By: Paul Mabote


This article reflects the views and activities of different Activators around Freedom Month (April 2018) and Freedom Day (27 April 2018)

Happy Freedom Month! It has been a hectic start to 2018 for South Africa, one filled with political drama, a whole regime change, tax hikes and we have even lost a few beloved icons along the way. Still, on 27th  April, we will celebrate National Freedom Day, which will mark our 24th year into democracy. I went around finding out what fellow Activators got up to this month, and the change they’ve been driving in their respective communities.

Let’s Learn Together

Phathuxolo Nofotho Ndzimande is a 2016 Activator from Atterigdeville in the City of Tshwane. He and his colleagues at Future Leaders and Young Great Minds Movement have started a very noble initiative. They have partnered with the Gauteng Department of Education and several young people in their community, and together they give their time and effort to assist parents with online schools registration for their children. Many of the volunteers they work with are unemployed young people around the Atteridgeville area. Phathuxolo says that he hopes this initiative will encourage other young people in other communities to consider giving their time to similar causes. You change the world with every life you touch, he believes.


“I’m Pro Gay, Okay?”

With their continued victimization and marginalization, Freedom is a profound term and concept within the LGBTI community. Sipho Dlamini is a 2018 Activator and an LGBTI activist from Kagiso, West of Johannesburg. He is part of the Westrand LGBTI Movement, and they hosted a dialogue early this month in Kagiso, which was aimed at educating and sensitizing LGBTIs about overcoming societal challenges. Another one of their project objectives was to educate the general public about issues that affect members of the LGBTI community.  Sipho’s vision is to see a society where members of the LGBTI community live in peace and not under constant fear and abuse.

Through The Lense

Lungelo Mlati is a 2015 Activator from Boksburg in Gauteng. A young father juggling a corporate job and his passion for photography, Lungsta believes that his camera is his gateway to freedom.

Paul       : What is your idea of Freedom?

Lungelo:  My idea of Freedom is being able to do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it.

Paul       : What fuels you to continue doing what you do?

Lungelo: What fuels me is the quest for financial freedom. As much as I am aware that money is not everything, I am also aware that being financially free affords you a better life; and it will afford a better future for my child and family. I want only the best for them, and I am prepared to work my head off for it.

Paul       : What is your vision for South Africa?

Lungelo: My vision is a South Africa where everybody has equal rights. One love regardless of race, culture or creed.

The Distant Future Is Near

Nontobeko Radebe is an Activator from Mkhambathini in rural KZN. Fresh from the first module of her Activate! Change Drivers Training, she went home and organized a career expo for young people in her community. The idea for the event, which took place on 21st April 2018, was born from noticing how many of the young girls she is surrounded by, have no clue what they want to do after matric. This compelled Nontobeko to get in touch with her aunt, who works at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). With a clear vision and using the different resources she already had at her disposal, she and her team made the expo a reality.

The local municipality provided them with a venue and sound system. On the guest list they had representatives from NSFAS, CAO, NYDA and local motivational speakers. Nontobeko’s aunt even brought a group of international students to attend the expo and experience the rural atmosphere. Ntobe’s dream is to start her own organization; however, she says she has previously encountered several challenges in the process of registering one in her home area.

The Test-Drivers of Freedom

The different stories of these brave Activators go to prove that sometimes the things that grant us the most freedom and contentment are those things which we do for free. Everyone has their own notion of freedom. From the general South African point of view, however, it is a feeling of knowing the internal hardships we have gone through as a country; and the many opportunities that have surfaced for all, as a result of us coming out of those hardships intact, as a unified and democratic nation.

As the young people of today, we have been accused of being too radical! Of being too outspoken! Of abusing our freedom! Maybe “they” are right. Maybe our methods sometimes are a bit too harsh and impetuous. We are, after all, the “Test-Divers of Freedom” and as such, we could use the “License of Wisdom” when making some of our important decisions. The future is in our hands!! Long Live!


Picture credit:

40 Activators needed for the 2018 AIDS Conference in Amsterdam

ACTIVATE! Change Drivers in partnership with Youth against AIDS (YAA) plans to bring more than 300 youth activists from all around the world, of which 40 will be Activators, as ambassadors for the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. The conference will be hosted from 20th to 27th July 2018 and will be an amazing opportunity for youth activists to interact, engage and connect with researchers, thought-leaders, scientists and policymakers.

Whether you are interested in knowing more about HIV and AIDS-related issues, sharing experiences and being inspired by people from different background or simply enjoy lending a helping hand, the success of AIDS 2018 depends heavily on you.

Volunteers’ duties and benefits

Volunteers help coordinate programme activities, greet visiting delegates, assist with registration, act as guides during the conference, staff various offices and activities, and perform other crucial tasks. Training and support from the conference volunteer coordinators will be provided prior to the start of the event.

Volunteers receive free access to conference sessions when not on duty, a lunch each working day, and will also receive a certificate of appreciation. Volunteers who completed their mission are also offered 1 year IAS free membership.

Volunteers must be over 18 years old and available for at least three half-day shifts on three consecutive days during the conference period, as well as for the mandatory Kick-Off meeting on Friday 20 July from 15h45 to 19h30. Applicants will be invited to detail their availability and activity preferences when filling the Volunteer Application Form.

Applicants with the maximum availability will be prioritized. If the application is selected, the volunteer applicant will receive a proposal and will be invited to confirm the schedule and activity proposed.

The Volunteer Programme team invites anyone who is interested to volunteer to apply as soon as possible.

Join us for this great opportunity!

Click here to apply >>

Deadline is 11 May 2018

It Matters Not Where You Come From

Name: Thembelani Gumede

Province: Kwa-Zulu Natal

Facebook: Thando Timberlen

Twitter handle: @Timberlen

Instagram: Thando Timberlen

Write a short blurb (summary) about yourself. In no more than three sentences.

Thembelani is a young leader passionate about community development and the education of the African child. Currently, in his community, he strives to be a role model for those around him by participating actively in changing the ills he is faced with.

Why did you decide to be part of the ACTIVATE! Network?

I noticed how most young people take things for granted and decided to act by involving myself in different projects in and around my community specifically geared on education and caring for those that are orphaned.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

I enjoyed three sessions in particular namely: The State of the Nation, ACTIVATedTalk, and Socio-economic engagement. I found these sessions to be highly interactive and they helped me a great deal in refining my public speaking and discourse skills.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

Since returning from training, I have not had a moment to sit down and be idle. I constantly have something to do mostly geared towards being of valuable use to my community. I am passionate about children from the community I reside in, to the extent that I have dedicated my life to being an aide to orphans and children of school going age.

Have you been inspired and been the inspiration in your community and those you interact with?

I believe so, yes. Most people in my community consider me to be a young beacon of hope. I have started a Kids Club where children come into to do their homework because I have observed how some of these children come from child headed households and some have single parents. Now, because of the food question they are out all day hustling and as a result of this, there isn’t someone dedicated to help them with their homework.

What do you think the role of the youth is in developing the country?

The youth needs to have a solid opinion on issues of national importance, that way the powers that be can  take us seriously.

What is your field of interest?

Education and community development.

Now that you have completed training, how do you plan to keep active in the network?

I have collaborated with other community based organisations such as Zoe-life and Kurisanani with whom I am now doing my volunteer work with in Limpopo for the benefit of children who need a hand up. By engaging young people in art activities, I have been able to reach out to a lot of people in my community. On the 16 June this year we will have a youth event to discuss pertinent issues that relate to us the youth.

What are your plans for this year?

To finish my volunteer internship in May and go back to my community in KZN to implement all that I have learned. On the 27 April 2018 in Limpopo, we will be having an event and I would love the support of activators in and around the province.

Is social media an effective way by which you can receive communication from us?

Yes it is.

Additional information you would like us to know?

I thank the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers programme and Activators at large for being so instrumental in my life’s journey.



Touching lives through mentorship

Name: Paris Nyiko Makaringe

Province: Guateng

Facebook: Paris Makaringe / Paris Makaringe Page

Twitter handle: @Paris_Makaringe

Instagram: @Paris_Makaringe

Write a short blurb (summary) about yourself. In no more than three sentences.

Paris is an optimistic young person who believes in active citizenship within the small space he finds himself in. He is passionate about community development as a key area of focus and pledges to be an active change maker as long as he lives.

Why did you decide to be part of the ACTIVATE! Network?

I joined the network so as to be consciously minded and linked up with other active young people working in the space of community development. 

What did you enjoy the most about training?

I don’t really refer to it as training but the birth of a new me…ACTIVATE! has Activated the desire I have to become whom I have always wanted to be and encouraged me to do more.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

Indeed it has helped me politically, economically, financially and spiritually. I see things in a different way now and I am able to think independently.

Have you been inspired and been the inspiration in your community and those you interact with?

I consider myself a role model in my community and can safely say that I have become a household name with the ability to drive the active citizenship in every space I occupy. I have become a beacon of hope and my presence carries influence.

What do you think the role of the youth is in developing the country?

My role as leader has been recognised nationally after being named as one of the Top 200 Young South Africans in the Mail & Guardian along with receiving a Nation Builder Award in 2017 and  receiving a Special Award at the Gauteng Premier Youth & Excellency 2018.

What is your field of interest?

Civil Society.

How are you driving change in your community/how would you like to drive change in your community?

I would love to continue driving change in the following ways:

  • Leading the fight on prevention work in the field of substance abuse, gender – based violence against women and children.
  • Driving programs that tackle the issue of underprivileged kids.
  • Conducting training on leadership principles and life skills.



Now that you have completed training, how do you plan to keep active in the network?

Being involved in anything related to the work I do within my field and making sure that I recruit future leaders like myself to be part of the network.

What are your plans for this year?

One always wants everyone to witness growth within the space they find themselves in and that is what I would like to do in the programs and projects I’m part of .

Secondly, I would like to  focus on education specifically, because I will be launching a new programme that  deals with the education sector . This is something that’s really new to me but I am ready for the challenge that lays ahead.

Lastly, investing my time in the Future Leaders programme and mentoring one boy and girl child.

Is social media an effective way by which you can receive communication from us?

Yes it is. 

Additional information you would like us to know?

“As Long As Im Alive I’ll Touch Lives ‘’

Paris Makaringe

Catching up with Lionel Kgatla

The ACTIVATE! Network has existed for 6 years, we follow-up with Activators from 2012 to find out what progress they’ve made since completing the ACD programme.


Zuko – The Epitome Of An Unrestrained Activator

By Tlotliso May Speaks

ACTIVATE! is a network of young leaders in South Africa that are committed to making changes in different spheres. This means that every individual in this network is committed to making a certain change and all these small efforts result in a greater change in society. A network such as ACTIVATE! transcends all race, gender, cultural and ethical diversities. Last year, the network conquered and was able to accommodate a member of the community of disabled people for the first time – one such pacesetter was Zuko Nyakatsha who suffers from visual impairment but is determined to not let this get in his way of activating change in society. An organisation such as ACTIVATE! must have diverse voices because it seeks to serve all South Africans. It is in being inclusive that all societal groups are well presented.

Like most of us, Zuko heard about ACTIVATE! from a friend and decided to join the network against his fear of judgement as it is difficult for him to meet new people and socialise. This judgement was proven wrong by the overwhelming support and love that Activators, training team and the hotel staff displayed for Zuko. Au contraire to any projected glitch in training, the training was modified to benefit Zuko and everyone present ensured that he received the same training that he traveled from his home for – proving again that Activators are innovative and are leaders at heart. Inasmuch as training was modified to benefit Zuko, his presence and willingness is a call for ACTIVATE! to further diversify the network and work on making it further inclusive of all societal facets.

ACTIVATE! has impacted Zuko’s life positively as it is usually the case with most people who undergo ACTIVATE! training. The knowledge that ACTIVATE! offers its members has been of benefit a lot to him because he can now network without any fear of being judged and the events that he hosts are organised in a now orderly fashion because he uses the project planning methods that ACTIVATE! has introduced him to. Zuko was involved in leadership prior to joining ACTIVATE! and his leadership competency was sharpened when he was assesses through LEMON and discovered the kind of a leader that he is and where his strengths lie as a leader.

Zuko is currently in a learnership programme at old Mutual in Pretoria, in juxtaposition to this, he frequently networks with other leaders to keep abreast of what they are doing and tries a lot to involve himself wherever he can – stretching himself farther than the last time. Since 2014, Zuko has been part of a planning committee for a Youth Day tournament. This year, he plans to bring what he learnt from ACTIVATE! to assist in the planning and executing of this annual tournament. Part of post ACTIVATE! training for Zuko involves recommending to other young people that they should join the ACTIVATE! network and ensure that they are exposed to the same opportunities that he did, of being part of a network of young people interconnected in changing their country, daring to be the change they want to see.

“I am a resourceful intellectual. I do not think out of the box; I rather remove the box altogether.” – – Zuko

Activator Reflects on 2-Day Switch Seminar

By Kabelo Colin Mokoena

“Maybe you don’t want to do what you’re currently doing or you’d rather be doing something different. The world is changing and we have to adapt.” – Thulani Sejo, 2017 Switcher.

The best move I’ve made this year is applying to take part in ACTIVATE!’s Switch Social Entrepreneurship Program for 2018. I find myself rethinking every move I’ve ever made as I continue to be empowered for future advances.

Being a 2013 Activator who has been inactive for four years, I now realise that I could have covered more ground had I stayed connected to the network. Fortunately, the same network is still available for me and other Activators who have been distant over the years.

The two-day workshop is packed with information that flows from the well-informed facilitators, current switchers who were ready to share the highs and lows of running their projects, and Switchers from the previous year. It takes good facilitation skills to be able to mention your achievements without making other people feel inferior for not having achieved as much. I witnessed this through Claire and Sinesipho as they encouraged us while delivering transformational content.


The “Why” session confronted me and my reasoning regarding my own project, Psalms And Poems . This assisted me in reaching a resolution for Psalms and Poems. That was only the first session. After we clearly defined what social enterprise is, it was important for me to decide if my project is strictly business alone or is it one that can benefit the unemployed and unqualified youth of Qwaqwa, my community. Can I empower them with the skill of photography and graphic designing?

“We have business people giving constant support to the community without terming it social enterprise”- Leander ‘Jay’ Julius 2018 Switcher.

Through the workshop we learned how to be comfortable with  using the term Social Enterprise because we need to realise that this is a way of life for South Africans.

We were introduced to the Switch Business Canvas model which is a tool that is meant to help switchers with more knowledge and accuracy in their initiatives. This is a project “stress test tool that can be used more than once.” said Nhlanhla, an Activator who enlightened us about studying social entrepreneurship at the University of Johannesburg. Nhlanhla gave us more information on the opportunities that are available for switchers. There are partnerships that have developed within the Switch circle. It was a pleasure to meet Thulani Sejo who is a co-founder of Take A Pic Production Pty LTD. His project, Mission On Missions, focuses on getting publicity for individuals who share their missions with him. This is a connection that will be very useful for me in promoting my own project, Psalms And Poems.

Self-developed leaders are the future

Name: Glenda Nukeri

Province:  Gauteng

Facebook:  Glenda n’wa-roby nukeri

Twitter:  Glenda n’waRoby

Instagram: N/A

Glenda is a humble and extremely motivated young leader who is always constantly developing her skills, she is confident in her ability to come up with interesting ideas and loves helping other people.

Why did you decide to be part of the ACTIVATE! Network?

To improve self-development, learn more about leadership and what it entails.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

When I was creating my past collage I was able to open up and talk about the challenges that I went through in life,and the importance of my values.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

That I should not judge people by looking at them and in the same process I also learned how to think out of the box.

Have you been inspired and been an inspiration in your community and those you interact with?

Yes, I am inspired to change the youth in my community. I have inspired a lot of young people in my community who had given up on their lives into substance abuse – now a lot of them are willing to change their doings.

What do you think the role of the youth is in developing the country?

It is very important for youth to get involved in everything that is happening in our country so as to better contribute towards change.

What is your field of interest?

Youth crime prevention.

How are you driving change in your community/How would you like to drive change in your community?

By hosting programmes such as sports against crime, crime awareness campaigns, engage with community through meetings, school talks and after-school programmes.

Now that you have completed training, how do you plan to keep active in the network?

I will post my everyday work on social media.

What are your plans for this year?

Planning to start a business that will give back to my community.

Is social media an effective way by which you can receive communication from us?

Yes, because it is easily accessible.

Additional information you would like us to know?

I thank ACTIVATE! on bringing youth activities alive.

Tribute to Winnifred Zanyiwe Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela

Dear Mother of the Nation,
It’s common sense to say: The South has gone blind, when a giant from the south is late; but in your case, we say, the North, the West and the East have all gone blind. For you’ve impacted all corners of the compass. You encompassed it all in you and you became all of it.
In your journey of life, you’ve cried the cries of the cries of the continent. You’ve seen the scenes that many have cried to see. You’ve heard the hurt that seems to dwell in our heads. You’ve managed to calm the sea that roared in our heads. You’ve seen the sea that seemed to see to have been coming. And yet, you have refused to bow-out from the continuous struggle for geo-political and socio-economic liberation, most precisely in South Africa.
The world is saddened at the news of your untimely passing, for we feel robbed of living testimonies that historians must write about- you left us soon as we’re still drinking from your well of wisdom. The extraordinary life you led is a clear and somewhat perfect example of resilient fortitude and inextinguishable passion that is a source of inspiration to most of us, on how to courageously confront challenges with an unwavering strength, hope and determination for a better tomorrow.
Those, like me, who’ve eaten from your plate, can tell of your warm and kindness whilst the temperature was up high and above. Those in your ranks will continue narrating tales of your indelible  contribution to free and democratic South Africa that we live today, for you’ll continue serving as that bright light above us, showing us the way forward towards our national aspiration. The values system and the principle that you’ve imparted to us, will be sustained and reflected in our actions as we move forward with the businesses of the day.
Need I remind the world of your sheer intellectual brilliance, your fierce defiance and most of all, your stylish beauty!?
We won’t forget, at least in our sober minds, your struggle, your constant sacrifices you made for us, which led to your continuous detention in solitary confinement and restrictions at Brandfort, which were meant to test your stoical discipline, your heroic spirit and your unconditional commitment towards a free and democratic South Africa.
Those enlightened in history lessons would remember your moment of glory when you received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award as commendation for your contribution to the struggle for freedom in our country. Among these, we feel sorry for those in shacks: the widows, the orphans, the hungry kids and the migrants- because you were their voice of reason when nobody cared to stand-up for them. Now, they’re literally parent-less as we try to get our groove back in nation building.
To some among ourselves, we’ll always uphold your legacy for your selfless and steadfast commitment to our democracy. Among the techno-savvy gen, we’ll continue chanting lullabies in your name, for we feel you deserved a year back for every year of exile. Each for imprisonment, apartheid terror target at you and your family, each for every year of post-1994 erasure from the liberation you led and won, and worst still, by the party you built.
To those with selective amnesia criticizing your legacy, may they be reminded of your times during August 1976 in Soweto when you’re surrounded by the then South African soldiers from the army armed with R4 rifles pointing at you threatening to take away your life whilst being called a ‘Kaffir Hoer’ (Black Whore) by the Afrikaaner racists. Indeed, old wounds have been re-opened by your untimely passing, and we’re unsure of the time we’ll take for healing, because your legacy was limitless in achieving a free and democratic South Africa.
Our Mother
I remember on the last day of the One Young World Summit in 2013 at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg when she was introduced by her praise-singer on stage and there she was – hit by a wall of sound as 1300+ international delegates, and we, the South African young leaders roaring at the top of our voices to welcome you, chanting ‘Amandla-Awethu after you’. You had tears in your eyes – and dare I say that you truly loved that moment because you needed and deserved such kind of love, especially from your children.
Returning to office the following week, I thought your speech that evening was extremely critical: Your message sent a clear signal what transpired during the recent ANC conference Gauteng: “When leaders and governments get it wrong, young people have the right to criticize them, the right to object. Ever since then I have noticed the leaders of many governments, when challenged, resort to complaining that they are being disrespected and that this is unacceptable, i.e. criticism is itself unacceptable.” Mama Madikizela-Mandela did not only object the unacceptable actions but also believed that she, and her entire generation of leaders was failing young South Africans at that time, that what they’d done wasn’t good enough and that the younger generation would be right to hold them to account.
She felt she herself had the right to criticize the ANC government – and that any citizen had and should exercise that right. It was a message for everyone everywhere – hold leadership to account. And speaking to 1300+ international guests at the summit, dare I say, that her message also shook those who’re in slumber mode.
Like many would say, rest in power Mama Afrika, Madikizela-Mandela, with all the souls that had left the world in the struggle against apartheid and the violence that beset Our Beloved Country, we mourn your passing. May the universal powers, your God and the African Ancestors Angels Dreamers and Travelers traversing tides welcome you into the parly-gates of heaven- for you’ve truly played your part. Robala ka kgotso, Mama Madikizela-Mandela.
Koketso Marishane is the NDP Ambassador & UCT Fellow.

Catching up with Tshegofatso Ramatlo

The ACTIVATE! Network has existed for 6 years, we follow-up with Activators from 2012 to find out what progress they’ve made since completing the ACD programme.

A motivated social engineer for civil leadership

Name:  Nkosikhona “UZZI” Mpungose

Province:  KwaZulu Natal

Facebook:  Nkosikhona Uthmaan Mpungose

Twitter handle:  @MpungoseNW

Instagram:  Nkosikhona Mpungose

Write a short blurb (summary) about yourself. In no more than three sentences.

Uzzi is a community developer by birth and a social engineer on civil leadership. I’m motivated to bring about change in my community and my country using innovative solutions to community problems or social ills. I uphold human rights for a just society and empower young people in my community.

Why did you decide to be part of the ACTIVATE! Network?

I decided to join the A! Network because of  the training I needed to add to my skills and also to be in the network of like-minded people for collaborations and partnership among other young champions in the network.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

 Everything was amazing, but Lemon leadership, Articulation & Innovation stood out for me.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

It has helped me to view social ills and opportunities to drive change in my community as opposed to seeing  them as community burdens.

Have you been inspired and been the inspiration in your community and those you interact with?

I have been inspired and indeed I remain the inspiration behind young community developers from high schools and ward level in my community in KwaMashu and EThekwini municipality as a whole.

What do you think the role of the youth is in developing the country?

The role of youth is engaging themselves with the country’s development by contributing positively towards change in their communities and also participating on local programs.

What is your field of interest?

Social justice: Civic Education, Human rights and Health.

How are you driving change in your community/How would you like to drive change in your community?

I’m driving change in my community in different platforms and levels where there is not a youth voice, from war- rooms & local forums to district councils for social change – HIV, GBV, TB and Poverty reduction.

Now that you have completed training, how do you plan to keep active in the network?

Well when A! Stations were proposed I was a first station Head that lunched the INK station  which has been active and serving the community, its the station that will keep me active as it serves my community.

What are your plans for this year?

Plans for 2018: Luanch High School Students Parliament program, Clinic Youth Corner in local clinics for amplifying AYFS for DOH, Community Health Education for INK area and for the first time I’ll do INK community developers awards this year to appreciate those who are contributing to INK Development and also as an encouraging tool for those who haven’t started. (please help making this possible). INK is a combination of three communities i.e Inanda,Ntuzuma and Kwa-Mashu.

Is social media an effective way by which you can receive communication from us?

I’m very active on social media especially twitter and facebook, so Yes 😊

Additional information you would like us to know?

Please empower stations with relevant resources as it will be the A! Legacy in community even when A! goes away it will remain an engineer to drive change in the community level.

A tribute to the late struggle icon, Mam’Winnie Mandela

By Lebogang V.Ditsebe

Today we say goodbye to a woman who will be remembered  for her fight against the dreadful Apartheid regime.

Mama Winnie, according to history; was a passionate; articulate and charismatic strong woman who was incarcerated at the Women’s Jail at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg. After the Rivonia Trial, she became Madiba’s public face during the 27 years of his imprisonment. She also sacrificed three decades of her life during which she and uTata should have been free to go about their daily lives as a normal family.

The lessons we as young people can learn from her was her ethical leadership; the ability to choose what she believes is right within her moral compass and not waver because of being under pressure due to challenges or peer pressure because of people telling her to avoid being vocal as a woman. Her virtue, social activism, human rights activism and community activism sought to extend her role as mother of the nation in the liberation struggle.

Young leaders can keep the legacy going by having an independent mind. A mind without limits and a mind which is our own.We as the young people of our generation and leaders within our communities, need to spread ideas worth spreading and to bring solutions in our local communities, and always be considerate about the next person, not just of ourselves.

My fond memories of Mama Winnie was when she assumed the advisory role within the African National Congress as of recently. A true leader believes in influence more than she believes in position, she become an advisor, to many – young; dynamic leaders of different opposition parties – she was not confined to the African National Congress only; however she was truly the mother of the nation. The African National Congress remains her eternal political home – however she maintained her ability to speak direction to the various organisations across the board.

We are poorer without her, rest in peace Mama Winnie Mandela. May you rest in eternal honour, from the young people of this country and the world.

Photo credit: Creative Commons

Using sports and recreation to reach out to the community

 Name:  Gregory Elsud Rooi

Province:  Springbok, Northern Cape

Facebook:  KCC Greg

Write a short blurb (summary) about yourself. In no more than three sentences.

 Greg is a 2013 Activator from the Northern Cape in Springbok who has a passion for community development and the development of  women & children. He is involved in his community through organising different programmes that gather school going kids together for recreational purposes.

Why did you decide to be part of the ACTIVATE! Network?

 I joined the network because it was a bit different from the few programmes I had seen or engaged in before and it was an opportunity for to rub shoulders with other young people and to learn from them to make a change in my community.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

I enjoyed the honesty of the discussion, how everyone is a family and how the programme is designed.

I particularly enjoyed the “My past collage” and articulation sessions as they linked directly to socio-political navigation.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

It has allowed me to be more open minded and enlighted as to what is going on in the world and how I, as a young person, can contribute positively in making local government work.

What do you think the role of the youth is in developing the country?

The youth needs to be trained so that they can amplify their skills and groomed to be effective leaders. Youth also needs mentors that we can look up to for motivation and inspiration, that way we can contribute much more positively to the economy and country.

What is your field of interest?

Youth development through sports, arts, culture and recreation for the youth,women and children.

How are you driving change in your community?

Through organising events for children to attend. Recently we hosted an event which saw about 50 children of school going age gathered in one space to play sports and have fun. The reason I did this is because whenever children are on school holidays they run to town and beg for money because there are no extra-curricula activities that they can engage in during holidays. This event was welcomed by the community and as such, we will have a follow-up event on the 13 May 2018.

Now that you have completed training, how do you plan to keep active in the network?

Social media is the best way to communicate with other Activators that are not in my province or place of residence. I am in the different WhatsApp and Facebook groups which always post events and opportunities for young people. Through those platforms I am able to collaborate with others and receive assistance.

What are your plans for this year?

 To organise more events and programmes that speak to arts and recreation in my community that will cater for children and women.

Is social media an effective way by which you can receive communication from us?

Yes. Social media is the best way of communicating because, it is very effective (cost wise) and you can access the information very quickly.

Additional information you would like us to know?

 I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the ACTIVATE! network and the community from which I come. My passion for youth development, sport and recreation  is starting to yield ripple effects in my community. I believe that youth can indeed make local government work.

Social Entrepreneur actively taking charge of his future.

Name: Luvuyo Nojoko

Province: Eastern Cape

Facebook: Luvuyo sjingo Nojoko

Write a short blurb (summary) about yourself. In no more than three sentences.

I am Luvuyo Nojoko a young Activator (2016) from Port Elizabeth.

I’m in a leadership structure both in sport and other youth development programmes. I am from a previously disadvantaged community called Well Estates in Port Elizabeth. I am a member of a vibrant youth development organization called Unstoppable Youth from Wells Estates. I have been involved with the organisation for more than two years.

Why did you decide to be part of the ACTIVATE! Network?

I joined ACTIVATE!Change Drivers in 2016 through a 2015 Activator and leader Misile Nikelo. I decided to join ACTIVATE!Change Drivers because of the leadership word associated with the programme, and I believe that I have always been a leader throughout my life hence the interest to learn more on leadership.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

I enjoyed Activate programmes because of the attention one gets in the programme and the manner in which it was conducted, the programme was also in line with community development. I have shown interest in community development activities especially educational activities and the arts.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

The programme helped me understand expectations of the leadership process and required skills to achieve desired developments in all spheres of leadership. Activate assisted me with the opportunity to network with young leaders around South Africa. I have improved in my management skills and understanding the importance of being relevant.

Have you been inspired and been the inspiration in your community and those you interact with?

The future of South Africa is mainly dependent on young people taking action in developing others.

What do you think the role of the youth is in developing the country?

Driving change is the main interest connected to my vision and partaking in the activities of a youth based organisation called ” Unstoppable Youth” when doing different educational programmes. I believe and know that South Africans don’t need food parcels but we need information.

What is your field of interest?

Social entrepreneurship is my field of interest because it does not only benefit me but the entire Country. My relevance to the network is through inviting and attending other activator events or  being active via social media like facebook and whatsapp.


Activator Women of Worth #PayingItForward

By Kay-Dee Mashile

As Easter concluded International Women’s Month and National Human Rights Month, we say hello to the month where we celebrate and promote the Freedom of South Africans. With the 24th Anniversary of the Democratic Republic of South Africa, we reflect on the freedom of contemporary South Africans and, in this case, South African women (especially women of colour). Not only is it befitting since the whole world pressed for change last month, but even more so because Activators are #CommittedToChange all year round!

#PayingItForward in the area of Women Empowerment are KZN based Co-Founder of Women of Worth Movement Society and 2016 Activators Nomfundo Msomi and Nompulelelo Khati. Through Women of Worth Movement Society, Activators Nomfundo and Nompumelelo, as well as their partners, strive to improve the lives of women holistically by promoting the emancipation and empowerment of women as participating citizens in the building of a non-sexist, egalitarian society. Nomfundo chats to Kay-Dee about the organisation and the freedom of women in contemporary South Africa.

In a nutshell, Women of Worth Movement Society (WOWMSoc) is a registered women empowerment non-profit organisation (NPO) which works with women of all ages through a holistic approach which aims to improve their quality of life.

Upon realising that the issues faced by women go way deeper than what is seen on the surface, Nomfundo took up the challenge to find the root cause of the various issues that women (and other members of society) are faced with and affected by. While this was motivated by her curious or inquisitive nature, it led to the birth of the organisation as it unveiled the many challenges that women encounter and are often unable to voice out.

In November 2016, during Nomfundo’s ACTIVATE! Home Task assignment, Nomfundo and her Co-Founder and fellow Activator Nompumelelo Khati hosted a Women Empowerment Dialogue at KwaMashu F Section, KZN, where the day-to-day issues of womanhood were discussed. Among the day’s topics was the question, “What does it mean to be a woman of worth?” Needless to say, that dialogue was the birth of WOEMSoc as it unpacked so much and clearly showed that there is a definite need for a continuation of the movement…

At that time, Nompumelelo was working with a group of women in the community. Upon brainstorming about the home task dialogue, Nomumelelo and Nomfundo did a brief needs analysis of the women that Nompumelelo was working with. During the brainstorming session, the two Activator ladies identified various challenges such as single parenthood and unemployment, among others, as common amongst the women in their community. This then led to the idea of hosting a dialogue which would dig deeper into the root cause of the challenges faced by the women in question. One of the motivating factors for the birth of the organisation also stemmed for Nomfundo’s upbringing and personal experiences. It is also noteworthy that she finds working with other troubled women as a platform to heal and be healed.

WOWMSoc then began as that single event which led to various events and a social media campaign which finally led to its registration as an NPO. The Organization strives to improve the lives of women holistically using psychological methods including that of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in the following manner:

  • We want to see Psychological and Emotional wellness among women,
  • We want women to look at themselves in the mirror and see beauty!
  • We want them to Flourish and Prosper!
  • We want them to gain self-confidence
  • We want them to gain skills such as Financial skills, Entrepreneurial skills, Educational, etc.

The WOWMSoc team is looking for Activator collaborations in the fields of youth and women empowerment. The team desires to expand the initiative to other parts of the country and thus call out Activators with projects and originations in these fields to reach out and partner with them so as to maximise their iMac in society.

On the 16th of June 2018, WOWMSoc will be hosting Pietermaritzburg Youth Month Celebrations where they will invite school kids to attend a career expo where various companies will be invited to exhibit and share information with the learners.

The objectives of the event are:

  • To empower and develop the youth while motivating them to stay away from drugs, alcohol and unwanted and unplanned teenage pregnancies.
  • To enhance women empowerment by promoting the importance of self-love, values and integrity.
  • To host a cultural exchange programme.
  • To promote the importance of healthy eating and leading a healthy lifestyle.

In addition, the event will also empower and educate the youth on:

  • Entrepreneurship,
  • Different career options and sectors,
  • Social and economic empowerment, as well as
  • Recruitment and empowerment opportunities.

For more information or possible collaborations, contact the WOWMSoc Team on the details below.

Activators standing up against violation of Human rights

By Nomvuyo Sebeko

Humans Rights day serves as a remembrance of the Sharpeville massacre which took place in 1960 where 69 people died while 289 sustained injuries including 29 children. It was declared a national holiday when the new democratic government took power and the parliament duty is to empower the people on the day. As we rap up our humans Rights month we get a chance to talk to two leaders who help fight for the violation of human rights in communities;

Lisa Silwana Activator Eastern Cape

“Education is a key to open many doors and it’s a basic human right no one has a right to take that away”

Lisa is a 22 years old founder of  an organisation called help a student, which is fighting for the basic educational rights of students coming from disadvantaged communities. The organisation’s goal is to see that government increases the pass rate of the learners because they feel like every leaner have a right to the best education which will help them gain access to the tertiary institution and build a career for themselves. She do acknowledge the fact that most student can’t reach the 30% pass rate which is already a low pass rate but she believes that it is due to the overcrowding of schools and not the lack of understanding from learners. Since she started working for the organisation in 2013 she has managed to help close to 8000 leaner through career exhibitions, training and pop-ups in the communities where some resources are scarce. Her future plans are to see the organisation growing and expanding and winning the fight for a higher pass rate which will give young people a chance to get tertiary education and a chance to get bursaries.

Mpho Nkutha Activator 2015 Free State

“Imagine a world where women did not need to have blessers to leave a good life”

Mpho is a 34 years old who is working as a volunteer on the organisation that is called soulcity institution, that deals with social injustice against women and young girls. The main goal of the organisation is to see that the human rights women in the community are not being violated and taken for granted. The organisation help the women who have gone through abuse by providing career guidance and motivating the on how they can be independent in their new journey. They also train young girls how to be better examples to the coming generation by being educated and having their own money without depending on anyone else. The aim is to see a community where women will leave their abusive situations freely without having fear of who will take care of them once they are on their own; their goal is to see young women who will not take abuse as a norm but runaway from such situations because they know their worth.

Activators reflect on the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life

By Lwazi Nongauza

‘’Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we live -’’ Norman Cousins

That is one of the most dominant famous quotes which appeared in many commiseration messages from dozens of international organisations to the news of Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela –Mandela’s death on the 2nd of April 2018.

Her untimely death sent shock-waves throughout the world. Activators throughout South Africa reflected and commemorated the life of the 81 year-old renowned leader.

Many inconsolable Activators saluted Madikizela – Mandela’s tireless fight against injustice until the end, siding with current youth struggles (like Fees  Must Fall), courage to speak truth to power at any given time, loyalty to truth, poorest of the poor, and most importantly lessons to be learned from her uncompromising ethical leadership stunts.

Surprisingly, most social change drivers used Frantz Fanon’s famous quote: “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity discover its mission, fulfil it or betray”  to best describe her impact on SA, the African continent and the world.

Western Cape based social change driver, Ayanda Cokoto described Winnie as a brave tenacious and absolutely fearless warrior.

“As young leaders of today, the struggle may not be the same but it surely continues. We need discipline and tenacity required to continue to fight for transformation and equality on all fronts. We right the wrongs of the past and offer transparent communication and love for our country and people regardless race, religion, culture and sexual orientation.’’

Eastern Cape based social change driver Lwando Fanana described Mama Winnie as one of the greatest and most tested individuals.

‘’She was liked for her strong loyal views to her people, that means something very profound and progressive about a person of her calibre. Her unorthodox or unscripted dismissal approach to finding the easy way out, luring agenda from her very own husband, comrades and close friends  will always go down as one of the major traits that most aspiring leaders must learn from her.’’

Kwazulu Natal based Activator, Nondumiso Diva Mthethwa said a lot can be learned from the late great Madikizela – Mandela who assumed multiple social and political roles.

‘’Some of the key lessons the current generation of leaders can learn from her is that ‘’women too can fight endlessly like men and therefore we need to realise that the struggle needs women too. Difficulties, pain and oppression never stopped her from fighting for what is right until her very last day on earth.’’

The Madikizela and Mandela families promised to release a joint formal statement on the funeral and funeral services once everything is finalised.

Photo credit: The Cable

ACTIVATE! Network, a remedy to the leadership problem

By Lebogang Victor Ditsebe

The problem in our nation is a leadership problem; and the root cause of this problem is a lack of leadership in society and government.

Leadership is personal and leadership is not the assumption of a title or being an office bearer. Leadership that counts is self-leadership.

The ACTIVATE! Changer Drivers Network equips us with tools to better understand who we are as individuals and also to better our knowledge on the kind of leaders we are through the LEMON leadership programme. The network in module 1 2018 emboldens the importance of knowing who we are as Activators individually.

Moreover, when we deliberate on personal leadership – we are looking at the ability to lead yourself; and as well in that capacity to lead your community. Without the tools of knowing what kind of a leader you are – leading will just be a showboat, as we see it is in our country there is an abuse of influence and power.

“If we do not know the purpose of something – we will end up abusing it; (abnormally using it).” – Dr Myles Munroe

ACTIVATE! Change Drivers Network – also teaches the importance of having key values and morals. Unquestionably, the reason being corruption is being promulgated in South Africa it is because of a lack of a deep sense of moral obligation to the electorate who voted for the representative to assume office.

For example the previous scandal of state capture in government took place under the watch of many public representatives, one of them being President Jacob Zuma who is allegedly directly involved and is facing charges over that, certainly this is a sign of a lack of having values and morals in public representatives who assume office.

Positively through Activate Change Drivers Network – leaders of value 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 coommunity structures.

In addition, Activators across the country are doing good progress in addressing social ills and pushing the social justice agenda, and Activators are provoking thoughts to confront the status quo.

Consequetly, young people in our country have to be reaffirmed by the commitment of governement to actively participate in youth development, to create skills developement and confront the scarcity of employment opportunities.

Definitely, without a doubt – the Activate Change Drivers Programme is giving us tools to navigate our selves through the socio-political space – in order to learn of using the correct channels on how can we  involve government and getting them involved as a stakeholder through the right channels to address the problems we face as the youth of South Africa

As I have said – my experience about the network is understanding that I am not the only one on the bandwagon of making a difference.Therefore up to this far I can recognise a clear sense of growth in terms of my personal leadership skills have grown as to compared before being selected into becoming part of the Activate Change Drivers Network. In closing – the connections I made, the information I have received is working to my advantage as an activist.

Photo credit: REALentrepreneur


Catching up with Farah Abdurahman

The ACTIVATE! Network has existed for 6 years, we follow-up with Activators from 2012 to find out what progress they’ve made since completing the ACD programme.