We would like to thank our supportive benefactors, the KfW German Development Bank and the DG Murray Trust, without whom we would not exist. Special thanks to Kim Barlow, Kay-Dee Mashile, Lulama Mali, Raeez Edwards, Zilungile Zimela, Edith Wasserfall and Claire Stockenstroom who worked tirelessly to compile the book. To Lesedi House, Paul Mabote, Asavela Peko and all the Activators featured in the book, thank you! To the ACTIVATE! Network, thank you for your amazing work. You are all heroes!
All content (stories, illustrations and images) of Heroes is copyrighted by ACTIVATE! Change Drivers and cannot be distributed without permission. ÂŠACTIVATE! Change Drivers
They were Heroes
by Oratile Molale
Shh â€Ś Listen Do you hear that? It whispers so loudly the silence of activity Wait, before you hurl yourself into your sea A hero is taking, you will take, took an odyssey Journeyed through the veins of courage Planted a seed, brave, bombarding with passion Back when it was still odd to see heroes They were young. Active Citizens Packed with Innocence and a guilty sense of consciousness They said volunteer, rather than fear, violence here On these very stones we walk on Are buried bones that talk on, Inspiration The message that slid through the pores of the Transvaal to penetrate the poor in the Vaal Inspired us with their acts of kindness The dust in the wake of robustness The real definition of toughness Rooting out inequality, till it was obsolete They were young. Change drivers That young man down the street with a trolley full of hope A pocket full of gold, hearted intentions The power of good The dark coloured non-conforming little girl That was almost euthanized by brutal lies The brutalized. Scarred, barren barrels of aged wine Deserted carats of unrefined gold Camouflaged in the desert sand Andâ€Ś On one hand, held the future of man They were young People with their tongues hung Lethal with their words, lungs Breathing life to earth, sons And daughters of the land run, beats sounding from their hands sprung These heroes They were young. Active Citizens.
A! Literacy Driving Change with Teaching Matlhwaring Community Development (MCD) Securing a Bright Future Becoming Comassionate Through Service Money Wise or Many Debts 100 Words of Active Citizens Providing Innovative Services Donate a Schoolbag Filled with Hope! Driven by Purpose Tutor in Action The Embodiment for Priceless Change A Future President of South Africa An Unwavering Voice for the Voiceless An Acclaimed Literacy Champion Sharing Knowledge Learning from Children Thrifting for Change Restoring Hope Through Service
15 17 18 20 22 25 27 28 31 33 34 36 38 42 45 47 48 49
A! Health Rehabilitating Hearts A Peer Mentor Using Sports to Serve 100 Words of Active Citizens Changing Minds Through Chess Driven by Service Looking After Mental Health Doing Everything with Love Fired Up to Bring Change Following the Path of Service Support for Young Women
52 54 57 59 61 62 67 68 73 75 76
A! Active Citizenry Out of Adveristy Comes Hope 81 A Love for the Community 83 Leading Youth to the Promised Land 84 Mentoring Young Minds 86 ACD-to-CDCC Progress 89 An Exuberant Champion of Limpopo 91 Activator Scoops International Award in the USA 92 Community Development is My Passion 97 100 Words of Active Citizens 99 A Remedy to Leadership Mediocrity 100 One Step at a Time for Hope 105
106 109 110 113 116 118 121 122
127 128 130 133 135 138 141 143 145 146 148
147 154 156 159 161 162 167 169 170 172 175 177 178 181 182 185 187 190
Activators are a
The development of a positive social force is a principal objective of the ACTIVATE! Network which consists of over 3000 young people. Through collaboration, the young people of the A! Network aim to expand the positive impact they have in the country through pro-social activities.Â
are involved in at least one prosocial activity
are running their own campaigns
are involved in HIV/AIDS initiatives
are running their own NGOâ€™s
are involved in gender-based violence initiatives
Heroes are everyday people, who go through challenges that most of us go through but what sets them apart is their inborn ability to wrestle with the tide and keep rolling with the punches to emerge victorious, every time. The very nature of a hero is in line with attributes that Activators possess, such as honesty, resilience, tact, empathy, thoughtfulness, and sincerity. Activators are everyday heroes because they are foot soldiers coming from all types of communities and backgrounds in South Africa, yet what makes them unique and unified is their ability to build, protect, nurture, lead, create solutions and action steps that are for the public good. Through this book, we hope to shine a light on everyday heroes who go by the name of Activators, who at the core of their heart and soul, are leaders that will stop at nothing to see positive impact.
Guga joined Activate! as he wanted to connect with fellow Activators, sharing ideas, resources, and working together, to inspire one another, from different provinces across South Africa on how they can bring change within their communities.
Aluwani Guga is a twenty-two year old twin, who is passionate about reading, studying, researching, motivating and teaching. He completed a Bachelor of Science (BSC) degree, majoring in Physical Sciences, at the University of Limpopo, Turfloop Campus. After this, he obtained his Honours degree in Physics at the University of Venda (UNIVEN). Currently, Guga is studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, majoring in Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the University of South Africa (UNISA). Guga joined ACTIVATE! as he wanted to connect with fellow Activators, sharing ideas, resources, and working together, to inspire one another, from different provinces across South Africa on how they can bring change within their communities. “I love the saying, a candle does not lose its light by lighting another candle,” he says. “Activate was more or less the same as a candle because it has enlightened me.” Guga has chosen to share his light through education. He is currently a facilitator at Vuvha Tutoring Academy (VTA). “It is a community organisation in Limpopo where we basically motivate High School learners academically, mostly in Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Accounting. It is always sad that our learners often lack the basics or the background of a foundation in mathematics and science. That’s why we started this organisation to lay down a firm and strong foundation.” He is also a member of another foundation called the EMINEN foundation. It aims to empower, inspire, and to encourage other youth within the community as a whole. “Last month during winter, we managed to give fifty pairs of shoes to the learners who were struggling at our local high school within our community,” the big-hearted scholar said.
On how being an Activator impacted him personally, Guga reflects: “I started to know the purpose of my life. What stood out for me was when we were doing the chapter or session on LEMON Leadership, where I discovered that I possess Entrepreneurial Leadership and Luminary Leadership skills.” Guga, further reflecting on his growth of being a change driver, said, “It challenged me as a leader to first deal with myself personally because I cannot look at the speck of sawdust in my brother’s eye and not pay attention to the plank in my own eye.” From here on, this Limpopo citizen’s personal plan is to pursue a Master’s degree in Physics. For his community, Guga wants to ensure that all youth have the opportunity to learn and be educated, and maybe in the future for the community to have a library where everyone will be able to do reading and writing.
It challenged me as a leader to first deal with myself personally because I cannot look at the speck of sawdust in my brother’s eye and not pay attention to the plank in my own eye.
Aluwani Guga Limpopo, Venda INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Aluwani Abraham Guga email@example.com
The MCD team, as well as the community of Matlhwaring are looking to build a library in Suurdig village, which is located at the centre of Matlhwaring, where they will run after school programmes, and hopefully offer internet access for the young people in their community
The MCD team, as well as the community of Matlhwaring, are looking to build a library in Suurdig village, where they will run school programmes, and hopefully offer internet access for the young people in their community.
Inspired to drive change in their community, a group of young people founded Matlhwaring Community Development (MCD), in order to address the problems that they were encountering in their communities. The founding members are the late Kgopiso Letobane, Boikanyo Letobame, Shadrack Gaetshele, Galaletsang Seatile and Activator and MCD Chairperson Baamogeng Hube. The MCD Fund was founded in 2013, in the rural areas surrounding the Joe Morolong Local Municipality in Kuruman. These areas include Galotlhare, Logobate, Mentu, Suurdig and Kortnight, among others. The NPC was envisioned and birthed by the late Activator, Kgopiso Letobane, who passed away in 2015. As it is said, heroes and legends never die as their legacies outlive them. Kgopiso was indeed such a hero, as the MCD Fund continues to live and to multiply his legacy. To date, the organisation has hosted four Career Guidance events which the founders fund from their own pockets, all in an effort to ensure that their dreams to see the young people in their community succeed, are realised. The 4th Annual Matlhwaring Career Guidance event hosted in Kortnight was an absolute success. The MCD team invited a vast array of young professionals from the Joe Morolong area. Of the 80 learners in attendance, three top achieving matriculants will be chosen for a fully funded bursary in Town Planning, Engineering and Medicine, in order to increase the number of graduates in Matlhwaring. These learners have to take a 25 to 40 kilometer bus ride to school every day, and thus cannot attend most, if not all, of the extramural and extracurricular activities offered at school. And that is not all; within the entire area, with over five to ten rural villages, there is neither a library nor a well-functioning Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre that meets the standards set by the Department of Social Development, not to mention internet access. The nearest hospital is at least thirty kilometres away, on a rocky gravel road, and does not always have doctors in attendance. The alternative is to have a clinic which opens at 08h00 and closes at 16h00, open only on weekdays. This means that there are no medical services over the weekend, unless one can afford to drive to the hospital or to a service that is outside the area. Yet the MCD Fund provides opportunities to make it, in spite of the triple threat of unemployment, inequality and poverty. The team has managed to source containers in which they want to run an internet cafĂŠ within the community and are currently sourcing funds for the necessary equipment.
The self-help attitude shown by the community members of Matlhwaring is unbelievable. Not only can it be seen through the efforts of the MCD Fund team, but also through other community initiatives. For instance, on the venue where the event was hosted, the government could not help them build sports grounds within their communities, so they took matters into their own hands and built soccer fields using wood, sticks and empty mealie-meal sacks. They currently run local sports tournaments where the local community members pay R10 each to watch and support their village teams. These funds are then reinvested into the hosting team. In this way, they sustain the tournaments while waiting for assistance from the government. The MCD team, as well as the community of Matlhwaring, are looking to build a library in Suurdig village, which is located at the centre of Matlhwaring, where they will run school programmes, and hopefully offer internet access for the young people in their community. There are currently no funds or resources for this, except land and a plan of action. Another initiative is the establishment of an ECD centre in Kortnight. Book donations and fi nancial contributions for the purpose of supplying or purchasing books are also welcomed. Childrenâ€™s books in Setswana and English can be purchased for as little as R50 to R80 from the Books Direct team. Contact MCD on: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact Books Direct team: Baxolise Dlali - baxolised@ activateleadership.co.za
Phathuxolo Prince Ndzimande is as a selfless young person. He says that he is passionate about advocating for the voiceless, particularly women and children. Already a change driver that is dedicated to positive transformation, Ndzimande’s aim for joining the ACTIVATE! Network was to help to develop himself. “I joined so that I can continue making a difference in the lives of the young and old people in and around my community,” he says. Having formed the Future Leaders and Young Great Minds (FLYGM) youth group back in 2013, in the Atteridgeville Township, Ndzimande then felt more equipped and connected to continue making a difference in his community. “Our main focus is on addressing young people’s needs and and the needs of vulnerable households, mainly children, youth in and out of school, and the unemployed and abused children around the communities. Since its formation, FLYGM has been instrumental in bringing about change, care and support, development and empowerment to more than a hundred young people in the Atteridgeville and the Lotus Gardens areas (township, informal settlement, RDP).” Furthermore, Ndzimande also describes several programmes and activities such as Donate a Jersey Project, and the Education and Leadership Development. He says, “The Donate a Jersey Project was initiated in 2014, with the purpose of assisting less fortunate children. We ask different stakeholders and community members to donate jerseys so that we can help to keep children warm during winter. Now, the Donate a Jersey Project is part of the yearly projects that we do, because of the difference it makes and the impact it has on communities.” On education, he says, “FLYGM is very dedicated in assisting learners/students by visiting schools around the community. This is to empower and to motivate them, so that they can put more effort into their studies. We also help matric students by supplying them with previous matric exam question papers, and offering afternoon classes in the following subjects: Accounting, Mathematics, Physics and Economics. This is done hand in hand with other stakeholders and organisations within the community.” On Leadership Development, Ndzimande has this to say, “Fifteen youth leaders from communities meet once every two weeks, to discuss topics such as: What is Leadership? Substance and Drug Abuse, Teenage Pregnancy, Peer Pressure, Gender Issues, and the Challenges of Students. Here we represent and motivate young people.”
Ndzimande shares that being a change driver has paved the way for him to have a very bright future. Moving forward, the selfless Ndzimande shares that he intends to encourage other young people from his community to join the ACTIVATE! Network. With Future Leaders and the Young Great Minds, the plan is to involve the communities by asking relevant organisations to sponsor young people with internships, learnerships, and bursaries, for mentoring. They also facilitate the organising of youth in leadership and entrepreneurship, in the formation of community development structures that advocate and lobby for young people’s needs. They provide capacity building and training in strengthening children/ youth and communities. They mobilise and raise awareness in the communities, to access their basic rights and resources towards fighting against the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other dreaded diseases. Ndzimande regards Mashadi Mogolegwa, from his community, as his hero. “This woman inspires me so much. She is doing a lot for our community, regardless of the limited resources that she has. She runs an NPO called Victim Empower Organisation. Another one of my heroes is Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Against all odds – even after losing to President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa on becoming the president of the ruling party – she continues to serve our country selflessly.
Our main focus is on addressing young peopleâ€™s needs and the needs of vulnerable households.
Itumeleng Mogajane North West INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Itumeleng KealebogaFortune Mogajane @Itu023 @emogajaneitumeleng
Itumeleng Kealeboga-Fortune Mogajane is an avid churchgoer, serving on the congregational council that is committed to creating spaces for those who are less fortunate, for the advancement of their wellbeing. Mogajane joined the ACTIVATE! Network because it resonated with his beliefs of serving his community. “It espouses values of building a new cohort of leadership of servants who are not self-serving,” he says. Hailing from the North West, Mogajane was inspired to change his community by working with kids in ICT. “We provide basic ICT skills to children in the rural areas. We have impacted more than 300 kids in Mabaalstad and Lehurutshe. We have also trained learners and teachers from Staadt Primary school,” he says. Mogajane also gives his time to the elderly. “Since 2014, I have been working closely with the Ke Barona Old Age Home in Lehurutshe, donating blankets.” On his birthday in 2018, he donated school uniforms for boys as “part of mentoring the boys towards being better men in the future.” Furthermore, Mogajane donates his time every month to have conversations with other males, “for men to re-define being men.” He is also part of a team that is organising career guidance and motivational talks at Mokgakala High School. Reflecting on how being a change driver has affected him, Mogajane shares that he saw young people who had nothing, but they still took it upon themselves to drive positive change in their communities. “It made me a compassionate person. I learnt to be thankful for the little that I have and being able to share that little with those who need it the most.”
Going forward, this compassionate Activator’s immediate plan is to donate school uniforms to young boys, start a mentorship programme for boys and create spaces for men to have conversations about what it means to be a man. “I plan to have a centre that will cater for men’s support groups, provide aftercare for boys, book clubs for boys and seminars for boys. I also want to create safer spaces for our ladies. Another plan is to see the kids in ICT growing bigger and bigger, impacting more young children in the rural areas.” It made me a compassionate person. I learnt to be thankful for the little that I have and being able to share that little bit with those who need it the most.
Reflecting on how being a change driver has affected him, Mogajane shares that he saw young people who had nothing, but they still took it upon themselves to drive positive change in their communities.
Financial Literacy champion – Fezeka Masombuka  is a goalorientated, capable and compassionate Activator, who is dedicated to conscientiously advising upcoming generations, on ways to avoid financial traps that many are faced with. She affords Grade 4 – 9 pupils the opportunity to nourish their potential and to become financially savvy.
Commenting on her financial literacy classes, she explains that beyond the classes, there is much to be admired in the development of young girls. “There is a space that we run for girls that allows them to share their stories, their ambitions and their aspirations,” said the determined Masombuka. Previously, she was a ground-breaker who came across ACTIVATE! Change Drivers recruitment through the Love life website, and her intention was to continue experimenting with, and to seek development opportunities. “I wanted to do something new and to meet people who could change or who could influence my thinking,” she said. Masombuka had this to say, when asked about her journey with ACTIVATE!: “It has been fruitful and insightful but also uncomfortable, in the sense that I started being aware of things that needed immediate attention, which I had overlooked for a very long time.” . She believes that her life, as well as the lives of the learners and the girls that she works directly with, have been impacted positively by her journey. “The journey inspired and provoked me to create a platform for my development and to utilise the skills and the abilities acquired to give back, in such a way that I craft unique and effective programmes like my Financial Literacy classes, to touch others’ lives,” said Masombuka. Masombuka admires the pivotal role, within her community, that is played by Nonhlanhla Mngoma, whom she recognises as her hero. “I have no better hero locally than the inspiring and dedicated Nonhlanhla Mngoma,” she said, firmly.
She believes that Nonhlanhla has the following integral traits, through which she perceives her as a hero: • Courage; • Humanity; and • Optimism. Masombuka is of the view that heroes should be well equipped to perform their duties, and that they should ensure that they are in the forefront of society, exhibiting the following traits, among others: • Patience; • Drive; and • Compassion. She claims that Nonhlanhla continues to inspire her to believe in herself and to ensure that her presence is felt. “She has always encouraged me to stand my ground, and to be able to do what others don’t dare or want to do, and to always keep in mind ideas that will always set me and what I do apart.”
There is a space that we run for girls that allows them to share their stories, their ambitions and their aspirations.
I am a strong believer of youth empowerment because we are the next leaders. As such, we need to be well groomed, developed and given the right tools to pursue and achieve our dreams. Fanyana Mkhize
Fanyana’s 100 Words My late father, Ben M Mkhize is my icon. He was part of the PAC during hard political times in South Africa. He managed to make sure that his four children get a good education, and acquired a plot to support his family. He was very kind to everyone around him. Today, I am the owner of White Lupine entertainment and marketing, grooming and promoting upcoming stars in the entertainment world. I’d like to leave such a legacy that my children will be well-respected, and that they may use their inheritance to empower other young people who will come after them.
Fanyana Mkhize Ekurhuleni, Vosloorus
Your background does not have to determine your situation or your future. Sindisa’s 100 Words Sindisa Qeqe De Aar, Nothern Cape
I myself am my own icon, honestly. That is due to my resilience and my ability to self-motivate when things get hard. I am the founder of an NPO, Sisterhood Heroines, as well as a motivational speaker. My organisation is currently running a project where we will donate sanitary towels to young girls in De Aar. The legacy I would like to leave is one that promotes selflessness, where someone does not only think for themselves, but for the betterment of the next person and the collective.
My name is Phetole Lionel Kgatla. I am a critical thinker and a contributor to modern day innovation. I became part of the ACTIVATE! Network in order to associate myself with other likeminded youth leaders, for capacity building and the furthering of skills development. I became inspired by the innovative tools and the ways of making a difference that I received from the ACTIVATE! Network. I always knew that I could count on the Network to create innovative change in my community. I now provide advisory and technical support in two NPOs in my homestead, Bolobedu Youth Developers (BYD) and the Unemployed Matriculants and Graduate Forum (UMGF). Having been involved in quite a number of initiatives, I use my experience to provide guidance and mentorship to the leadership of the NPOs, in the form of research and capacity building, so as to align them better with the aims and the objectives of their initiatives, for example, proposal writing, event planning and management, facilitation and presentation skills, report writing skills, fundraising methods and many other essential skills. Furthermore, with my technical skills, I offer basic ICT support assistance to these NPOs, that is, by helping them with the designing of logos, business cards, letterheads, posters, and digital resources like social media presence and cloud storage, for seamless data handling and processing. Overall, I do get involved, although at the advisory level, in various types of campaigns and community outreach initiatives. I help with raising funds and other administrative activities. The initiatives include, amongst others, back to school drives, sanitary drives, community dialogues and motivational drives in schools. Being a change driver has impacted my character positively as an active citizen. I have gathered skills and methods to innovate. My outlook on life has changed positively. I now approach challenges and problems differently.
My mom is my number one role model, simply because she has always been there for me. She has always been my strength when I was down and my pillar when I was weak. At a public figure level – Hmmm that’s a tough one – let me think. OK, it has to be Julius Malema, not because I’m a member of EFF or anything, I’m very neutral when it comes to politics, but I just love his resilience when it comes to matters of national importance. He has a way of putting his foot down and insists on voicing out what he thinks is right in his opinion.”
I became inspired by the innovative tools and the ways of making a difference that I received from the ACTIVATE! programme.
Going forward, I plan to build more capacity for my two companies, Hamlet Holdings (2016) and Smart Choice IT Services (2012). I also work for Phumelela Gaming and Leisure as an IT Service Desk Technician, which provides me with the work skills that will help me to further my experience in the field, as an employee and as an entrepreneur. I am also taking training courses in IT, in order to keep abreast with the current status quo.
Activator Siyabulela “DJ Schoolbag” Ngobozana is an artist with a big heart. His musical career began while he was in high school and he has since toured internationally and formed part of various artistic groups providing everything from dance to music. During one of his artistic events locally, Ngobozana noticed that some learners were carrying their schoolbooks in plastic bags. This deeply concerned him and led him to engage with the learners. That was when he realised that the need was not only for the actual schoolbag but for the content as well. Having become conscious of the problem, he then started to act by using Facebook and asking people to assist the learners. The positive response he received motivated Ngobozana to later give birth to the National Donate a Schoolbag Campaign (DAS), and thus he became known as “DJ Schoolbag.” The campaign has now been running for three years and counting, to date, DAS has raised and donated 556 schoolbags, a laptop, 50 packets of Mia sanitary pads, and school uniforms. Over and above school bags, DAS seeks to assist underprivileged learners with stationery, food, registration and accommodation, for those studying at different institutions of higher learning. As a Bio Plus ambassador, “DJ Schoolbag” and DAS will be forming part of this year’s Bio Plus Career Expo, to improve Maths and Science subjects across the country. One of these events was also held in the West Rand. With the help of many volunteers and fellow Activators across the country, “DJ Schoolbag” aims to register DAS as a Foundation and to reach at least 100 000 learners across South Africa by 2020. In order to reach this target, he invites all Activators in the literacy space to come on board and to collaborate with DAS, to ensure that they all work together to reach the maximum impact in Southern Africa, and then the rest of the African continent. As it is said, “one can reach 1000, but two can reach 10 000.” Earlier this year, DAS worked for their Kids on Colour FUNd-raising day. The event included fun activities such as jumping castles, trampolines and various slides. The profit made from this was used to buy schoolbags for underprivileged learners. DAS invited anyone who wanted to sell their products at the event to rent a stall for a R100, and to sell three or more schoolbags during the day. Renters who sold products relating to the DAS mandate were asked to donate their products as well. For instance, Mia committed to donating a box of sanitary pads for every box that they sold at the event.
If you have a literacy related project or a tutoring initiative, please get in touch with DJ Schoolbag, using the contact details below, to find out how you can partner with DAS. If you have skills or knowledge that can assist learners within your area, in any part of South Africa, you can also contact him and commit a day or a week to tutoring under DAS. You can also put together a team of young people who will be willing to source funding and schoolbag donations within your area. The reality is that most communities struggle with the same challenges that Ngobozana’s community faces. However, you must be the one to stand up and drive the change in your community, with the help and guidance of DAS. Should you not be able to commit time to the project due to other commitments, please spread the word, and have the people within your network donate stationary, books, sanitary products, food, money, tutoring and schoolbags. Should you have non-school related reading material, please feel free to donate them to the campaign, as the team is also looking to start after-school reading clubs and libraries. You are also encouraged to email any ideas that you may have for the campaign, to the team. For more information and enquiries, follow the National Donate a Schoolbag Facebook page or email the team at ndasbcampaign@ gmail.com. You can text, WhatsApp or call Siyabulela “DJ Schoolbag” Ngobozana at 061 3770 745.
One can reach 1000, but two can reach 10 000.
Africa has no need any longer for leaders, it requires servants. And Iâ€™m called to serve.
Fondly called by her clan name “Mamqwathi”, Khanyisa Damoyi is a young, energetic, ambitious and fearless woman, who does not limit herself. She has already made a name for herself in various areas of service. Damoyi has represented the network through a number of platforms in the Free State province. Her limitless approach to life led her to be invited by the executive mayor, Vusi Tshabalala, to form part of a team which drafted the first Free State Maluti Phofung Youth Policy, at a three-day summit, in June 2016. The policy had different NGOs which were part of the signatories, along with Damoyi, who signed the declaration on behalf of the ACTIVATE! Network. Within the same year, this fearless woman was called up as one of the two Activators to form part of the National Youth Parliament in the Free State Legislature. When asked how she does what she does, quoting from the words of Aristotle, Damoyi says, “Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.” She further expanded: “In the call to serve, one often seeks to change minds and to create paradigm shifts so that they may follow suit and serve. Words may go a long way in motivating, yet action that stems from character and realness is the best tool of conversion. Africa has no need any longer for leaders, it requires servants. And I’m called to serve.” #ThumaMina. This young servant from the rural area of Ngcobo, Eluhewini, in the Eastern Cape, further lends her energy to running a project called Donate a Book. #DonateABook is an initiative which aims to collect books from individuals, organisations, public and private institutions and ultimately donate them to rural based schools. She says, “We form book clubs and create a culture of reading and teaching for pupils. This, then, creates a platform for young people to share, through these book clubs, about their experiences and challenges.
From that, I encourage them to devise innovative and sustainable solutions.” Damoyi goes on to say: “The supreme goal of this initiative is to create a new crop of leaders who will take South Africans to a more progressive and insightful era. The aim is to capacitate these young people through literacy development and to create a new cohort of young leaders, who will tackle complex challenges and activate their leadership agency in communities, and build a resilient youth and responsible leaders from a very young age.” This inspirational youth calls for all Activators and patriotic South Africans to join her in this initiative and to assist in making it grow and become impactful. She further asks young people to use their skills in creating a better South Africa. Currently, Damoyi is the African Union Commission Ambassador for the African Observatory for Science, Technology and Innovation (AOSTI). As an ambassador, she is a part of a network which aims at inculcating the importance and the role of science, technology and innovation as a main factor in the sustainability of their enterprises, and encouraging the use of technology and data. Furthermore, she serves in numerous student formations where her role is centred on fighting academic exclusion and promoting the realisation of quality education. In activating other Activators, Damoyi says, “They must be prepared to hear a “no” or find some doors closed, but that shouldn’t stop them. Instead, such rejections should be a learning curve and provide motivation to do better.”
Khanyisa Damoyi Eastern Cape INTAKE YEAR : 2016
My name is German Jacobs. I run a project called Operation 100% at Paballelo High School, which is the high school I attended. I tutor matriculants in accounting and business studies. The project has been running for three years now. I also run my own business consultancy company where I help people (churches, schools and clubs) with business registrations and NPC’s. I became part of the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers Network in 2015 and my journey with the network has been very POWERFUL! I mean, after becoming part of ACTIVATE!, my circle had widened. Through ACTIVATE! I managed to start a company, in partnership with another Activator. Even in my long existing company, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with many other Activators, and they recommend my services to other people as well. It is truly an amazing journey that I have had with ACTIVATE!. My project has impacted so many lives. Through it, the pass rate has increased, and more tutors came on board. The project itself even got recognition from the department of education here in my district, and we now also assist students at tertiary level. Also, through my company, I have managed to register over 50 companies, various NPC’s and one day-care centre. I was blessed enough to receive a community award back in 2016, under the youth category.
I regard myself as a hero in my community and in my country but then again, heroes are born every day. By sharing my story through the Heroes publication, ACTIVATE! is my hero. I think a hero has to possess the following traits: • • • • •
Courage; Selflessness; Humility; Patience; and Caring.
But, most importantly, a hero must posses “ubuntu”, which is a quality that includes compassion and humanity.
My project has impacted so many lives. Through it, the passing rate has increased; and even more tutors came on board.
A number of learners who attended our classes are currently at TVETs and other tertiary institutions. I also helped one individual with his company registration, and today, he is in China for business. This past June, my company donated ten registered company names to young people and over six of them participated in the Upington Business week expo. Many would say a hero is a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities, which I totally agree with, but I’d also like to add that a hero can be anyone who is willing to provide any means of help. You may not necessarilly help with your hands, or skills, but with support towards helping someone make something out of nothing; I regard you as a hero.
Roxanne Edson (27) is an innovative and goal-orientated Activator based in the suburb of Milnerton in Cape Town. She is the founder of a tutor centre that promotes opportunity through inclusive education. “After working with child and youth care centres for 4 years, I established a total tutor centre for learners, who have barriers to learning,” said Roxanne. She joined the A! Network in 2013, after she learnt about the network through an email. “Activate seemed to be a more thorough journey into the ‘civil’ space, an alternative to the ‘one-subject’ course or workshop,” she said. She describes her journey as an interesting one. “I found the programme content wonderful and helpful.” She believes the programme has impacted her and her beneficiaries in a big way. “Children have more confidence to tackle the challenges they face, head-on. Due to this, we are seeing more positive results in terms of academics, as well as social and emotional growth,” said Roxanne. She defines a hero as a person who is patient, and she declares her heroes to be her parents. “Every single parent who has a special needs child has to adapt every day, just trying to do their best.” She believes that her heroes should possess the following traits: • • • •
Patience; Perseverance; Determination; and Guts.
“A hero should be able to address a crowd or the youth, in particular, no matter the circumstances, and they should strive to bring about positive change and keep working towards that goal,” said Roxanne.
After working with child and the youth care centres for 4 years, I established a total tutor centre for learners, who have barriers to learning.
Kwandile Sikhosana Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2016
Kwandile Mhlaba Sikhosana @uKwandile @kwandilesikhosana
Kwandile Sikhosana calls himself a “prospective president of the Republic of South Africa, and a self-proclaimed ambassador for people living in informal settlements.” And he may just be right! He wants to change the narrative of his hometown, Daveyton, from being viewed as the township that consumes the largest amount of alcohol, to a community that has the most readers, the most employed youth, and the largest township contributing towards the country’s economy. Question: What would you do if you were given the presidential seat tomorrow? His answer: “I have immense love for this beautiful country of ours, and all the changes I would bring would be an extended expression of that love. Firstly, I would make massive changes to the policy around the country’s economy. I would turn the township economy from a vague myth to a living reality, where township entrepreneurs are able to access opportunities where they live and operate. I would make it a priority to build more schools, more libraries, and I would ensure that the youth have more opportunities for skills development, thus making them better able to be absorbed into the job market.” This young leader has done phenomenal work in his community and beyond. Just a week before his interview for this publication, Kwandile launched a new library in Tembisa, Gauteng, with South African entertainment legend, Bonginkosi Dlamini, famously known as Zola 7. This was not the first, nor the second, nor the third, nor the eighth, but the 14th library in South Africa, which this exceptional Activator has established. “Only 13% of public schools have libraries. That is a daunting reality which I have taken upon myself to change, one book at a time. One of my top strengths is that I am focused.
Another one of my top strengths, which I suppose doubles as a shortcoming, is that I never let anyone work harder than me,” he chuckles. Hard work is one of the top rules in Kwandile’s books. Apart from dedicating himself to ensuring we have a nation of literate young readers, the 2016 Activator also conducts talks at churches. Some of the topics he speaks on are education, governance and entrepreneurship. One of the mottos he lives by is: “Education is the ultimate equalizer in life.”
We have so far trained five hundred students in accredited courses, a third of which are now happily employed. Kwandile Sikhosana does not only wish to establish his own university, he is actually doing it! At the time of this interview, he was proud to announce that the University of Ekurhuleni had successfully passed feasibility tests. “We have so far trained 500 students in accredited courses, a third of which are now happily employed.” Among the many accolades which Sikhosana received, he has represented South Africa at the United Nations Summit, at the African Union Youth Parliament, and also at the British Parliament. He has appeared On the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 list of young people to look out for in the future, has won a special award as Lead SA’s Young Person of the Month, has appeared on Nalibali’s top 100 list (which features the top 100 young people doing amazing work in literacy).
He has also held a spot on the Top 100 Nelson Mandela list for his work in the tourism field. That is not all; Kwandile has also given a TED Talk titled â€œFrom a shack to a president,â€? which can be viewed on Youtube. You can argue with an opponent in a debate, you can argue with a friend, you can argue with a stubborn traffic officer, but you can never argue with success. A truly astonishing tale of what happens when you allow your dreams to become more powerful than your circumstances. Kwandile Sikhosana, remember that name!
Education is the only remedy to cure the generational curses that poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment have brought.
All the way from Kwanyuswa, Botha’s Hill, Sibusiso Nzama describes himself as a child of God. He studied civil engineering at Elangeni College and at Damelin. He is a young person working for a company that empowers the youth to use their skills and talents, called Rieco Bird Media. Furthermore, he is part of a national organisation called Right2Know, which works on accessing information and empowering people with knowledge. He also acts as a Kwanyuswa co-ordinator. Nzama says that he decided to be a part of the ACTIVATE! Network, because he wanted to be the voice of the voiceless and a mentor to young leaders. The training inspired him to motivate and encourage the youth to study, as “education is the key to success.” He also uses his R2K background to assist the Kwanyuswa community in providing them with information. This, then, helps them challenge some issues when running workshops and creating dialogues and round table meetings to engage on different issues, such as holding local government accountable. Another way in which he gets involved is by running workshops on combating patriarchy, using a campaign called “Women Can Do It”. This will be an ongoing campaign. He also works with Rieco Bird Media, together with someone called Zama Zuma, also known as Feleba SK, on uplifting the youth in many different areas of interest, such as singing, modelling, dancing and acting. From these, they then work with a number of organisations around Kwanyuswa, planning educational events such as Nobuhle Negeza Lensizwa. This is a cultural event geared towards motivating the youth to love their culture and not to forget where they came from. Being a change driver has made quite an impact on Nzama. It has grown his leadership skills. He has travelled around the country, meeting new people and learning different cultures, along with their languages. Going forward, the Activator wants to ensure that his community has a library and a youth centre where people are able to get information easily, without travelling long distances. Finally, he plans to start a book club where he can teach the youth to write their own books.
Going forward, the Activator wants to ensure that his community has a library and a youth centre where people are able to get information easily without travelling long distances.
I wanted to be the voice of the voiceless and a mentor to young leaders.
An accredited language and literacy trainer, Thanduxolo Mkhoyi [(27]), is an ambassador for literacy. He runs a literacy development project that promotes bilingualism in his community. “We are addressing the illiteracy crisis that we have, especially in a Township like Khayelitsha,” said the inspiring Mkhoyi. Mkhoyi found out about ACTIVATE! in 2014, while working for the Nal’ibali organisation. “I joined to communicate with other change makers, and for my personal development, so that I could better use that to position other young people, and my work in the community,” said Mkhoyi. When asked to unpack his journey with the ACTIVATE! network, he described it as a dynamic and an influential relationship that has continued to grow and to shape his effectiveness.” “I am an accredited language and literacy trainer, and I had the opportunity to run training sessions and to promote reading across South Africa. In 2017, I represented South Africa on the YGAP, as a change maker, appointed by Spark International.” Indeed, the testimony by Mkhoyi is evidence that his journey impacted much on his life, and has also positively affected his target audience. “My project has impacted more than 300 children, by donating more than 600 books, by training around 60 ECD Practitioners and 40 Volunteers,” said the proud literacy champion. Mkhoyi defines a hero as a catalyst for change. “A hero is a person who continues to change the world and who never gives up, someone who has a calling to serve.” He considers the influential and inspirational Khayelitsha-based Pastor Xola Skosana, as his hero. According to him, Pastor Skosana has never deviated from his beliefs. “He has followed his calling, used his gift and his talents to inspire and to speak the truth to the seat of power.” Mkhoyi is of the view that a hero should adhere to the following traits: • • • •
Perseverance; Be open to learn; Having leadership skills; and Ability to serve honestly and wholeheartedly.
This is he responded when asked how Pastor Skosana had inspired him: “He has taught me to be proud of being black, to speak my truth, and to have the strength to sharpen my leadership skills.”
My project has impacted more than 300 children, by donating more than 600 books, by training around 60 ECD Practitioners and 40 volunteers.
Sebulela Boutel is an energetic, creative and ambitious person who is responsible and who can tackle any task or situation that he is presented with. “I possess the ability to motivate others and encourage people in my community. I want to be well-informed in community building and also learn how I can become a positive influence in the lives of others.” He decided to become a positive influence through his organisation, the Representative Council of Learners, By working with Kgahlanong Comprehensive School, he held a leadership training session with the learners. “I wanted to teach them about leadership so that they know more about it and what it entails. One of the good things about this is that the leaders whom I train will pass on their knowledge to their fellow learners. The school will be able to produce good leaders who will be knowledgeable.” Boutel further reflects that being a change driver has also influenced the youth in his community. “They now see the importance of playing a part in the community and making a change. They managed to come up with the idea of registering an organisation to undertake community development.
I possess the ability to motivate others and I have the desire to improve my community.
“This encouraged me to continue to teach those who are less informed without expecting compensation in return,” he said. Boutel plans to initiate a Donate a Book Campaign in September, whereby donated books will be given to learners or to schools in rural areas. “With this campaign, I want to encourage our young black brothers and sisters to develop a habit of reading, as this will inform them and will also enhance their vocabulary.”
As a citizen, I believe that if I want to bring change in the community it has to start with me.
My name is Londeka Nyuswa and I come from the KwaZulu-Natal province. I am 22 years old and I am currently studying towards a Bachelorâ€™s Degree in Education at UNISA. I am a focused, motivated and a goal driven individual. I am highly passionate about literacy, economics and politics. As a citizen, I believe that if I want to bring change in the community it has to start with me. Therefore, by having gone out and networked with other young people across South Africa at ACTIVATE!, I obtained more innovative ideas and I brought them back into the community, to spark change. Now, I organise reading clubs in the community. I believe that this drive will change the problem of illiteracy into literacy, and will thus have a great impact on decreasing poverty, crime and substance abuse, one of the major crises we are faced with in our community. Furthermore, the age groups that I work with are those from five to ten years of age. The children read books written in IsiZulu and English. I see a lot of change in the children whom I work with. Their vocabulary has improved, as well as their reading skills. Reading excites them. I sometimes make them read books of their choice. There are many people who support me to make these reading clubs grow. I even inspired some people to start their own reading clubs.
Itâ€™s very interesting working with children. I learn a lot from them. I have become more motivated and driven to drive this literacy change. And because of this, my plans, going forward, are to register my reading clubs, and to open my own NPO, as well as a day care centre, with accredited Grade R.
I organise reading clubs in the community. I believe this drive will change the problem of illiteracy into literacy, and will thus have a great impact on decreasing poverty, crime and substance abuse.
Londeka Nyuswa KwaZulu Natal INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Nonhlanhla Dube is a community newspaper writer from the city of Ekurhuleni in the Gauteng province, and she has been volunteering since 2013. But more importantly, Dube is a mother of two and she believes that somehow this has influenced her passion and interest in being the change in young people’s lives. In her community, Dube strives to make a difference through her recently co-founded NPO, called Blackbird Projects. In addition, she has a Holiday Book Club Programme (#KiddiesBookClubTembisa) which has been running for a year now. It is carried out during school and public holidays. However, due to funding issues, the book club can only run once a week, for two hours. But this everdetermined Activator has started running a fundraising campaign called #ThriftForChange. This campaign is to help the club raise funds to carry out different projects which are already in place. About her future goals, Dube says, “The plan is to grow and stabilise the #KiddiesBookClubTembisa programme, to create other means of fundraising, to start and run a successful human trafficking awareness campaign in my region in Tembisa, and to establish partnerships with local businesses and other non-profit organisations and government entities.” Striving to effect change does not come without disheartening times, as there are those who will take advantage of your good intentions. Dube personally experienced this during her work on a community development project where she was sexually harassed. “I figured that this would continue to happen everywhere that I went to ask for help for my NPO, Blackbird Projects and other projects we are running in the hood. I then decided to come up with a unique way to help us raise the funds that we need, while getting the community to indirectly support our initiatives.” “To avoid asking people to donate money, we’re collecting second hand clothes that we can resell at thrift prices, instead of just giving the clothes away. We’re collecting donations in the form of clothes, furniture, deco stuff or stationery, anything really. Please support the #ThriftForChange campaign.”
On the impact that ACTIVATE! has made in her life, Dube says that her mind was opened after she engaged with other Activators from different places across South Africa and hearing about the challenges they deal with in their communities, and learning how they have overcome them. “I also enjoyed Module 3, I still think it should be adopted as a subject in schools.” On what she thinks the role of the youth is, she says, “I think our role is to do things differently, to change people’s perspectives by provoking what they already know and teaching them new, and better ways of thinking, taking decisions and acting. We should be at the forefront of driving the change in our communities and making our “leaders” accountable. We should be at the forefront of changing policies and protecting our own. As young people we should infiltrate those decision-making positions.”
Dube says that her mind was opened after coming in contact with other Activators from different places across South Africa and hearing about the challenges that they deal with in their communities and how they have overcome them. .
Nokubonga Nzama describes herself as a bold, confident and a fearless hope carrier. She decided to be a part of ACTIVATE! Network as she wanted to grow as a person, to meet different people and to be better equipped. As part of her ambitions for her community, this confident and fearless Activator had registered an NPO. “We run Saturday classes, we feed hungry children, and we operate a mobile library. We also have a girls’ mentorship programme that focuses on encouraging teenagers to abstain from, and to protect themselves during, sexual activities in order to curb teenage pregnancy. Furthermore, we have life group engagements with junior youth, where they are mentored to be a generation of world class leaders.” Reflecting on being an Activator, Nzama shares, “It really restored hope in me, knowing that I was not the only one who wanted a better future. It also challenged me in certain areas where my weaknesses were exposed, so that I could improve myself.” Going forward, she aspires to have a safe home for her NPO, as well as being able to donate bursaries, to collect more books for the mobile library, to continue empowering kids and teenagers and to work on bringing economic transformation. Nzama regards her mom as her hero. “Growing up, we are taught about generational curses but no one I know dwells on generational blessings, except for my mom. People say that sharing is caring but my mom doesn’t just say that, she models it. I witnessed her caring for people beyond imagination. Letting go is one of her strong points, not only in bad situations but good situations as well. At a public level, I’d say my hero is Oprah. First, she is a black woman and that alone allows me to identify with her, knowing that if another black woman could make it, I too can make it.”
The mentorship programme for girls focuses on encouraging teenagers to abstain from sexual activities in order to curb teenage pregnancy.
Having grown up with a drug-addicted brother, Candice Collocot (34) knows all about the challenges and suffering addiction causes. Along the journey, she realised that formal rehabilitation institutes were financially out of many people’s leagues and that the waiting process was too long – sometimes up to 1.5 years. Eventually, they discovered pop up rehabilitation centers, which were held at people’s houses. “It’s more affordable so the community takes the gap and creates these rehab centres,” she said. Candice spent years visiting various local informal rehabilitation institutes and found that certain interventions were missing from their programme - like the teaching of life skills and general emotional upliftment. “Some of these rehabs did not treat boys well. They were very authoritarian.” So, out of a passion for never giving up on her brother and addicts like him, Candice created interactive workshops. She began running the workshops at these informal centers, focusing on self-esteem, motivation, anger management, finding a purpose, values and creating positive habits. “It gets the boys to focus on their values and purpose and helps with their selfesteem and self worth.” Candice’s long-term goal is to continue building South Africa by nurturing an active citizenry. Candice came across the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers recruitment advert in the Sunday Times and she easily related to the opportunity. “When I read the ACTIVATE! advertisement in the Sunday Times, it was appealing, and I related to the selection criteria,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful revelation, and an inspiring moment of self-discovery, through which one can meet like-minded young people whose goals have consistently been driving change in their respective communities.” “I have become more grateful and resilient in spending welldeserved time researching the thought-provoking and critical topics discussed in my workshops.” She added, “I have continued to actively advocate for the public to support recovering drug users, instead of isolating and punishing them, by rather guiding them towards the right direction,” she said. “A hero is someone who doesn’t give up on people, who gives time to them and who shares him or herself for the greater good, a person who really wants to see people succeed and thrive.”
She claims that her late father possessed numerous humanitarian traits that, without any doubt, enabled her to consider him a hero. “He was a gentle, kind, non-judgemental, fair, humble and respectful person,” said Candice, describing her hero’s inspiring abilities which have left her inspired to be a better person and to be like him one day. “A hero should be brave, goal-orientated, with a great sense of emotional intelligence and among many other traits, they should be ambitious,” she said.
I have continued to actively advocate for the public to support recovering drug users, instead of isolating and punishing them, but by rather pointing them toward rightful directions.
Balungile Jafta Western Cape INTAKE YEAR : 2017
How inspiring it is to come across someone as firm, ambitious, dynamic and selfless as Balungile Jafta (24])!. Jafta is a student pursuing Sports Management through the Cape Peninsula University of Technology [CPUT]. She is paving the way for upcoming generations through numerous initiatives. Two years ago, she founded Peer Helper and the HIV Peer Educator. Jafta did not relax when these projects gained momentum at her campus. Instead, she opened her hand, widened her thinking and extended her generosity to introduce these services to one of the oldest South African townships, Langa, which is where she resides with her mother and her grandmother. Jafta’s journey has been one of self-discovery. “I discovered a group of friends who boosted me and who added value to what I say and think.” She recalls that the highlight for her path was her interaction with fellow Activators, who were simply amazing, energetic and inspired. “They motivated me not to lose confidence and at that moment, I felt encouraged and I recognised the power within my ideas.” This pioneer of change believes that her life has indeed been impacted by both the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers training and the mentoring project she founded. “Mentoring provides an opportunity to help young people develop their role in society. One will surely find obstacles in life. Mentors are there to push you, to encourage and to share life’s lessons, and you are then inspired to be a better person.” When asked what kind of a person she regarded as a hero, she defined a hero as someone who prevails as a saviour to others and whose deeds are for the love of others. “A hero is someone who sacrifices his/her life to save others, is brave enough, and is able to stand for the truth.”
She confidently declared that Samantha Hanslo is her hero, and is someone whom she looks up to on a daily basis. She is of the view that some of the values that her hero possesses include her valuing of education, encouraging others, and assisting others to adapt to tertiary level. “Samantha is compassionate, who shares her experiences, who is always an inspiration and who wisely advises others,” said Balungile. When asked other traits that heroes should have, she said, “A hero has to be brave, courageous, selfless and have humanity.” “Samantha Hanslon inspires me to be a hero like her, through the line of work that she performs exceptionally to help others. She elevates us emotionally and behaviourally, and she is confident and proud of the fact that she has learnt the importance of servicing those who are needy, and she does all that she is doing without expecting anything in return.” A hero is someone who sacrifices his/her life to save others, is brave enough, and is able to stand for the truth.
Mentoring provides an opportunity to help young people develop their role in society.
Through rigorous leadership, I am actively building a brand around my own identity, which my admirers, my followers and the future leaders can look up to.
Jesse Maart is a determined, eager and curious person, willing to learn new ways of thinking and to apply them in his life. “I am a leader in my community. I am a dedicated development sports coach and I run my own entertainment management company called ‘Kramp Vibez Factory’”. Maart was curious about the programme, so he decided to join the ACTIVATE! Network. “I saw an opportunity for change and enlightenment in my thinking and my lifestyle,” he said. “I was inspired to be more involved in my community, to become a better leader and to influence the youth more positively. As a Leader, I serve my community both individually as well as collaboratively, through a combination of art and sports programmes, aimed at fostering participation in, and encouraging an appreciation for sports like rugby and the arts. Working with children as young as six years old and playing in the position of Captain has made me a known figure on both the rugby and the arts scenes, as the youngsters look up to me, and they are influenced by the skills that I impart to them. This comes with the responsibility of ensuring that I keep to my commitments and lead by example. Any transgression on my part will reflect negatively, not only on the teams or organisations that I represent, but more importantly, on my personal ethos and the values I try to maintain. “Being in the media locally has enabled me to seek out better prospects for the programmes I am part of, as well as for my own personal development. Through rigorous leadership, I am actively building a brand around my own identity, which my admirers, my followers and the future leaders can look up to.”
Maart goes on to say that the change that he notices from the children is how encouraged they are by his willingness to help them realise their dreams. Some of the organisations he is associated with are: the Eldoronians Rugby Club, where he is a community coach and a captain, the Eldos Arts and Jazz Foundation, where he does mentoring, and is a coordinator and as a facilitator at the National Youth Services. “It is-life changing. I am now even more confident with decision-making. As a recovering drug addict I am no longer ashamed of my past as growth happens every second.” For his plans, Maart says, “I am in the process of registering an organisation where sport will be a catalyst. It will be aimed at introducing life skills and teaching values such as Integrity, Respect, Solidarity, Discipline and Compassion through sports activities. Already being a coach has upskilled me to work better with the children. The organisation will be called the Play Your Part (PYP) Foundation. Furthermore, I plan on working on my business and to continuously focus on becoming a better leader, business owner and life coach. I am now even more confident with decisionmaking. As a recovering drug addict I am no longer ashamed of my past as growth happens every second.
Jesse Maart Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Jess Maart @BigJess_Kramp @bigjess_krampvibez
Iâ€™m looking forward to using my acquired knowledge and skills to better the lives of my fellow South Africans. Gladys Sesinyi
Pagel’s 100 Words Martin Luther King is my icon. There is a book written about his life, titled “I Have a Dream”, where he says these inspirational words, “Whatever you do, keep moving. Fly, if you can’t fly, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. Whatever you do, keep moving.” I am a sound engineer at Torero Productions and I’m also a body builder who helps to train youngsters in my community. I want to leave a legacy which will remind people to always go for what they are most passionate about. And never stop striving towards it for any reason.
A healthy body is a healthy mind. A healthy mind is healthy pockets.
Pagel Nyilongo Ekurhuleni, Vosloorus Carletonville, Gauteng
Gladys’ 100 Words
Mama Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is an icon that I admire because she takes charge wherever she goes, and makes things happen. She doesn’t waste too much time talking, she just gets work done. I’m in Cuba currently on a six year Medicine Scholarship and I’m looking forward to using my acquired knowledge and skills to better the lives of my fellow South Africans when I return home. I’d like to leave a legacy of a strong black woman who was willing to sacrifice so much to acquire an education that would create a better life for herself, family and country.
Someone who is driven by long term goals that will be beneficial to the next generation, and who helps others to become successful in life by walking them through a life changing journey.
Brian Qamata (31) is the innovative mastermind behind the Sibanye Khayelitsha Chess Club, a one of a kind programme that is proving to be a game changing initiative for young people within the area of Khayelitsha. “The hunger to learn and grow motivates me. Also, my environment and the vision of the future of chess in townships and villages are my driving forces,” he said. Qamata is an Activator who is concerned about the mental well-being of others. He uses chess to fight depression and feelings of worthlessness among youth in his community. In order to support the work he does, he has forged a partnership with FEAT.SOCK CO in selling socks, to generate revenue in order to finance the monetary demands of the chess club. Upon hearing about the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers in 2015, Qamata’s hunger to learn and grow haunted him and pushed him to join the ACTIVATE! network. “I heard about ACTIVATE! through Steeky Green NPC when Sibulele Ndengezi and Siyanda Magwaca were talking about it,” said Qamata. “My players in the chess club have developed with Chess “A” ratings. However, we still need to play more tournaments for our success to be well measured,” said Qamata, affirming that indeed the journey has impacted lives beyond just his own. He added, “We have strong players, and currently Mbuyiseli Voyi is at the top after winning a gold accolade in the 2017/18 Summer Games at the COSACSA, representing the College of Cape Town. And for that, we are proud.” Qamata defines a hero as a builder, “someone who is driven by long term goals that will be beneficial to the next generation, and who helps others to become successful in life by walking them through a life changing journey,” he said.
When asked who his own hero, is he said Gayton McKenzie. He believes that besides many other traits which Gayton possesses, Qamata is constantly impressed by Gayton’s humility, perseverance, and commitment. “A hero should be able to attentively listen to the inner positive voice speaking inside them, and effectively close down all the negativity weighing them down.” Upon hearing about the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers in 2015, Qamata’s hunger to learn and grow haunted him and pushed him to join the ACTIVATE! network.
Brian Qamata Western Cape INTAKE YEAR : 2016
Mzoli Qamata @BBrian_Mzoli @Mzo777
Melusi Hlongwane KwaZulu-Natal INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Melusi Hlongwane @MelusiHlongwane @melusi_hlongwane
Melusi Hlongwane is an outspoken individual who is passionate about community and youth development. This KwaZulu-Natal based Activator has been a part of a DUT Programme called the Innovative Leadership Programme, with a focus on HIV/AIDS. Currently, he is the secretary at Dukuza Computers, which is aimed at equipping young people and the community of Dukuza with computer skills. He also volunteers as an Economics Tutor at Bergville, around the time of the June and the September holidays. Hlongwane joined the ACTIVATE! Network in order to improve his leadership skills and build a network. Being an Activator inspired this outspoken individual to execute the Ward-Based Plan effectively in his community, under the IDP, by following the Making Local Governments Work Booklet. Furthermore, as someone passionate about the youth, he has managed to mentor a young boy from his community, who is currently doing Grade 11. “I’m hoping to make him reach his full potential,” says the mentor. He further reflects that being a change driver has made him become aware that his passion is being of service to others. “I feel so fulfilled when I lend a helping hand,” he says. Hlongwane’s goal is to start a network of young males from his community in Dukuza.
Here they will “have talks and groom each other to become better men.” Another plan is to build an organisation where young people will get a chance to showcase their talents, especially those who did not get the chance to go to University. “I want them to know that it’s not ‘the end of the world’ and that there are far better opportunities out there.” Hlongwane joined the ACTIVATE! Network in order to improve his leadership skills and build a network.
I want them to know that itâ€™s not â€˜the end of the worldâ€™ and that there are far better opportunities out there.
I anchored a show called Health Talk, which focused on giving and spreading awareness on health issues, streamlining psychosomatic diseases, which emanate from the mental instability of a person.
Being an Activator inspired Nombulelo Ngwentle to follow her passion of raising mental health issues. “My personal experiences allowed me to understand how important it is to take care of, and to be aware of my mental being. This led me to a deeper understanding of the mental health negligence that children are put under.” As a recent intern at the 1873 FM Radio Station, based in Sandton, Ngwentle now drives change by highlighting mental illness. “I anchored a show called Health Talk, which focused on giving and spreading awareness on health issues, streamlining psychosomatic diseases, which emanate from the mental instability of a person. I have been able to invite experts in the field of mental health, including psychologists and counsellors, to share their expertise. Since the inception of the show a month ago, I have been able to increase my audience to both the young and adults. I have managed to deal with topics such as Dementia, Schizophrenia, Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Autism and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have also managed to conduct one interactive seminar at the studio, to discuss topics around mental illness.” Reflecting on being an Activator, Ngwentle mentioned that it gave her more hope, as now she knows that there are other young people like her who value mental health. “The tools gained from the training gave me more confidence as I had people to seek guidance from, and I learned new ways on how to overcome obstacles.” Ngwentle shares her plans to promote positive mental health to children between the ages of ten to twelve, through classroom presentations and interactions. This will begin in Soweto and progress to outer townships in the next year, which will lead to the campaign being done provincially within two or three years.
Currently, she is in communication with the following four schools situated in Soweto, Johannesburg: Ebuhleni Primary School, Ezibukweni Primary School, Esithebeni Primary School and Ekuphumeleleni Primary School, towards implementing the mental awareness programme. “The Mental Health Awareness campaign seeks to educate children between the ages of ten and thirteen, about their mental wellbeing, and how to take care of their mental health,” she explains. The main focal aspects are: Anxiety, Depression, Stress and Bullying, as well as how to cope with them. These aspects will be channelled in a way that is suitable for children.“They will need to identify who they can talk to when they are feeling sad, and what they should do to change their mood etc. However, I would like to point out that there have been challenges that I have been facing with the schools, regarding fully accessing the scholars to run my awareness programmes. The overall targeted partnerships are the Department of Education, the Department of Social Development and the South African Depression and Anxiety Group,” she said. When asked who her hero was, Nombulelo didn’t think twice to respond. “Let me bring it home, because most of the time we tend to celebrate heroes from afar and take for granted those who made direct impact into our lives. I’d strongly say that my hero is my mom. This is because she has been an entrepreneur for over 24 years, supporting her immediate and extended family. She is the strongest woman I know.” “My public hero is Dr Precious MoloiMotsepe. She plays a major role in our country as far as positive change and awareness is concerned, using fashion and her experience as a doctor. She positions herself in areas where she can easily be inspirational, regardless of gender stereotypes that are set by our society. I’d really love to meet her one day.”
Nombulelo Ngwentle Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Nombulelo Ngwentle @Iam_the_Love @Iam_the_Love
Nomthetho Nduku Eastern Cape INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Nomthetho Nduku is a good team player and a community builder who is goal driven. She is a patient hard worker, who loves challenges and is willing to work under pressure to deliver and to achieve goals. She is currently working as an assistant secretary at Buffalo City District. She finds interest in Boxing, as well as in Handball. She has been a team manager for the Buffalo City District for six terms. This fascinating team player chose to be part of the ACTIVATE! Network to, “Learn more and to obtain information on how to do things right. I also wanted to be with people who are serving a common goal to be community builders,” she says. From this, Nduku was then inspired to help her community by taking the young ones who have lost hope and build their confidence, by giving them her time to share whatever they are feeling. “These children are from Masizakhe Children’s Home in Mdantsane Nu 2. I motivate them, I play with them and we are always learning new things to do, like dancing, singing and playing outdoor games. We also do homework clubs. I love to give, and therefore sometimes I would bring them sandwiches. My contribution has yielded fruit as I was recognised by the HIV/AIDS Buffalo City Co-ordinators and also the Education Learner Support Agents. “In sport, every athlete in my district knows me as a humble coach. I coach Boxing and new Handball. I use my coaching to drive change in my community at Ngwenyathi High School by teaching games and facilitating life skills. I give love to those who are helpless and motherless. I do everything with love, without expecting anything in return,” she concluded.
Thinking back on her work, this Activator shares that being an Activator had influenced her to be strong, not to give up easily and to stand up for what is right. As she continues, Nduku plans to engage other stakeholders like the Department of Education and the Eastern Cape Municipalities. “I want them to know that there is a young woman who is willing to bring change in the lives of the youth.” I use my coaching to drive change in my community at Ngwenyathi High School, by teaching games and facilitating life skills.
I give love to those who are helpless and motherless. I do everything with love, without expecting anything in return.
For the first time I feel like I am holding the best tool to bring about change in my community. And I am living the core objectives of ACTIVATE! To Equip, Connect, Inspire, Provoke and to Influence.
Percival Nxumalo KwaZulu-Natal INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Percival Nxumalo is a social activist, therapist facilitator, networker, Rebirth Project ambassador, project co-ordinator, luminary, and is skilled in entrepreneurial leadership. He decided to join ACTIVATE! as he noticed positive changes in society, driven by fellow Activators. “I knew that this was for me since I am passionate about youth development programmes. I knew that I have the fire inside me,” Nxumalo says. Being involved in community work was not something new for Nxumalo, since he admits to having participated in youth programmes since his high school days. He has also worked with different organisations not only around South Africa, but outside the country as well. “For the first time I feel like I am holding the best tool for innovation. And I am living the core objectives of ACTIVATE! To Equip, Connect, Inspire, Provoke and to Influence.” With these tools, he works with programmes such as the Educational and Literacy Programmes. “We give high school learners extra classes on Saturdays, where we focus on Maths and Science mostly, and other subjects. Through this, we have received great positive results, which have motivated teachers and parents.” Another programme is called Health and Alcohol-Substance Abuse. Here Nxuamlo details that they participate in public talks on different topics such as HIV/AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse treatment and continuum care. “We have great relationships with different rehabilitation clinics, whereby we do referrals if necessary, as well as with HIV/AIDS and Gender-based Violence programmes and we give workshops and talks. We have also partnered with the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) Institution where people have received three days training and have received certificates.”
Looking at the future, Nxumalo reveals that he has already started an NGO and wants to develop a programme to partner with other young people. “The objective is to build a YOUTH network to find our commonalities and to merge with some other programmes as well. We started a Youth sector which deals with the ACTIVATE! BIG 5, within the eThekwini Metro Municipality. My vision is to work together with all the youth in the KZN districts. I also plan to write my own autobiography to inspire the youth, since ACTIVATE! materials have enabled us to use a great model when we want to engage and work with local government. I am now very motivated to work with local government structures and to be an active citizen in the community. I know who to approach and how to mobilise the youth. Lastly, I am planning to work with the ward councillor, to contribute and to empower the youth in my field of health and media.” I am now very motivated to work with local government structures and to be an active citizen in the community. I know who to approach and how to mobilise the youth.
Percy Nxumalo @percyblack01
If asked the question “Who am I?” I’d say, I am Pershley Mokgawa, a learner, a leader, a speaker, a trainer and an advocate of change. I grew up in the rural Limpopo, which is where I first discovered my passion for youth development, just after passing matric and volunteering at an organisation called LoveLife. I am the founder and president of an organisation called Narrow Path-Finder. And I currently work for the Wits Reproductive Health and AIDS Institute as a Health Project Assistant. In 2009 I joined LoveLife and that is when I discovered or got a glimpse of my passion. I was a site leader for one year and nine months and part of my responsibilities were Peer Education, Community and Peer Mobilisation, Coaching, Programme Implementation, Events and Project management, and Stakeholder management. After my tenure with LoveLife ended, I came to Johannesburg and, for two years, there was a big void in me because my focus had shifted from doing something that I loved to merely looking for something that would put food on the table. When the opportunity of being part of ACTIVATE! was presented to me, I knew this was going to be a chance to rekindle that fire in me which started when I was at LoveLife. It was even going to take me to a higher level because of my passion in training and/or education. Joining the ACTIVATE! network was more about getting back on the path I chose four years back than any other thing. Today I am the President of a registered NPO, where I create solution-orientated programmes with my team and implement them in schools. I am even able to speak with confidence about issues our organisation is tackling, which are around empowering the African child through education. Having worked for an organisation as a programme implementer, I, however, had no idea what it takes to come up with those programmes I was implementing. However, my passion to see change happening in my community has made me realise there is a drive in me, but that drive needed different elements to be in place. These elements include Leadership, Project management skills, Passion, Knowledge of the area you want to tackle among others. I did not have all those elements fully established in me but as Dr Martin Luther King Jr once said, “Take the first step of faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
After the training, I went on to mobilise (a skill I gained while I was at LoveLife) some of my peers, whom I knew were as passionate as I was. I began to grow as a leader and the staircase began to unfold at every step we took. From just being an implementer of programmes to creating those programmes and also implementing them - that is how ACTIVATE! impacted me as a person. It has also challenged me to change from just thinking about me and to start thinking about how the decisions I take on a daily basis affect the next generation. Personally, I see myself being a founding member and CEO of one of the most successful youth-led organizations that will transform schools from being average to producing 100% matric pass rate, within the next five years. In ten years’ time, I see Narrow Path Finder being a training centre and having a camp site next to a mountain, a place where we shall be training school principals, teachers, parents and learners, to ensure that schools are well managed, and become an environment that is conducive for learning. I also see NPF having initiation centres where it incorporates Medical Male Circumcision, the values they teach in the mountains and also instilling a godly character in young men from different communities, especially the rural areas – thus teaching them about manhood in its entirety. The issue of manhood is one of the things close to my heart, and it’s always sad to see young people dying in the mountains, while all they wanted was to transition from being ‘boys’ to becoming ‘men’.
I see myself being a founding member and CEO of one of the most successful youthled organizations that will transform schools.
Activator Profile Veronica Arends is a twenty-eight-year-old Activator from Kimberley. She is passionate about youth development and serving in the community, to foster human dignity. “I take whatever life has to offer and turn whatever is a negative into a positive.”
Veronica Arends Northern Cape INTAKE YEAR : 2012
When Arends turned eighteen, while at tertiary level, she volunteered at the South African Red Cross Society. “I became involved in society on another level. So, when I read about ACTIVATE! leadership, I thought ‘well, this can only get better’, being an advocate for my community and being the change that I want to see.” Arends currently works with one of the organisations called Grassroots Edge. She explains that it is “A life skills organisation. We do interventions at schools and community mobilisation. We share information regarding living a healthy lifestyle, peer pressure, depression, sexuality, gender norms, choices, risky behaviour etc.” ‘She Conquers’ is another organisation that she is associated with. “The programme is for women. We have support groups that we call Skills Street. Young women get together to share information, to discuss challenges that they face on a daily basis, and how to deal with them. These include single moms’ challenges and how they can support one another. We also discuss how to keep healthy, young women’s development and education etc.”
Arends explains that being an Activator has influenced her way of thinking. “My knowledge and my understanding of Ubuntu grew day by day. It showed me that with every problem, there is a solution. The payment of a happy heart and a smile from those whom you help is payment enough for me. It makes me want to do more and more. And I realised that I could conquer the world.” As she goes forward, Arends plans on leading and to allow others to lead her. “One is never too old to learn from others. I want to continue serving the community, being an advocate, encouraging education and living life as if it’s my last day on earth.” Young women get together to share information, to discuss challenges that they face on a daily basis, and how to deal with them.
We do interventions at schools and community mobilisation. We share information regarding living a healthy lifestyle, peer pressure, depression, sexuality, gender norms, choices and risky behaviour.
I want to start my own NPO, which will indeed help youth in conflict with the law to change their ways and become law-abiding citizens.
My name is Fernando Eugene Visagie. Iâ€™m a young, dedicated and highly motivated social activist, who campaigns and advocates for the rights of disadvantaged youth and vulnerable communities. I have been involved in numerous projects and campaigns that are aligned with my passion for community and youth development, such as soccer tournaments, skateboarding and cycling. Being involved in sports particularly benefits the youngsters during these events. I was born in a small community called Homevale. which is situated in the city of Kimberley. I had a happy upbringing, until I was exposed to an abusive household, where my stepfather physically abused both my mother and I, As a result, I became involved in gangsterism and abused various drugs, including alcohol, from a very young age. I was convicted for murder when I was nineteen years old, after being embroiled in a violent cycle of gang-related violence. I was in prison for seven years and released on parole for 5 years in 2012, after I was sentenced to an effective term of thirteen years in prison. I completed my formal education in prison, and also pursued a tertiary qualification with UNISA, through their distance learning platform, through which I completed my second-year studies in Information Technology, and I also completed a short certificate course in Youth Ministry (Theology). After my challenges and hardships in life, I pledged to commit my life and time to the development of youth and communities, to help keep young people from making mistakes which would have a negative impact on their lives. I am indeed a man of many talents as I facilitate youth camps, do public speaking and am also a community development worker. I have interests in politics, and one of my dreams is to become a political analyst and consultant.
I joined ACTIVATE! so that I could connect with other like-minded individuals and share ideas, collaborate on projects and do work that has a national impact on society. Also, I wanted to be introduced to influential people who can assist me in trying to make a change in peopleâ€™s lives. After joining ACTIVATE!, I truly became a positive and influential force in my community. And I truly appreciate the fact that people are looking up to me as a positive role model and a hero, even after I have made mistakes that eventually took a personâ€™s life. ACTIVATE! provided me with a set of skills that allowed me to take charge and leadership. I am always excited to help out in my community. Now, I am more mature and driven after joining ACTIVATE!, and my experiences afford me great access to help people I would have never met before in this lifetime, people like the former Public Prosecutor Thuli Madonsela, cabinet ministers, etc. I am part of the ACTIVATE! network for life. I worked for ACTIVATE! as the Northern Cape provincial coordinator, and I also had an opportunity to be selected out of onehundred and fifty candidates across the country to study Community Development Practice, and now I am a competent facilitator. I have conducted numerous interviews on TV and radio talk shows. This has made me realise that I have a national responsibility to inspire possibilities. My plans, going forward, are to complete my tertiary education and continue to make a change in my community and country, by being a Political Analyst and Community Development Practitioner. I want to start my own NPO, which will indeed help youth in conflict with the law to change their ways and become law-abiding citizens. My ultimate goal is to establish a leadership and youth development academy.
Fernando Eugene Visagie Northern Cape INTAKE YEAR : 2013
Fernando Eugene Visagie
Bawowethu Jonas is a young and passionate individual who is interested in the improvement of young people. “I am a decent man with a heart of integrity and love for the community. I grew up in a dusty area of Motherwell in Port Elizabeth, where high unemployment and substance abuse are challenges,” he said. Jonas decided to join Activate! in order to sharpen his mind and broaden his knowledge on how to influence his community. He wanted to surround himself with young people who always have ideas, but whose ideas fail to be implemented, for them to find solutions together as to how best they can drive change in their communities. Fortunately that has worked. As a result, Jonas says before joining Activate!, he used to spend only 30% of his time with young people, but after becoming an Activator, he now shares 90% of his time with the people in his community. “We have fun programmes, with sports exercises geared towards promoting living a healthy lifestyle, and we also create dialogues that seek to awaken the people. A skill is earned through engagement and participation, and now they use it to sharpen their own minds.” He further shares that being a change driver makes him feel emotionally, physically and psychologically rewarded. “I am today able to knock on doors and find sponsors, I negotiate and put demands and ensure they are followed. I read and get more opportunities because of being around like-minded people. I know that the best skill to getting knowledge is reading.” From here on, this community Activator plans on meeting with a Ward Councillor and to start a first Ward Based Councillors Tournament at Ward 58. “I am hoping to have full documents for my NGO so I can be able to implement more of my already written plans, and continue to work for the community. It is time to do more and to make a huge impact, not only where I reside, but in the whole of South Africa. An eagle never sits comfortably, it soars,” said Jonas.
We have fun programmes, with sports exercises geared towards promoting living a healthy lifestyle, and we also create dialogues that seek to awaken the people.
“Promised land’’ is where the 2018 Activator, Fhatuwani Raliphaswa, was set to lead the youth of Limpopo during the Community Stock-taking Summit at Sibasa village, a few kilometres outside of Polokwane.
Fhatuwani Raliphaswa Eastern Cape INTAKE YEAR : 2018
In a bid to eradicate some of the current social ills faced by the youth, Raliphaswa and Farisanani Community Development Foundation founder, together with local government officials, business sector captains and civil society stakeholders used the relevance of Youth Month to launch a platform called “Youth with a Mission”. The platform sought to empower young people who are pursuing community and youth development, through the Sustainable Skills Transfer Development Programme. The inaugural event was set to link the youth of Sibasa, Ngovhela and Phiphidi nearby villages with ground-breaking opportunities that will transform their lives for good. According to Raliphaswa, the event was not just a link for the youth to access groundbreaking opportunities that will transform their lives for good, but was also meant to create unifying social ills advocacy strategies that judiciary, law enforcement institutions, rehabilitation practitioners and community residents can employ to keep peace and maintain order in their communities. The social entrepreneur and social change driver founder explains what prompted staging the event during Youth Month: “The best way to commemorate the progressive youth of the 1976 generation is to keep their dreams in our minds, and take the current youth struggle forward by starting initiatives that will ensure that as a country, we catch up with the rest of the world. Therefore, as one of the enlightened youth in my community, I thought one of the best progress strategies is to create community introspection platforms such as the social entrepreneurship platform,’’ said Raliphaswa.
She went on to say, “I started this initiative to ensure that my people’s dream of a once prosperous youth in Sibasa village is not just restored, but with the restoration there also comes peace and harmony. Most importantly, I hoped this initiative would revive the ‘never give up’ attitude to my current generation, so that the upcoming generations can look at our strides and realise that life is worth living meaningfully, despite all odds.” The event was open to all Activators and community members who were interested in participating in this local youth vision renewal initiative. They were welcomed to donate their skills, networks, resources, finances and time. Giving an update after the event took place, Raliphaswa said: “Approximately forty young people from Ngovhela and surrounding areas attended this life changing gathering. The reaction of anticipation from the youth was moving and their genuineness regarding the lack of information in various areas, such as educational angle in terms of career paths, was extremely touching to experience. During the discussion, people were authentic in voicing out their concerns and also the possible solutions to the challenges that they face daily. The main focus for the people was to establish an educational campaign targeted at learners from grades seven through to twelve. The campaign will aim to help them with their subjects, and alert them based on which ones they excel in, which relevant fields of study they have options of choosing from, like EMS, Maths and Science, History, and Agricultural studies.
I personally felt alarmed due to the inputs and problems that were raised; it was so heartbreaking to hear of young people abusing substances, and eventually dropping out of school. The age group was between fourteen and twenty-six years, therefore I am dedicated to making sure their dreams come true through involving relevant stakeholders, as well as assisting Grade twelve learners to apply online for their tertiary enrolment and other related matters. The main reason I joined ACTIVATE! is because I am determined and committed to transform my community, and to bring about change that will ensure sustainability. Working hand-in-hand with other fellow Activators is one of the key important factors, in that we can join hands to make our respective communities better places to live in without fear, and by embracing freedom of speech. Being an Activator has really enriched my life in different ways; during the training earlier this year I discovered the various assets that I possess, such as leadership, creativity, entrepreneurship and being inventive. Team building was one of the highlights that elevated me recently, because I believe that alone I can go fast, but together we can go far. Working with fellow Activators from various provinces and sectors with unique ideas really played a vital role. Until today, I donâ€™t regret joining the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers programme. Recently, the youth from my community have formed a committee that will ensure that the campaign continues to run smoothly, because of the enthusiasm to do well and improve the area significantly, and school management would be approached in due time before the trial exams. I am very impressed by the level of dedication that I have discovered in them. The exciting part is that the level of substance abuse has decreased; now itâ€™s rare to find young boys and girls sitting by the street corners smoking or drinking alcohol. By October 2018, I am planning to have registered an NPO that will be based in my area and that will engage civic members to be part of it, with the aim of making sure that this is a lifetime legacy that shall not collapse but exist to help create a better future for upcoming youth in the community. I see myself as a hero, because through me, an event of this kind has taken place for the very first time in my community, Such a thing has never happened at all.
My parents and the community at large are so joyful because of the impact I have made in the area. Honestly, I am the first young lady to think and take action by making it a point that my vision becomes a reality. People never thought of this taking place at all, but through my passion for changing the community, it happened, through planning and sacrificing my time to ensure that my fellow youth are part of it, to improve their lives too. It was not easy but it was indeed worth it. In my area there are children, young people from different backgrounds who look up to me as their role model. Being a member here and the kind of person I am has really touched the lives of many. In addition, fellow members of Ngovhela see me as a hero also, based on the hunger I have to go the extra mile in advising and guiding young people in the right path of living, to avoid regrets in the future. By 2019, the Youth with a Mission initiative is going to be extended to areas with similar needs, in order that they may join forces with young people from other communities, with the aim of influencing youth participation. In this regard, I want to organise this kind of event annually. I strongly believe that this initiative shall uplift the lives of people and provide information by inviting motivational speakers to talk to the youth on how they made it in life, as well as how they defeated the obstacles, throughout. Furthermore, the initiative shall open opportunities when we get buy-ins from key stakeholders such as the Department of Education, Arts and Culture, NYDA, and SEDA.â€? In my area there are children, young people from different backgrounds who look up to me as their role model. Being a member here and the kind of person I am has really touched the lives of many.
My name is Fundo Gift Methule. I am a young individual who is passionate about community development and making a difference in communities. I am self-driven and determined in the cause of helping other people. I also run mentorship camps for young people. I decided to be part of the ACTIVATE! Network as I needed an organisation that would assist me in becoming a better activist, and to have proper knowledge and strategies on how to influence positive change and create sustainability in youth-led community projects. I now run a mentorship programme with a youth organisation called Youth for Christ. The programme imparts life skills for young boys and girls. We also run life skills camps for other organisations, which focus on psycho-social support. We also have one annual camp for teenagers, which focuses on educational issues, life skills, gender stereotypes and religion (Christianity). The purpose of these programmes is to influence positive behavioural change amongst young people, by helping them to be assertive, and teaching them how to deal with the issues that they face at school or at home. Furthermore, I am the Research and Development officer in a community-based youth organisation called Clau-Clau Youth Development Forum (CCYDF). Here, we have anti-substanceabuse programmes, educational support for high school learners, and we promote sports and arts and culture. I am also involved with other organisations from different communities, namely, the Elizabeth Mabena Drop-in Centre, the Impumelelo Yethu Foundation, and Mamkhulu.org. I also get invited to give talks at youth events, as I also do some freelancing in facilitation and training. Being an Activator has helped me grow as a person and has opened a lot of doors for me. I even had the opportunity to go to Kenya on a cultural exchange programme. My plans, going forward, are to grow my network and to create more partnerships with other organisations. My other interest is to fight lack of skills and youth unemployment. These are projects that I am working on.
The purpose of these programmes is to influence positive behavioural change amongst young people, by helping them to be assertive, and teaching them how to deal with the issues that they face at school or at home.
My other interest is to fight lack of skills and youth unemployment.
The IDP is really important, otherwise you will just see a truck rocking up in your village and you wonder what is happening.
When she started on the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers (ACD) Programme, Activator Hlubikazi Sanqela did not know anything about the Integrated Development Plan (IDP), other than that she would go to community meetings and get the document and be happy that there will be projects happening. After attending the ACD Programme, she decided to revisit the IDP document, to have a better understanding. She went to her municipality to look for the document, and could not find it the first time, but through the councillor, she later managed to secure a copy. She then went through the document and understood how the process works. After that, she spoke to usibonda – the village traditional leader under the Nkosi (chief) in her village - and told him that there was a project listed in the IDP which had never taken place. She suggested to him that they go through the document and check on other things – and thus share with the community. Through her inquiries, they discovered that one of the three local community halls had formed part of the IDP but had never been completed, and thus kept reappearing in the plan, with no progress. After her engagements with the community and relevant leaders, the plans were fast-tracked and the building process was finally completed. This brave Activator learnt so much more about government processes and how the IDP process works in relation to projects. She now understands that, even though there are seven villages in her home town, there are twenty-three wards under her municipality that the municipality budget must cater for. Therefore, should the community of a particular ward decide on a particular project that they want for their ward, they should communicate with the rest of the wards so that they may all reach a mutual decision, based on the priority needs of their wards.
If one ward sees that their project is less of a priority compared to the other, they would then withdraw their proposal and give a chance to the other ward. She summarised the process as follows: 1. Amongst the seven villages, they will first gather separately and discuss their needs and record them according to their priority.
2. All seven villages (forming ward fourteen) will then come together, not as villages but now as a ward and discuss all the issues that were raised in their villages’ gatherings. They would then choose the critical ones and agree on priorities for their ward collectively.
INTAKE YEAR : 2017
3. During an IDP drive, they will, as a united voice and as a ward, give input on their specific needs. This was really an eye-opener for Sangela, and she enjoyed being part of the process, as she assisted with the IDPs and she felt a sense of being a proud community member. She now has a much better understanding and working knowledge of IDP document. She also still makes use of her copy of “Making Local Government Work”. When she joins the ward committee members at ward meetings, she regularly consults the book for guidance, but she makes sure that no one takes it from her, as it is a valuable document for her. She is the only one in her community with such a copy and wonders why the ward committees do not have copies, as it would make their work better. In addition, she referred to Ward Fourteen as a “war room” (there is one for each ward) and this “war room” consist of many government stakeholders such as SAPS, all ward committees, NGOs etc. It is a platform created by the councillor to tackle issues of importance in the ward.
Activator Sangela had requested for the next “war room” meeting to be held in her village and that each ward committee member to bring at least five youth members from the seven villages who are active, so that youth participation can be promoted and a youth forum could be formed. She will still see what the outcome of this request would be. “The IDP is really important, otherwise you will just see a truck rocking up in your village and you wonder what is happening.” The ambitious Hlubikazi has no desire to become a ward committee member, as she believes that this will hamstring her community development efforts. This brave Activator learnt so much more about government processes and how the IDP process works in relation to projects.
A hero is someone brave enough to take initiative, influence others and bring about positive change in the lives of those around him/her... Kagiso Kekana
Kagiso Kekana (33), is a philanthropist, a moral philosopher and an enthusiastic youth developer, with a distinctive passion for the arts. She is a dynamic, and an inspiring independent young woman, who founded a non-profit organisation called Charismatic Rhythms Community Arts Hub, where she is a director.
“Charismatic Rhythms advocates for the development of children and the youth, through the creative methods of performance art and facilitation of life skills programmes,” said Kekana, unpacking the work she does in her community – Makhado, in Limpopo. Kekana is a role model and an example to many within her community and surrounding areas, who joined ACTIVATE! Change Drivers. “I was inspired by Activators’ stories and how the ACTIVATE! Network continues to equip people with resources and to feed them meaningful knowledge,” she said. She concluded, “Furthermore, I was inspired to see so many young people gathered together, to discuss meaningful issues and bridging the roads that continuously contribute towards changing and impacting our communities for the better.” Kekana claims to have encountered difficulties when she applied in 2016, but she ended up completing her application in 2017, which was an amazing moment in her life, and that led to her becoming as a member of the ACTIVATE! Network. “I have learned a lot, connected with like-minded individuals and partnered with other Activators. Also, I enjoy the content of the training sessions, the resources and the support that the network offers,” said Kekana. She is a living testimony that the journey has had an impact on her life, her work, and those whom she works closely with. “Yes, most definitely, it has impacted my life and surroundings in numerous ways,” said Kekana. She added,” One of the young ladies that I mentored, from Moletjie in Polokwane, formed a soccer team and she started an annual soccer tournament. It is now in its second year, this year - 2018.” Kekana concluded, “Charismatic Rhythms formed a partnership with the award-winning Sibikwa Arts Centre, to facilitate the Qinis’Ulwazi Project that is nurturing the talent of aspiring artists, so that they can acquire an accreditation in a short skills performance course. Lastly, four of our members are currently expanding the initiative throughout high schools, with performances of the play My Africa.” She defines a hero as being an ordinary citizen who has it in her, or him, to pass all hurdles and to make things happen, for the sake of change. “A hero is someone brave enough to take the initiative, influence others and bring about positive change in the lives of those around him/her who are dependent on them,” said Kekana, paging through her tablet, finding images of the Soweto Uprising of 1976.
Her classification of a hero is, “Every young person who is bold enough to be actively involved in their community, through contributing towards positive social change, just like Activators, are my heroes,” said Kekana, acknowledging the work done by her peers in all walks of society. When asked what the traits possessed by her heroes are, she said, smiling, “They are loyal and dedicated to their generational cause, with the ability to inspire, to maintain an undying spirit, and to continuously pass on opportunities to the rest of their society.” She believes that a hero should acquire competence in his or her leadership skills, have the ability to influence others, be peopleorientated, be supportive of others, to pave the way, and to pay attention to, the welfare of others. “Whenever I see young people acting selflessly to help those around them, I become encouraged and inspired to do more,” said Kekana, with pride and confidence that the youth have the potential to drive South Africa into its promised freedom.
I was inspired to see so many young people gathered together, to discuss meaningful issues and continuously contribute towards changing and impacting our communities for the better.
Isasiphinkosi Mdingi Eastern Cape INTAKE YEAR : 2015
Activator Isasiphinkosi Mdingi has raised the flag for the African continent, as she scooped the prestigious Young Emerging Leaders Award at an event held at the Department of State in the United States of America (USA) . The annual ceremony is meant to acknowledge the outstanding leadership achievements of young people from all of over the world, who are involved in building peace, combating extremism, empowering youth and driving youth economic participation and growth. Mdingi is one of ten remarkable young people who have received this important award, while crisscrossing the USA, perfecting community development through its intensive exchange programme. Honourees first visited Washington, D.C. where they were recognised for their efforts in a public ceremony. They further attended meetings with U.S. government officials and non-governmental organisations. The awardees then travelled to Austin, Texas, to participate in professional meetings and to engage with their American counterparts. The young leaders have reconvened in Washington D.C., to share project plans and examine ways in which they can collaborate and build on their experiences. This hard working twenty-three-year-old law graduate and activist had once represented South Africa and the African continent at the Preparing Global Leaders’ Summit in Russia in 2015. Some of Mdingi’s achievements include playing a key role in drafting an anti-rape and sexual assault culture policy proposal document, and robust engagement with the South African Minister of Social Development on how to curb all forms of gender violence in South African tertiary academic institutions.
While reflecting on her ongoing programme in the USA, the Eastern Cape-based Activator said that she is planning to use the opportunity to secure resources and relationships that will address the plight of young vulnerable people, including females, in her community. ‘’The information I gained during my visit to the United States of America and the processes I’ve learned will help me in strategizing on my work and will guide me in the future, to design projects that create meaningful impact for my people in South Africa and the African continent. I have formed formidable relationships with a number of members and many other stakeholders have committed to making sure that I will be able to amplify my projects in the Eastern Cape,” Mdingi said. One of her upcoming ground-breaking projects is to assist the Department of Higher Education in quickly drafting policy that will address prominent Gender-Based Violence and the ever-increasing sexual assault culture, at all South African tertiary learning institutions. This intelligent leader’s next mission is to study for a Master’s degree in International Development in the United Kingdom, despite being rejected many times by local and international academic funders. Some of Mdingi’s achievements include playing a key role in drafting an anti-rape and sexual assault culture policy proposal document.
Iâ€™m just doing my part to contribute towards a better South Africa, and ultimately the world.
Her long-term goal is to have training programmes that will upskill community members, to help them become employable and also to create jobs for others.
Famously known as the “The Possibilitarian”, Kgadi Mmanakana has become a change driver in her community and in the Limpopo province at large.
One of her highlights in her community work was when she was awarded the certificate of Distinction of an Associate Fellow, by the Royal Commonwealth Society, a United
She hails from Ga-Matlala, a small community on the outskirts of Polokwane. Her dream of influencing her community positively was something that began when she was still in high school. “When my fellow classmates didn’t understand concepts, I would gather them together and help to explain the concept to them.” Community development was something that Mmanakana never saw coming. Being a community leader was a dream that she did not choose, but rather it chose her, as she believes that the superpowers that she possesses are meant to be used to serve others.
Kingdom Organisation, in the year 2015. Mmanakana’s work has been well received as she gets love from her mentees as well as her Facebook friends, who attend her sessions. She says that nothing satisfies her more than to see people seeing value in the time that they invest in her sessions.
When she was born, her family marked her day as a possibility, but she believes that the universe declared it. “I adopted the name The Possibilitarian, because I was looking for a name that represents possibility and also because I regard myself as a definition of possibility.” When she was asked if there was anything that she was doing besides developing her community, the Possibilitarian laughed and said, “I am always learning and refining my craft on a daily basis.” Thus, she admitted that she is a nerd and a lifelong student of Business Strategy and Personal Development. She also owns a consulting company. Mmanakana continued, “Changing the status quo in my community gives a sense of meaning to my life. We were all called to live a life of service, to give something back because you want to, instead of feeling forced to do it. What I do serves my soul as it always feels right to do it ...”
Her long-term goals are to have formal coaching programmes where people subscribe to be part of the programme and at the end, create new beginnings for their own lives. This year, Mmanakana has started a new inspiration tour and a coaching programme called, “New Beginning Circle”. This is where she coaches young men and women on a one-on-one basis, focusing on what they want to achieve. The theme of the whole coaching programme is, “Life is ten percent about what happens to you and ninety percent about how you respond to it.” Also, with Education, Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, her long-term goal is to have training programmes that will equip community members, to help them to be employable and also to create jobs for others. Though she feels that she has not done enough for her community, this Possibilitarian draws strength from Kgadi, a strong and brave woman who sees problems and comes up with sustainable solutions. Changing the status quo in my community gives a sense of meaning to my life. We were all called to live a life of service, to give something back to others instead of feeling forced to.
Kgadi Mmanakana Limpopo INTAKE YEAR : 2017
Daveâ€™s 100 Words The person who inspires me is my late father, Mr Rakgwale Lekgwathi. He might not have had a great education but he was an excellent role model; he demonstrated the importance of helping out fellow human beings. Losing him was what stirred my passion for sport and education. I have committed myself to helping young people work towards a more peaceful community. Life is too short; if you have found your passion and a dream to fight for, you should follow it for the rest of your life and even more, be willing to die for it as well. Dave Lekwati
My icon is Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, because he fought for what he believed in, from beginning to end. Avuzwa-Kagisoâ€™s 100 Words Avuzwa-Kagiso Ngubo
My icon is Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, because he fought for what he believed in, from beginning to end. Also, I am just as passionate about Education as he was; I have introduced literacy to the kids of Gugulethu. Aside from spelling Bees and reading, I mentor young boys, bringing them up to be men who are visionaries and nonviolent. I would like these young men to foster others too so that the number of young boys without fathers is reduced and there is a decline in the number of women being abused. 99
Lebogang Victor Ditsebe
Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Lebogang Victor Ditsebe
Meet Lebogang Victor Ditsebe, a 2018 Activator who is based in Gauteng Province. His mission? To promote peace. He is part of an organisation called International Peace Youth Organization. “The world is in a bad state,” he says. “There are social pressures, domestic pressures, political pressures, economic pressures and other unpleasant problems which too often, people resort to violence in order to solve, which is never the answer. International Peace Youth Organization is an organization which holds dialogues in different parts of our community, to discuss and promote nonviolent ways of solving social and domestic problems and issues. This is an important intervention which our country, to begin with, needs, in light of the ever-increasing rate of violent crimes such as assault, rape and murder.” “Too many people fall victim to violent crimes every day in South Africa and the worst part is that it becomes a vicious, cycle as young people see and emulate this destructive behaviour, taking it to be the norm. To intervene in this is the reason that our organization, International Peace Youth Organization exists. Our impact has been a resounding one, as our programmes are designed to deal with the root cause, symptoms, and the effective prevention of violent behaviour and the results are clearly visible and are voiced by many of our beneficiaries.” International Peace Youth Organization is a non-political organization, which Lebogang says was one of the strong reasons he decided to join. “I would liken our organization to ACTIVATE!, because they help and support people despite their social status, race and political standing.
Although it can sometimes be emotionally challenging listening to the stories of what some of our beneficiaries have gone through in the past, the notion that we are introducing them to a better, more peaceful way of solving issues, gives me peace of mind at the end of the day.” In the recent past, Lebogang Ditsebe has been involved with Volunteer Centre, where he used to volunteer as an administrative clerk and also as a marketing agent. “I am a believer that the best things in life are free and that the more you give, the more you receive. Having gone through the Activate Change Drivers programme, I have learnt the importance of volunteering and being an active citizen.” Too many people fall victim to violent crimes every day in South Africa and the worst part is that it becomes a vicious, cycle as young people see and emulate this destructive behaviour, taking it to be the norm.
“I am a decisive leader and a risk taker, qualities which I regard to be two of my strong points. On the flip side, I am working on developing myself, particularly on trying to become a better communicator. I am currently enrolled in a Business Training Programme, where I am learning about marketing, finance and other entrepreneurial skills, skills which I intend to use, in turn, to develop the people, especially the young people, in my community.” “I am happy that I found and joined Active! when I did. Through the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers Network, leaders with values and good moral standing are being equipped to be able to make the right decisions on behalf of the public, and indeed make informed decisions within their community structures.
In addition, Activators across the country are addressing social ills and pushing the social justice agenda, while provoking thoughts to confront the status quo of social injustices. The programme gives us tools to navigate ourselves through the sociopolitical space. We also learn the correct channels to follow on how we can involve government to address the problems we face as the youth of South Africa. Consequently, young people in our country will be reassured of a better tomorrow by the commitment of government to actively participate in youth development, to create skills development, and thus confront the issue of the scarcity of employment opportunities. My vision for South Africa is to see the country having a government that can be a source of hope for the hopeless, a united and consistent government that is able to help its people regardless of their political standing.â€? To our hero, Lebogang Victor Ditsebe, we hope that the road ahead is a prosperous one for you and may you continue spreading love an positivity through your work at International Peace Youth Organization. Peace be upon you!
I would liken our organisation to ACTIVATE!, because they help and support people despite their social status, race and political standing.
I provide school shoes and sanitary pads to children coming from disadvantaged communities with poor backgrounds.
It is no coincidence that 2018 Activator Jabulane Thabethe’s middle name is hope, as his work gives just that to his community in Katlehong and many children across the African continent. Thabethe is a humanitarian and the founder of the three-yearold organisation, Barefoot Walk which, throughout the months of September and October, took Thabethe to the South African Innovation Summit and across the African Continent to advocate for poor African children who have to walk many kilometres to school without shoes. Being the true leader that he is, Thabethe puts himself in the children’s shoes by attending these events and conferences barefoot. It is this same humility and empathy that pushes him to reach new heights in his art of giving, and gives him more strength to challenge the status quo. Thabethe is a doer who continuously changes people’s lives and narratives. “I provide school shoes and sanitary pads to children coming from disadvantaged communities with poor backgrounds,” he said, reflecting on his work. Thabethe found himself drawn into conversations with friends about ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, and his inquisitiveness eventually led him to knock on its doors. “Numerous friends on Facebook were talking about ACTIVATE! and that spurred my eagerness to undertake my research,” he said. He added, “Surprisingly, I found that the platform was the mutual embodiment of my values and beliefs towards moving the country forward.” Thabethe excitedly expounded on opportunities afforded to him by being part of the network. He shared that, “I have a story to tell! The journey has been amazing and we were presented with resources and opportunities at our disposal. Like I recently got an opportunity to exhibit the work I do at the Social Innovation Summit in Cape Town, through ACTIVATE!” To think that lives have been impacted by the journey for him is an understatement. “I believe that many lives have been touched, but I’m definitely sure that about three thousand have been reached, regardless of countless others who are not recorded,” said Thabethe, reminiscing on his work’s impact. He added, “I am a conscious leader with the resources, networks and skills I received. I use them to tackle the challenges that I come across, and if they seem far better, I consult the object cards. Also, many girl children now have their dignity restored, and have the confidence to attend school without having to miss classes due to their menstrual cycle.”
When asked about his definition of a hero and who he considers to be his hero, Thabethe said: “A hero is someone who puts people first and himself second. A hero is someone who impacts lives daily and encourage others to follow suit.” He added, “I could never underestimate the value and teachings of the man who gave me life. Therefore, my father is my hero,” said Thabethe, smiling. He subscribes to the idea that heroes should equally acquire the following traits: • A good heart; • A sense of humour, and • Respect for other people. “I have continuously been inspired by his perseverance, his ability to connect the lines of our relations with the community members, and the wisdom he has and exhibits,” concluded Thabethe about his hero.
A hero is someone who puts people first and himself second. A hero is someone who impacts lives daily and encourage others to follow suit.
Marshall Morne Hendricks Western Cape INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Marshall Hendricks @marshallhendricks @marshallhendricks
Activator Marshall More Hendricks (26) is a resilient, brave and opportunistic leader, who has been through a lot in life and, like few others, when he saw an opportunity, he used it for his advantage. Growing up in the streets of Bo-Kaap, at a tender age Hendricks got exposed to many destructive things such as drugs, crime and gangsterism. “At the age of eleven I was able to operate a firearm, at age fourteen I stole a car for the first time, and at sixteen I became the big shot in the gang world,” he said. Hendricks was a dangerous member in his family. Therefore, joining the gang led him to be chased out of home by his aunt. “I went to stay with the leader of a gang, who happened to be my boss,” he said, looking away. “When I got the opportunity to swing the taxi key as a sixteen-years-old pursuing grade twelve, I stole it. But what set the tone for change was when I nearly died after being involved in a fight that landed me in hospital. From there, things came into perspective,” said Hendricks, regretful that his involvement had cost others’ lives and fortune. He added, “At the age of twenty-one I was shot twice, and that was when I finally and peacefully put down my gun.” He confidently commended himself of taking the move which nearly got him killed, as the gang did not want him to throw in the towel due to the fact that he was in possession of too much information. He concludes: “I literally ran away with nothing - no clothes, and no money, but only a vision of where I wanted to see myself.” When he moved to live with his mother in another place, that was when his life changed, despite the gang’s attempts to lure him back. “I went to live with my mother and my life changed. Even when the gangs went there looking for me, she would always hide me,” reminisced Hendricks, delighted.
He claims that his mother’s presence changed his ways and allowed him to look forward to the future. “She motivated and supported me. It was at that time when I realised that I had to look for a job and eventually return to school,” said Hendricks, who became a co-owner, with other fellows, six months ago. “I am glad that I made the brave decision of leaving the gang ten years ago, despite many people who did not have faith in me,” he concluded. But what set the tone for change was when I nearly died after being involved in a fight that landed me in hospital. From there, things came into perspective.
We are focused mainly on young people from rural areas where opportunities are few, and we are trying to link them up with numerous opportunities.
Mankweng community, located in Limpopo, is home to the 28 years old activator, Lekau Johannes Phoshoko, who was introduced to the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers by a friend who was a first generation (2012]) graduate of the network. Johannes is a passionate community development worker who runs a youth development organisation with numerous programmes, which they offer to numerous schools. “We are focused mainly on young people from rural areas where opportunities are few, and we are trying to link them up with numerous opportunities,” said Lekau. “I joined ACTIVATE! because of the feedback I received from my friends who joined prior to me,” said Lekau, with such great passion. He continues to advance the point at which for him the journey began: “I realized that I needed to be equipped with the right tools and the right networks to help myself and community, and I don’t regret joining the network.” He describes his journey with ACTIVATE! as a life-changing experience that helped him greatly. “It has even transformed my life for the better,” he said. He is confident that his journey has had a positive impact on his life and the circles he is in. The impact is indeed vast, ranging from one to too many impacted aspects. “Now young people in our communities are living their dreams, they are working hard to better their lives because of our activities,” said the passionate Lekau. He is of the belief that he is the hero in his community. Lekau says that according to him, a hero is the engine of a community and the heart of its citizens, and he says, “Why can’t that be Lekau Johannes Phoshoko, for the work that I am doing?”
Lastly, he claims that like himself, a hero is someone who possesses or should possess the following traits: • • • • •
Does not give up; Is determined, Is not self-centred, Is compassionate, and; is Action-oriented. I realized that I needed to be equipped with the right tools and the right networks to help myself and community, and I don’t regret joining the network.
Lekau Johannes Phoshoko Limpopo INTAKE YEAR : 2016
Johannes Lekau Phoshoko @lekaujohannes @lekaujohannes
Mmeza Gaborone Northern Cape INTAKE YEAR : 2015
Mmeza Gaborone @mmezagabz @mmeza_gabz
Meet Mmeza Gaborone, an Activator who is determined to change the world, one day at a time. She may share her surname with the famous capital city of Botswana, but Mmeza is proudly South African, with her roots deeply planted in the Northern Cape Province. Among the many hats that she wears, is a pair of head phones, which you will find her wearing while doing her thing as part of A! Radio, the radio branch of Activate! There she is the technical coordinator, in charge of content production, editing, facilitating the radio station’s streaming services as well producing some of the shows on the radio station. She enjoys putting together podcasts for A! Radio and says that it is an experience that puts her in a timeless zone of reality.
What this special and powerful organization does is to host hackathons, hold dialogues and conduct motivational talks based on social issues like alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy and with correctional centre inmates, ways of self-reform. They do all of these within their community and in various places, including churches and correctional centres. Who said six was just a number between five and seven? On how driving change has impacted her, Gaborone says: “When you build a house, you take one brick at a time. I am always working on getting more information because the more I know about who I am, the better I am able to deal with the world. I have become in my community nothing but the best source of inspiration as a Change Driver.
Mmeza has won multiple awards in the radio industry and is also a fond lover of sports. Gaborone describes herself as a hardworking, energetic and talkative person. She says that she is her own hero, sharing that her life journey has not always been a simple one, but one where she had to strive to make a difference and an impact. She says that she continues to strive to build a legacy for herself and to make a lasting mark in the world. She is part of #K6 or Krag Van Ses (which translates to “Power of Six”), an organization which herself together with 5 other Activators started in Upington, to tackle some of the social ills facing their community. “In the beginning there were only six of us, but the organization has since grown to having many more members.
I love working with communities and constantly searching for opportunities, so that I can demonstrate my initiative, my enthusiasm, my reliability, and most importantly, my creativity.” Mmeza Gaborone believes that the industry which she is in is all about evolution and fresh concepts.
“However, despite the growth in numbers and strength, we have chosen to keep the name Krag Van Ses (#K6). It is always inspiring to see something you started growing and touching lives around you, when you see people dedicating their time and efforts to make someone else’s life better, and it is all because you decided to take the initiative. I do believe that God works his miracles through us, his people. Many people have benefited from the existence of #K6 and it would not have been possible had it not been for the efforts of my fellow co founders.”
Personally, Mmeza identifies communication and respect as her top strengths, short temper and punctuality as areas she can improve on. Her friends may sometimes make good-natured fun of Mmeza for often not being on time, but she is a heroine, one whom we will not hesitate to commend and applaud,fit is women like her who personify strength, resilience, hope and inspiration. Her fuse may be a short one, but her legacy will surely be long-lived, and the phenomenal work she does on Activate! Radio and in her community through Krag Van Ses, will certainly go a long way! Mmeza Gaborone says that she intends to build a strong legacy and leave a lasting impression on every life she touches. She hopes to always maintain a loving touch, because she believes that every moment counts. You Go Ngwanyana! The world is yours!
I donâ€™t want to see other young people go through what I went through. It was not easy for me to access information, including knowing how to apply for space in higher institutions.
As an all-round activist, Motsatsi Mmola is an Activator who is not afraid to be unpopular in pursuit of justice and fairness. In describing herself, she says, “I am a motivational speaker, facilitator, Activator, a negotiator and an agent of change. I am the change I want to see in the world.” Mmola was one of the Activators who were recommended by ACTIVATE! to go to Kenya for four months. She was deployed in one of the organizations called Siasa Place, which brings young people and women together for socio-political transformation in mainstream politics. They seek to ideologically influence and to mobilize this stratum into key issues affecting the nation and the continent, through informing, engaging and educating them. This was where Mmolas’s skills were put to good use, and she was equal to the task. After having fulfilled these responsibilities, this agent of change became entrusted with numerous positions within the Limpopo province. These included being selected to represent the Maruleng Local Municipality in the provincial youth sector. This, along with many other tasks, enabled the inspiring Activator from the village of Ga-sekororo in Limpopo, to be selected for the Owami Woman of the Year 2017 Award. Within her different platforms, this facilitator and negotiator always ensures that she is active in decision-making and in raising awareness about the challenges faced by the country. “The love of my community inspires me,” says the motivational speaker who further dedicates her spare time to help prospective students with online applications. “My background contributes a lot. I don’t want to see other young people go through what I went through. It was not easy for me to access information, including knowing how to apply for space in higher institutions,” she adds. Presently, Mmola works at a school as an “Environmental Educator”.
She believes that the main threat facing the world is in failing to protect the environment and its future (the children). “The safety of the learners and the environment is my priority,” Mmola emphasises. Furthermore, she is confident that her contribution will produce a lot of changes in the environment and that children will begin to be more responsible and take care of their surroundings. Environmental education is a field that uses a lot of scientific and complex terms, making it hard for people to understand, but Mmola commits herself to bringing it down to the level of the people. Her last message to all those who are inspired by her work was: “Things do not come with luck. They come with hard work, a love of what you’re doing and committing to it. Be ready for disappointments and never give up.” She practically lives by Vladimir Lenin’s (Putin or Marxist?) words which say, ‘If we don’t draw women in public activity, into militia, into political life, if we don’t tear women away from deadening atmosphere of house hold and kitchen then it is impossible to secure real freedom. It is impossible even to build democracy.’ I am a motivational speaker, facilitator, Activator, a negotiator and an agent of change. I am the change I want to see in the world.
Motsatsi Mmola Limpopo Motsatsi Mmola
Naledi Magomarele Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Naledi Magomarele @naledinoctune @naledimoshiane
Naledi Magomarele is an International Communications student, who is interested in books, lending a hand and taking part in effective and proactive activities. She also has interests in International Relations, the environment, health and other socioeconomic related issues. After having much interesting interactions with a few ACTIVATE! Change Drivers at the Human Rights Commission and identifying with their need to make a difference within their communities, Magomarele then decided to join the ACTIVATE! network because, “I wanted to better myself and others,” she said. Being an Activator then inspired Magomarele to contribute in her own community as well. She credits her experience as a volunteer at Hope for Life Youth Foundation as having been influential in directing her energy to the communities she is surrounded by, as well as to her overall growth. “Hope for Life Youth Foundation is a non-profit organisation registered with the Department of Social Development. Their aim is to tackle challenges faced by the youth, mainly on the subjects of self-awareness, resilience, empowerment and social behavioural change. The foundation aims at educating young people on social challenges and at guiding them to make informed life choices. With an awareness of the problems faced by communities, especially the youth, the NPO acts as a one-stop centre for transformation, support and counselling, with a hope for a better future for all fellow South Africans. “My position at Hope for Life is within the Project Management division as an assistant to the project manager, Oscar Makobe. This is as part of my Work Integrated Learning for the International Communications course I study at Tshwane University of Technology.
I help plan and organize campaigns, hackathons, open dialogues, summits and conferences for any type of youth-related issues that we face in our communities daily, and try by all means to look for better solutions we can implement together as one. I am currently organizing an event titled Black Imbizo, to get the black communities to discuss African issues among different African ethnic groups and how we can tackle them together as fellow Africans,” says the charming Magomarele. Being an Activator has therefore impacted Magomarele to realize that “it brings me joy to be able to help my fellow citizens. The experience at ACTIVATE! has definitely changed me, in the sense that I have gained so much knowledge and insight. It has helped me to make a change in my community and to connect with other fellow change drivers in my community, because I believe together we can make an immense difference.” Magomarele further has intentions “to bring more awareness in other aspects such as gender-based violence and active citizenship, for example. I plan to make a difference in every way I can because I generally believe that we as South African citizens need to work together to make a difference in our country, and then expand to other countries on our continent.” I plan to make a difference in every way I can because I generally believe that we as South African citizens need to work together to make a difference in our country, and then expand to other countries on our continent.
I am currently organizing an event titled Black Imbizo, to get the black communities to discuss African issues among different African ethnic groups and how we can tackle them together as fellow Africans.
Onke Jezile (23), is a selfless champion who is shifting things in her village (EGoso) in leaps and bounds, through the sterling work she does with the Lethabo La Azania Foundation, partnering with other organisations, to achieve their goal of developing, and sourcing opportunities for their village, and for people’s wellbeing. She joined ACTIVATE! Change Drivers after hearing from numerous activators about the organisation. She was encouraged by another activator to apply for the training. The plan for her was to establish herself through personal development, prior to engaging in a process to shift people’s paradigms and bring about much-needed life changing opportunities. Jezile’s work is starting to reap fruit, and she continuously inspires others to go out and do more. “I joined ACTIVATE! because I love meeting people and travelling; hearing that I would be experience exactly that, was quite exciting,” said Jezile, as excited as they come. In conclusion, she said, “I have gained wisdom through exchanging conversation, and attending workshops” She described her journey with ACTIVATE! as a member of the broader network of young people who are committed to changing the face of their challenges. Jezile is overwhelmed by the impact that her journey has had on her, and its weight on her personally, and on her work as a ‘selfless education activist’. She describes the impact as the depth and the cornerstone of the changes she has managed to drive in her village. “To begin with, I have impacted people and events greatly in my work, in countless ways. Running a non-profit organisation with approximately 90 children attending the homework club, and with the assistance of 6 volunteers, is an invaluable impact,” said Jezile, with a heart-warming smile. She says that there is no greater hero for her than the youth of her village, who are goal-orientated and are exciting to work with. “A hero is someone who identifies a need and works towards addressing it, and those who selflessly and willingly join the struggle for a common goal of bettering lives are heroes too,” she says. That is her testimonial about the youth whom she is inspired by. When asked who she considers as her hero, Jezile did not hesitate, but said, outright, “The youth of EGoso because they have their own challenges and are at the forefront of bettering themselves, and the wellbeing of their villages.”
Jezile applauds the youth for continuously inspiring and encouraging her, through being considerate and understanding, despite their desire to deliver their village into the world that they want to reach, but she says, they need to take it one step at a time. She reiterates that a hero is someone who should possess, but is not limited to the following pivotal traits: focus, consistently evolving, understanding and selflessness.
Running a non-profit organisation with approximately 90 children attending the homework club, and with the assistance of 6 volunteers, is an invaluable impact,
A hero is someone who identifies a need and works towards addressing it.
Kabelo’s 100 Words I am inspired by Nelson Mandela. We, as the youth, need to walk under the shadow of his legacy and relive his passion to have a nonsexist and non-racial society. The legacy I want to leave behind is economically free young people. I want the world to remember me as the young person who advocated for the economical social change for young people. I want young people to fight for their right to own businesses and be given a chance to do so. Kabelo Manamela
Surprise’s 100 Words
I really admire the women from the rural areas and they are all my icons, especially my mother who, even in hard times, taught me how to achieve my goals. When looking at Tata Mandela, I can say each generation has its struggles and Tata took the struggle of his generation hands on and now it’s time for our generation to face ours. The legacy I want to leave behind is one of a strong independent black woman, one who does not need blessers to succeed. I want young women to remember me as someone who changed their view of life.
Thabo’s 100 Words I’m inspired by Dr Peter Magubane, an iconic photojournalist who, through his photography, was able to capture the story of South Africa’s road to democracy, and thereby inspiring generations of young South Africans to become active citizens through their actions and artworks. I form part of a dynamic team that continues to invest in, and works towards creating opportunities for young visual artists across the African continent through the Absa L’Atelier. This platform is aimed at identifying and nurturing young artistic talent. I simply want to be remembered as someone who made a positive difference in someone’s life and paid it forward.
I believe that success is not a chance, but that it occurs when preparation meets opportunity. Therefore, I always urge the young people to be prepared for greatness.
Rhulani Baloyi is a young man who is passionate about change and inclusiveness, both in society and in economic participation. “I believe that success is not a chance, but that it occurs when preparation meets opportunity. Therefore, I always urge the young people to be prepared for greatness.” Baloyi joined the ACTIVATE! Network as he saw the great opportunity that the programme offered in shaping leaders. “It is essential as a young leader to be equipped, and to always make time for self-development, as that will enhance your skills and your experience, when facing challenges and taking critical leadership roles. I utilised this opportunity so that I could accelerate the rate of change in my community,” he said. Therefore, Baloyi shares the amazing stories that he heard from other Activators, that ignited the flame of love for community development in him. “At the same time, I equipped myself on how to go about implementing the ideas that I have. Now, I am a leader at Father Figure, an organisation that hosts dialogues amongst the youth, focusing on the impact that absent fathers have, and on the killing of women. I am also a volunteer at Youth Mind Engross Team (YMET).” Baloyi goes on to say, “This changed my perspective on wanting resources when I have to execute a task. It expanded my view on utilising what I have at hand, to achieve what I desire.”
Currently, Baloyi tackles the social problem of absent fathers and what he terms as “the angry generation” of men. Using a social media campaign called #FatherFigure and a Facebook page FatherFigure_ZA, he hopes to spark conversation in society on defining and developing a good father image, that up and coming men can look up to. It is essential as a young leader to be equipped, and to always make time for self-development, as that will enhance your skills and your experience, when facing challenges and taking critical leadership roles.
Rhulani Baloyi Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Rhulani Irvin Baloyi
A hero is a person who does good for other people and who does not seek to be rewarded for the good that he or she is doing in the community.
Activator Profile Daniel Du Preez (26) is an Activator who possesses instrumental traits that epitomise not just those of a human rights activist, but also exemplify a firm and conscientious leader, who is in touch with his purpose. He is a champion of his Tshwane community, through his passion for the LGBTIQ community, that has led him to founding the One Love LGBTIQ+ Community a non-profit organisation that is redressing injustices, changing narratives and fostering an integration of the LGBTIQ to the broader society. Daniel is a 2018 Activator, meaning that he is a new member of a network of more than three and a half thousand (3500) incredible, conscientious and prosperous young people, who are dedicated to their commitment of driving change. “My journey with ACTIVATE! Network is an eye opener. I have learnt, and I am continuing to learn, a lot about myself and how to be a better leader in my community,” says Du Preez, who is in the driving seat of paving the path for others who look up to him. Du Preez is extremely confident that his life has been impacted by the journey that he is undergoing with ACTIVATE! Change Drivers and the entire network. He describes its impact as a rapid one, with no boundaries, but showing continuous growth that is benefi cial for himself and the entire Tshwane community. “Yes. I do think several lives have been impacted by what I do in Tshwane, by helping people to think more positively, when it comes to issues concerning LGBTIQA+ Youth, and bullying in particular,” said Daniel. He added, “A young gay man was on the brink of committing suicide due to the fact that his family did not support his lifestyle, and by my involvement and speaking to the family, I helped him and his family to accept him the way he is.” Therefore, that is testimony enough that the impact of the training is helping Daniel to change narratives in his sector, in his line of work, and to save lives.
“I consider Steve Letsike a hero in my community,” said Daniel, when asked who he looked up to for inspiration. According to him a hero is as good as Steve Letsike - an exemplary person. He says: “A hero is a person who does good for other people and who does not seek to be rewarded for the good that he or she is doing in the community,” and that is exactly what he claims Steve Letsike is doing continuously for the LGBTIQA community. Du Preez portrays Steve Letsike as a firm feminism activist, a leader who is vibrant, experienced and influential in the sense that she is leading the way for the sector, and occupies numerous positions of authority across the board, on issues pertaining to LGBTIQA. He believes that there are other pivotal traits that a hero should possess: “A hero should be selfless, caring and must always be a poet, putting other people before himself/ herself.” When asked what inspiration he gained from his hero, Daniel had this to say: “Steve Letsike has inspired me to be the best person that I can be, and not to give up on my belief because whatever I do will be for the betterment of others in my community.” A young gay man was on the brink of committing suicide due to the fact that his family did not support his lifestyle, and by my involvement and speaking to the family, I helped him and his family to accept him the way he is.
Daniel Du Preez Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Daniel Du Preez
Duncan “Dee” Moeketse (26) is one of the brave, idealistic and inspiring LGBTIQ ambassadors, whose uncontested and unshaken role has not only continued to shape the LGBTIQ and gender-nonconforming people in South Africa, but it has impacted the global community as well. He described his role by saying: “I serve on the Communities to the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria, which has provided me with the pledged opportunity to serve the global community.” The Free State-based Activator enrolled on the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers training back in 2015, and he has since then never looked back, but has continued to move forward in leaps and bounds, through his numerous initiatives, that are changing people’s lives daily. Dee is the co-founder of Global Development Corps and OUT4Life, which he claims are game changers in the fight for the LGBTIQ and non-conforming people “The aim is to promote a human rights-based approach to gender and sexuality, that articulates the rights of the LGBTQ persons to justice, non-stigma, non-discrimination, health, education, employment and access to government services,” said Activator Duncan. Moeketse opened-up about his journey with ACTIVATE! Network, praising it for being nothing less than beyond what he had ever imagined before joining. “When I started with ACTIVATE! Network, a new world opened up to me,” he said. He believes that the opportunity that he landed was a rare one, considering the way in which minimal networks like ACTIVATE! Network are regarded in South Africa, and the way people are so determined to withhold information from others, who could be helped and capacitated by initiatives like the network, nationally. He says, “Absolutely, I think that the life that has been impacted greatly on is mine.” He continued to highlight the milestones he has passed in his activism journey, through the help he has since gained from the network and its training. He adds, “There are many people who from time to time, tell me how they appreciate the work that I do, and how I inspire them.” He stresses the fact that his work has continuously been proven to change lives, starting with himself. “I have grown to be a human being who accepts people for who they are,” said Moeketse, overjoyed. When asked what his inspiration was and who his hero was, he profoundly pronounced the priceless, ordinary South Africans to be such a motivation for his greater generosity and wisdom, by saying, “They are women and men, who mostly are illiterate but who wake up every day to work for minimum wages, to feed families and to send their children to school to achieve better lives –hose are heroes,” said Duncan.
With such a degree of maturity and wisdom, Dee defines a hero as a courageous and principled figurehead who despite all odds, persists in bringing about innovation and change in people’s lives, by saying, “Heroes are those who have the courage to stand up for a just cause; for the men and the women who raise concerns of humanity.” This pioneer of change for the Free State province is of the view that his heroes possess underlying traits which are persuasive, and through which he is inspired, consistently. His heroes should have: • • • • •
Ability to provoke the status quo; Great deal of passion; Kindness; Humility; and Willingness to embrace diversity
He believes also that heroes should have some degree of integrity and self-sacrifice, among other traits, when pursuing the greater and demanding course of serving their communities and the people selflessly. The selflessness, courage, a constant feeling of a moral obligation to act despite challenges, are evidence of his inspiration, attained through his heroes, throughout his years as a child, raised by a village. Duncan further , “They are champions and idealists for social change.” 1. How has your journey been with ACTIVATE! Network? It has been an exciting journey. When I started with ACTIVATE! Network, a new world was opened up to me. I made lifetime friends, I made professional links and I built strong networks, which continue to be cemented every day. 2. Do you think that a life has been impacted by what you do? Even if it’s yours? Absolutely. I think the life that has been impacted greatly is mine. My work gives me a sense of purpose and a need to want to do more every day. Yes, there are many people who from time to time, tell how they appreciate the work that I do, or how I inspire them to want to serve their community. That, in itself, is the greatest reward that one could ever ask for.
3. How has your life been impacted? I have grown to be a human being who accepts people for who they are, who always seeks to inspire others to find the best of themselves, and to inspire the next generation of leaders and change makers. 4. In your own word, deďŹ ne a hero? Often, we tend to think of heroes as those who possess supernatural powers and who wear masks and capes. But in reality, heroes are those who have the courage to stand up for a just cause, or the men and women who rise up, out of concerns about humanity. A hero can be someone who, in the midst of many pressing social issues, rises above them all, and has the courage to bring about change for all, by contributing with small acts of kindness. 5. Who do you consider to be a hero in your community or in South Africa? We have many heroes in South Africa. There are young orphans who do not enjoy their childhood and because of disease had to ascend to the responsibility of taking care of households â€“ those are heroes. And there are those who are less fortunate, but who find joy by sharing the little that they have with their neighbours â€“ those are my heroes. Heroes live in our communities. Through their singular acts of kindness, courage and selflessness 6. What traits do they possess that makes them a hero in your eyes? For me, heroes are selfless, they possess courage, they constantly feel the moral obligation to act, regardless of what their circumstances might be. They are champions for social justice and are idealists for social change. Heroes are often not happy with the status quo. They possess a great deal of passion, they display kindness, humility, and they embrace diversity and respect for humanity. 7. What other traits should a hero have? Integrity and self-sacrifice. 8. How has your hero inspired you to become a hero? I mentioned earlier that I have many heroes. The reason is that I am one of those who was raised by a village. The responsibility of bringing me up was not left to my biological parents alone. Throughout my life, I had the privilege and the blessing of experiencing the kindness of people that one would normally refer to as strangers. When I had nothing to eat, and someone unknown to me gave me something to eat, who, when I was thirsty, shared a chalice and when I had nowhere to sleep, offered me a place of shelter. Those moments showed me that even though there are many bad things in the world, there is still so much kindness and so many selfless heroes around us; people whose purpose it is to inspire others to be good to their fellow countrymen. And I am a product of such people.
Heroes are those who have the courage to stand up for a just cause, or the men and women who rise up, out of concerns about humanity.
Esethu Sotheni says that he is passionate about community development, the performing arts and advocating for LGBTIQ rights and Literacy.
Esethu Sotheni Eastern Cape INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Esethu Sotheni @SotheniEsethu @esethusotheni
He wanted to be part of a network that could help him as a young person in community development and expand his knowledge, so he joined ACTIVATE! Change Drivers Network. “I wanted to be an active citizen within my community and to help address the most urgent issues faced by young people, to be able to hold those in power accountable and to educate and to inform.” Sotheni then decided to use his knowledge and to activate various changes in his community. “I now know how to hold local government accountable, if services are not delivered, and I can share the skills that I have with other young people. I run an NGO called Shaping New Minds, which is aimed at assisting rural children to get access to information about how they can apply for tertiary qualifications, and we also help them with choosing the right careers.” “I have been able to run some sessions with young people in my area about how we can go about addressing issues such as drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, youth unemployment, and eradicating the stigma around HIV and AIDS and with people who are part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community. As an LGBTIQ activist, I have run various campaigns at schools to help address issues around Homophobia and corrective rape.” As a person, Sotheni reflects that being a change driver impacted him positively. “My mind was opened, and I came to realise that there are so many ways to solve issues within our communities, and as an Activator there is always someone close by who can assist with building those relationships.
I have also gained so much experience when it comes to organising events, getting to know my strengths and my weaknesses, and I have managed to build a good network with other youth leaders within the Eastern Cape and outside.” For his future objectives, Sotheni has a lot that he wants to achieve. “I want to grow my project, get it registered, complete my degree in Communications, build more contacts, pursue the arts and possibly get into Television. I believe that there is so much for me still left to do within the development space; so many issues still need to be spoken about and that is one of the things that I plan to do. As a young activist, I am still going to fight for equality for all in this country.” Esethu strongly feels that Yolanda Peterson is his community hero. He is inspired by the programmes that Yolanda Peterson runs in the community and by her selflessness. This Activator’s public figure hero is DJ Sbu, and this is because of his ambition, drive, resilience and his humanitarian qualities. I believe that there is so much for me still left to do within the development space; so many issues still need to be spoken about and that is one of the things that I plan to do.
My mind was opened, and I came to realise that there are so many ways to solve issues within our communities.
Nolitha January is a young woman from the Eastern Cape, whose passion for the public sector has steered her towards active citizenry and being of service to others. She hails from Port Elizabeth and she is passionate about working with the youth and with women. “I am generally always trying to get involved with leadership programs so as to better myself, refine my ideas and to learn new ways of tackling challenges in my community. ACTIVATE! came at such a good time when I needed to know how to implement my ideas. It helped me to do just that. It is a program aimed at actiondriven change. I saw online that applications were open, and I took a chance and I made it. Because of being part of ACTIVATE!, I can say that my urge to work with projects that better the lives of battered women and children, was activated. “Being a part of ACTIVATE! has inspired me to mobilise on women’s issues. I worked on #TheTotalShutdown, an intersectional women’s march, that took place on the 1st of August 2018. The aim of this initiative was to speak up on women abuse and gender-based violence as a whole, and to restore the confidence of abused women. In South Africa, women are suffering. At the moment statistics are rather alarming, with sixty-three women who recently died at the hands of their lovers. This is our current narrative and it has to change. It can’t be that we are living with femicide as a norm. I have vowed with other women, to fight against this injustice and that is how I have been inspired to be a change-driver.
I am generally always trying to get involved with leadership programs so as to better myself, refine my ideas and to learn new ways of tackling challenges in my community.
“Being involved has made me realise that change is feasible if one is humble and patient. I am at a point where I now understand government structures and how they work, and this makes my work easier, as I consult with ward councillors and so forth. I know what my rights and responsibilities are. “I view myself as a global citizen. I came back from Germany a little more than eight months ago (by the time of the publication of this book). I lived there for a year, and one of the things that I did was to travel to different schools to speak about diversity and the South African perspective on things. I want to take all that and plough it into South Africa, by going to schools, and this will be happening soon. I also worked at an NGO that was working for mentally ill patients. This has contributed to me spreading information on mental health awareness. My future seems bright. I can do this!”
A hero is someone who does not need permission to change something or someoneâ€™s life.
Activator Karabo Monatisi (34), is an acclaimed, devoted and inspiring activist, who has the life experience and the passion for advocacy, having worked for numerous prominent organisations, with a focus on advocacy. Apart from that, Monatisi is the leader of a non-profit organisation nationally recognized as Sanitary Pads Campaign, and he is currently serving as the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) youth chairperson in the Western Cape.
“The new Minister of Finance – Tito Mboweni - announced that all sanitary pads would be VAT free by 19 April 2019, which is due to the pressure and the hard work that we have been putting in,” said Monatisi, stressing the impact that their work continues to have on the greater society.
Monatisi has consistently had a lot of impact on the lives of other activators, and he has represented the ACTIVATE! network for years. He is an example for his society, and he plays a pivotal role in ensuring that women’s needs and their relationship to education are not disturbed.
“A hero is someone who does not need permission to change something or someone’s life,” said Monatisi. When asked about his hero, Monatisi said, “Lebogang Motsumi is an example of someone who is selfless, courageous and who is committed to the cause that she stands for. Therefore, she is my hero.”
“I provide Sanitary Pads to schoolgirls and to the youth who are out of school,” said Monatisi, who has been tried and tested. “I joined ACTIVATE! because I wanted to study, and I did not have the money,” said Monatisi, who joined ACTIVATE! Change Drivers in 2012, as one of its recruits, who paved the way for other intakes. He describes his journey as an exciting, fruitful learning curve with ACTIVATE!, that has made him a better leader. “ACTIVATE! has been supporting me from 2012 until now,” said Monatisi. He added, “I have been on numerous TV Shows like Walala Wasala on SABC 1, the Afternoon Expresso show on SABC 3, and in the Weekend Argus. The list is endless! All the while I was being assisted by ACTIVATE!” Monatisi believes that his life has been drastically changed since he joined the network and that he has benefited many lives. “Yes, it has impacted on a lot of people and most girls are now able to go to school without worrying about menstruation,” he said, confidently.
He describes a hero as someone who is brave enough to put things into perspective, whether it is fashionable to do so or not.
Despite many other traits that a hero should have Monatisi believes that it is pivotal for one to possess other traits, including, “wisdom, passion and support.” He testifies that Motsumi has continued to inspire him, unconditionally, and when she disclosed her HIV status, that was a courageous and a brave step that only a hero could take. “Her courageous campaign to encourage others to check their status and to get on top of their health was a great path that she took, that left me with no doubt that she is my hero,” said Monatisi. it has impacted on a lot of people and most girls are now able to go to school without worrying about menstruation.
Karabo Monatisi Western Cape INTAKE YEAR : 2012
KaraboMonatisi Ka Peter @advkarabo
Koketso Marishane Limpopo INTAKE YEAR : 2014
Koketso Marishane @kmarishane @koketsomarishane
Koketso Marishane is a South African Pan-African global citizen. He is widely acknowledged as a global youth activist, international social justice innovation trailblazer, influencer, disruptor, public speaker, thought leader, policy analyst, and wordsmith healer. In his own words, Koketso describes his journey as follows:
relax on my powers over things that I can control and thereby influence the public for good. It has also helped me to review my life from a different angle and lens. During that process, I have learnt to acknowledge and to accept that I have been privileged by so many people who surround me. To some extent, these people are continuously adding a wealth of meaning to my life, and as such, facing life.
My journey in life as a typical story of a visionary African sojourner, has been made possible by many a loving heart and by a confluence of events and circumstances that only God can fully comprehend. Affectionately known as ‘Koks’, I am nothing extraordinary. I am simply your everyday above-average, undiscovered, humble world leader and a friend, who has a vision to drive the use of progressive and innovative tools to find Africa-centred and genderaligned solutions and generate sustainable global impact.
I am continuously learning to unlearn and relearn from the ancient wisdom bearers, that I am in control of my words, my efforts, my actions, my mistakes, my behaviour and my ideas. Thus, I need to use the time that I have on earth to use the resources at my disposal to make a positive impact in my community. Being part of the ACTIVATE! Network has shaped me to become my own hero. I’ve thus co-founded a community development organisation called Marishane Youth Development Forum (NPC). that functions in the following ways:
My decision to join the ACTIVATE! Network was influenced by various factors:
Participation: To increase the access of the youth to the Marishane Office, through promoting structured mechanisms for youth participation from local (SA) to international level.
1. I was aware of my influence in my community but I needed a bigger, finer, greater and higher, a political platform that would challenge my grounds. 2. I subscribed to the ideological philosophy that led to the ACTIVATE! Network activation. 3. Because one of the Activators from my province saw potential in me to effect change and thus I was pulled into the initiative to make the circle bigger. Being part of the ACTIVATE! Network has inspired me in numerous ways that I cannot possibly fully enumerate. It has and continues to revive my activism, not to take anything or any person for granted, nor to
Advocacy: To promote stronger youth engagement in setting, implementing and evaluating a development framework and thereby increase awareness and attention on youth issues. Partnerships: To engage relevant stakeholders on youth and facilitate multistakeholder partnerships on youth issues. Harmonisation: To serve as a catalyst to enhance the co-ordination and the harmonisation of youth programs within the Marishane jurisdiction.
Thus, all youth programs/projects affecting or effecting youth are undertaken by the initiative for implementation. As the initiative is still at its foundation level, weâ€™ve thus far managed to secure investments from both domestic and international bodies, and we continue to implement socially responsible youth and community projects for public benefit. For example: Within the two years of our existence, weâ€™ve managed to get approximately one thousand (1000) high school students to be enrolled at higher learning institutions, both in the country (SA) and abroad. Weâ€™re continuously working towards the facilitation of youth-friendly services that develop and empower the youth in various ways, through the Youth Office, with the Marishane Local Government and the Traditional Authority. Being a change driver has impacted me positively. The material and non-material resources that I received and that I continue to receive from the initiative continue to inspire and to motivate me to be more than the person I see myself to be. For the future, I have short-term and longterm plans. Short-term plans: To secure for myself a position at one of the global organisations/ institutions (United Nations, World Bank, etc.), with the intention to influence global policy decisions, to drive the use of progressive and innovative tools. To find
I need to use the time that I have on earth to use the resources at my disposal to make a positive impact in my community.
Africa-centred and gender-aligned solutions to generate sustainable global impact. Long-term plans: To use the material and the non-material resources that I have gained in life to reposition my community, through innovative tools for development, to retain its rightful position (reputation) on a global scale, so that the coming generations will recognise, acknowledge and appreciate the efforts that we have made to advance humanity. I was aware of my influence in my community but I needed a bigger, finer, greater and higher, a political platform that would challenge my grounds.
Start. It doesnâ€™t have to be perfect. It doesnâ€™t even have to be great, yet. But start and let your passion and purpose take over from there.
Sanele’s 100 Words I don’t believe in the notions of individual “icons” or heroes. Instead, I find inspiration from the known and unknown bafo mortals and bafazi great mortals who dared to challenge the status quo of their times, including resisting colonial domination. My philosophy and praxis as a “subject”- not a “citizen”- takes a cue from the long tradition of resistance by izinyanya and the living. I spend most of my time organizing with activists from Makhanda – teaching young warriors Afrocentric content aimed at giving them tools to continue the struggle. That’s the legacy I want to leave behind - to continue with the struggle. Sanele Ntshingana
Amanda’s 100 Words
Various people inspire me in the various aspects of my life. I don’t have a specific person I look up to. However, Oprah Winfrey has been an icon I resonate with in the work that I am involved in. I run Ikamva LeAfrika Education Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to improving the literacy levels of school-going children in rural South Africa and the development, open distribution, and creation of access in Science knowledge systems for school-going girls of colour. I want to inspire greatness and ignite hope in children from under-privileged and rural communities.
Tebello Rampo is a passionate environmental activist. Nine years ago, she started her advocacy work within the Catholic Church under the Ministry of Justice and Peace. She is a Global Citizen who has managed to travel to many parts of the world, lobbying stakeholders. It was whilst travelling in a taxi that Rampo was enticed to join ACTIVATE! She had read an advertising snippet about community development in a newspaper. “I felt that I was reading something that connected with me, to meet like-minded people of my age.”
I want to teach the community to be more conscious of the issue of Climate Change and to enforce mitigation.
While participating in the network, Rampo found that all the tools that they were being equipped with were set-up for the action needed in her community. “ACTIVATE! granted me an opportunity to organise my first community volunteer day in Palm Springs. I was also encouraged to do more with ‘making local government work,’ by engaging our struggling municipality with the idea of Waste Management. The community now has a collection system for solid waste, to directly dispose this at the landfill site, after sorting the recyclables.” Being a change driver has filled Rampo with purpose and impacted her continuously to do more. “It gave me an inspiring community profile that led to my community anticipating more actions from me. I often find myself doing more than my duty calls for, all because people put so much hope in me after every organised event.” This environmental activist shares her observations that the waste management system is taking-off in the ward, but still needs some more championing. “I plan to put it out in the Emfuleni Local Municipality to reach the targeted waste minimization in the Vaal region, to help the task team form the co-op that they want, and to enable them to interact with more stakeholders. I want to teach the community to be more conscious of the issue of Climate Change and to enforce mitigation.”
I am capable of empowering people within my community, to bring inspiration to people who are looking up to me and what I do to celebrate South African stories.
Sipho Mnisi (26) is Soshanguve’s allrounder with such extreme confidence, ambition and multiple sets of skills, and an appetite to drive constant change within his community, through innovative and constructive initiatives geared towards bridging the wide gap that is evidenced by lack of skills development and job creation within his area. He joined ACTIVATE! Change Drivers in 2017, and ever since then, his commitment has strengthened, such that others now see him as an embodiment of resilience and a catalyst for change. Mnisi is a community development worker and a social entrepreneur. And among many other commitments, he is also the figurehead behind the formation of the Words in Town Youth Movement, which is focussed on driving change through educational activities. Mnisi’s journey with ACTIVATE! has continually pushed him outside of his comfort zone and in a way repositioned him for greater levels of productiveness. He had this to share about his journey, “ACTIVATE! changed my thinking and understanding, even my profile presentation has been changed so much, in such a way that I now connect with other local heroes to partner with on my projects.” Mnisi is having an amazing experience, considering the greater rewards of being part of a network of young people who are actively involved and committed to similar and different projects that he runs, as he is learning, sharing and maturing as a leader. He strongly believes that the journey has positively impacted his life in a way that he never really anticipated, to an extent that it enabled him to acknowledge numerous aspects about himself. “I didn’t recognise, nor was I brave enough, to embrace some of my skills as I was seeking for the right kind of guidance,” said Mnisi.
As he concluded his sentiments on the manner to which the journey has continued to impact his life, he said, “I have matured into a more responsible individual. I am even now able to identify my personality type, and also acknowledge my achievements within my community.” He believes that his hard work and achievements resemble traits which his local hero has. Therefore, when asked who his hero is, he had this to say, “I am because I am capable of empowering people within my community, to bring inspiration to people who are looking up to me and what I do to celebrate South African stories.” To him a hero is someone who possesses multiple sets of skills, leadership traits and styles, but most importantly, that person should be an exemplary figure to others. “Well, a hero is someone who has achieved certain goals by giving back to the society, being educated and being recognised for his or her positive work as an activist.” The Zonkizizwe originated activist believes that passion, focus and support are paramount traits that he possesses, hence he claims to be the hero for himself and Soshanguve. Over and above all that, he believes that heroes should have other traits such as being accommodative, having good understanding, and patience. When asked, as a hero, how he inspires others to aspire to being heroes in his community Mnisi said, “Well that’s a tricky question. I think because I am an adventurous character who’s willing to learn, by also giving the society ears to hear their respective opinions, and by giving myself a moment of reflection.”
Sipho Mnisi Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2017
Themba Monyoko is as a young predestined leader who professes to be driven by excellence and profound progression, with a purpose of utilizing his gift and growth to create a solid network of young like-minded people. “I want to initiate more innovative ways to introduce advancement within our surroundings,” explains Monyoko, of his vision. The reason for him to become a part of ACTIVATE! was because he wanted to connect with others like him, to develop and acquire more knowledge and skills so that he may be a better leader. In turn, this activated him to “start thinking out of the box, and even use the very same box to influence other cocooned leaders to unleash as change drivers.” As such, Monyoko is involved with the Mamelodi Men’s Forum. “Mam’s Men is an organization that objectively conscientizes men, as leaders of their households to reclaim the roles of providing, protecting and cultivating their families and society. The positive changes we have had on the men are: spiritual upliftment, intellectual empowerment through our academic programs, active involvement into community projects, family cohesiveness and household stability, general links and personal development. The broader community indeed benefits through workshops, seminars, conferences, campaigns, outreach programmes, counselling and inter-organizational linkages. The driving factor behind our initiative is our collective passion to fill a gap of needs in the society, by addressing the lack of social order and stable security. Through the absorption of moral education and the transaction of wisdom from exemplary leaders nurtured through experience, the next generation of men will benefit by growing into responsible, enlightened and well-groomed men, who resemble positivity, to transfer the same traits and principles.” This predestined leader is also the founder of a social entrepreneurial brand named Street Kulture Group. “The brand does project management, strategic marketing, innovative designing and community activism” Says Monyoko. As a person, Monyoko shares that being a change driver has influenced him to think beyond any visible limits and to “cease from being a passenger in my life’s journey, but to become the driver.” For the future, he plans to take charge and concerning this, he says, “I want to spread my ripples into bigger waves, grow further and lend my selfless hand in building my community and the nation in particular.”
He wanted to connect with others like him, to develop and acquire more knowledge and skills so that he may be a better leader.
I want to initiate more innovative ways to introduce advancement within our surroundings.
Zisekho Geza Eastern Cape INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Zisekho Geza keko_ngcali
Zisekho Geza believes that the key to development in South Africa is the empowerment of young people, specifically young women, through social enterprise. Currently a marketing and a promotions practitioner, she describes herself as a writer and a feminist. Geza joined the ACTIVATE! Network through a friend. As an active citizen, she was already working with her community and her councillor to empower young girls from abusive homes and communities. “Upon doing my research, I realized that even though I had always felt alone, I was not, and that my peers were using this network to reach their goals and influence change. I wanted in!” From this experience, this Eastern Cape born woman was then inspired to drive for change by forming strong bonds with the local government office and other entities. “After completing my first module, my movement, ‘Living Rocks’, merged relationships with causes that spoke to our vision. We have now branched into business consulting, where we help young women write up business plans from scratch, right up to advertising strategies. We are also looking at having antenatal social gatherings where young girls from the ages of fifteen to twenty-eight, who are expecting, can gather in safe spaces and share their journeys. In the future we also hope to help bring SmartStart to the Eastern Cape.” This inspiring young person reflects that being a change driver has definitely widened her perception. “Being from a big family where women are celebrated and technically run the show, joining ACTIVATE! opened-up my views on other issues that we the youth are facing. It helped me to relate more to people and it made me more conscious, which led to a more socio-economic thought process.”
For the future, this Activator has new goals which she aims to reach. And she details them thus: “We hope to become certified as Flourish Hosts for the #GrowingGreat Campaign, funded by DGMT.” Regarding another plan which highlights her writing interests, she reveals: “We are also submitting proposals with the councillors’ office to add Local Spelling B competitions and help promote Nali’Bali and the local library.” And lastly, as a feminist, Geza shares that: “We will be having a #Redefi ne Girls talk, where we seek to redefine and to take back our spaces, bodies and the definition of beauty.” I realized that even though I had always felt alone, I was not, and that my peers were using this network to reach their goals and influence change.
We will be having a #Redefine Girls talk, where we seek to redefine and to take back our spaces, bodies and the definition of beauty.
My journey with ACTIVATE! has been so good and has introduced me to a pool of many amazing young leaders who are dedicated to driving change.
Activator Isaac Mpho Kompi (28) is an environmental activist, an entrepreneur and a multi-talented individual who runs a nonprofit organisation called Words To Action. Apart from that, he is also an Ambassador of My hands and Heart initiative by the National Youth Development Agency [NYDA]. As a volunteer at the NYDA, Kompi came across the information about ACTIVATE! Change Drivers and he was intrigued by the content of the training to join. “I found that the training had a special focus on aspects like project planning, leadership and navigation of socio-topical landscape which are appealing to me,” said Kompi. He describes his journey with ACTIVATE! network as one of those journeys that have lived up to his expectations. “My journey with ACTIVATE! has been so good and has introduced me to a pool of many amazing young leaders who are dedicated to driving change,” said Kompi, who could not close his mouth, in awe. Kompi thinks that lives have been impacted by his work, and he believes so because the resources and access to information he acquired allow him to utilize it for his advantage. “I give young people skills that will assist them in the future, and I am shifting the mindsets of others to be hopeful and to do something about their lives rather than opting to give up on life,” said Kompi enthusiastically. On the matter of defining a hero, he said, “A hero is someone who bravely does something with the desire to achieve it,” and by that Kompi considers himself as his own hero within the Tladi area in SOWETO, where he comes from.
Some of his talents through which he exhibits his hero status include, but are not limited to: • Fashion design; • Artisanship; and • Entrepreneurship. He believes that a hero should be in a better position of acquiring and maintaining the following traits: • • • •
Humility; Integrity; Loyalty; and Bravery.
“I have continually inspired myself on this journey through the hard work I am putting in, to ensure my community is empowered and developed,” said Kompi, explaining how he kept inspiring himself over and over. I give young people skills that will assist them in the future, and I am shifting the mindsets of others to be hopeful and to do something about their lives rather than opting to give up on life.
Isaac Mpho Kompi Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Mpho Chaleka Kompi @Chaletheaartwork @house_of_kompi
As a timid young woman from Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape, the home of the heroes, Amanda Blom Dumisa received the lifetime opportunity when her application for the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers training back in 2017 was approved. Since joining the ACTIVATE! Network, she has been actively Foundation and she claims it to be her breakthrough. “I work for Qunu Youth Development Foundation whose founder, Phikolomzi Habe, also an Activator , gave me the ropes to run the foundation,” Like many heroes and heroines from the Eastern Cape, Activator Amanda uses her acquired skills and capacity to inspire and ignite change in young people’s lives, and she says, “We distribute solar lights to students from households with no electricity, and that had a positive impact in the kids’ academic lives.” been an improvement on the academic aspect, as the role she is playing in others’ lives and her inspiration has increased themarks of the pupils,” said Blom with a gesture of ultimate pride, resonating from the role she she has played. constructive and engaging. She describes the journey thus: “The journey is challenging, eye opening, resourceful and learning curve.” She adds, “now I am able to challenge anything that concerns my community and the network has opened the doors for me.” her timid days and the way in which her life has changed since joining the network. impacted her life, in a way that no other programme did before, and she, in a way, applauds the network for enabling her the opportunity that linked her to Phikolomzi Habe, and equipped her to have the capacity to have more impact, and change the narrative of her generational struggle.
Dumisa’s hero is no surprise, considering her leadership traits, and obviously the late statesman - President Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela, and according to her, a hero has numerous pivotal traits. “I regard a hero as someone with empathy, kindness, honesty and love.” black child, today we are a free generation,” says Amanda taking continuously to thrive and bring about change into others’ lives.
I regard a hero as someone with empathy, kindness, honesty and love.
We distribute solar lights to students from households with no electricity, and that had a positive impact in the kidsâ€™ academic lives.
Mzwandile Chilwane Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2016
Mzwandile Chilwane is a twenty-eight-yearold business owner who is passionate about creating jobs and changing people’s lives. The name of his business is Mzobu (Pty) Ltd. It was founded in November 2013. It only had four employees and they have just added one employee this year. The business is based in Tsakane and focuses on skills work, which includes carpentry and plumbing. Sometimes they do office painting and renovations. As a young person growing up in the township, his dream has always been to uplift the people in his township and use the skills they have to help them feed their families. Driven to lead a purpose filled life, Chilwane joined the ACTIVATE! Network in 2016, as he was interested in learning how he could use his entrepreneurial skills to uplift his community. The fact that ACTIVATE! is all about young people changing the world made him want to be identified with it. Through the network, he partnered with other young people to organise a unique spa day treat for the elderly people of Tsakane during Mandela day. It was a success, leaving the elderly feeling happy. He also took some time out of his business to talk to some young people about starting a business and sustaining a business. By doing so, Chilwane opened doors, as he became a mentor for other young people who were interested in business. Talking about youth month and how the young people of today are representing the youth of 1976, Chilwane mentioned the lack of passion and how he thought that the young people were not putting much effort into attaining success. Social media was one of the first things he saw as a disadvantage for young people, as it only influences them in terms of the trends and the flashy life.
“They think that posting about the good life on social media – without physically putting in any work - is hard work,” he argued. This entrepreneur who values hard work then added , “The struggle of the 1976 youth was fighting for better and equal opportunities in life. The struggle of young people today is social media and the fake lifestyle. The pressure that is put on us by society in terms of being successful and making it while you are still young is very real.” Talking about his business future plans, Chilwane wishes to employ more than twenty people in the next four years. He has been observing the demand for accommodation and wants to join the property investment business in the coming year, where he will be buying, selling and renting out houses. The fact that ACTIVATE! is all about young people changing the world made him want to be identified with it.
As a young person growing up in the township, his dream has always been to uplift the people in his township and use the skills they have to help them feed their families.
“You have not really done it, until you see the results.” That is the powerful motto that this Eastern Cape based Activator lives by daily. Luvuyo Nojoko is a lover of sports and a passionate champion in the youth development space. For more than two years he has been involved in a youth development organization called The Unstoppable Youth Organization, based in Wells Estates, in the Eastern Cape Province. “My role is the organization is Public Relations Officer (PRO) because my colleagues and team mates believe that I possess the relevant communication skills to represent the organization well to the public and to potential partners and stakeholders, a role which I have accepted with both hands.” Question: What does The Unstoppable Youth Organization do? “Our organization facilitates creative arts programmes, from visual arts, to music, to dance, to drama. We chose this route because we noticed that although the youth in our area of Wells Estates is not the most privileged in the world, most of them are quite exceptional artists who possess great potential to become experts in their fields.” Apart from facilitating these creative arts programmes, the Unstoppable Youth Organization also holds events around the Nelson Mandela Metro. So far, they have over one hundred young artists registered in their database, training and performing under their umbrella. Luvuyo says that he was introduced into Activate! by a friend by the name of Nisile Nikelo, who had completed their Activate Change Drivers training the previous year. “I decided to join because of the word ‘leadership’ associated with the programme. I believe that I have been a leader for most of my life, hence the interest to learn more on leadership,” he explains. He says that Activate! afforded him the great opportunity to meet and network with other young leaders from around South Africa. He says that the experience has helped him up his management skills, as well as his understanding of the importance of being relevant. The Unstoppable Youth Organization, apart from their arts programmes, also hold an annual youth seminar in the Mandela Bay Metro, every year during the month of May. This, Nojoko says, is to bring together like-minded youth to network, trade amongst one another and explore opportunities for collaboration. It would be a terribly out of tune mistake to call Luvuyo an unsung hero, as he is also part of the Unstoppable Youth Gospel Choir, one of the programmes conducted by the organization. Young leaders like Luvuyo Nojoko deserve to be commended, because they have the undying passion and will to improve the lives of the young people in their communities – particularly coming from previously disadvantaged communities where it is much easier to give in to the destructive ills such as prostitution, alcohol and drug abuse, as well as irresponsible sexual behaviour. Luvuyo, act, sing your song loud and proud!
Luvuyo identified communication and organizing as two of his top traits and said that he would like to work on bending the rules less, taking less shortcuts and learning to do things more by the book. The personal hero, who he has selected, incidentally, is no stranger to books. Luvuyo says that he looks up to fellow Activator Kwandile Sikhosana, who has established a string of libraries in Gauteng Province. “I admire Kwandile’s work ethic, his desire to push forward and to always do the unthinkable. I am grateful that Activate allowed me the opportunity to meet and befriend such an astonishing young man.” “The future of South Africa is mainly dependent on young people taking action in developing others.” That is the belief and outlook that Nojoko has maintained for a long time. Another one of Luvuyo’s fields of interest is social entrepreneurship. He is of the opinion that it is not merely about catering for an individual’s needs, but also uplifting and improving the lives of those around you, while pursuing your endeavours and making a living. Question: What is it that you think communities need in order to uplift themselves? “I believe and know that South Africans do not need food parcels alone anymore, but they need life-giving information. Very true. They do say that “if you give a man a fish, he will be full for one night. But if you teach a man how to fish, he will be full for the rest of his life.” Our hero, our pride, our unstoppable young champion, we salute you. We support you. We see you! Uzunganqandeki Mntakwethu!
I feel that even the simplest act of kindness can provide a lasting impact on those that need to hear and to see the positive views and prospects that you bring.
Nozipho Zungu (28), is a principled, dedicated and visionary Activator, with her hands full because of her numerous commitments, ranging from mentoring young girls, redressing sexual reproductive issues, to honouring the memory of her late grandmother, by moulding young girls with the values instilled in her. Zungu, who joined the ACTIVATE! Network in 2016, describes her journey as an exciting and a productive one, which has certainly thrilled her with its many opportunities. “It’s been an exciting journey; I have experienced such reputable and promising relationships that I have extended beyond the borders of ACTIVATE,” she said. She added,” I have also been privileged by having been selected for some invigorating projects that, if it were not for ACTIVATE!, would not have been possible.” Zungu reiterates that her life has been impacted by what she does. “Yes, I feel that even the simplest act of kindness can provide a lasting impact on those that need to hear and to see the positive views and prospects that you bring.” She believes that she has been a saviour to many parents, who have struggled to assist their children in the instances that she deals with. “Through my projects, I know that I have been able to assist parents by taking on the role of a mentor, and providing the girls with relevant information and guidance.” She added, confidently, “A link that some parents struggle with is the age gap and other external factors that might hinder a progressive relationship between the older generation and the current youth.” When asked her thoughts on what a hero is, Zungu said, “A hero is the one person who makes an impact with material and tangible accolades acquired worldwide, with a voice that plays an important role in delivering the social needs of his/her people.”
She applauds her late grandmother, who she claims, moulded her into the woman that she is today. “My late grandmother remains my hero, even in death; her resilience spoke volumes and my NPO was inspired by her character and the values that she embodied as a woman.” When asked to share the traits that inspired her to reach the conclusion that her late grandmother was her hero, Zungu said, confidently, “She had extreme humility, wisdom, she was observant and respectful, with an extensive ability to ensure that the situation was favourable for all those involved.” She believes that a hero should have a sound command of the traits listed below, to be able to lead and to excel in his/ her leadership duties: • • • •
Being observant; Active involvement; Having respect; and Able to honour decisions.
When asked about the extent to which her hero has inspired her, Zungu said, “She taught me that it’s never about me. When I look into changing lives I need to be selfless and accommodating.” She concluded, “I pray about the things that seem greater than me, for an answer greater than the situation, which can only be formulated or revealed through peace and obedience. That way, I can never feel defeated or despondent when faced with adversity.” Through my projects, I know that I have been able to assist parents by taking on the role of a mentor, and providing the girls with relevant information and guidance.
Nozipho Zungu Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2016
Nozipho Thando Zungu @thandozee @realnee-zee
At the age of 28 a lot has transpired and with vast wisdom one has managed to pull through, and that is proven by the youthful graduate and inspiring Menzi Michael Qwabe, who was one of those who joined the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers network in its second year, when it was not fashionable or advisable to stand on platforms and talk about the many topics he and other fellow Activators dissected between 2012 and 2014. Menzi Qwabe is a multi-tasker, who works as a facilitator for a non-profit organisation known as Zethembe Wenze uMehluko Youth Organisation, and he also manages uMhlabuyalingana MMQ Station, which keeps him occupied with initiatives, such as the community dialogues and campaigns that primarily focus on empowering the youth, but mostly young women. Menzi is totally impressed and is still unable to believe the bridges that he has managed to build, and cross, since taking the best decision of his youthful days, to join the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers network, which at the time, he recalls, was still new to him. “My journey with ACTIVATE! has been successful. As proven by my program, I started to make business,” said this man with a bold stature, and principled Activator, Qwabe. He added, “I am proudly a social entrepreneur with a registered company, namely Kuhlekodwa Innovation Solution and Activation, which is changing lives in disadvantaged communities.” He believes that his life is testimony enough. Besides the change that he makes in other’s live, his life is such that his journey with ACTIVATE! has continued to impact his life as well. “Yes my life has been impacted, as I was one of the young people who looked forward to being an employee of the government, but now I am self-employed and I am partnered with the government as well, and it is all thanks to ACTIVATE!, which made me a better leader,” said Menzi, looking back on how the journey began. He says that life around him has been greatly impacted, in the sense that his community is benefi ting greatly. “In my community I run an innovative program and workshops, working with other stakeholders, NPOs and the Municipality.” Qwabe sees a hero as anyone who can show courage when faced with challenging societal issues. “A hero is a person who is able to help others in numerous ways, and who is capable of developing and grooming other leaders,” he says. He embraces a strong sense of belief that among many heroes in his community his name – Menzi Qwabe - is written in many people’s lives, hearts and journeys, as a hero.
“I have now helped many people with successful businesses, I have empowered our youth, and I have won an award as best community builder,” said Menzi, as he opens up on his achievements to date. He believes that his traits when pursuing his inspiring work have undoubtedly led him to understand and to acknowledge that his own heroism is nothing but putting others before oneself. Therefore, those traits include, but not limited to: • • • • • •
Communicating effectively and paying attention; Putting trust and faith in others; Marshalling transparency; Following advice wisely; Be grateful; and Sticking to your promises.
In addition, he believes that heroes should exhibit other traits such as: • • • •
Courage; Integrity; Humility; and Focus.
Menzi claims that he is continuing to amaze himself at the level of maturity, selflessness, enthusiasm and envisioning a better future for others, and aligning others to focus on their journey, so as to change their lives and their situations, while not being reliant on anyone but themselves.
Having had recently attended a British Council business course in Diepsloot, it is evident that Mokgophi Kgothatso takes every opportunity that he is presented with seriously and ensures that he further grows and diversifies his network. This Activator is the Managing Director of a company called Spinder Projects (Pty) Ltd. The company was named “Spinder” because the name “speaks to innovation,” since it is not an existing word in the dictionary. Spinder has 3 operational sectors, namely Business, ICT and Education. Under their business sector, they offer Business consulting, Graphic designing and General business registration. Under their ICT Sector, they offer Website design, telephone services and Wifi services, and under their Education Sector, they offer tutoring for exam rewriting, and free data skills. Some of the partners that Kgothatso and his team have managed to acquire are APEL Circut, Bestie, and Network Africa from Nigeria. Besides his business skills, Kgothatso also has a philanthropic side to him. He gives his time and resources to the community without expecting anything in return, except the fulfilment of witnessing the change that his giving activates. He belongs to a non-profit organisation called Fetakgomo Youth Development, which was founded in 2011 by the concerned youth of Ga-Sekhukhune, in a selfless effort to empower their fellow youths to look beyond their current misfortunes and circumstances. Originally from Limpopo, this game changer has cemented his already rich profile by serving in the Black Management Forum, first as a secretary, and subsequently as the secretary general of the organisation in 2014. This illustrates a deep and sincere involvement, on his part, with organisations that seek to promote youth empowerment within his community. ACTIVATE! is another organization that he belongs to, at the moment. This is a network that consists of various types of people who share a common wish, to see positive change in society. Another one of Kgothatso’s key characteristics is the quality of his work ethics when involved in a team. This is not a one-man show type of an Activator, as he believes that collective efforts ultimately result in the greater good. As such, he has collaborated with two other Activators in ensuring that they use the skills they were taught in training, to apply them in real life situations and thus impact not only their lives but the lives of the people in their communities and the clientele from Spinder Projects (Pty) Ltd.
They have charity programmes in which they provide clothing for the needy, and they also host career exhibitions for those young people who need to get knowledge that will assist them in correctly choosing which careers they want to follow. They give them knowledge on how they can improve themselves in order to ensure that they qualify for those chosen careers. Not only has ACTIVATE! impacted his professional life, but it has also positively impacted his personal life. Kgothatso has now gained more confidence and believes he can serve and service his community better. For his life and work, Kgothatso has the following motto: Follow me if I advance, kill me if I retreat and avenge me if I die.
They give them knowledge on how they can improve themselves in order to ensure that they qualify for those chosen careers.
I want to see more young people participating in community development and in leadership.
Sam Nkogatse is a creative young man from Limpopo. He is a founder and director of both Strongmind Production in Writing (Pty) Ltd and Samko Books (Pty) Ltd, which both specialise in publishing and book distribution. Currently, he has published two fictional books entitled: The Black Man in the White People’s Yard and Love and Lies, and My Past Tense, written in English. Nkogatse joined the ACTIVATE! Network as he wanted to be given tools to shape and to sharpen his minimal knowledge in community development, in entrepreneurship and in media. He was referred by a friend who spotted potential in him, and advised him to do research on ACTIVATE! and find out whether it could give attention to his passion. “Fortunately, I was pleased to know that I would be given more than I had expected.” This author, entrepreneur, radio producer and presenter, publisher, event MC and speaker, was then injected with the courage to knock on doors and to ask questions, in order to find solutions to driving change in his community. As the founder and chairperson of the Samko Education Foundation, he uses his NPO to focus on empowering and on developing young people. “It deals with social issues and it is goal- and solution-driven. We look at the various problems faced by our communities and come up with solutions.” Another project is called Literature for Charity. “It is here that I donate ten percent of my royalties. Each book that I sell, I donate to the project, so that it may be able to assist in any financially related issues, and for the organisation to grow.” This Activator further shares that they use the organisation to run projects such as career expos, business seminars, health campaigns and any programmes related to making a difference. Donate-A-Box Campaign is also another charity project that they use to give away toiletry parcels.
“We encourage donations from deodorants, body lotions, bath soaps, toothpastes and brushes to sanitary pads for ladies.” Reflecting on how giving back has impacted him, Nkogatse says, “I am regarded as a ‘hero’ in my community. I have achieved a lot. Today I am proud to say that I have access to a lot of opportunities and that inspired me to give courage to other fellow young South Africans, who have what it takes to bring change to the country, but still suffer from a lack of motivation and the courage to move forward. I learnt how to approach government officials regarding issues that we face in our communities, and that is a sign of leadership skills that are initiated by ACTIVATE! I am now a changed person who is able to solve problems with creativity, and who can listen well, and respond to the matter at hand.” Going forward, the creative Nkogatse plans to grow as a publisher, a radio producer, a presenter, a speaker, an author and an entrepreneur. He is currently working for Masemola Community Radio Station. “I want to spread my voice out loud, to encourage people to join ACTIVATE! and to make changes in their communities.” His other plan is to reach out through Literature for Charity, by giving attention to aspiring and emerging young writers. “I want to see their words in print and for them to understand the aspect of publishing. I want to see more young people participating in community development and in leadership.” Each book that I sell, I donate to the project, so that it may be able to assist in any financially related issues, and for the organisation to grow.
Sam Nkogatse Limpopo INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Sam Nkogatse @Real_SirMe @realsirme
Meet an extraordinary young man with an extraordinary name. Mordecai Sizolwenkosi Ndlovu is a 2018 Activator based in Gauteng Province. A student at Vaal University of Technology (VUT), Mordecai is a remarkable activist and a force definitely to be reckoned with. Together with four other Activators, Ndlovu started a campaign called #0%UnemploymentRate, a campaign which aligns with the continental campaign: Africa Youth Entrepreneurship Day. The Three City Substance Abuse Campaign is another one of the campaigns that Ndlovu contributed in giving birth to. Through this campaign, Ndlovu and five other Activators whom he partnered with, intend to host South African youth at three of the biggest stadiums in the country. Talk about big thinking! And there is more! This ambitious Mpumalanga-born leader has also opened two stations: one in Mbombela, Mpumalanga. Its main focus is to run a filming and arts programme in collaboration with Ubuntu Youth Centre and St Mark School. The other station is located in Bedworth Lake Residence and houses approximately five hundred students, half of whom come from previously disadvantaged communities in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal. Mordecai Sizolwenkosi identifies sustaining communication and programme development as his areas of improvement and says that networking and volunteering are two of his top strengths. “I need to work more on getting better at kindling business relationships once I have established them.” Perhaps the most far-reaching of Ndlovu’s works is his involvement in the African Youth Entrepreneurship Day (AYED). In 2014 he represented his university, and the whole of South Africa, at the Continental Student Summit in Accra, Ghana. “It was a truly special learning experience and a huge pleasure to be in a different African country. An eye opening trip it was.” Ndlovu’s top LEMON LEADERSHIP traits are Networker and Luminary. During the second module of his Activate! Change Drivers training, Ndlovu and a small group of other Activators sat down and came up with what they call the AYED Manifesto, which outlines the support which they would like to see being given to young entrepreneurs, from a South African perspective and outward. During the time of his interview for this publication, Ndlovu was due to attend a summit in Botswana in a month, to talk about the AYED Campaign and the AYED Manifesto. This young man is going places! Present at the summit will be representatives from various education institutions from the SADC region, SADC Headquarters Trust, Be Bold Trust, Young People in Business Initiative and Google, among others.
Mordecai Ndlovu identifies his grandmother as his personal hero, saying that she has demonstrated selfless leadership within their family, their community, and the church where she is pastor. Another one of his personal heroes, he says, is American singer Stevie Wonder. I wondered why Stevie, and he explained: “Stevie Wonder envisioned a dream without being able to see. He inspired and touched the world with his music, made people cry, those who could see with their physical eyes what he could only envision with his spiritual eyes. That for me is absolutely remarkable proof that nothing is impossible in this world.” Speaking of seeing, Mordecai Sizolwenkosi Ndlovu is also one of the founders of Mpumalanga TV, a platform which exists to allow young people in Mpumalanga Province the opportunity to display their different views, skills and passions. MP TV is a platform which he started in 2013 together with two of his friends, and they have ambitions of taking Mpumalanga and South Africa to the world. From the training, Ndlovu reflects that the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers Network: “...has mostly assisted me to find amazing young people that have the same passion for community development. I have found young people that I know will be future drivers for a better Africa and society. Furthermore, I want the youth to be active participants in the development of our nation, as I believe that we all have a story to tell. For myself, the training helped me to find the confidence to tell my story.” We definitely hope that your story continues to inspire and to amaze many generations to come. From here on , the world awaits you and your greatness. All the best, Gatsheni!
I have found young people that I know will be future drivers for a better Africa and society.
Ntsikelelo Mzibomvu Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2013
Ntsikelelo Mzibomvu decided to activate his circumstances long before he could hear anyone refer to him as an Activator. Growing up in a household where there was not much income, he developed his entrepreneurial talents early on. After a failed business venture, launched, unfortunately, during a global recession, he then asked himself, “What is the one product that costs nothing, that I will always have, even when I’m broke?” Then, after having looked within himself, he dug out talents such as writing, researching and facilitating. And that was when he decided to turn himself into a product. Mzibomvu is now a published author. He runs a training and team building company for a list of corporate clients, and coaches individuals on their journey to personal achievement. In order to manifest his vision, Mzibomvu’s style of working is one of relationship-building and a collaboration of talents, coming together to make something greater than yourself. It was one of these collaborations between him and a Zimbabwean artist, Greatjoy Ndlovu, that resulted in Ntsikelelo’s third book, “The Path To Great Joy” — a beautiful hardback featuring portrait paintings and inspirational words. Written by Mzibomvu, it speaks not only of the artist’s journey, but also about the experience of being a man in a patriarchal society. Mzibomvu is passionate about woman and child abuse. However, he approaches the issues from a different angle. “We wanted to look at the abuser, the pain that the abuser goes through.” While this may seem a controversial statement at first, he goes on to explain, “We need to pay more attention to what men are going through, and why they do what they do, and how society pressures them and in response, they either fail or they succeed. That’s what the book focuses on, trying to create the path to great joy.”
It’s about looking at the root causes of the problem of toxic masculinity not only on an individual, but also at societal level. The problem, says Mzibomvu, starts at an early age. “As a boy, you’re taught, ‘Don’t cry, don’t let your feelings out, hold them in,’ and that repression of emotion can lead to depression. It can lead to suicidal tendencies and it leads to abuse. By trying to be a man, they actually become something that is not a man, and instead, they become the enemy of society.” This inspirational man believes in the other side of the coin — of being a healthy man who is able to express his emotions, to forgive himself and others, and who can create a vision for himself. There is such a man, who has no need to express his power in abusive ways. Such self-actualisation is what he aims to achieve through his life’s work. Mzibomvu claims that although this is a worldwide problem, it is particularly bad in African culture. “We are rooted in patriarchal ways. It becomes more problematic because it’s not just a behavioural thing, it becomes something that men want to protect. People want to protect their customs, and because our customs are patriarchal, we are trying to protect wrongdoing.” However, he sees the solution as twofold: to have a culture that firstly, is always adapting to the environment and secondly, that evolves over time and embraces education as a path to innovation. “A lot of men think that they don’t have to educate themselves because they have a cultural way of living. They look at education as the Western way. This is a particular problem in Third World Countries. If people have proper education, they can build their own buildings, they can build their own trains and their own planes and cars.” He refers to the movie “Black Panther” as a fictional example of what African nations could be capable of, through fostering education and innovation.
Mzibomvu’s message to his fellow Activators is simple: “Every Activator is a vessel for impact. The impact that every vessel can have depends on how much development it goes through. So, you have to continue developing yourself, as you are trying to have an impact. Keep growing, keep evolving.” “The Path to Great Joy” can be bought on Amazon or directly through Ntsikelelo Mzibomvu, who can be contacted on 0749537092 or email@example.com. In order to manifest his vision, Mzibomvu’s style of working is one of relationship-building and a collaboration of talents, coming together to make something greater than yourself.
We are rooted in patriarchal ways. It becomes more problematic because it’s not just a behavioural thing; it becomes something that men want to protect.
It is through the network that I met like-minded individuals and meaningful young people, who want a better South Africa.
Nathacia Olivier (29) is an Activator who is passionate about entrepreneurship, women‘s empowerment and driving change. Apart from that, she is the owner of the Indoni Beauty Range, where she employs women starting from age 40 and above. Nathacia joined ACTIVATE! Change Drivers in 2013, when she saw a recruitment advertisement in the Sunday Times. “I thought that I really wanted to be a part of this youth development programme, so I applied online at a local internet café the following day, with my last five Rand,” she said, looking back. She has had an inspiring and great journey with ACTIVATE! network that she believes has nurtured her. “It is through ACTIVATE! that I discovered who I am and what I want to do, after years of trying to find my true purpose.” She added, “They have basically equipped, propelled and challenged me in every aspect of my life. It is through the network that I met like-minded individuals and meaningful young people, who want a better South Africa,” said Nathacia, describing her journey. Nathacia testifies, without doubt, that lives have been touched and that her community greatly benefited a lot from her empowerment and her journey. “Yes it has, many lives have been impacted. Many young people in my community saw my work and the change in me, such that they also had the desire to start their own initiatives, that would help to change the narrative within our community,” said Nathacia. She continued, “I met Kwandile Sikhosana in 2014. We worked together, and I urged him to join ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, so that he too could change the narrative, and he finally did. Today he is the founder of the Daveyton Book Club,” Nathacia proudly wrapped up. When asked what she thought a hero was, she said, “A hero is someone who serves the people, who is selfless, brave enough to challenge the status quo, a people’s person, who has a heart and works for the best interests of the people.” When identifying heroes, she also referred to her family. “To be honest, my hero is my mother,” said the esteemed businesswoman. “My mother possesses unique traits such as humility, integrity, being supportive, charismatic, with a bubbly personality, leadership characteristics, perseverance, ambitiousness, a caring heart and altruism,” said Nathacia.
She believes that other traits a hero should have include: • • • • •
Strong morals; Values; Courage; Patience; and Fearlessness.
She claims to have been inspired by her mother to never disregard the teachings one received from home. “She inspired me through her fearlessness, her honesty and her love for others, which are monumental stand-outs for me,” said Nathacia.
It is through ACTIVATE! that I discovered who I am and what I want to do, after years of trying to find my true purpose.
I decided, a few years back, to devote my life to the development of the township and the greater community.
Sicelo Mbonani is both a philanthropist and a social entrepreneur. It is because of these accolades that; earlier this year he was selected to represent South Africa in Romania, at an international social entrepreneurship training programme called Dive Deeper into Social Entrepreneurship. His intentions were to use this once in a lifetime opportunity as a springboard; to contribute to the development of legal forms for Social Entrepreneurship - which was the topic of the workshop, whilst also building a network with like-minded social entrepreneurs across the globe. His goal was to build these bridges to exist not only in South Africa, but to extend across the African continent too. “Belle and Co. chooses its delegates very carefully for this programme. The candidates must demonstrate purposedriven values, an entrepreneurial spirit and a high degree of engagement. Sicelo is just the right ambassador for our organization and country, as he embodies all of these qualities,” said Rodrigues, who is the spokesperson for Belle and Co. In bearing witness to her words Mbonani is not only known for the aforementioned, but he is also a respected radio presenter and a willing contributor to his community. Thus, his hard work as an entrepreneur and his selfless service has been recognised by, among others, Lead SA in 2016 as the August Hero of the month, IWISA No.1 community Legends, and other recognizable awards. Sicelo currently operates at an advisory level and as an ambassador for the SWITCH Social Entrepreneurship Project management course, where he initially graduated for Project Management. His leadership acumen has been shaped by his participation in leadership programs such as ACTIVATE!, where he is one of two-thousand five hundred young people who are driving change in South Africa, and through which he also acquired executional skills as a Project Co-ordinator for the Road to Nairobi continental Youth Entrepreneurship project.
Having had a significant number of failed attempts at establishing businesses, but manifold lessons gained instead, he eventually established a Consulting Group called eKasi Group. The company specialised in Business development and Distribution (retailing), but now it has been restructured into a CSI design and Management firm. He later, together with his business associates, founded Township Entrepreneurs Network (TEN), where he oversees various divisions such as strategy, concept development, stakeholder relationship and overall, management developing. They have impacted more than 600 entrepreneurs through their entrepreneurial development interventions through Concept development and training, Networking events, Business breakfasts, Book clubs, School tours, Workshops, Business Expos & Seminars. As part of his social endeavours, he has established an annual campaign called ‘Dress an Orphan This Christmas’. This campaign dresses orphans across the Ekurhuleni area over the Christmas season. Since its establishment in 2014, the initiative boasts having dressed over three hundred and fifty children each Christmas to date of year 2017. Sicelo sponsored twenty-seven thousand rand from his personal resources, to cater for the first Christmas Lunch with over six orphanages in attendance in December 2017, finally realising his dream come true. These orphanages are supported with administration and by soliciting external support using their creative hashtag campaigns; #DressAnOrphanThisChristmas , #UniformAnOrphan, #EducateAnOrphan, #FeedAnOrphan, #WarmAnOrphan. Thes campaigns speak to the different needs the children have, which are basic human needs. The most impactful of their campaigns has been the #100-000 Parents, through which they solicit ten rand from one hundred thousand individuals annually, and the funds are managed under a Trust.
Sicelo Mbonani Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2015 Sicelo Mbonani
Sicelo has also contributed to the success of #40DaysWithoutShoes and collected shoes for more than five schools, and to more other social programs where he plays the role of Project Assistance and Business development. “I decided, a few years back, to devote my life to the development of the township and the greater community. It gives me pleasure to be recognised for such a developmental programme. I know our community will be better with such interventions,” said the delighted Mbonani. Sicelo realises his dreams daily and is immensely proud to have met great influencers from across all walks of life, in the process of being recognised for his work. Through the accumulative pack of awards such as Lead SA Hero of the Month, Iwisa No #1 Community Legend, the Standard bank Influencer & Ambassador, Grand-Pa Kasi Sterring, European Union – Erasmus+ Social Entrepreneurship ambassador, Adara African Awards, amongst others, there are yet many mountains still awaiting Sicelo to climb, and the journey still continues.
The twenty-year old Nkosikazi Masoka is a student from the Free State Province. She believes in advocating for the improvement of marginalised girls and boys and the emancipation of the black nation. “I am in love with the beauty of Africa and the wonderful talent and intellectuality it houses. I am innovative, driven, grounded, motivated, courageous and confident,” says the founder and chairperson of an NPO called Favoured to Bless. This motivated Activator became a part of the ACTIVATE! Network so she could be one of the young people who are making a difference in the country. “I also wanted to learn from other people that are doing amazing things, as I believe that one can never say they have learnt enough.” From this experience, the courageous and confident Masoka admits that, “ACTIVATE! inspired me to be the change that I want to see. I went back to my community with new strategies of doing things.” Being an innovator, she then formed an NPO called ‘Favoured to Bless’ with intentions of driving change within her environment. “I understand the importance of the role that my NPO plays in the community.” Ignorance and arrogance are some of the pitfalls that come into her mind, to guard against falling prey to any person wanting to offer services in their community, as the grounded Masoka says, “I am now more informed about my community and its leaders. Driving change is not about building an image, it’s about being involved, it’s about being part of the change.” And because of this, Masoka reflects that: “In some way, it helped me to heal myself, and to also deal with the little voice inside me that used to tell me that I am not good enough or that I will never do certain things. It was more of a personal journey as I learned more about myself.” Masoka became transformed in the process as well. Being an Activator gave Masoka “validation and reassurance.” Her Project: Favoured to Bless was started in 2016 by Nkosikazi, as a uniform drive. It then developed into an organization which works by identifying different social issues, then coming up with innovative events or other intervention strategies to tackle the issues and to raise awareness around the community. So far, Favoured to Bless has held a leadership and career seminar for young people in Welkom, and a slumber party for women, where women of various ages gathered to discuss issues affecting them and to empower one another. Sebenza Girl! The organization also runs an important drive in universities and colleges, where they tackle the sensitive and prevalent issue of depression and anxiety. Because Masoka was born and bred in Welkom, in the Free State Province, and only recently moved to Gauteng to pursue her studies, most of her operations were, and remain, to a large extent, in the Free State.
That is a challenge that she is currently facing, getting her organisation’s footprint to be as prominent in Gauteng as it is in the Free State. Because of this, Nkosikazi admits that she needs more people on board to help push her positive work in Carletonville, Gauteng. “Manpower and stability remain a challenge for me at the moment, and my mission is for the organization to operate in Kroonstad, Welkom as well as Carletonville.” Masoka is currently working with Kamohelo Primary School, where she gives talks to the young learners, and is currently developing a programme for the young kids. She shares that the scholars adore her and consider her as their mentor. Halala! “My strengths are that I have a good work ethic and I am able to think on my feet and come up with solutions to problems quickly. Areas of improvement for me are that I could work more on my emotional intelligence, as well as becoming a better communicator.” For the future, the driven Masoka outlines these plans: to have more events and initiatives under her NPO so that she can impact as many lives as possible. “Firstly, I plan to grow the organisation and include more young people. Secondly, I also plan on completing my degree and starting working on, hopefully, getting my MBA. Also, I plan on implementing a program that includes debating, public speaking and art at a school that I have been working with in Carletonville. And lastly, one of my other plans is to impart as much knowledge as possible onto my peers, elders and those younger than me (especially of the things I learnt from ACTIVATE!). I will also not stop telling the world about how ACTIVATE! changed my entire life.”
Mpadiâ€™s 100 Words One of my icons is Dj Sbu because he has inspired me to keep on pushing and never give up on my dream. After selling his product for three months, I have managed to start my own brand that will also uplift the community of Limpopo. I know that building a legacy does not take one day, but with persistence and dedication, I will get there. I would like the world to remember me as the man who is responsible for the ReadiBereka Lifestyle Brand. Mpadi Tele
Motsatsiâ€™s 100 Words
I really admire the women from the rural areas and they are all my icons, especially my mother who, even in hard times, taught me how to achieve my goals. When looking at Tata Mandela, I can say each generation has its struggles and Tata took the struggle of his generation hands on and now itâ€™s time for our generation to face ours. The legacy I want to leave behind is one of a strong independent black woman, one who does not need blessers to succeed. I want young women to remember me as someone who changed their view of life.
This work has had an impact on me and my employees, who are becoming educated and exposed to aspects of tourism.
Zodwa Manitswana, a 22 year old activator and a resident of Braamfontein, was blown away by the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, when a fellow activator had told her about it years ago. She, at that moment, was not taken to the idea, until she became keen to join the network in 2017. So, when she had thoughts of the changes that could be brought into her life and into the community by the opportunity, she took it. “This was an eye opener, and it inspired me to see and to think beyond the box, with the distinction of offering a helping hand in improving the state of my community,” said the ambitious entrepreneur, Zodwa. Manitswana is a fond and dedicated member of Braam By Bike (Pty) Ltd that has its business primarily focused on art, cuisine and history tours on bikes, and walking, which is an amazing path for her. The Braamfontein-based businesswoman defines her journey with ACTIVATE! as an inspiring one, with challenges, but of course with the support and the comfort of fellow activators and facilitators, she has pulled through. “Ever since I joined ACTIVATE! I have been inspired by young, like-minded, motivated individuals to continue making changes in myself and in my community, for the advancement and for the good of the people,” said the inspirational author Manitswana. With such dedication and hard work to transform the hopeless community and the country, triggered by many challenges, Zodwa is indeed a beacon of hope in her community, and an inspiration to many who need that little extra inspiration to unleash their potential. She believes that her work has taken a toll on her, but that it has, nevertheless, continuously yielded some good rewards (Impact for her and those in her circle. “This work has had an impact on me and my employees, who are becoming educated and exposed to aspects of tourism.”
She added, “It has had an impact on my family, whom I have been able to inspire and to assist, in terms of household income.” Zodwa believes that her life has changed since 2017, when she attended the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers training, as her entering phase to the greater network. “I now have a lot more knowledge about my community, and about how to hold government accountable, the role of each sector, and how to disseminate the knowledge for everyone’s benefit,” said Manitswana, testifying on the impact of the journey. Zodwa defines a hero as any person who is selfless, has the guts, and goes on to change people’s lives positively. “This is a person who perseveres through hard times, to pursue desired change from problematic social ills, with a greater sense of passion, despite adversity.” It is not surprising that Manitswana, who is an entrepreneur with a focus on tourism, identifies a fellow businessman whose business touches on tourism. “Lebogang Malena is my hero,” she says. She adds, “He is a hero and an inspiration to me, because from humble beginnings in Soweto, he opened the first travellers’ accommodation and tour establishments, thus employing and empowering the local residents.” Zodwa believes that Malepa is nothing but an amazing, hard working and excellent example of what a hero is, and she commends him for being brave enough to start the journey, at a time when it was not fashionable to do so. She claims to have been inspired by Lebohang and his traits, such as: • Perseverance; • A deep concern for the community; and • Ploughing back.
Zodwa Manitswana Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2017
“Lebo has inspired me to be observant of my surroundings and always to seek opportunities to change, and not to wait for government for miracles, said Zodwa, drawing a firm line about the importance of self-reliance, for her generation to observe. However, she believes that a hero should possess other crucial traits including, but not limited to: • Genuine care for the development of others; • Fast thinking for problem sorting; and • Comprehensive leadership skills. This tourist businesswoman is indeed a symbol and a definition of what a hero is. She exemplifies the important traits that her generation and most importantly the young people, should aspire to.
Thank you to ACTIVATE! for moulding and building my strength and confidence.
Phikolomzi Habe is from Qunu in the Eastern Cape. He refers to himself as “just a simple person who is passionate about the development of young people.” Habe was already involved in youth development before joining ACTIVATE! but he found it necessary to be part of the network because of its “different way of doing modules and the growing number of its members.” After attending for a short while, Habe was so inspired and motivated to the extent that he wanted the staff from his organization to come and be part of the network too. He has two organizations, namely the Havaks Foundation and the Qunu Youth Development Foundation. “I am a director of Havaks (Pty) Ltd. It is a communitybased tour company that offers guided tours in the footprints of Nelson Mandela, starting from his birth place of Mvezo, then Qunu and Mqhekezweni in Mthatha. Havaks Foundation was established as part of a Corporate Social Investment Programme to give back to the community. “Even though it is still in its teething phase, we have achieved much with the foundation through the partnerships we formed in the past few months, that enabled us to unlock opportunities for young people. I am also the chairperson and co-founder of Qunu Youth Development Foundation. It was established in 2013 as a vehicle that connects youth with opportunities and a hub for knowledge and the development of young people. Our target is not necessarily age-based, but looks at young people from both genders,” explained Habe. “We have managed to impact the community positively, and last year we partnered with SA Airlink to distribute five-thousand solar lights to students who still do not have access to electricity. Currently, I am working at the Nelson Mandela Museum under the Public Engagement and Marketing sector. My role at the museum is Tourist Guiding and conducting Outreach programmes. We have three sites of the museum and the second one from the three serves as a catalyst for the development of young people. The Qunu Sasol Garage is a community-based business which is managed by the community, and the Nelson Mandela Museum played a very important role in the inception of the business. The museum also has an educational department which helps learners with special projects, and also hosts international youth camps in partnership with Germany,” said this amazing visionary.
I am regarded as a hero, based on the projects I do with young people in schools and by always being at their disposal when they need my help or my organizations’ help. My organisations, Havaks Foundation and Qunu Youth Development Foundation, are now partnering with big organizations like the Nedbank Foundation and Africa Rising. It is because I was identified as a resourceful young person. Thank you to ACTIVATE! for moulding and building my strength and confidence,” he said. Habe’s intentions are to build a South Africa and the world of Mandela’s dreams. “And to do that we require a crop of leadership that embraces, lives and propagates the key values of Ubuntu, honesty, integrity, respect and stewardship. This is my plan,” concluded the passionate Habe.
Through being an Activator, I have observed that young people are not passive like before, they are engaging in issues that affect them and the country.
Being a change driver has impacted Habe positively and he says he now understands what it means to be an active citizen. “Through being an Activator, I have observed that young people are not passive like before; they are engaging in issues that affect them and the country.
The very best of Ekurhuleni – Gauteng, proudly introduces the 30 years old creative artist who was introduced to ACTIVATE!
Vusumuzi kaMabena Gauteng INTAKE YEAR : 2018
Vusumuzi Mabena @vusybeast
Change Drivers back in 2016, and finally joined the network of more than 3500 activators in 2018. Vusumzi Ndinisa kaMabena is an amazing entrepreneur who is the creative genius behind multiple youth brands, and who also plays a pivotal role in their journey to economic emancipation, within his active community. A number of those whom he has influenced form part of the activators that are part of the whole organisational reach of ACTIVATE! network, in South Africa. Despite his prolonged journey towards joining the network, Vusi says that he needed to have a profound reason to join, as he knew he would thereafter be giving his all – his time and energy, to the organization. He says, “The leadership element that the ACTIVATE! program offered was a key element which I needed to obtain, and so I knew that ACTIVATE! was a worthwhile program to venture into.” Asked about his journey and his experience with the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers network, he expressed how the sessions provoked his emotions, reconnected his soul with himself and unleashed its combined potential extremely well. “My journey with ACTIVATE! has been good and has triggered emotions within me. On my first session during my intake I cried at one of the sessions, as most often, we do not connect with ourselves,” said Activator Vusi, shedding tears as he recalls his journey. He firmly believes that there has been great impact as he has continued to grow his business venture. “Yes, to date, I have developed seven youth brands that are now active and are making income, with yet more brands in line to be launched in 2019,” said the proud Vusi.
The level of growth and the goal orientation in Vusumzi’s eyes, and the way that he articulates his ideas, and respectfully defends them, shows that so much about him has been changed for good. It is interesting to see and to have leaders like Ndinisa kaMabena, whose wisdom has the potential to influence and to change lives. It was, thus, interesting that when asked about his hero, he delightfully had this to share, “I would say that it’s Thomas Sankara.” He is of the view that the upright man he was and the beacon of hope that Thomas Sankara offered to the people of Burkina Faso made him a hero who made a sterling impact on others’ lives, and created change that would surpass time. He articulates that Thomas’s traits inspire him continuously, as they are not limited to focusing on social change, economic activities and nation building but, in addition, consistently drive an innovative revolution that helped him change the course of his country’s major failures towards successes. Vusi kaMabena says a hero should also have the following traits: • Resilience; and • A heart for the people – a ‘We’ rather than an “I” mentality. Thomas Sankara inspired him by thinking outside the box, and by challenging the status quo. “Thomas was a fearless and a brave young president, whose stature changed the face of African politics, and whose style of governing shaped me extremely,” said Vusi, passionately. It is interesting to see and to have leaders like Ndinisa kaMabena, whose wisdom has the potential to influence and to change lives.
The leadership element that the ACTIVATE! program offered was a key element which I needed to obtain, and so I knew that ACTIVATE! was a key constituent to venture on.
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Activate! Change Drivers
Young people of the ACTIVATE! Network are everyday heroes - the development of a positive social force is a principal objective of the ACTIV...
Published on Apr 25, 2019
Young people of the ACTIVATE! Network are everyday heroes - the development of a positive social force is a principal objective of the ACTIV...