Deborah Nyasha PetersBy Deborah Nyasha Peters|December 22, 2021|8 Minutes|In Risk and Glory, Risk & Glory League

Risk and Glory

"From Africa to Wall Street and back"

In November 2017, the day I returned to Harare from ‘the Global Entrepreneurship Forum’ in Silicon Valley, Robert Mugabe was removed in a coup that was so slow that I saw tanks driving past my car on the street. Even the DJs on the radio were talking about it but after 37 years in power, the thought of Mugabe being deposed seemed so far-fetched that we did not think it was possible until we woke up the next day and it was over.

Like all Zimbabweans, I was ecstatic and hopeful for the future of our country. I was so hopeful in fact that I ran for Harare City Council as an independent in 2018. Independent candidates never win but what I saw in the general election eliminated any hope I had for the country.

I had come back to Zimbabwe, in 2014, after leaving, in 1998, for business school in the US then going onto a long career in finance. I spent several years on Wall Street before being headhunted to South Africa in 2008 to work in project finance to build the country’s power stations.

My next exciting chapter was a move to Nigeria in 2011 to work as a private equity fund manager for a real estate fund in Lagos. I always wanted return home to Zimbabwe, so I made that move at the end of 2013. It came as shock to me that there were no jobs. With an unemployment rate above 90%, every time I interviewed for a job, I did not get it because someone on the inside already had their person lined up for it. It came as a shock to me;I was well connected and for the first time in my career, I could not find work.

Like all Zimbabweans I became a hustler trying different businesses, but for 5 years I survived on rentals from my real estate. Property in Zimbabwe is about the only thing that holds its value. However, the economy kept deteriorating, especially after Zimbabwe reintroduced the Zimbabwean dollar and inflation crept in again. You could see your standard of living and buying power shrinking rapidly. The new government was failing to deliver on its promises to revive the economy. Pretty soon the people started to look back fondly on the Mugabe era.

I was so hopeful in fact that I ran for Harare City Council as an independent in 2018. Independent candidates

Deborah Peters

I never imagined I would move back to America, but I kept my residency as a plan B. In April 2019, I moved to Seattle, figuring that I would get a job easily with one of the many tech employers in the area such as Amazon and Microsoft. It was not easy getting in, so I ended up consulting at a bank, then a tech company that had been purchased by their Chinese competitors.

I loved travel and I am always blogging about it so I decided to train to be a travel agent in January 2020 so that I could offer a full-service travel blog,, specializing in Africa. As I finished training in March 2020, you can guess what happened. I had been getting lots of calls and planning trips to Africa for groups when Covid shut down travel completely. I rushed to South Africa to sort out my house and had to beg to be allowed on a flight back to Seattle. Even my consulting job came to a halt.

The lockdown gave me time to reevaluate my values and plan my next course. I have always been involved in charity work, in some form or another and since my first two degrees are in pharmacy, I wanted to get back into healthcare. I also prefer living on the East Coast, so I reached out to my network and got an assignment in finance at a health nonprofit organization in Washington in July 2020. It gave me the skills to register my own nonprofit: Nyasha Africa, to support healthcare and education in Africa.

Next, I set up my own real estate and Africa business consulting company which is really starting to take off Now. I live right in Downtown DC where I am close to everything. I joined Rotary and won the first grant for the nonprofit. I was organizing social networking events to raise money for the nonprofit but until Omnicron is under control, events are on hold. I come from a real estate investing family; it is my passion. Currently I am a notary public supervising real estate closings in the District of Columbia; the next stage is to become a realtor and then I will start investing. A lot of communities club together and invest, but Zimbabweans are suspicious of each other. I have started a WhatsApp group to build a Zimbabwean community in DC- wish me luck.

"RISK AND GLORY!  (What’s your story?)"

Billionaire Tomorrow launches a new section capturing the sacrifice, spirit and splendour of the African entrepreneur.

This is a section written by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Each piece is a snapshot in the struggles and triumphs of those who swim against the tide to risk their own money for uncertain reward. The thoughts of an entrepreneur who fights his, or her, way past the naysayers, sceptics and reluctant lenders to stake their claim.

The way to reward and glory? All too often, this is a rocky road, fringed with thorns, with slithering snakes in the shady undergrowth.

You can earn from telling these stories too. If you write for Risk and Glory you get a chance to earn our new token – The Bil. The more people who read your story, the more tokens you earn. Send me 800 words of your story to me at

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Shidan Ragavoodoo (@shidan_ragavoodoo) • Instagram photos and videos_files

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