If you missed the last time we sat down with Sinikiwe Dhliwayo, be sure to check out our last interview with her where we discussed all things Naaya and importance of mental health for the young BIPOC community.

What is Ilanga and what inspired you to want to start it?

Ilanga is Naaya’s forthcoming platform and app dedicated to physical well-being. The word Ilanga is Ndebele for the sun. My desire is that moving your body can feel as good as being in the sun. I wanted to create this platform to center access, equity, and joy into physical well-being.

What are you most excited about with this new venture?

I am elated to build a product that builds on the work of Naaya. For three years I have worked on building a community and providing resources and programming for people with a similar experience to be mentally, physically, and spiritually well. Ilanga will allow me to further center the needs of the community into a product with their needs at the forefront

What has been the most challenging part of creating a new app and expanding upon Naaya?

In the summer of 2020 amidst a racial reckoning companies pledged their support of BLM. By “supporting” their Black employees and to some extent Black owned businesses. What actually resulted was a temporary moment of support fueled by guilt. Two years later support has dwindled and sate sanctioned violence against Black folks occurs on a regular basis.

This lack of support is abundantly evident in the realm of access to capital. In 2021 female founders raised 2% of venture capital in the US. Black female founders raised a meager .43% of VC funding. This has been a frustrating reality for Naaya. As demand for our offerings has been stifled by a lack of Access to Capital. Which is why we sought out crowdfunding as a vehicle to resource ourselves financially.

What do you hope to achieve with the launch and growth of Ilanga?

Naaya means Heal and Ilanga is a means to focus on physical healing. How glorious will it be to shift way from the harmful narrative of diet culture. Which proclaims that if your body doesn’t fit within it then there is a problem. Whereas Ilanga Hopes to shift the paradigm to moving your body should feel good. Who wouldn’t want to partake in movement when the outcome is to feel good vs changing yourself to fit an “ideal.”

How are you staying grounded and taking care of yourself with all that you have going on between both Naaya and Ilanga?

Taking less calls has been a godsend. Coming from a Corporate background I noticed how inclined folks are to “want to get on a call.” Mind you this desire in my experience came prior to providing any insight on what they project or collaboration is. I have become a big proponent of asking for details at the upfront. This allows me to decipher if the project is in alignment with my values. On the opposite end I like providing folks with all of the necessary information. So that they can also make an informed decision if working with me is in alignment with what they are looking for.

Interested in connecting with Sinikiwe and learning more about Naaya? We've got you covered!

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naayawellness.com

@naaya.wellness

@sinikiwe.stephanie

Learn about Illanga: https://www.videoask.com/fdvbgb0kf

https://youtu.be/xR0X--cnLRo