Nakakawa turns her passion into business

Her motivation for African jewellery lies in bringing out the best Africa has to offer in terms of creativity.

Tuesday January 14 2014

Nakakawa showcases some of the jewellery she makes

Nakakawa showcases some of the jewellery she makes. Photo by Edgar R. Batte 


Aliya Nakakawa is the Managing Director of AliSumSha Jewellery Makers which she started on July 10, 2011.

“I started with only 7,000 Ugandan Shillings, which was balance from a shopping trip to the supermarket that my mum had sent me to,” she says.

This was in 2011 and she was working with one of the telecoms in town. Together with like-minded employees, they formed a youth group called ‘The Young Rich and Famous’, which was more of a motivational speakers’ forum.

“We used to meet every Saturday to discuss new ideas on how we could change our lives and how we can be job creators and not job seekers. Our group targeted the youth from several institutions of higher learning, and we told friends to invite friends,” she narrates.

After a while, through these meetings, Nakakawa felt her inner self tickled as she explains. “There was no way you could leave without introducing the inner you, or what you were capable of doing. There was a lot of talking, interactions, and networking after the meetings. I kept asking myself what I could do until I realized I could make jewellery.”

Today Nakakawa makes handmade African jewellery plus necklaces, earrings, bungles, anklets, and belts. She is also into fashion and she has added clothes to the list of things she does.

“I have a very creative mind. I make things from papers, mineral water bottles, bark cloth, sea/cowry shells and normal beads,” the artistic entrepreneur explains.


Nakakawa’s defining day in business came when she sent jewellery and clothes to United Kingdom. In the process of making these items she was full of joy and excitement.

“It felt so nice that people around the world are in love with what I do and that people can afford not to buy from UK shops, but buy from me,” she says, with an achiever’s smile.

This was her turning point as an ambitious jewellery-maker and fashionista. As she shares her story, it is evident that this 24-year-old is hungry for success.
From this work she earned Shs800, 000. On average she will earn up to Shs150, 000 for items she makes, be it jewellery or clothes. Yes she still maintains her day job at Pearl Capital Partners (PCP Uganda).

“I want to pursue my passion broadly. I have a great passion for fashion, and currently, I am taking a short course in Fashion Designing and Tailoring at Latif Academy Talent School owned by Latif Madoi of Latif Designs,” she says as she goes about creatively weaving beads, threads and small metallic material.
Nakakawa branched out of what she studied to do something that she loves and is proud to earn from. She is a graduate with bachelor’s degree in education, majoring in both Literature and English.


“Every day is a learning day. Customers also teach me something, particularly those who want specific jewellery or designs. People are different so I have also learnt how to handle different kinds of people, and to be patient,” the 24-year-old entrepreneur explains.

Nakakawa says she is inspired by her mother who is very hard working. “I look up to her in everything I do. I take her footsteps. She never fails in anything, so I must never fail.”

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