Tausi Likokola: Celebrating milestone victories at 50

Saturday May 21 2022
Tausi
By Salome Gregory

Her name has represented Tanzania in  in the modelling industry globally. She is so many things wrapped into one -  a mother of two, a business woman, an author, activist, TV personality, a goodwill ambassador who supports the development of the girl child, an international model and the list goes on.

50-year-old Tausi Likokola started her modelling career while abroad where she had gone for her studies. Earlier this month, she celebrated her fiftieth birthday. As part of her birthday celebration she travelled back to Tanzania and had a nine-day tour to film a lifestyle documentary showcasing coffee, wildlife, beach and charity.

How it all started

Being asked on how she has managed to grace stages of international shows and showcased some of the most renowned labels such as Christian Dior, Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, Escada and Issey Miyake amongst others, she says, “It all started when I went to Germany for further studies.”

She says, the definition of beauty abroad is quite different compared to Tanzania. Majority of people told her she fits best in modelling and they liked her body, unlike here where she was being criticized most of the time.

Her relationship with God

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Her humble background of being raised by her grandmother after her mother died allowed her to help her grandmother with their restaurant business and this went along with having a good relationship with God. At sixteen, she was given a bible by her neighbour who also taught her about Jesus.

“I was reading the bible and I was able to challenge our neighbour through what she was telling me about being a sinner. With my bible knowledge, I found myself more attached to faith and maintained good relationship with God,” she says.

She initially started her studies in Finland where she went for a Telecommunication Engineering course and for the duration of two years, she looked for a church there even though she did not understand Finish. A year later, she went to Germany to pursue a Masters in Business Administration for four years and this was when her modelling began.

“I was spotted by scouts in the street. I am glad I made it clear that I will never take photos which are against my faith. Some people in the industry said it will be difficult for her excel with such restrictions but I thank God because here I am,” says.

She says, her faith has helped her steer clear of contracts that required a model to leave most of her body uncovered which would have been in contrast to her faith.

Lifestyle documentary

Sharing her career journey with Woman she says, the lifestyle documentary is part of her strategy to keep putting Tanzania on the international radar to attract tourism, provide opportunities for investors as well as supporting the girl child’s education.

“Over the years I have been doing a lot of things in effort to support the wellbeing of my community. I am happy that I am able to mark to 50 years of my life with this lifestyle documentary that has allowed me to meet different people and shoot different places,” says Tausi.

She currently lives in the United States of America but recently stayed in Tanzania for nine days. The documentary took place in Moshi, Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Iringa and Zanzibar.

Commenting on her documentary she says, despite having very limited time in Tanzania, she is glad she was able to finish her documentary and she has already received a one-hour documentary, a one-minute trailer and a three-minute trailer.

“I am happy with the development of the documentary and as we speak, I have returned the one hour documentary to the producers to put work on my inputs. I am working on getting a channel that will air the documentary here in the USA as well as in Tanzania,” says Likokola.

Adding to that, she says coffee distribution is her new business and she did a coffee tasting over the last Christmas with her friends and relatives living in the USA. The coffee business will be among her many businesses, including beauty and lifestyle products under Tausi Dreams Limited.

Mentoring girls

Despite her being a jack-of-all-trades, her passion lies majorly in pushing the girl empowerment agenda beyond its limits. Growing up in an environment where the majority wanted her to be someone else because of her body size, she became keen on mentoring girls to accept themselves as they are, regardless of the comments people will throw their way.

“Growing up in a society where people wanted me to have a bit of flesh because my body was different gave me a hard time. I also wanted to put on some more flesh but my body never responded. I know how it feels when people want you to be someone else. That is how I developed interest in mentoring girls on different aspects of life,” says Tausi. As part of her documentary, the trip also included a visit to Sega Girls Secondary School located Dodoma. She visits different schools and mentors girls whenever she visits Tanzania.

As part of her birthday gift, she is working on finishing her care package which includes sanitary pads and soap for 280 students at Sega Girls School.

However, her mentoring relationship isn’t restricted to physical meeting with the girls. Tausi does keep her lines of communication open at all times and the girls can still reach her whenever they need her.

The joys of her life

“In the early 2000s, with my then German registered NGO Tausi Aids Fund, we worked with local NGOs like WAMATA Tanzania and others. We also worked with NGOs in Namibia which focused on Aids education and we reached over 50,000 orphans,” Tausi explains.

“I moved out of Germany to Japan in 2004 and absolved the NGO since I wasn’t in the country to operate and legally ended its existence there.”

“However, I continued making donations and helping orphanages, schools and causes that needed help at a particular time. In Particular, I made donations to my school, Jangwani, and also helped people with albinism. Charity is my mission and I hope to continue helping,” she adds.

She has written four books so far. The books are titled: The Touch of An Angel, The African Princess, The Art Of Beauty And Health and Beautiful You. Lessons Learned at 50 will be her fifth book.

She says being able to write despite her busy schedule goes along with her desire to share her stories. The Touch Of An Angel is a good example because she narrates her personal story after she lost her first born named Amani while in Japan in 2005. Of Beautiful You, she says the book aims to encourage teenagers, both boys and girls, to unleash their full potential. “In the case that I get questions from those interested in the modelling industry, I do take the time to educate them more,” says Tausi.

Parenthood

She calls upon parents to build their children’s confidence as the only way of ensuring they grow up to be happy and are able to identify their potential. As such, Tasusi spends time with her children and they do different activities together. For fun, they play music.