The Rise of the 21st Century African Vanguard in South Africa

In an almost Fanonian fashion, we as the 21st century post-colonial, post-Apartheid youth of South Africa have discovered our mission and are working on fulfilling it. With some of us being born after the end of the South African political struggle, hence being labelled ‘born-frees’, we were born with the burden of securing the economic emancipation of our people.

With our country only 21 years into its democracy, and a majority of our economy still in hands of the minority, the struggle for the economic emancipation of the African people in South Africa has proven to be harder than what we thought it would be. It is during these trying times that quality leadership and quality leaders are needed; leaders who will be able to navigate the young and still stabilizing political atmosphere in the country and still be able to find innovative ways to open up the economy for African people. Leaders, in the form of writers, thinkers, activists, entrepreneurs, politicians and civil servants, who will lead the way in new developments in the country through their work and ideas.

The 21st century African vanguards in South Africa need to rise up and show themselves. While some people have been taught to think that vanguards need to be people who are in the academic field or some sort of professionals, this narrative has been proven to not be true. Vanguards are people who are willing to put the needs of the people beyond theirs. They are people who are willing to work hard to see an idea flourish and their people prosper. They are people who, to borrow the words of a great fallen vanguard, are “willing to die for an idea that will live rather than live for one that will die.”

With the country gradually becoming younger and more technological, our mission for the economic emancipation of the African people in South Africa needs to see the rise of African vanguards who are younger and more technocratic. Newer and more innovative solutions are needed to solve some, if not most, of the problems that we come across around the country and the continent. Only younger and more energetic vanguards will be able to lead the way if we want to see these solutions come to light.

The rise of the 21st century African vanguards in South Africa needs to see all the old and overstayed leaders in the country make way for younger and more energetic ones. In order to fulfil our mission to economically emancipate our people, we are going to need a more effective way for young people to influence both the policy development and the decision making processes in both our country and our continent. The rise of the 21st century African vanguard in South Africa will never have any impact if the makeup of the leadership of both the country the continent is hell bent on never changing.

Our country has a huge and untapped resource – in the form of young African minds – that is lying dormant and is finding other non-productive and illegal ways to release its potential. To solve the increasing rate of unemployment among the African youth in South Africa we are going to need the solutions that the young African vanguards in the country have. If not given a chance to be utilized and listened to, the intellectual prowess that these young African vanguards possess will be lost to countries in the West, as witnessed in the past, and we will be left with an intellectual vacuum. The rise of the 21st century African vanguard in South Africa will always be delayed if we continue to try to solve the new problems we face using the same old people. It’s time for a change, it’s time for the 21st century African vanguard to rise!


We should be loyal to the movement for justice

On Thursday, a cloudless Johannesburg day, students and supporters gathered at the gates of Wits to protest the impending increase in fees.  At the gate next to the Origins Centre, we sang, with passion, asiyifuni iagenda yamacapitalist (We don’t want the capitalists’ agenda).  My voice was hoarse from the singing and chanting, but I was proud to be a Witsie, and gratified to be gathered with other young people, taking action on the issues that profoundly affect our lives.

Then a cloud appeared.  Not in the sky.  Rather it was in the form of a coup from within the protest.

A group of African National Congress (ANC) comrades, in their party t-shirts driving BMWs and AUDIs, arrived to deliver pizzas and drinks for student protesters. Many students screamed and chanted, “Welcome, fellow comrades!”

With my hoarse voice, I questioned those around me, “We just sang that we don’t want capitalists’ agenda but we’re accepting charity from the party of corruption and clowns? The party that gave South Africa its neoliberal agenda; the party of BMWs and Audis?” Nobody bothered listening to me.  In the midst of the huge crowd, I felt very alone.

But I was not alone.  When some of the male comrades were given fruit, pizza and cold drinks, to honour them for toyitoying in the streets, my two friends joined me in calling out to them, asking what kind of a leader eats alone. Most of the students were sitting on the pavement, while these gentlemen feasted in the centre of the road. My friend suggested we take photos and tweet them.  As soon as we started taking pictures, everyone began shouting at them. One member of the organising team said, “No one is bigger than the collective of students.  It’s true when they say real revolutionists of the struggle are never mentioned.  We have Mandela and Sobukwe here.”

In response to the taunts, one of the eaters said, “I will hit him, I can’t be told by a first year.”

Obviously, my argument is not about food. It is about how we struggle together.  Are we creating a new nation where everyone’s voice and contribution is honoured? Or are we falling into the old patterns of giving our power away to personalities who care more about their own fame and fortune than the wellbeing of those they claim to represent?

Who are these men?  What made them believe they had the right to co-opt the event?  Why did they think they were more important than the rest of us?  Why did so many cheer them, and some of the women serve them, as if they were heroes.

They are, in fact, leaders in some of the campus political parties. That was the justification for calling them the “leaders” of the protest. Which leads me to ask, “Who owns Wits’ student movement?”

South Africa needs radical structural changes.  ‘Radical’ means going to the root.  We need changes at the very roots of our economic structures.  Radical change will not be achieved by the same methods that brought us to where we are today.  We need to take back our power.  Not just from the rich whites or the mega-corporations, but also from the institutions that have failed us, while serving themselves.  

In a group of young, intelligent and informed students, why does our work need political party leaders? What is their function?  Is it to confuse and sell out the rest of the students?   Do we need them to interpret for the university administration what students want? I am sorry, but everyone in South Africa knows what students want.  Do we need party leaders – male party leaders – to lend legitimacy to our protest?  Are not the students themselves the best people to express their needs and demands?

We know that the process of decolonisation will not be convenient for some of us. We also need to beware of the traps of colonialism while fighting it. We must beware of the traps that give our enemies reasons to de-legitimise our struggle and activism.

As the protest continued, emerging protest leaders from student political parties arrived on campus to speak. Their voices are welcome, like the voices of other students.  The parties are not, however, welcome to take over or claim a protest they did not launch.

A planning team, organised the protest over the course of meetings – which none of the pizza prize leaders attended. Whether we have a party affiliation or not, we must all support the struggles that resonate with our values. What is important, though, is that in the process we do not abandon the initial vision. On Thursday, unfortunately, we had a show by popstars who are more passionate about and obsessed with media and attention than the struggle of other black students.  

As we talk about decolonisation, we should take a step back and re-evaluate our role and commitment to this change we are talking about. Radical change must include redefining “leadership”. Do we need leaders (in the old sense) in the process of revolution? Aren’t we all supposed to be leaders of our collective struggle? I think leaders are there to convenience the enemy. We are in these problems today because leaders have been misled, tricked, and fooled. We have allowed certain people believe that they know everything, and that everything depends upon them.   No one should be bigger than the voice of the collective.

I laughed every time I heard Ukhozi FM playing a sound bite saying, kukhona abalandela ibhodwe eliconsayo. It’s true. We can’t afford to have people who use the struggle to build their political careers and fight their personal battles with the vice chancellor. No one is bigger than the collective voice of students. No one should be! Asiyeke ukulandela ibhodwe eliconsayo maAfrika amahle.

Sinikiwe Mqadi is part of the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers’ Network and a Mandela Rhodes Scholar, currently undertaking her honours in Bachelor Arts (Journalism and Media Studies) at the University of the Witwatersrand. She joined the protest against fees increase to achieve, in the short run, affordable student fees, and in the end, a vibrant movement where we understand our real collective power and use it wisely. Sinikiwe grew up in rural KwaZulu-Natal.  She has been exceptionally fortunate to have opportunities to pursue formal education– opportunities that are rare for folks from a poor, largely illiterate, community. She is committed to making use of her gifts to benefit her own community, and similar communities, which still comprise a large portion of South Africa.

Look out for Activator Nqaba Mpofu’s Press Release on his campaign, which urges the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, to release the no-fees report.


Breast Cancer Month: Know your body, Share the knowledge

October is breast cancer awareness month, which seeks to educate women and girls as much as possible on breast cancer prevention, management and control.

This is due to the fact that breast cancer is the one of the most common types of cancer to affect women of all races and ethnicities in South Africa. According to the 2009 National Cancer Registry, 1 in 33 women in SA have a lifetime risk of breast cancer. This means that precautions in this regard need to be taken seriously as some breast cancer cells can be removed when detected early.

Breast Cancer screenings can be quite expensive. Women are therefore encouraged to do a monthly breast self-examination (BSE) during their ovulation period (day 14 of their menstrual cycle). This is a free examination that can be done at home by oneself or with a partner.

According to CANSA, a cancer support organization, women need to do one of the following breast self-examinations at least once a month.

  1. In the mirror

• In front of a mirror, check for any changes in the normal look and feel of your breasts, such as dimpling, size difference or nipple discharge. Inspect four ways: arms at sides; arms overhead; firmly pressing hands on hips and bending forward

2.  Lying down

• Lie on your back with a pillow under your right shoulder, and your right hand under your head. With the four fingers of your left hand make small circular motions, follow an up and down pattern over the entire breast area, under the arms and up to the shoulder bone, pressing firmly. Repeat using right hand on left breast

3. While in the bath

• With your right arm raised, check your right breast with a soapy left hand and fingers flat using the method described under step 2.

 

Repeat on the other side.

Discuss any changes or uncertainties with your medical practitioner. Some (but not all) of the symptoms to look out for include a lump in the breast or armpit sizes vary from a marble to a tennis ball, increase in size of one breast, swelling of glands in armpit, lowering of one breast or nipple and dry skin (eczema) of the nipple.

There are other symptoms which you may experience. It is important for one to query that at their local clinic or with a medical expert.

The BSE information can be accessed on ACTIVATE! Going Beyond health Connection Hive as a PDF document that you can print and share with friends and family.

“It is health that is real wealth, not pieces of gold and silver.”- Mahatma Gandhi.


I love South Africa

Some people call it the country without a name, just a direction and location. It is the country furthest South on the African continent. It used to be known for its evil, they called it Apartheid; but I call it #APartHate?. It is a part of hate, directed at others. A system of hate, one hating another, did they realise that hating us is the same as hating themselves?

I love South Africa. It is the only place in Africa, where Africans can’t act African. Taught in another tongue; where your hair has to be explained, sometimes imported; where your name is not good enough; you need a Christian name! When we call him Rolihlahla, they call him Nelson, when we call him Bantu, they call him Steve, when we call him Mpilo, and they call him Desmond.

I love South Africa; it is part of the game, they come from the east to build us clinics, bridges and speed trains. All we have to do is stand and sing praise; otherwise you will get stuck in the deep plains. You travel 100 kilometres just to make enough to visit Checkers, you pay for the checkers, but you don’t own Checkers; is it a game of chess? Picking and paying just to get points! What’s the point?

I love South Africa because we shed light, maybe it is too heavy; that’s why it’s called load shedding. Is it to keep the melanin in the dark? Hell, they will need a flash in the night; just to share a picture! I love South Africa, they stopped to get water; they ended up with the land and some cattle. When they reached their spices; they came back for some gold. They built us some nice cities; now they think we owe them.

The land of milk and honey has become the land of bees and ants. South Africa is a land of opportunity, because with the right attitude; you can milk for money. We want the land, they want their Rand, so who do we trust? The one who came first or the one who came back? Funny how they took Mandela to Cape Town; and Biko to Pretoria: The royal to the empire and the commoner to the settler? The result was mind blowing: A Loyal Mandela and A dead Biko. I love South Africa because it does what no other can: Successful at Failing and Celebrating it!

 

We called it a rainbow, but the rain clouds are gathering and the sun is long gone. Grab your umbrella because it is about to rain on us; opportunity; equality and wealth. Grab the land and work it, No one deserves an explanation. You are you and you are free, I love South Africa and so should you!

Some people call it the country without a name, just a direction and location. It is the country furthest 
South on the African continent. It used to be known for its evil, they called it Apartheid; but I call it . It 
is a part of hate, directed at others. A system of hate, one hating another, did they realise that hating 
us is the same as hating themselves?
I love South Africa. It is the only place in Africa, where Africans can’t act African. Taught in another 
tongue; where your hair has to be explained, sometimes imported; where your name is not good 
enough; you need a Christian name! When we call him Rolihlahla, they call him Nelson, when we 
call him Bantu, they call him Steve, when we call him Mpilo, and they call him Desmond.
I love South Africa; it is part of the game, they come from the east to build us clinics, bridges and 
speed trains. All we have to do is stand and sing praise; otherwise you will get stuck in the deep 
plains. You travel 100 kilometres just to make enough to visit Checkers, you pay for the checkers, 
but you don’t own Checkers; is it a game of chess? Picking and paying just to get points! What’s the 
point?
I love South Africa because we shed light, maybe it is too heavy; that’s why it’s called load shedding. 
Is it to keep the melanin in the dark? Hell, they will need a flash in the night; just to share a picture! I 
love South Africa, they stopped to get water; they ended up with the land and some cattle. When 
they reached their spices; they came back for some gold. They built us some nice cities; now they 
think we owe them.
The land of milk and honey has become the land of bees and ants. South Africa is a land of 
opportunity, because with the right attitude; you can milk for money. We want the land, they want 
their Rand, so who do we trust? The one who came first or the one who came back? Funny how 
they took Mandela to Cape Town; and Biko to Pretoria: The royal to the empire and the commoner 
to the settler? The result was mind blowing: A Loyal Mandela and A dead Biko. I love South Africa 
because it does what no other can: Successful at Failing and Celebrating it!
We called it a rainbow, but the rain clouds are gathering and the sun is long gone. Grab your 
umbrella because it is about to rain on us; opportunity; equality and wealth. Grab the land and work 
it, No one deserves an explanation. You are you and you are free, I love South Africa and so should 
you!

Maths campaign: a boost for township learners

Ramadimetja Makgeru and nine other young people are implementing a Mathematics project to change attitudes and perceptions of learners towards Mathematics.

The I love Maths- Make it count campaign started after a workshop organised by the Students Development and Leadership Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand.

“The moment they asked us to identify the challenge in our society, I thought of Maths. There are many reasons why learners fail Maths, yet it is a very important subject and many university courses require Maths,” Ramadimetja explained.

Mathematics is among the most failed subjects in South Africa. Earlier this year, the Department of Basic Education said the number of Grade 12 learners who passed Mathematics had dropped from 59.1% in 2013 to 53.5%, with only 3.2% learners achieved distinctions.

The I love Maths- Make it count campaign focuses on ‘under-privileged’ schools, especially those in townships, with the hope that learners will love Maths and make good subject choices when they get to Grade 10.

“I have met a girl who was doing matric and wanted to be an Accountant but not doing Maths, and that hurt me because even if she passed well, there was no way she would be able to study accounting at university the following year,” Ramadimetja said.

Ramadimetja and her colleagues then decided to focus on Grade 8 learners to help them make good subject choices and do Maths without being limited by social constraints. “We only focus on Grade 8 because that is where it all starts and learners are still young and haven’t made subject choices,” she said.

She argued that some learners have every reason not to like Maths because they don’t have resources, “I come from a small village in Limpopo and it was so painful that I didn’t have a calculator in matric. It was so easy for me to give up because I didn’t have resources.”

During August,the team visited Umqhele High School in Thembisa and donated 20 calculators. They received their donation from the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and Wits students. Ramadimetja said they would love to donate more stationery but funding is a challenge, “It’s very unfortunate that if you want to do something you also need to rely on things like funding.”  

Eight of the team members matriculated at Umqhele in the previous years. One of the teachers, Makgabo Pitja said she is happy to see some of her former learners coming back to help, “Maths is not difficult and there is nothing wrong with the curriculum, but I don’t know how we have come to the point where our attitudes and perceptions towards it are so negative. I think we will see the impact if this project continues.”

A Wits Geography honours student, Mafule Moswane who was invited as a guest speaker told learners about the importance of Mathematics, in his speech he said “Sometimes you will have to do what you have to do in order to do what you want to do.”

The team also played mental mathematics games. Some of the learners told him that they have lost hope in Maths and they don’t like it because they struggle to understand it.

However, Mafule said the project is not a waste of time, “It is important to share strategies that learners can use learn Mathematics easily and tell them about the things that you can do with Maths- Maths is one of those subjects that you can use in anything.”  

Ramadimetja aspires to be an activator in order to ‘grow as a leader and a change driver’. She is currently involved in different projects.  She works for a project where they go to township schools to tutor, motivate and help learners with resources to apply for universities and bursaries. She also uplifts young women both economically and emotionally by equipping them with skills to help them.

“I know Activate! – through Activators, So, I posted on their Facebook group about our campaign and Lenina responded, asking me about the event details. I’m going to an interview with them in September,” she said.

“Community service has always been in me. I don’t really know why and how I started to love helping others, but it’s always been something I love doing. I remember when I was still in primary school I would go to an orphanage called Mohau Centre to help the younger kids with homework, play with them and feed the disabled ones.”

Ramadimetja is a third year Bachelor of Accounting Science student at Wits. She also wants to be psychologist and a social worker. ‘I have a passion for community service and would love to assist me in helping others realize their passions and uplift themselves,’ she said.

 

Where language meets culture

After the release of his book, “Decolonising The Mind”, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s decision to stop using English as the language in which he will offer his work sparked a lot debates about the use of language in African literature. The book, which contains four essays, “The Language of African Literature,” “The Language of African Theatre,” “The Language of African Fiction,” and “The Quest for Relevance,” helped to “cement him as a preeminent voice theorising the “language debate” in post-colonial studies.”[1] And ever since, the release of this book the number of debates on this issue has not decreased.

As a self-proclaimed Pan-African thinker and an aspiring writer, the debate about language and literature has plagued my mind for some time now. Writers of both fiction and non-fiction play an important role in both the preservation and development of cultures. Because of the oral nature of the passing down of cultural practices and traditions by the past generations, the role of writers of the current generation is one of paramount importance. As the people responsible for the documenting and preservation of these cultural traditions and practices, writers need to use methods that will be able to carry forward this almost mammoth task with ease and precision.

Now as a country with 11 official languages, the issue of which language(s) we need to use to document the multiple and diverse cultures, and their practices, found in South Africa is one that needs to be thoroughly discussed. Some have argued that English is the ideal language to use because of its ability to cut through cultures and evolve with time, but even though it is the medium of instruction in our education system, its colonial and oppressive origins tend to rub a lot of South Africans, and Africans, the wrong way.

The use of English in African literature, be it rightly or wrongly, forms a significant part of the debate about the use of language in African literature. With it being one of the most preferred languages to use in literature, questions about whether work written in this colonial language can be classified as “African literature” have led to multiple essays and lectures being given in an effort to answer them.

In his book “Hello Africa: Tell Me How Are You Doing?” Osei G Kofi says ‘we make too much of ethnicity and tribal languages,’ he believes that ‘language is a tool, a vehicle, not an end on itself’ when it comes to culture. Like him, I believe, that ‘a particular language is useful for the particular era it is used,’ and that in this particular era English seems to be that language. According to him, 96 percent of the world’s population account for the top 20 languages, and that every two weeks a language dies[2]

Using English as a vehicle in which we will document and preserve our cultures will not change, whitewash, or dilute them in anyway. The English language, which will soon be outlived or progressively transformed for a new era, will only serve as a tool for us to document our histories as they unfold so that the future generation, and the present one, can be able to know and cement their place in the world. I have never been able to write in my native language – Setswana – but that does not mean I am not able to properly translate the rich qualities of the Tswana people and their different tribes through my work.

My adoption and use of the English language as a writer does not make the work I produce about the cultures of Africans any less important than that of someone writing in Igbo, Tsonga, Venda, Kiswahili or Setswana.

References:
[1] Wikipedia

[2] Hello Africa: Tell Me, How Are You Doing – Osie G Kofi (page 142)


5-minutes-with-Kedibone

What’s your passion?

Youth development and education. I am passionate about changing lives and I believe that can only be done through education. To implement what I have learned and empower my community.



What change are you keen to drive?

Teen pregnancy and parenthood. As well as stopping youth from dropping out of school and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

 

How are you driving change?

I am a Peer Educator at the Institution for Youth Development and Advocacy. My role is to have health talks at schools and in communities with youth about the dangers of engaging in risky behaviour such as having ‘sugar daddies,’ drinking and smoking.

With fellow Activators, Plaas Phakgabi and Kagiso Maplala we started a co-operative, Sediketheka (the light that is bright). We reach out to youth and give them motivational talks. We also offer team building, event management, facilitation and training. Currently we are facilitating a Department of Sports & Recreation camp with youth that are 15 – 25 years old, offering leadership training and highlighting the importance of social cohesion in order to build our nation.

 

How has ACTIVATE! supported you so far in driving this change?

My confidence has grown. Before I was only a peer educator but now I am more active in the community. Activators are from different parts of the country and we all have different apparitions and it’s beneficial and inspirational when we collaborate and grow our visions – the co-operative is a great example.

 

How do you motivate yourself?

Changing one person’s life keeps me going.

 

Final comment?

The most important thing I want to see is youth participate in their community’s development and to for there to be zero school dropouts. I want young people to learn from me so that they can educate themselves and move forward.

 

Cultural Heritage

!ke e:/xarra//ke, as our South African National Coat of Arms motto simply puts it “Diverse People Unite”. It represents the cultural diversity that South Africans have been striving towards since the birth of the Freedom Charter and the 1994 democratic elections. However, what could be the critical contribution of young South Africans in appreciating the diversity of cultural heritage of Africa?

“Cultural heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community passed on from generation including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Cultural heritage is often expressed as either intangible or tangible cultural heritage” (ICOMOS, 2002). From the definition above we can agree to disagree that there have been a number of debates amongst the youths from loss of identity due to colonisation, skin bleaching and go the famous UCT Rhodes must fall movement. Over and above these concerns, South Africa has being in international news with the recent discovery of Homo Naledi fossils by Wits University and a team led by Prof. Lee Berger. Young South Africans can appreciate this heritage discovery by visiting cultural sited such as The Maropeng Cradle of Humankind and thus continue asking questions, debating and having dialogues that will further enrich not only the South African cultural heritage but the African cultural heritage at large.

Young people can also contribute by starting small businesses that are focused on the African cultural heritage these can also empower others on the different dress styles/fashion and indegenous foods that are available in all parts of Africa. For instance, the Maasai attire of Kenya and Tsonga attire of South Africa embodies how each represent the diversity of Africa and morden culture. Such contribution by young people also has a potential to not only grow African Entrepreneurship but the African economy in the context of the diversity of the African cultural heritage while curbing unemployment. 

South African youths are also faced with the issue of moral degeneration, however they can contribute to cultural heritage by appreciating and practicing African values and proverbs that has been passed from generation to generation, e.g “Ubuntu” and ” Oran a azu nwa- it takes a village or community to raise a child” which both and many more others can be traced in almost all parts of Africa, though the languages are different the meaning is usually the same. As young South Africans we can hold each other accountable in our daily lives to ensure we strive towards achieving such values found in the African cultural heritage.

Indeed “Diverse People Unite” by being one as young South Africans we stand to inspire one another about the rich cultural heritage we possess as Africans and stand to combat negative influences such as Xenophobia/Afrophobia and racism which only robs us of appreciating our African cultural heritage. #TanzaniaLHR

This was originally posted on the National Heritage Council Facebook Page

5 Minutes With Gratitude

What’s your passion?

The health side of youth development – to cultivate youth holistically and make them aware of the importance of living a healthy lifestyle today. To bring about cohesion between youth and adults relating to youth health and to be an advocate for young fathers.  

 

What change are you keen to drive?

 

Challenging and championing health in the youth sector. Raising awareness about teenage pregnancy, sex between youth and adults and highlighting the important role a mother and father plays in a child’s life.

 

How are you driving change?

 

I facilitate dialogues in two places: At Mphephu clinic between health workers and youth – the aim is to open a channel of communication between all stakeholders so that youth-friendly health services can be achieved. Lufunodrop Centre – we host dialogues and motivational talks to the kids at the centre and highlight the importance of making healthy life choices and offer guidance to teens who are pregnant or are parents.

 

I really encourage teen fathers to attend the interventions because pregnancy is seen as a girl child’s issue and I feel it is very important to engage with these young men so that both the mother and father knows the important role that they each play in raising a child. 

 

How has ACTIVATE! supported you so far in driving this change?

 

The training has equipped me with innovative tools such as the object tools and archetypes as I use them to solve issues and to communicate with stakeholders involved in helping drive change. Networking and connecting with other young people who are also passionate about youth development is inspiring as we talk and share ideas with each other.

 

How do you motivate yourself?

 

 I see no failure; every obstacle is a learning curve. Coming from a broken family and being a single-mother to a four-month-old-baby motivates me to keep working hard to better the lives of my siblings and others in the same situation. 

 

Final comment?

 

I want to see a cohesive society that values the activities of youth and that is open to youth issues. To develop communities that are educational based and not discouraged by its negative circumstances.

PROVINCE: Limpopo

MUNICIPAL DISTRICT: Vhembe

Activator since: 2015

 

What’s your passion?
The health side of youth development – to cultivate youth holistically and make them aware 
of the importance of living a healthy lifestyle today.
To bring about cohesion between youth and adults relating to youth health and to be an 
advocate for young fathers. 
 
What change are you keen to drive?
Challenging and championing health in the youth sector. Raising awareness about teenage 
pregnancy, sex between youth and adults and highlighting the important role a mother and 
father plays in a child’s life.
How are you driving change?
I facilitate dialogues in two places:
At Mphephu clinic between health workers and youth – the aim is to open a channel of 
communication between all stakeholders so that youth-friendly health services can be 
achieved.
 
Lufunodrop Cente – we host dialogues and motivational talks to the kids at the centre and 
highlight the importance of making healthy life choices and offer guidance to teens who are 
pregnant or are parents.
I really encourage teen fathers to attend the interventions because pregnancy is seen as a 
girl child’s issue and I feel it is very important to engage with these young men so that both 
the mother and father knows the important role that they each play in raising a child.  
How has ACTIVATE! supported you so far in driving this change?
The training has equipped me with innovative tools such as the object tools and archetypes 
as I use them to solve issues and to communicate with stakeholders involved in helping 
drive change.
Networking and connecting with other young people who are also passionate about youth 
development is inspiring as we talk and share ideas with each other.
How do you motivate yourself?
I see no failure; every obstacle is a learning curve.
Coming from a broken family and being a single-mother to a four-month-old-baby motivates 
me to keep working hard to better the lives of my siblings and others in the same situation.  
Final comment?
I want to see a cohesive society that values the activities of youth and that is open to 
youth issues. To develop communities that are educational based and not 
discouraged by its negative circumstances.

The Cancer Of Corruption

Conversation with Men

In a quest to mobilise men to regain their dignity and role model reputation through doing well within our society, Thabang Mabuza and Bongani Mgayo launched the inaugural Conversation with Men at The Venue in Kwa-Thema on Sunday, 13 September 2015.

The Conversation with Men idea was inspired by the ongoing perception that men’s barbaric tendencies are due to weakened family values and communities are increasingly getting scared of the monsters that men have become.

‘The Networking powerful men who want to make a difference’, themed Master of Ceremony was Cape Town based motivational speaker, entrepreneur and co-founder of Conversation with Men seminars, Bongani Mgayo. The event content addressed issues such as economic participation, ways of not just surviving but thriving in business, importance of a healthy lifestyle, how politics affect men’s daily lives and mastering spiritual ways of managing life as men.

List of speakers was made up of business captains, religious leaders, relationship experts and different esteemed leaders from different spheres of society. Other speakers include Pastor Motlhodi Montle, Durban based young millionaire, motivational speaker, businessman and technical trader, Jabulani Cashflow Ngcobo, flamboyant socialite and gender activist, Mveleli Qwede, who is commonly known as Dr Love and Dr Callisto Sello as well as the CEO SAA Technical, Musa Zwane just to mention the few.

Gauteng 2013 Activator, entrepreneur, Power of 40 and Conversation with Men founder, Thabang Mabuza said the seminars’ aim is not just to empower men to positively participate in their communities but to also create a network of responsible revered role platform for male social change drivers. “It is critical for us as men to play our role in our own communities and family environment. If we are seen as heads, we then need to begin to take charge of that position and be role models to both women, children and fellow men who look up to us. I believe as men we can progress from poverty to prosperity provided we are prepared to pay the price”, said Mabuza.

Newly appointed North West Connector and University of Free State Politics student, Bongani Uhuru Hlatshwayo said the event came at a perfect time to teach good empowering life tools. “The event created a good platform for us as men to be acknowledged but most importantly a space where we can have an open discussion about our challenges in life and on how to overcome them”.

Hlatshwayo went on to say  that the event reinforced his belief that modern men have to move on with times and find alternative ways of not just coexisting with women but also lead inspiring positive change to their immediate family, community and the world. “Society has evolved so much into the emancipation of women and yet forgot about good men who still exist in the society and who are doing well not just for themselves but for their families and the societies at large. We need to change the status quo and celebrate the good deeds that are done by men out there”, said Hlatsawayo.

One of the attendees, Calvin Xolani Buthelezi applauded the event organisers for their brave decision to launch such an event that will heal South African young men’s’ deep emotional wounds and inspire them to always strive for excellence. “I would like to thank you for all your time spent to gather an event of this kind in such a sphere where men are dimmed off their value in the community, this shouldn’t end here actually it should be a club or committee so we can rub shoulders as we all need each as a troop to live a fruitful life”, said Buthelezi.

Organising team members, Sandile Vilakazi said the ongoing public feedback has been overwhelming and has already given them idea of what to improve on next time. “This was a successful launch. Many people now want to be part of this moving train. Moving forward, we will make sure that we intensify our marketing strategy. In a short space of time we managed to get two well-known national radio stations (Metro FM & SAFM) and local radio station (eKasi FM). This is a sign that we have a potential to partner with various media houses for communication and marketing purposes”, said Vilakazi.

Conversation with Men programs will soon be rolled out in all provinces in South Africa.  Organising team has not yet confirmed the dates, venue and other logistical issues for future events in other provinces. All they were willing to confirm is that the following Conversation with Men will be held in Free State.

Remembering Biko: Not for the Sake of it

“Merely by describing yourself as black you have started on a road towards emancipation, you have committed yourself to fight against all forces that seek to use your blackness as a stamp that marks you out as a subservient being.”- Steve Biko

The month of September celebrates South African heritage, but also marks the remembrance day of a dynamic leader that stood for a culture that celebrates one’s identity and heritage with an understanding of one’s worth in society, Steve Bantu Biko.

Giving performing arts a different and meaningful definition, activator Solitude Mayedwa and the Poetics team took the streets of Guga Sthebe, Langa on an in-depth Black consciousness journey on Saturday, September 12, 2015.

The creative artists group: Poetics “Music not for the sake of it”, hosted the Langa community at an event that was in commemoration of the life and in remembrance of the death of Black Consciousness activist, Steve Biko.

Steve Biko was an anti-apartheid activist who then founded the Black consciousness movement.

The aim of the event was to inform and gather youth in the community of Langa and conscientise them about the life of this leader, what he stood for and to engage them on the issue of Biko’s relevance today as well as lessons that the SA youth can carry forward to fearlessly exercise their identity and move forward in building a mentally transformed post-apartheid society.

To start off and create a base for the audience, the audience was shown a video clip from Steve Biko’s interview on rare TV, where he stipulated his belief of an equitable society. “We believe that in our country there shall be no minority, there shall be no majority, there shall just be people, and those people shall have the same status before the law…” were some of Biko’s words. The interview was then used as a springboard to discuss the issue of black consciousness and what it meant for young people in society today.

The response from the audience was insightful, thought provoking and rather in depth. A number of issues came out from the discussion such as the fact that white supremacy is still relevant and at its peak in the country and how that affects the inferiority complex amongst black people, and that in order for Africans to love and believe in one race, there should be harmony with one’s own people. Africans need to be rooted in their identity and be in solidarity when addressing social injustices. “A race-less society is not easy. Colonialism was not based on hate, but it was based on the survival of one race over the other”, was one of the responses from the audience.

Activate! Change Driver and facilitator Nqaba Mpofu also gave insight on how Black Consciousness can be decoded. “We need to understand consciousness means one was asleep initially, so we should consider the things that have kept us in that position; historical catastrophes that have shaped our condition as blacks, then we will understand our conditions of being black as our own identity”, he said.

As part of the heritage month celebrations, local artists, some of which are part of the poetics group, were given a platform to perform. Artists like Zanzolo, Mdu and Thabiso Nkoana graced the audience with home-brewed music and poetry.

There was also a networking platform during the break sessions at the event. Activators – who came in numbers from Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Jo’burg and KwaZulu-Natal- were coming up with collaborative strategies to tell African stories and to uplift the economy through social entrepreneurship. Personal development coach and activator Thembinkosi Matika said “Some of the issues tackled today are things we know, we are aware, we just never act on it. We need to learn to trust each other and work together to uplift our own economy. I am for that, I do not believe in working alone when I have so many African brothers and sisters.  That is how we will get to realise and be ‘awake’ as black Africans.”

The event was impacting to community members too. Andisa Mdlalotye (21) from Langa said that this is what the community of Langa needed. “I learnt so much from the people that were talking here and I am motivated to make my mark as a young person now. Thank you, and I am looking forward to more of similar events from Poetics”.

Solitude is a 2015 Activator who is passionate about using creative arts to educate and inform young people. “What is saddening though, is the fact that we have to pay for spaces that were meant to be for our own development. We have people that are not from Langa using our public spaces for their own benefits”, he says.

To get in touch with poetics, you can like their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PoeticsOfAfrica?fref=ts.

Press Release: Bringing the SDGs Home

The increasing and overlapping issues faced by youth globally today have resulted in a need for civil society to collaborate and take action for a collective cause. This need is particularly pertinent for organisations representing and working with young people in South Africa, a constituency which is regularly under-consulted in matters which directly affect them.

With the evident need on a global scale to humanize sustainable development, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, ACTIVATE! Change Drivers and InkuluFreeheid have united behind a campaign, which highlights the need for the South African government and its UN representatives to have a progressive stance, particularly on the economic empowerment of youth within the post- 2015 development agenda.

The “Bringing the SDGs home” campaign commences as global leaders plan to congregate for the upcoming UN Summit, which will be held on 25-27 September 2015, to adopt the new SDGs. High on the priority list for this campaign is the need to advance the economic empowerment of youth within a global platform. 

This campaign convened a roundtable on 06 August 2015 discussion between youth organisations in the Western Cape. The following issues arose from the roundtable with respect to the SDGs agenda:

?     The new SDGs are comprehensive and practical with real potential to lead to meaningful transformation in the next fifteen years for marginalized groups such as youth. However, success will depend largely on the participation and engagement with a broad section of stakeholders across society.

?     Young people in particular play a crucial role in development yet too often their voices are left out of critical policy dialogues platforms and decision making around their own development.

?     Concerning youth and poverty alleviation, South Africa should prioritise interventions on skills development and addressing systematic barriers to productive employment and income generation activities. Collectively these issues have intertwined and formed an avalanche of challenges that continue to hinder the positive development for South Africa’s youth.

?     Thus, youth participation in the SDGs should be deepened to support the implementation of national strategies aimed towards youth poverty alleviation.

With active citizenry increasingly becoming important for inclusive socio-economic development, the “Bringing the SDGs Home” campaign calls on the South African government to create dialogue platforms to deepen the participation of young people in the SDGs process and to support poverty alleviation among youth.

In an effort to raise awareness and move the conversation forward, we will be organising a series of Twitter interviews and online discussions around key issues related to the SDGs and youth development. The first of these interviews will take place on Wednesday 9 September 2015, between 19:00 – 20:00. Follow @InkuluFreeHeid, @_IJR_ and @ActivateZA for more details and to submit questions.


—Ends—  

 

For media enquiries and interviews please contact: 

IJR: Ayanda Nyoka – anyoka@ijr.org.za 

ACTIVATE!: Nelisa Nqgulana – nelisa@localhost 

InkuluFreeheid: Kgotsi Chikane – chikaner@gmail.com

Women in Leadership with Ahmed Kathrada

“The world has many capable female leaders that can take this country forward.”

Those were the words of the revered political stalwart, Dr Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada during an exclusive dialogue with a bunch of young female social change drivers at his house in Killarney, Johannesburg on Thursday, 27August 2015.

The gathering was organised by Apple Communications founder and Activate Leadership Inland trainer, Tebogo Suping. This innovative event was also covered by one of South Africa’s prominent talk radio sstation, SAFM.

The 86-year-old former Nelson Mandela friend and political advisor relished an opportunity to share his few stories about his life and explicitly confront some dominant patriarchal issues that most women are facing.

The modest leader dismissed all personal leadership accolades but he constantly reiterated that all he had achieved was because of the collective that was driving the mandate to free South African and ultimately serve them well when he and his peers were in power.

Some of the issues that he constantly stressed were;  the role of women in South African liberation, importance of education for young leaders, youth participation in decision making processes and the desperate need for young people to unite in order to move the country forward, just to mention a few.

The history of women leadership

“I think we need to really look deep down ourselves and confront a few critical issues as a country. Those include but not limited to giving women more room to assume leadership roles. Women have always played a serious leadership role in our country’s struggle. They are still doing so. Public Protector (Thuli Madonsela) is a typical example of that. It is a pity that other parts of society choose not to speak in glowing terms about women leaders or still don’t believe in women. It is absolutely crucial for all voices and stories more especially women to be heard. There are many women formations out there. They have to lead that campaign.”

Youth must participate in decision making processes

“Young people are the majority in South Africa.  It is very important that the youth is always involved in every decision making. Of course there are power hungry people who will try to make that difficult but that does not mean young people must just assume spectator roles and watch adults take decisions that affect their lives. Today we are talking about a country with skills shortage. Why is that the case while we have young educated people in this country? I wish all competent young people like you can start now, roll up your sleeves and be prepared to serve this country.”

Sometimes youth behaviour is disappointing

“I really understand the youth’s frustration with some other issues that are not going well in this country. So I don’t condemn or recommend what young people are doing but mine is to just suggest that young people must follow the right channels. Burning down clinics, schools, libraries and other government establishments does come as counter revolution for me.  I do think that there are a number of accessible none violence avenues of addressing our concerns”

Unity is key

His wish to young people is that they know that freedom did not come for free and so they must always enjoy that responsibly and be more united in their quest to take South Africa. “I am very happy that what we got, what we sacrificed our families for lives. I wish young people will understand the value of our democracy. I have noticed that 90% of young peoples’ aspirations are the same but their major problem is that they are competing against each other for power or position instead of uniting” said Dr Kathrada.  

In conclusion, Dr Kathrada applauded social change drivers’ level of curiosity for their history in willingness to acquire correct leadership skills. “Thank you very for listening to me. I am impressed by your optimism and patriotism.  South Africa is indeed in good hands”, applauded Dr Kathrada

The ladies then closed the exclusive gathering by handing over a prestigious gift before taking a group photo with legendary leader.

Gauteng Connector, Bongi Ndlovukazi said the dialogue with Dr Kathrada renewed her social change driving spirit. Ndlovukazi vowed to continue using modern resources available to her to fulfil the wishes and the legacy of fallen female leaders such as, Lilian Ngoyi, Albertina Sisulu, Helen Joseph etc. “I enjoyed every second of the dialogue with Dr Kathrada. He has a very humbled infectious character that makes it easy to encourage others to excel in what they do. For me the most amazing part is that he doesn’t want to be referred to as the giant of struggle but to refer to some of his comrades like Mosses Kotane as “giants of our struggle”. I was also amazed when he said “the only regrets that he never took notes from Walter Sisulu all the years together. That was very profound” said Ndlovukazi.

Other activators such as Matshepo Moatshe, Nelishka Sighn, Olerato Serojane, Rachel Modise and Nathacia Olivia shared the same sentiments as Ndlovukazi. They all praised Dr Kathrada’s humble character and willingness to serve people of South Africa. The young mbokodos also thanked Suping for organising the dialogue with Dr Kathrada.

Event organizer, Tebogo Suping used the dialogue as one of her tools to open a platform for emerging young leaders to interact. “I organised this event because I feel it is imperative that in our quest for change (as youth) to keep the inter-generational conversation open as there are many lessons to be learned on both sides (youth and elders). I think it is important that we focus on what unites as both young and old, instead of what separates us in moving South Africa forward”, said Suping.

Suping couldn’t reveal which leader she will host next. “I am constantly on the look out to engage leaders across all levels and age groups who work selflessly and collaboratively towards developing themselves and others”, she said.

Kick a Ball for Rural Communities

In a bid to build social cohesion, Gauteng and North West based activators hosted inaugural community empowerment event through sports, Kick a Ball for Rural Communities in Hammanskraal North West  on the 15th of August.

The well attended tournament saw eight male football teams, three female football teams and five female netball teams, table tennis and chess players from Moretele Local Municipality villages like Carousel View, Maubane and Bosplaaseast.

Kick A Ball For Rural Communities is a one of many projects of youth in sports, Foundation of Sports Alchemy (FOSA) which is led by two Activators, multiple youth empowerment program facilitator, David Lekgwathi from East Rand in Johannesburg and social entrepreneur and Activate from Eersterut in Pretoria. Donahue Adams

FOSA’s major objectives of the event are to use sports as a tool to help the community to confront social normalized abusive patriarch norms in the community. Most importantly, the organizers’ hope that the tournament will accelerate youth structures relations with government, business and civil society organizations in these fields education, entrepreneurship, leadership, sport, innovation and job creation sectors of South Africa.

Lekgwathi said they decided to use sports as a tool to empower and unite rural communities. They collaborated with other activator led organizers Liberty Youth Movement and Network of Entrepreneurs Readers and Designers in Africa (NERD Africa) and the Adams’ family generosity. ”Foundation of Sports Alchemy could not have made it this far without Marcel Adams Memorial and Activate support.  Words can never ever clearly describe our gratitude to all those organization and individuals. I pray that all minded Africans throughout can continue rewriting motherland’s story.”  

He went on to say looking back at the event “I am very happy with the outcome of this event because we use sport as a single unifying factor that has emerged, uniting nations behind the various sporting codes and events, despite the barriers which often divide them and we also invest in our youth and in our communities, we are building a solid foundation for future leaders by empowering and uniting them through sport. This is just a beginning of many of great things to come. I think it is also important to highlight that other stakeholders are welcomed to join us in our quest of unleashing youth excellence in so called disadvantaged neglected areas of this country.”

The tournament activities included football, netball board games, chess and the dialogue. All these activities aim was to give the community a chance to raise their concerns about issues that affect young people in their communities and together find solutions for those problems.

During the dialogue, (which was focusing on how can the community members use sports as tool for change and transformation) community members highlighted substance abuse, illiteracy, youth despondence, unemployment, alcohol abuse, crime, gambling, teenage pregnancy, school drop outs, and lack of sport facilities and some the serious youth challenges in the community.  

Some of the prominent individuals who attended the event include community scholar John Mkwebo, include Amatuks manager, Jarred Ace retired football legend Charles Adams just to mention the few.

Speaking on behalf of the community, young scholar and community leader, John Mkwebo urged his community members to continue being advocates and on the ground social change at all their respective spheres of life.  He said “Our sudden companionability participation in this initiative by Liberty Life Movement, Marcel Adams Memorial.  Activate Leadership, FOSA Pretoria based Bakwena Chief Executive Officer, Reginald Feinstein and NERD Africa led event has shown us that our involvement in sports activities can easily deal or prevent all our challenges as community.”

At the end of the event, the excited Carousel View based Activator and Liberty Youth Movement director, Thabang Phokungwana thanked Activate Leadership for creating a platform for positive minded young people throughout to work together in creating a better society for all. “I am very happy with everything. The event went very well. I would like to thank all Activators like Don (Adams), Dave (Lekgwathi), Duncan (Mfamadi) and Tumelo (Khoza) who made sure all this happen. Now Indeed I agree that there is power in unity. All these selfless young leaders have proved that. Most importantly I think I have to thank Activate Leadership for linking young leaders up. It is  through Activate that today burning youth issues in my community are addressed by youth themselves and all this was led by us as Activators from different provinces”

A reputable bank has already shown interest in supporting the tournament in future.

Dozens of delighted community members vowed to make sure that next year’s’ Kick a Ball for Rural Communities (13th August 2016.) will be bigger and better.

Gauteng First Station launch

On the 31st of July, ACTIVATE! Leadership Gauteng branch reiterated its commitment of helping Activators by launching the first semi equipped connecting stations at the Braamfontein head office.

The station was officially opened by Inland Nodal co-ordinator, Tebogo Suping. A number of audacious Activators from around Johannesburg and Pretoria defied cold conditions and attended the well-planned event.

The station has free internet Wifi, basic stationery and other basic useful amenities. Activators can use the multi-purpose station as the meeting space, developing their projects and Activator focus group workshops.

According Suping, the station is one of the “Going Beyond” project that ACTIVATE! support system committed to set up in a bid to help Activators. According to Suping, besides the “Going Beyond” promise, ACTIVATE! noticed that there were number social change drivers who were trying their best to get their projects off the ground but didn’t have resources, office space and professional meeting spaces. That is where the idea of transforming existing spaces like libraries rooms, internet cafes, vacant safe usable buildings into stations.

She said, “As the organization we noticed Activators struggles and heard their cries. We have seen most of you trying your best but at times the odds were too much for some of you. As caring family we couldn’t just sit and watch. It was clear that something needed to be done. That is how the idea of the Station came about. Fortunately, the Braamfontein Office had a spare room that was not being used and it was ideal because it already had resources such as Wifi and phones for Activators to use.”

Gauteng team leader Ise-Lu Moller said the station central location is one of the most things they look at before they decided to open the station. Moller encouraged Activators to take advantage of what the station offers.

She said “Guys, this station was started to serve you and try to meet you halfway in your quests. So use it efficiently and effectively. Take this space as your other home. It doesn’t have to be ACTIVATE! projects. Those who are studying can use it as the study facility or anything that will contribute in your development as Activators.”

She also urged to donate any useful tools, books, games and everything that will make the space more homely and lovely place to work on.

Activators who attended the launch applauded the organization, ACTIVATE! for opening launching

Centurion-based social change drive and co-founding member of Olieven Academic Annual Awards Mufamadi Duncan said “The location of the Station is convenient for activate leaders to meet up and have access to information and Wi-Fi.”

Educate South Africa (ESA) and Successful and Accessible (S&A) member and Activator, Modiehi Jacinta Chere said the station launch showed that Activate Leadership really cares about youth of South Africa. “Activate Leadership has just proved that what they practice what they preach to us. The fact that this station is meant to benefit at their expense means that they really want us and our project to prosper and that has to be commended”

A coordinator at Educate South Africa University of Johannesburg society and Activator, Mohamed Mosala applauded Activate Leadership Gauteng branch for opening such a development platform. “It is a great initiative. Many Activators who don’t have access to what the station is offering. I strongly believe that the station will help us, as Activators in turning our ideas into action. I am going to use station as my resource centre, planning projects facility and holding business meetings. We need more of these stations all over South Africa.”

A Soweto based peer educator and social change driver, Lerato Mokopanela, also commended for opening the station. She said the space will be beneficiary for her and many of her fellow activators working on the same projects. “The station will be really helpful to us as Activators. The luxury of free Wi-Fi is going to help me a lot with online research. Most importantly, the station will enable me to have a working place without having to stress about paying rent as is the biggest challenge for us as change drivers.”

Gauteng Connector Bongi Ndlovukazi said Activators have to be aware that stations have rules that have to be adhered to all the times. These rules include:Keeping the station neat. Activators are responsible for everything in the station. If you book the venue for meetings, minimize the noise level at all times. No books or any items can be removed from station but feel free to use them while you are in the station and most importantly, Activators have to book the space in advance which can be done via trainers and Gauteng Connector”

The dates for other station launch around the province will be announced soon.


 

5 Minutes With Cindy Lee

What’s your passion?
I am passionate about Africa, especially sustainability in the continent. I grew up in a part of the country where there weren’t many people but plenty of wildlife we had sheep and goats. When I was younger my grandfather would share stories about his childhood and about the nature that surrounded us. At that time I knew I loved the outdoors, my grandfather sparked my interest – he was my mentor. 

What change are you keen to drive?
Highlighting the importance of nature and the integral part it plays in our lives. I want to educate people about the environment and make them aware that it’s where we come from and that the health of our natural system is directly linked to our sustainability. 

How are you driving change?
I drive a section of the NPO Nature’s Valley Trust that raises awareness of various conservation factors. Our interventions highlight the important role nature plays in our lives and the significance of conserving our environment in our daily activities.
 We find out what people need to live sustainably and fulfil those needs. For example we encourage recycling and will educate people on the various ways of recycling. We provide education and awareness through hosting workshops, talks and events in communities and schools.

We also work closely with the Bitou District and whenever they host community events they will invite us to give a talk or host a workshop on conservation.   

How has ACTIVATE! supported you so far in driving this change?
The one thing that truly helped me, was how to deal with people that work in the government sector and understand the various structures and roles. Networking has been the most important tool for me. I have learned to learn from people who have a common goal. The interaction with like-minded Activators has been brilliant and has assisted my growth immensely. Because of ACTIVATE! I now have a network of brilliant experts.

How do you motivate yourself?
I think about the appreciation I receive from community members or the interest from learners when we host interventions in schools. Those are the kind of things that keep me motivated. My drive for change is also my constant motivator, I want to see things get better in Africa. The spirit of the African people inspire me!

Final comment?
I want everybody to live a life with dignity. For every house to be a green house, for every person to live green and for everyone to realise that we all play a part in making things better. My advice to everyone would be to start living sustainably at home. Start small, fix a tap if it’s leaking. That’s where it starts and play…. Just play outside with your children. Tell them stories and get them excited about nature. 

Movers and shakers seminar

Gauteng Activator and the founder of Solutionaire Phase Company, Sthembile Ahadi Zondo hosted long awaited and highly publicised inaugural Movers and shakers seminar at Johannesburg’s Constitutional Hill.

The event themed identifying entrepreneurial purpose and self-discovery Program Director was YFM’s current affairs anchor and Sowetan columnist, Busisiwe Gumede.

Zondo said the seminar’s main aim is to bring together exceptional young entrepreneurs to share their inspirational stories and business journey with a hope to motivate emerging or aspiring entrepreneurs.

The seminar had a long list of dynamic speakers like serial entrepreneur, business coach and media practitioner Murendwa Mmabasotho Mukwevho, property investor, brand ambassador and SME growth champion Teboho Mafodi, Agape Youth Movement president, author, Biz M8 Managing Director, and Activator Thabang Abuti Rams , Author, finance coach, speaker, entrepreneur  and motivational speaker, Victor Vikizitha Mpusula (who was representing National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Precious Mvulane, Innovator and is the co-founder of Millbug, Sabelo Sibanda, social activist and vibrant multitalented media personality, Zoliswa Woo Ntaka, Digital media specialist Matthew Sanego Motsweni, Author and Speaker, Ackson King Mwami, prominent House Music DJ and business person Tebogo Siyaphi A.K.A Ms Jones.

Some of the topics they addressed include financial management, how to seize business opportunities, creating a sustainable brands how to use business connections wisely, customer relations skills, how to building business mental prowess and many other important elements that entrepreneurs need to know and do in order to make their businesses successful and sustainable.

The information shared and network formations of the inaugural Movers and shakers seminar left tongues wagging and asking for more.

One of those pleased entrepreneurs was the 2014 Activator Xolane Voro – Da Viruz Ngobozana. He applauded his fellow Activator, Sthembile Ahadi Zondo for organising “One of the best youth business seminars” with South Africa’s young successful entrepreneurs, life coaches and authors. Ngobozana said “The seminars came at a perfect time for me as an entrepreneur. All speakers imparted useful information that will help me as an entrepreneur to grow. I will to use the information and networks I acquired here as wisely as I can. “

Another social change driver, David Nongxa, applauded the organiser for putting together the “best” youth motivational speakers. Nongxa also commended speaker’s relevant content continuity. “It was my first time being on a seminar full of young entrepreneurs. I was really inspired by all the speakers’ stories. Somehow their stories helped me to discover myself as aspiring entrepreneur. My highlight or biggest learning on the day was the presentation by Precious Mvulane. I really like the part where she was explaining why “One needs to understand the business he or she wants to venture. One needs to know the regulations. I think this is where most emerging entrepreneurs need to really learn to focus on because a failure to follow such regulations might lead to one’s business destruction.” he said.

 

5 Minutes With Chelsey

What’s your passion?
I have a number of things I am passionate about, namely, my faith in God and my roles as a woman, a South African citizen and a business owner. Privilege and power, feminism and sustainability really get me going.

What change are you keen to drive?
I want to combat poverty through fostering a culture of entrepreneurship.

How are you driving change?
In 2012, my friend Alison Stewart and I launched Feat. sock co. a manufacturing company geared towards encouraging entrepreneurship and supporting local business. 

We identified a gap in the South African market for locally made feature socks and what started off as a side project is now a well-known brand, producing high-quality, designer cotton and wool-blend socks. 
Supporting local business all production is kept to Cape Town.

We are currently working on a new business model as an off shoot of the business ‘FEAT. sock co.’ Our new model seeks to ‘support the bold in pursuing their dreams’ by offering them a low-risk means to become financially independent. 

How has ACTIVATE! supported you so far in driving this change?
The support we have been given from ACTIVATE! in workshopping our project proposal and asking ourselves the ‘right’ questions around our role as South Africans, has been so helpful.

Networking has been the greatest asset of our business and every other project I have been involved in. Finding people who are also passionate about growth in this country (and not just their own personal gain) is key… network with people who have the same heart that you do, otherwise the relationship is not mutually beneficial and you are left feeling drained and untrusting. 

Networking with fellow Activators! has really assisted my growth. I have joined in debates and community projects that fellow Activators have initiated and I love it. It’s exciting to be part of a movement of people who are all passionate about positive change.

How do you motivate yourself?
I pursue God and His purpose for my life, and He refreshes and motivates me.

Final comment?
My vision for everyone, South Africa and myself included, is to aid in fostering an environment that places awareness at the top of the value chain. I believe the biggest obstruction to change is wilful ignorance – people choosing to know less because knowing more makes them uncomfortable. Once you learn something, it cannot be unlearned. And that starts to move you to implement change in small ways. 

My favourite quote at the moment is from Melanie Joy:  “Without awareness there is no free choice. We’re all participants in the system, for better or worse. Our choice isn’t whether we participate but how we participate. With awareness we can choose to be active witnesses or passive bystanders. We can choose to be informed consumers and empowered citizens.”