Roni Edwards

A dance practitioner by trade, Roni Edwards is also the founder and director of Pamodzi Creatives, a community interest company (CIC). Founded in 2018, Pamodzi’s aims are to  celebrate inspirational local stories and to collaborate with creatives to challenge, affirm and inspire communities.

Roni has participated with the AWE project by taking part in research interviews in the early stages.

Describing her journey through entrepreneurship as being both “non-linear,” and “trial and error,” it began with a need for income when she faced redundancy whilst pregnant.

“Finding employment under those circumstances was close to impossible, no one was going to hire me as my bump grew bigger and bigger.”

With an academic background in Politics and International Relationships, Roni found herself trying to find ways to creatively challenge social injustices whilst simultaneously celebrating those in the community facing those challenges head on.

“It came from a need to, as an artist, reflect on what was going on socially. It was a marrying of my passion for dance and the arts and needing to have something substantial to say.”

Roni and the Pamodzi Creatives team has run the Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Awards for 5 years in a row, giving local women a platform to be recognised and celebrated for the fabulous work they do within the community. More than just an awards show, it has become a year-long program of collaborative storytelling projects exploring specific themes such as mental health.

“I feel really strongly that you can’t be inspirational in a vacuum. You’re inspirational because somebody in your community has watched you breathe life into something.”

For Roni, it is an expression of the African term of “Ubuntu,” often translated as meaning “I am because we are.” Ubuntu can be seen in the way she has learnt to trust and have faith in the team that surrounds and supports her in her work and vision.

“I wasn’t very good at asking for help. If I was to go back and give myself advice, I would say to really think about who you have in your tribe, and trust them enough to just it hand over.”

Having recently received the Shaping Portsmouth 2023 CEO’s Award in recognition of her substantial work in the Portsmouth community, Roni continues to work tirelessly to recognise inspirational women, and to provide opportunities to work on collaborative social action projects.

Case Study produced by Sass Adams for the AWE programme.