here is an international market and management guru basking in international glory of professionalism, and yet our beautiful but impoverished country, Malawi is struggling to market itself to both, local and international tourists, as well as failing to attract global investors in trade and industry.
Why can’t we engage the great son of the soil, Maurice Newa to tap on his expertise and marketing talents?
Maurice Newa is a cream and a national treasure and our professional export extraordinaire.
Let us all rise and give it all up for Sir. Maurice Newa.
Here is Maurice Newa’s best and favourite quote.
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln.
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