PEOPLE in this country are very judgmental and didn’t believe in me but I believed in myself, says socialite and entrepreneur Iris Kaingu. Addressing the media following her newly opened Meno A Ngweshi Resort on the banks of the Zambezi River in Sesheke district, Iris said it had not been easy to turn from her infamous sex video in 2011 to what she has become now.
Eight years ago, Iris was arrested and fined after the video involving her and a fellow student at the Zambia College of Accountancy Studies went viral. She was subsequently expelled from ZCAS and went to pursue her studies abroad.
Yesterday she said her journey to be a young entrepreneur has not been an easy one. Iris thanked God and her family for the support.
“I can only say to Zambians and beyond that it has not been an easy journey. People in this country are very judgmental but that’s okay because we exist in a society and really can’t shut people off. For me it has been my family and God; family and God have been so supportive. One thing I need to tell people is that don’t care what people say about you at all because you never know where somebody is giving you advice from. It could be because they have had a rough day and, or they don’t like you or they think that you are too dark…they are so petty so when they give you advice it’s not entirely positive advice. I am not saying don’t adhere to their advice but I am saying make your own decisions. It’s your life at the end of the day and you will be judged for your own life,” Iris said.
“I can’t come to you and say I don’t like what you are wearing. It’s so unfair so I would encourage people to be their own person, find yourself, find your inner peace and find what it is that God has purposed you to do here on earth and you will never look back.”
She said her journey as an entrepreneur came suddenly as she did not know she would be one.
Iris said she was thrown into the idea of being an entrepreneur having been a philanthropist.
She recounted how, because of her past, a television appearance was thrown out following a successful shoot.
“I am a big philanthropist so I thought I was definitely going to go into charity work but having worked for DStv and Zambezi Magic, we did the whole show 13 episodes and someone at the top of management said that they couldn’t air my show because of how much controversy I create. So in as much as they managed to film this project, put it together and edit it, they didn’t show it,” Iris narrated.
“So in my heart I was so heartbroken and I thought this is a family friendly show but they just hate me for not wanting to broadcast it. After they paid me, I said this is an opportunity. My father had already pre-invested before me so it’s not that I just went and started it from scratch, I started developing his idea. That unfortunate situation where they said I couldn’t be on your TV screens because of personal vendettas made me decide that I want to do my own thing. They didn’t believe in me but I believed in myself, my family believed in me and my siblings and my education to back me up. I took the money and my education and here I am.”
Acknowledging that she was controversial, Iris said she had chosen to make headways regardless of what happened to her in the past.
She said she was what she is today because of the “unfortunate incident” of 2011.
“I am obviously controversial,” said Iris with a laugh.
“Why I am controversial is that people don’t understand that I just live my own life without caring that someone is uncomfortable with the way I choose to lead my life. I think I can interact well with people and if someone decides they will judge me based on what they feel about me, that’s okay. I have decided that…. now people love me, they have gone from hating to me to loving me. Honestly the reason I am anything at all, the reason I am relevant, the reason you are sitting here with me today is because of that unfortunate incident but look at where we are…here we are talking about something different and we don’t even talk about that any more. It’s a story of me as a person transforming my own life.”