For me, it’s beyond being in entertainment; it is about building one of the leading industries in Africa today. I hope to see the African music industry grow, and I want the industry to be developed to a place where we have institutions within it and our artists can flourish and have platforms and opportunities. That feeling of seeing someone go from zero to becoming a star is very fulfilling.”
Rima Tahini ’10 from Sierra Leone is Director of Artists & Repertoire at Mavin Global, and Senior Advisor at Kupanda Capital. Combining a career in Finance with a passion for entertainment and lifestyle, Rima is uniquely positioned to lead the transformation of Africa’s arts and entertainment industry by identifying, grooming and managing pan-African musical talent through one of Africa’s leading entertainment companies.
Rima was born in Sierra Leone to a Lebanese father and a Sierra Leonean mother just a few years before the Civil War that engulfed the country, leaving many livelihoods decimated. Her family was forced to escape to Guinea, living as refugees. During this time, her father lost his business – a successful fabric manufacturing company – resulting in financial hardships for the family. Once her family was able to move back to Sierra Leone, she immersed herself in her education, finding in it a safe haven from the tensions in her country and her family.
Through these hardships, Rima always admired her mother’s resilience and strength, despite having never received a formal education and resorting to earning an income by making and selling tie-dye and other crafts. These memories coupled with her passion for education and hard work instilled in her an appreciation for the arts. Consistently performing at the top of her class, Rima learned about African Leadership Academy when she was nominated by her school for the prestigious opportunity.
Entrepreneurship at ALA
Her first year at ALA proved to be quite a challenge academically. Like many students at ALA, Rima was used to excelling in her academics in her previous school, but found the pace of learning very different at the Academy. Having learned English as her fourth language, she found herself on the back-foot in her more rigorous courses. At the start of her second year, she decided to shift focus away from deriving her self-worth from her grades and immersed herself completely in her learning. Through her experience heading a student enterprise, Suite 1050 (the on-campus salon), she found renewed purpose in her personal journey, for which she earned vindication when she won the esteemed Allan Gray Gold Prize for Excellence in Entrepreneurship. From there, she enrolled at Brandeis University in Massachusetts where she studied Business and Economics, graduating summa cum laude with honours.
Defining a Career
Through the ALA network, Rima was able to string together a series of successful internships in the Finance and Energy industries throughout her time at college, including at Symbion Power, Endeavor Energy and Tata Africa Holdings. Through all these experiences, Rima retained a strong presence in the fashion and lifestyle industry, designing and showcasing outfits on college campuses and building a strong fashion portfolio. It was also through ALA that she was introduced to Kupanda Capital, a private equity investment firm that capitalizes and scales business on the African continent. Rising through the ranks, Rima moved to Lagos, Nigeria helping to open up the company’s office there and to orchestrate a multi-million dollar investment in one of Africa’s leading entertainment companies, Mavin Global.
Director of A&R, Mavin Global
Rima is currently the Director of A&R (Artists &Repertoire) for Mavin Global and Senior Advisor at Kupanda Capital. Mavin Global is widely recognized as one of Africa’s leading entertainment companies, founded by legendary Afrobeats producer, Don Jazzy, in 2012. Mavin Records has produced some of the most memorable classic tunes and artists from across the continent over the past decade. In her role, Rima is responsible for managing and maintaining the output from all artists under the label, including music videos, performances and merchandise.
Impact through the Entertainment Industry
Rima sees her role in the entertainment industry as a platform to transform the industry by positioning its artists for increased impact far beyond the shores of the continent. With the world paying attention to Afrobeats again, Rima is uniquely positioned to support the growth of young African artists, and enabling them to thrive in the music industry. She sees her role as part of an ongoing cultural shift in Africa through which she envisions fully-fledged institutions within the entertainment industry, taking African stories to every corner of the world.