Zanele Mutepfa is a speaker, women activist, media specialist, philanthropist and a sponsored ambassador of sporting goods brand, adidas. Zanele believes in the power of the media to affect positive change in peoples’ lives. A senior at Portland State University, she is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a focus on media and Black studies and a minor in Business. Zanele intends to pursue a career as on air talent that utilizes the platform to improve the way the media depicts women and children to promote personal dignity, intelligence and global awareness.
Zanele was born in Zimbabwe, Africa and immigrated to the United States in year 2000. As a child, Zanele she grew up with a widowed mother along with three older siblings. At eleven years old, she lost her mother to heart failure. The loss of both parents at a young age, engraved a compassion for people in her heart. Dr. Paul and Maiya Thomas of Portland, Oregon adopted Zanele and her siblings. This gracious couple was no stranger to her, for Paul’s parents were missionaries who adopted Zanele’s mother after her parent passed away in the 1970’s. Zanele was then raised in a family with six brothers and four sisters, totaling eleven children of every shade, culture, size and style. Her multicultural family taught Zanele the value of unconditional love and the beauty of every human race.
The clear distinction in Zanele is her resilient spirit and dedication to build community. Zanele has facilitated community-building events, presented social unifying proposals to business executives, as well as led programs that promote high education for youth and empowerment for young women. Her experience as an immigrant, an orphan, and daughter of a single mother, brewed the passion for women, youth and education.
In the past, Zanele was a guest speaker on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Think Out Loud” show, to discuss the challenges of young women in the 21st Century. Zanele was requested by the Portland Trail Blazers to write an article about their sponsored event hosted by Reaching and Empowering All People (REAP) Inc., to inform students about the value of good education; her article was featured on NBA Cares. As a well known ambassador of her city, Zanele served as princess of the Portland Rose Festival in 2010, a selection out of multitudes of the most powerful and elite young women of Portland, Oregon, to spread service to all mankind, citywide.
Zanele is currently the founder and director of “Empowering Sisterhood”, a program at Portland State University. Its mission is to unite the gap between African and African American women by sharing backgrounds, resources and academic support. She is also President of the Pi Sigma chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., a mentor leader, host of the REAP Inc. TV Show and an occasional profiles reporter for PSU.tv. Zanele has completed internships at adidas America, Sesame Workshop and CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.
With fascination of the media industry and the understanding of its influence, Zanele aspires to become a TV host of a show that alters and enhances the way women and youth reflect themselves in the media. She hopes such a show will promote self dignity, academic intelligence, global awareness and of course- fashion! She dreams to be an individual that reaches every woman, every human, and every being that believes that everyone has a story. How it is amplified is the creator of every difference.