Women’s Month Feature: Tsitsi Enyonam Dzvukamanja
12 August 2021 Get Inspired

Women’s Month Feature: Tsitsi Enyonam Dzvukamanja

For Women’s Month this year, we’ve had the pleasure to chat with an amazing, powerful woman... Read more...

For Women’s Month this year, we’ve had the pleasure to chat with an amazing, powerful woman who lives by the scripture in the book of 2 Corinthians 12:9 - But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you’

For twelve years, this powerhouse woman managed her own Practice, TEDA, until recently when she joined Studio Arts Inc Registered Architects as a senior Architect and Associate. Prior to this she had the opportunity to work in other established firms like Fleet Utria Architecture, Architects Partnership, Clinton and Evans and Pearce Partnership, now Pearce McComish Tarabuku.

Meet Tsitsi Enyonam Dzvukamanja, a registered Architect and the current President of the Institute of Architects of Zimbabwe (IAZ). Tsitsi is a Trustee for the Zimbabwe Built Environment Trust and serves on the board of the Zimbabwe Construction Industry Association (ZCIA) as well as the Women’s University in Africa Council (WUA). She is also an external examiner for the Bachelor of Architecture Studies Degree at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Zimbabwe.

Among the several key projects that she designed, the Church and Community Centre for the Methodist Church of Zimbabwe, Borrowdale Community, has been one of the highlights of her career. This was one of the few projects where Tsitsi was given the liberty to dream and express herself architecturally. Like all Church buildings, this is an ongoing project. Built into a sloping site, the heart of this, 4,591.38m2, triple storey building is its 2,000-seater Church Auditorium. The Auditorium is complemented by Conference rooms, a Restaurant, a Bookshop, Contemplation Rooms, Offices, a Creche, Parking, sporting facilities and Caretaker’s accommodation.

“Having been in the industry for over 16 years, my success has been through sheer hard work, determination, and perseverance. There were times I would want to give up, but I would always remember my parents’ encouraging words, “…the sky is the limit. You can do anything you put your mind to”, says Tsitsi.

Tsitsi expresses how it has not been an easy journey especially as a woman in the design and architectural space since the society is patriarchal and the industry is still very male dominated. She explains how women are expected to work harder than male counterparts. She further unpacks how architects receive commissions through networking and from being known. Culturally, women are restricted to acceptable social circles, where decision making, and the allocation of work does not occur. This limits the amount and the type of projects women in the industry are commissioned to do. Until, a time that the status quo changes, Tsitsi has tried to overcome these challenges by depending on women networks and referrals.

Born in Accra, Ghana and raised in Zimbabwe, Tsitsi’s journey in life began over 4 decades ago, when she was born to her Zimbabwean father, Albert, and a Ghanaian mother, Philothea.

Today, she is wife to David Chifamba and a mother to four beautiful children David (Junior), Ashley, Christine, and Michael. Tsitsi is the eldest of four siblings, she is followed by her younger sister Tembiwe and her two younger brothers Kwaku and Setonam. 

Her childhood was full of fond memories of family life. Tsitsi’s heart beams as she recalls how her parents always strived to provide the best life possible for her and her siblings, sending them to the best schools possible. Tsitsi completed primary school education at Hallingbury School, she then went to Arundel School for her secondary education and attended the University of Cape Town, South Africa where she obtained a Bachelor of Architecture Degree. Her experiences on campus, the city and its rich history has contributed largely to her design style of contemporary architecture. 

In addition to the knowledge and skills acquired from her academics and experiences, she has also been inspired and influenced by some prominent names and reputable brands in the architectural and design sector.

Below is a list of people Tsitsi continues to draw inspiration from:

  1. Zaha Hadid the queen of curves, 
  2. Diebedo Francis Kere for his contemporary, afro-futurist style, 
  3. Frank Lloyd Wright for his organic architecture, 
  4. Santiago Calatrava because of the sense of movement that he manages to capture in a stationary object, 
  5. Ken Yeang for his bioclimatic towers, 
  6. Norman Foster for his High-Tech, Sustainable Design, and 
  7. Le Corbusier for his modernist style of architecture: pilotis, free façade, open floor plan, open views, and roof garden.

Tsitsi is also passionate about Green Architecture, a philosophy of architecture that advocates sustainable and renewable energy sources, the conservation of energy, the reuse and safety of building materials and the sitting of a building with consideration of its impact on the environment. As a staunch advocate for increasing design quality in Zimbabwe’s housing market, Tsitsi would like to see more developments embracing the Green Architecture philosophy.

Apart from Architecture, Tsitsi enjoys spending time with her family, engaging in sporting activities like athletics, hockey, basketball, netball and has recently started playing golf. Tsitsi loves arts and crafts, keeping abreast with current affairs, travelling and meeting people as well as reading, or going to the movies and catching up on some television.

Tsitsi’s dream is to see more females in the architecture and design industry. She wants women aspiring to become architects to remain passionate and motivated.