A! Flag Flown High

By Action Sekata


The Activators who  represented ACTIVATE! at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam done so brilliantly. The influence of the network was felt and inspiring  stories were shared with the world. Gratitude to these Activators who represented the network wonderfully.

Activators gave their all in making their presence known and recognised by the 18 000 delegates of the 22nd international AIDS Conference. The ACTIVATE! delegates had various responsibilities, others were deployed as volunteers at the conference to assist with day to day operations, others were part of Global Youth Village, which is a space where young people all over the world gather and share their youthful projects.

As the beast in Youth activism and change driving, ACTIVATE! was invited to be among the panelist on the topic of  Global youth activism. The network voice was the articulate and well spoken Yolokazi Mfutho, 2016 activator from the historic province which gave democratic South Africa two Presidents, the Eastern Cape. ACTIVATE! was chosen among hundreds represented organisations at the headquarters of Youth Against AIDS. Wowing to debates was how Yolokazi shared the constructive character of her fellow Activators. “ACTIVATE! is a network where young people are not only anti-government but they work together with government and those in power to provide solutions rather than simply complaining.”

EL J Sebeo and Kholofelo  Baloyi were the ACTIVATE! face in the Global village connecting and making networks with the  youth global constituency. It was in this space were one can comfortably conclude that the future is promisingly bright. All the dreams of the desired future were perfectly practiced in this space, the energy and youthful innovations were shared here. Tolerance, equal and unjudging atmosphere was the livelihood of the area. Elias Sebeo had this to say, “The Global Village provided an opportunity to learn more about the challenges faced by young people in different countries and regions of the world. It challenged one’s ability and own beliefs to accepting that we now have a global character and identity to embrace. This is a space where everyone was free to be themselves without fear of being judged. Activator Kholofelo Baloyi, a calm thinker and an active activist in the African continent adds  profound remarks from Sebeo’s observation. “Global Village was insightful in many ways. It was a space where youth all over the world united over same challenges with bright ideas and sounds thoughts. It was an area where one felt really presented. A space for young people by young people who understand the world they live in and provide direction on how to deal relevantly with those problems.

Matlhogonolo Tlhomelang  was the ACTIVATE! agent at the Namibian  first lady conversation with young people. The first lady shared, in detail, the need of parents to come to the level of understanding languages and methodologies of youth, adamant that failure to do so may lead to youth not understanding the message, no matter how valuable it is. ” The first lady shared realistic approach in communicating with youth, if message are miles apart from young people way of doing things then we won’t get anywhere”

Nozipho Zungu was a permanent feature and ambassador at youth Against AIDS  headquarters. At all times this intellectual whom we pride ourselves with, wore her pan-Africanist lenses and provided protective membrane to African continent and blackness. Justice will be to quote her in communication with executives of UNAIDS. “UNAIDS and allies must stop giving HIV/AIDS a black face. When you read and view all mediums of communications, the face behind HIV/AIDS is black. This is not an innocent action but a propaganda to instill the idea that HIV/AIDS is blackish. If we continue this way, our objectives of finding cure won’t be realised because we distorted and operate on hidden agenda.

All the Activators present at this conference were overwhelmed and could not stop thanking ACTIVATE! Change Drivers for investing in them and dedicating resources to assist them in making the Amsterdam conference a problem-free experience.


Madiba stall becomes the action zone in the Netherlands

Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi presided over official opening of the South African Exhibition Stall at the International AIDS Conference in Netherlands, Amsterdam held under the theme “Breaking Barriers Building Bridges”. South Africa is represented by a strong delegation of more than 500 Aids activists, researchers, and scientists, government officials, Students, HIV/Aids ambassadors as well as Premiers, Deputy Ministers and MECs.

The Exhibition Stall, fondly called Vilakazi Street, is a South African corner and home and it shares South Africa’s stories, challenges and achievements on the fight against HIV. The stall didn’t miss an opportunity to join the centenary celebration mood of Albertina Sisulu and Nelson Mandela. This rainbow nation corner shares some of the most profound quotes made by Dr Nelson Mandela on HIV/AIDS. This is also a corner where HIV activists such as Prudence Mabele who is counted among the first black women to publicly declare their own status and known for her resilience and the fortitude to fight the stigma when it was not fashionable to do so. Tseko Simon Nkoli who was involved in the struggles against apartheid within the ranks of UDF and was detained in the Delmas trial as one of the Vaal 22 who was one of the first publicly HIV-positive African gay men is also celebrated through the stall.

Unlike all the stalls in the exhibitions, the South African stalls was a promising zone of actions and commitments on how to deal with challenges presented, the government responded immediately to requests from civil society which did not mince its words in reminding government of its promises.

The chairperson of deputy chairperson of  SANAC Steve Letsele, whose contributions to this conference has always emphasized actions than meaningless rhetoric took it to the podium and appreciated the history shared as well as government commitment to help eliminating HIV-AIDS.

” The global statistics says transgender gender population are 49 time higher of contracting the HIV than any other population and we need to be concerned “

“I’m happy about the presence of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and MECs who are present here. Umfundisi reminded us of ‘adopt a sector’, meaning that 18 sectors we work with, adopt a sector, work with them to deliver so we can create change.” On the spot the Deputy Minister  Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu adopted the men’s sector, Deputy Minister of Police Bongani Mkongi adopted sex workers and committed to speak with police to shift focus on prohibiting them to operate but declared to protect them against harm and abuse. Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi adopted people living with HIV and requested all MECs to adopt a sector in their respective provinces.

The Deputy Minister Hendrietta Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu instantly convened the men’s sector to draft a programmatic plan of action where men will respond to HIV/AIDS debacle. The ministry committed resources to assist men programmes, in this meeting the ACTIVATE! Network was represented by Kgotso Sothoane who was positive that ACTIVATE! will assist in mobilisation of adolescent boys and young men throughout the country .“ Through partnership with various stakeholders including A! Men, we will assist in mobilizing young men in the network to participate in dialogues, men parliaments and other activities to be hosted across the country. We are confident that we are equal to the task as one of those organisation with documented evidence of coordinating successful men-focused engagements across the country including the Intergenerational Men’s Summit hosted in March 2018 in Gauteng.  We have no doubt that we can replicate this success anywhere because we have armed ready activists who are thirsty for such developments.”

Education is the mother of leadership

Name: Nolwazi Ntshingila

Province: KwaZulu Natal

Facebook: Nolwazi Renee Ntshingila

Twitter handle: @sisanda1710

Instagram: N/A

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

A confident, highly driven and humble young woman with over 8 years’ administration experience in the motor industry. A previous MISA (Motor Industry Staff Association) Woman of the Year and recently elected MISA Young Workers Forum National Vice Chairperson.

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

Malusi Mazibuko saw potential in me. He gave me all the relevant information to go through to see if I’d be keen. What I read fascinated me and I decided to give it a try, not realising my life would be transformed.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

Meeting new people, not just new- people but young people that shared the same passion and with the same vision as me. I have made many networks and a whole lot of new friends in the last 5 years through ACTIVATE! Change Drivers.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

Training has allowed me to be more innovative when addressing issues of development, which allows for more effective and practical solutions. It also made me realise what we can do as a collective instead of being in your own little corner doing your own thing.

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

A lot of Activators inspire me in their different spaces, that’s why I always collaborate with Activators in most of the work that I do. I do believe I am an inspiration both in my community and work space, and nothing makes me happy than realising I had made an impact on someone without even realising it.

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

Youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but also the partners of today. The qualities of tomorrow’s leaders lie in the characters of today’s followers.Youth are a crucial segment of a nation’s development and that is why their contribution is highly needed.

What is your field of interest?

Education is the mother of leadership, and that is my first love. My other passions are youth and women empowerment.

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

Through my organisation, I host a Loxion High Tea for women and young girls in my community as a platform for them to network and share ideas with other women.  I’ve also recently started a reading club for little children as my contribution in decreasing the alarming literacy statistics in our country.

In July 2018, I hosted the 1st Annual Youth Leadership Talk in Durban in collaboration with other Activators. The one-day DYLT event is a replication of the Tshwane Youth Leadership Talk (TYLT), an existing, tried and tested model by Agape Youth Movement (led by Activator Thabang Ramoroka) that has been successfully executed over the past three years This dialogue focuses on discussing socio-economic challenges in South Africa. Topics for the dialogue will involve education, entrepreneurship, youth development and others.

I am also the MISA (Motor Industry Staff Association) Young Workers Forum KZN Principal and our aim is to support the involvement of young people in their workplace and community, thus helping to empower them by reaching out, responding to their expectations and ideas while fostering useful and long lasting skills by way of education and training. We believe that education is the first most important step to success in setting the basis of an individual’s future.  MISA firmly believes that the power of young workers are in their ability and willingness to learn.

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

I’ve been an Activator since 2013 and collaborating with other Activators has been doing wonders for me.

What are your plans for this year?

Get the reading club off the ground and finishing my studies.

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

I prefer emails, but social media is also good.

Additional information you would like us to know?


A Fearless Change Driver

Name: Queen Nomonde Velapi

Facebook: Nomonde Queen Velapi

Twitter handle: @queen_velapi


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

I am a young woman who is driven by change, growth, empowerment and knowledge. The day I discovered myself is the day I became alive.

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

I decided to be part of ACTIVATE! because I needed the right direction and information towards my growth and impact in my community.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

Each and every lesson gave me a push and guidance as to how to do things and being with young people who have the same drive and purpose.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

Now I know what I didn’t know before, as I also said to the facilitators I went to the training empty even if I knew some of the things, but I didn’t know well so I had to empty myself and be ready to be filled up with information that will have solid grounds and motives.  Now I am more aware of what truly is than what was.

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

Yes I have been inspired by many people around me and that has changed so much in me because in everything I do it’s all because of all the people that inspired me I am one of the people who inspire and help young people in my community as I lead a group of young ladies.

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

Change our ways of thinking and doing things and start getting information and knowledge, because that’s where we get it all wrong. With proper education and information, united we are the key to this country.

 What is your field of interest?

Women empowerment and Art

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

Having women empowerment sessions, mentoring sessions, photoshoots themed with African Queens.

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

I still have to attend Module 2

In each and every direction the network leads me I will gladly follow and lead from wherever. And I will use all the tools the network gave me to make my community a better place for all the young people.

 What are your plans for this year?

Host an event where young women will introduce themselves to the nation and also themselves.  I’ve already changed my work environment because the network helped me discover some things about myself and now there’s no turning back its all or nothing!

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

Yes it is. Because that where the target is and that’s where all the people we are trying to change live and find comfort.

Additional information you would like us to know?

After my 1st Module, I had to change my direction and focus, ACTIVATE! reintroduced me to the person I was meant to be and I’ve been avoiding people I thought I needed to be in some placed, because of how our minds are programmed.  Now everything makes perfect sense and I fear nothing but not growing because what’s not growing is dead so I can’t afford to be dead with all the information I gained from my 1st Module.  All that I am now is all I have and need to improve by also changing other young people that I mentor and inspire.

Every time I look at these ladies I inspired, I know there’s more to come and that needs to be done.

I am an Activator and a fearless change driver!





ACTIVATE! partnership event with Cape Town Museum

We are working on a partnership with the Cape Town Museum and Western Cape Provincial Government on a social inclusion dialogue as one of the ongoing activities planned under Cape Town museum.

Cape Town Museum: a new Western Cape provincial museum. Though the museum’s programmatic focus is still being developed, it is envisaged that the museum will explore and reflect on Cape Town as a dynamic network of people, processes and natural and man-made features that extend beyond the official geographical boundaries of the City. The mission for the Museum include:

  • Being a public space that plays an important role in the development of social inclusion and cohesion, building a culture of active citizenship, reflecting on collective identities and fosters respect for human rights and gender equality, and
  • Being an inclusive public place that provides a platform to address social, economic and environmental concerns.

The museum does not have a building yet, the museum is active using its website as a virtual museum space and creating a physical presence through its network of partners and stakeholders. Our first engagements on Social Inclusion on 27 July 2018 is one of these projects undertaken in partnership with ACTIVATE! and Africa Unite. With this project, we would like to obtain a better understanding of the existence of networks in Cape Town and what divides us. Furthermore, we would like to explore how the Cape Town Museum can contribute to bridging gaps within communities and provide a public space for social inclusion initiatives.

We invite you to become part of this network and the Cape Town Museum space.

Date:     27 July 2018

Time:     9:00 – 14:30

Venue: Guga, S’thebe, Langa.

Click here to view >> Engagements on Social Inclusion provisional programme

Activators’ Strength Felt Globally

By Action Setaka

Youth Against Aids launched its AIDS Conference at its headquarters Saturday, 21 July 2018 where it officially welcomed over 200 young leaders from all over the world to its AIDS Conference operational centre. ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is one of the organisations invited under the Youth Against AIDS wing to be part of this international conference.  The ACTIVATE! Change Drivers delegation is led by Health Sector Project Coordinator, Rammolotsi Kgotso Sothoane, and it is comprised of Activators whose projects were chosen by Youth Against AIDS as innovative and deserving of a scholarship to attend the 8th International AIDS conference. These Activators include among others; Nozipho Zungu (Gauteng), El J Sebeo (Free State), Matlhogonolo Tlhomelang, Queen  Velaphi and Kholofelo Baloyi.


ACTIVATE!  is represented by the largest number of African delegation from a single organisation, this shows the respect ACTIVATE! enjoys globally for innovative thinking and their impactful projects. The day started with workshops on issues such as social media activism and different regional perspectives on issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. Typical of Activators, they engaged energetically and fully participated in these workshops. “The workshops gave us an opportunity to learn and connect with other like-minded young people, as well as forge possible partnerships on projects and help us to scale our projects on global space. I’m happy and confident that we will come out of this conference as people who are ready to face challenges with more confidence and strength,” says Matlhogonolo Tlhomelang.

This official launch was graced by the presence of Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé. In his speech, the Executive Director did not mince his word in saying the cure of AIDS will come from young people. “When I decided to launch this idea of ending AIDS, it was just a dream to many people. But I’m convinced that with YOU we will end this epidemic” said Mr Sidibé who says he bases his reasoning on the energy and creativity which he sees daily in young people. He advised young activists to never settle on thinking that they are leaders of tomorrow but must start acting and claiming space to lead

Michel Sidibé further urged young people to use this energy and creativity on social media. He said that young people are advantageous in knowing how to relate and take message to their peers appropriately. “Fight injustices, stop violence against adolescent girls, and early marriage. Write about these injustices and use social media to break these barriers,” added Sidibé.

The day ended with a movie on LBGTIA+ and mental health problems associated with coming out of the closet. Activator Nozipho Zungu was among the panellists and shared stage with respected Netherlands and Germany influencers who are experts on issues of LBGTIA+. Nozipho Zungu believes that the first steps to accepting LBGTIA+ is educating parents and that they should be the. “We must focus on changing mindsets of parents.  It is them that need the understanding of sexuality because their support means so much when you are battling with coming out. Therefore, more projects should target parents,” suggested Nozipho who works with young women in Johannesburg assisting them to be independent by building their character and sex education.

On the 22nd of July, all delegates were taken for a sightseeing tour. The opening ceremony of international AIDS conference will be on Monday, 23rd July 2018.


Mandela Day reignites Dj Schoolbag’s Pride Factor

By: Dj Schoolbag

On Mandela Day, ACTIVATE! was invited to accompany Pride Factor and the Abcon Group Foundation to Hawk Academy combined school in the Primrose, Ekurhuleni, where I come from. And I had the honour of accompanying Kay-Dee to the event.

Hawk Academy was founded in 2016 by husband and wife Directors Sipho Mkhonto and Agnes Mkhonto after they saw a need in the community where they have a church, named ‘Door of Hope Family Church’.  “Most of the learners come from the surrounding informal settlements. We aim to give them the best education and hope to get results this year,” Ms Anges said. To date, the school has about 950 learners between Grade R and Grade 9.

Head Mistress, Anges Mkhonto

Throughout the Hawk Academy journey, they have partnered with various companies such as Abland, among others. Within Abland, there is a non-profit organization called Abcon Group Foundation – who were the main hosts of the Mandela Day event in partnership with Pride Factor. 

Dene Botha (Pride Factor) and Kay-Dee Mashile (ACTIVATE!)

Pride Factor SA is a life skills academy dedicated to improving the quality of young people’s lives by inspiring, guiding and mentoring them to challenge their assumptions, broaden their aspirations and develop entrepreneurial thinking. The Academy consists of many inspirational young people, one of which is  Pride Factor ambassador Emily Mabasa, who formed part of the pool of speakers.

Emily Mabasa sharing her story

Emily’s story inspired me a lot, what I took away were the words, “Believe in your dreams and don’t give up because those kids need you more than you know”. To be really honest I was at a stage where I almost gave up on the Donate a Schoolbag Campaign, but after the visit, I saw that a lot of learners still need our assistance. Seeing the faces of the learners as they received everything, from food to the library that Abcon donated, reminded me of the many things that we take for granted every day while other people long for these things. 

Abcon Donated Library


After the event, I decided to relaunch the campaign to start by helping Hawk Academy in Primrose, Ekurhuleni to raise schoolbags, sanitary towels, roll on, stationary for the learners. I have been reminded that the simple content of “Donate a School Bag” has the power to transform a child’s life – the very school bag you donate could help to create future Doctors, Politicians, Humanitarian, Chartered Accountant and more.

A few examples of the content of our school bag:

  • Calculator and a notepad
  • Pens and Pencils, colored pencils, crayons and markers
  • School Shoes
  • Small Gifts (Sweets, toys etc.)
  • School Uniform and Shoes
  • Sanitary Pads
  • Old and New Clothes

To be part of the Donate A Schoolbag Drive contact Dj Schoolbag at 0613770745, on Facebook or via email at ndasbcampaign@gmail.com.

Nelson Mandela: a figure of literary inspiration

By Ace Moloi

Not only has President Mandela lived a life of political interest, but of literary inspiration too, writes Ace Moloi.

The launching pad of writing careers
President Nelson Mandela has been a subject of literary interest throughout his life and beyond his lifetime. His life and career launched many writers politically and creatively, who have produced text in academic discourse, the film industry, narrative non-fiction and other creative works. It takes no effort to locate a book written in his honour in any bookshop, or to find writings on him digitally, and this alone speaks of his great influence on the literary community.

Conversations with himself
President Mandela himself appreciated writing as a tool for self-contemplation, honest evaluation and emotional health. Having spent 27 years of his active life in prison, which sometimes meant solitary confinement, President Mandela resorted to writing his thoughts, his feelings and his fears down.

In his self-reflections, published in Conversations with Myself, President Mandela makes public his innermost thoughts, pulled from his personal archive. The book classically demonstrates the relationship he developed with the pen. It teaches us – the young change agents – the importance of personal journalism, events write-ups, observations and every detail that the fast-paced society of today generally overlooks.

It is imperative that we take time to ourselves, in quietness, so as to be attuned to ourselves. In President Mandela young writers learn the value of facing themselves, and writing critically about themselves.

Love letters to Nomzamo
President Mandela and his then wife Nomzamo Madikizea-Mandela (hereafter properly referred to as “Mama”) kept the fire of their love burning through the writing of letters. Though censored and some parts torn out of meaning, it is these letters that whispered sweet little nothings of hope, companionship and assurance to Mandela the prisoner. In times of darkness and solitude, reading Mama’s words quelled the spirit of despair that
threatened to engulf him, whilst giving an account of his household happenings.

Through these letters, it was as if the two lovebirds were teaching us, young people of instant messaging, that the profoundest act of romance is a thoroughly considered, detailed love letter to objects of our love. It is as though they were beckoning us to revisit the might of the pen, the beauty of literature, and narrate our own stories of Romeo and Juliet, Rolihlahla and Nomzamo.

A man of files
Not only has President Mandela taken a long walk to freedom, he wrote about it too, so that none of us would have to travel kilometres of route to learn about our past, but just visit our nearest library to read about it in Long Walk to Freedom, a riveting memoirs that tells the story of humble beginnings, difficult moments, victory and more hills to climb. In it we find a familiarity of circumstance, which reminds us that our dreams are valid. Furthermore, we derive for ourselves lessons from President Mandela’s generation’s errors, refine their tactics and buoy up brevity as we write ourselves into existence.

But personally, a lesson I take from this book is more about the behind-thescenes of it than the actuality of its publication. In 1974 when President Mandela started secretly writing his manuscript, each page of it was reviewed by his friends and epistemic peers, Ahmed Kathrada and Walter Sissulu. This indicates – at least basically – the importance of peer-review in the writing community, correctly to say that quality assurance in literature is of paramount importance.

Moreover, the effort it took President Mandela to complete the original manuscript (500 pages) reveals just how much he valued literature and its role in human affairs. Though it was a punishable offence to write politically on Robben Island, and despite the daily back-breaking toils, he persisted in writing his story, I would imagine motivated by the proverbial expression: until the lion learns literacy, every hunting story will be to the glory of the literate hunter.

We have none of the prison hardships President Mandela was sentenced to. Instead, we have access to literature. There are more publishing options for different financial brackets. We have social media for expanded reach and networking with experienced wordsmiths. Really, what could possibly be our excuse?

Rewriting Mandela: a challenge for young writers
Much has been said about the legacy of President Mandela. He has immensely and selflessly contributed to the making of a new South Africa, and went on to become the nation’s moral compass post-presidentially. He left us not only with his politics, but his literature too. A man boasting a wealth of archives, it is up to us to go deeper: to ask the right questions, to think of him anew, to rewrite his flaws, yet simultaneously honour his rich impact on humanity.
It is through reading and writing that President Mandela became an agent of change. Therefore, we should run forward with pens as spears, and books as shields.

Ace Moloi is a Bloemfontein-based author of three books: Holding My Breath, In Her Fall Rose a Nation and Tholwana Tsa Tokoloho. His work has been featured by every media institution that takes itself seriously. For more information on his work, follow him on Facebook and Twitter

We all have the seeds of the Madiba Magic

By Zazi Sintu kaWeyi

This day is one of the most recognised day in the calendar of our country. This is the day we honour the late former President Nelson Mandela and the legacy of his work through lending a hand to those who need it most and just immersing yourself and time to a good cause. Practicing active citizenry.

On the eve of this momentous day, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and its partners host annual lectures in remembrance of this icon. Yesterday was no different as Mama Graca Machel “gently ordered” US former president and the first African American president, Barack Obama, to give this lecture.

Previously, I wondered how (and even why) some of the “lecturers” were selected to conduct this mammoth task of speaking about the wonder that Mandela was. For me, it was so fitting that Obama spoke this year. Just the similarities in their candidacy eased my mind that the lecture was in good hands. Both Mandela and Obama were the first black presidents in their countries and the charisma of the two is something one can aspire to have.

Before handing the microphone to Obama, Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Patrice Motsepe and Professor Ndebele shared their fondest memories of the Old Boy. His humility, forgiving nature and living up to his middle name, Rholihlahla (a naughty boy).

Obama on a high note, kicking straight to deciphering what active citizenry is and drawing parallels between the public and private sector as well as their social responsibilities. A point previously raised by Motsepe in his own speech. Motsepe made a deep statement that said, “The future of the rich, educated and young is not bright if the future of the marginalised is disregarded.” He spoke passionately about inclusivity and how it begets unity. He also noted the general folly of assuming that corruption is an inbred disposition of the private sector but also urged us to speak of the infest that lives within the private sector.

It was as though Motsepe and Obama’s speeches went through the same scrutiny as they were heavily themed with the message of inclusivity and active citizenry. Obama even went as far as naming the systematic injustices that were causes of humans to be on different ends of unity. He spoke about the elephant in the room of racial salaries, where white males were still at the top of the salary pool while doing the same work as their female counterparts. “We’re gonna have to fight harder to reduce inequality among all people. The struggle for social justice is never finished. We have to actively resist the notion that basic human rights don’t involve us.”

“We might even have to look deeper into an inclusive capitalism.” He said this after explaining how the majority of the world’s wealth was controlled by a handful. How this handful could afford to “give a little more.” He insisted that we focus on economics to make this here democracy work.

As activists in our communities, Activators know of the hurdles, red tapes and hoops one needs to fly through in order to achieve just one of the many goals that look us in the face. Obama addressed us too, he and many like him keep re-fuelling our light that often suffer life’s beatings and sometimes dim. If there’s anything you need to take away from his entire speech, young change driver, it’s these words:

  • It is not enough to protest, we also need to build,
  • If you know what’s in your heart and willing to sacrifice for it, ultimately, right makes might
  • Keep believing

Ahead of our 2019 elections, there’s a lot being said and done that will guide us into voting for whom we want to vote for. Let us use this time to come together, reflect and plan all the change we’d like to see in our communities. And as the worldly Thandiswa Mazwai says, “freedom is a restless place.”

Lastly, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done, our standard stance should that be of rolled sleeves.

Nelson Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, and Today’s Youth: Activism and Heroism

By Lindokuhle Ntuli

I often wonder, as a young leader and activist, what fuelled the spirit of activism and active citizenry in the generation of heroes like Mama Albertina Sisulu and Nelson Mandela. What factors and influences make up the calibres of such fearless and selfless leaders? What is it about Mama Sisulu’s upbringing, exposure to society and career as a nurse that made her take a stand and play an active part in the liberation struggle? What is it about the young lawyer in Madiba that brought him to believe in the ideals of a democratic and non-racial society and fight to see these ideals come true?

It is a truism that prior to 1994, the levers of power for the state were exclusively and firmly in the hands of whites. The leadership of all constituent state structures, including the executive, legislature and the judiciary, was all white. The arrival of the Dutch Indian Company in 1652, to find a resting station at the Cape under Jan van Riebeeck, marked the beginning of the process of land dispossession and segregation by white colonialists in South Africa. During both the 18th and 19th centuries, the operation of removing and relocating black people from their land became the order of the day with far-reaching consequences. By the late 19th century, the white settlers had occupied and controlled most of what is today the Republic of South Africa. Of course, the net effect of all this is that the whites had projected themselves as the sole gatekeepers of the Republic and all its resources and wealth. They determined the living spaces, academic standards, and employment levels for black people in the country. Regrettably, this segregation and exclusion resulted in South Africa, a home of birth and heritage for most black people, becoming a ‘white enclave – a preserve for the whites’.

The legacy of colonialism and apartheid left South Africa a society divided by class and race. The generation of Mama Sisulu and Madiba could not leave this harsh and violent reality unchallenged. Like millions of other South Africans, they too were born in an unequal society with unequal opportunities. Rejecting the status quo became a means to echo the voices of the voiceless and marginalised black majority. Thus, Madiba’s activism and Mama Sisulu’s resistance strongly featured as a reaction to the oppression, discrimination and deprivation wreaked by the apartheid government on black people. The legacies of Mandela and Sisulu were born out of the pain, suffering and marginalisation endured by black people. They assumed vanguard positions in the opposition politics, when it was unfavourable to do so, to fight for the rights of black people and the ideals of a free society.

The question today is whether our political emancipation since 1994 has brought about positive and real change in a society divided by class and race? It would be profoundly dishonest to discount the gains made since the advent of our democracy. From a political and governance standpoint, the evidence of transformation cannot be disputed. The generation of Madiba achieved one of its core missions, which is vesting the power to decide the government of the day to the citizens; expanding the right to vote to all. Thus, 1994 gave South Africa its first black President elected in terms of a new order and interim Constitution. In many ways than one, this was a new era filled with new promises and vision for an egalitarian society; a society based on dignity, equality, freedom and economic justice.

The painful truth, nonetheless, is that South Africa remains the most unequal society in the world according to a recent report by the World Bank. These are indicators that the economic programmes and structural constructs of the apartheid regime have its long-lasting legacy despite the 1994 regime change. Hlumelo Biko conscientiously describes South Africa as a society of two different and unequal communities; the white community which is made up of the few who benefited from the apartheid regime and the black community which consists of the poor majority who are still severely wounded by the injustices of our past. Perhaps this reality exposes the raw deal of our negotiated democracy. It was a compromised settlement, a grand illusion of freedom.

However, not all is doomed and gloomed. Each generation must find its purpose, fulfil it or betray it. The youth of today must take up the cudgels to fight these fierce battles for a more just and equal society. The Madiba and Sisulu generation played their role in the context of their struggle, irrespective whether we believe more could have been done. What happens between now and the next coming 20 years is dependent on you and me, the current youth of leaders. Incidentally, since the advent of our democracy, we have embarked, as a country, on a journey to remodel our society from an ugly violent society to a new and egalitarian society. Each of us has an important role to play in shaping this new South Africa.

What will your role be?


While we celebrate the heroes of the past, it is also important that we hand the heroes of today their bouquets while they can still smell the flowers. Selflessness and self-sacrifice are virtues that most, if not all, active citizens possess.

ACTIVATE! has initiated a campaign for young active citizens to identify who their active citizenry icons are and how they want to be remembered. Here are a few responses:

TV, Film Actor, Writer and Producer, Kagiso Modupe, says:

“My icon is my father. I attribute my current success and #ActiveCitizenry to the many lessons he taught me about manhood and the value of my choices. An example of my #ActiveCitizenry is my 2017 resolution to inspire 2000 men to get circumcised as a preventative measure against cervical cancer in our female partners (among other related health risks). With partners such as Brothers For Life Yenzakahle, we managed to get 420 000 men circumcised! I want to be remembered as someone who was fearless and non-conforming, a man who lived for his family and never compromised himself.” 

Activator, Sizwe Vukulu Maphindani says:

“I am inspired by the lives of freedom fighters, particularly Steve Biko and Chris Hani, who died amidst the corridors of salvation. As the President of the Black Centric Forum, I actively advocate for reparations and a collective black racial consciousness. I do this through active involvement in social justice participation and re-educational programmes where we organize black people from different religious affiliations as well as political and economic backgrounds. I also write and publish conversational African Literature under Classic Age Publishing. All in efforts to build a united black nation and that is the legacy I want to leave behind.”

Activator, Daniel Du Preez says:

“I am an #ActiveCitizen in the City of Tshwane, fighting for the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community and the homeless people in and around the city of Tshwane. I advocate for the rights of homeless people by informing the City of Tshwane that homeless people have rights, just as all other human beings do. I make people aware of the fact that homelessness forces the youth to do drugs and steal in order to provide for their needs. Let stand together to end homelessness.”

Activator Apsalom Mdluli says:

“I’m one person who doesn’t have an icon because I admire everyone who does great for their community. If there is one thing I have learned from Tata Mandela, it’s to love all children like they are my own. What I am currently doing is developing the children in my community by empowering them and making sure all their basic needs are met. I would like to be remembered as a father to all the children in my community who loved and empowered them to reach greater heights.” 


Are you an #ActiveCitizen?

Email us your 100 words answering the questions below, also remember to attach a good quality picture of yourself:

  • Who is your icon and how have they inspired you to be an active citizen?
  • What legacy would you like to leave behind?

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more #100WordsOfActiveCitizens profiles.

Activator Thando Mkhoyi walking for literacy on Mandela Day

By Lwazi Nongauza

“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” Nelson Mandela

This  will be the overriding theme at the young people led ”Nelson Mandela Day Literacy Fun Long Walk in Khayeslitsha on the 18th of July.

Cape Town based Activator Thando Mkhoyi, together with his social enterprise ”Double Keys Production’’ team, will use Mandela Day to fundraise for his literacy intervention in Khayelitsha and nearby townships.

The event aims to highlight the current literacy crises and also teach the public about the possible potential social transformation education has for the current and future youth. In explaining the significance of the Mandela Day Literacy Fun Walk, Robert McKee explained that storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.

”We are hoping to cultivate a culture of storytelling, reading aloud and play based approach in order to contribute towards literacy development especially in disadvantaged areas like Khayelitsha, where a child who is born from this community is only exposed to 8 million words and even less than a child who is born from an advantaged community and professional family who is exposed to 43 million words in their early years,” said Mkhoyi.

Among many other innovative support campaigns Mkhoyi ‘s  organization ”Double Keys Production” intends to use Mandela Day Literacy Fun Walk to fundraise for the grassroots literacy initiative to educate the public so that children who continue to experience the power of storytelling end up doing well in their academic journey. According to Mkhoyi, this is one of many things that the late President Nelson Mandela died still advocating for.

“Education and kids support were some of Mandela’s notable core-values. This annual Madiba’s long walk to better develop education system is one of many commitment signs by our dedicated team which will ensure his legacy continues daily. That’s why even in the coming months we are planning to host many follow-up literacy initiatives that support the Mandela Day Literacy Fun Walk vision,” said Mkhoyi

Mkhoyi went on to say the gift of education is indeed something to be celebrated. Education is an investment essential to empowering individuals to reach their full potential and to make their own positive impact on the world. To work towards Mandela’s honorable vision of a free and equal society, the world will require the knowledge, resources and insight that education brings.

One of the prominent Khayelitsha based writers, Daluxolo Hoho, who is expected to attend the event, has pleaded with community members to support the event.

”I strongly believe that some of Khayelitsha’s problems can be directly linked to illiteracy. Therefore if as the residents of this troubled townships we are serious in our quest of turning the Khayelitsha narrative around and keep Nelson Mandelas education legacy going, then we all have to attend Double Keys Production’s Mandela Day Literacy Fun Walk,” said Hoho.

Activators and all other members of society who wish to support the initiative are encouraged to contact Double Keys Production project manager Zuko Petse or Yandiswa Pearls  on doublekeysproductions@gmail.com


The youth can eradicate poverty in SA

Name: Thabang Gift Dichaba

Facebook: Thabang Gift Dichaba

Twitter handle: None



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

I am a hard and dedicated worker and my personality makes me the best person in any work I do passionately. Working with people has become my passion; I have accepted that as people we have different personalities, once that is understood it becomes easy to work with others. The things that I value the most, especially in a working environment, are consistency and punctuality.

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

I had already developed the passion for community development from 2012 and I heard about ACTIVATE! in 2014. I then applied to improve my leadership skills and, yes, ACTIVATE! really groomed me. I learned a lot from the organisation.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

The Lemon Leadership Skill, Know Your Country and the IDP sessions. After learning about these three programs, I came back as a different leader as even today I’m doing things by law and respect the process of the state by taking decisions about our country.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

After learning about above these three programs I have mention, I came back as a different leader as even today I’m doing things by law and respect the process of the state by taking decisions about our country. And I never stop learning as this year I volunteer to ICS (International Citizenship Services) which work hand to hand with an organisation called Zoe Life.

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

Yes, and as for last month, we hosted June 16 celebrations by launching one of my friend’s record label and had a street market on the day.

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

I think youth should get more opportunities in all aspect of careers so that they will be able to play a role of eradicating poverty into their smaller communities.

What is your field of interest?

Community development, sports and education projects.

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 by hosting educational support projects such spelling bee competition, maths competition etc. and I would like to one day host Mr and Miss primary schools in my community.

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

I’m done with training but still working so hard in my community and I’m in all the apps of the Network which I know that lot of opportunities will come and find me inside the network.

What are your plans for this year?

This year I’m focusing to my recycling coop company and also looking forward to get a job especially from Mzansi Spelling Bee organisation.

Additional information you would like us to know?

I’m currently looking for support to host Mr and Miss Primary Schools of Etwatwa and also need a help to register my organisation called Bacha Ba Dichaba Explorers


YouCount 2018 Survey Competition Ts&Cs

YouCount 2018 Survey Competition Ts&Cs

Terms & Conditions

All participants during the term of the YouCount Survey agree to be bound by the following Terms and Conditions:

  1. The request to complete the YouCount Survey will be open to 2012 – 2017 Activators only.
  2. The YouCount Survey will be conducted from 13 July 2018to 23h59 on 15 August 2018(“End Date”).
  3. 5x Activators stand a chance to win a camera and all participants will receive 30MB data within 10 working days for completing the YouCount Survey (the “Competition”).  No voice or SIM included.
  4. To enter: 
  • Click on the survey hyperlink to access the YouCount Survey;
  • Upon completion of the YouCount Survey, respondents will automatically be entered into the weekly Competition;
  1. The winners will be randomly selected weekly. The verified winners will be notified within two weeks.
  2. The winner will be notified and announced weekly on our social media platforms.
  3. ACTIVATE! will use reasonable efforts to contact the winner telephonically on the mobile number associated with the Activator’s entry upon completion of his/ her survey as well as the 30 MB data reimbursement.

7(a). ACTIVATE! shall attempt to contact the winner for a period of 2 (two) normal working days after his / her name has been drawn and verified as the winner.

7(b)Should a winner not be available on the contact number provided during the timeframe stipulated above or rejects, forfeits or declines acceptance of the prize, that person’s right to the prize will be deemed to have been waived and the prize will be forfeited. ACTIVATE! reserves the right to then award the prize to the next randomly drawn participant.

  1. The prize is not transferable or exchangeable and may not be redeemed for cash.
  2. Employees, directors, agents, contractors and consultants of ACTIVATE! and all other participating companies and their immediate families, life partners, associates, or business partners and any person directly involved with the devising, producing, managing or marketing this Competition, are not eligible to enter the Competition. 

#Geleza4Life is a good place to start

By Nkanyezi Phephisile Mathizerd

This year ACTIVATE! launched what they refer to as The Big 5 Sectors. No! Not the lion or the rhino; keep reading, soon we’ll be on the same page. In the world of Activators, the phrase The Big 5 Sectors has a rather exciting and unique meaning; it refers to the 5 key sectors or focus areas that Activators have been seen to be the most active or rather driving the most change in. The sectors are as follows: A! Health, A! Literacy, A! Youth Economic Participation (YEP), A! Interconnectedness and Inclusivity, and lastly Active Citizenship.

This article zooms into the A! Literacy sector in reference to the #Geleza4Life webinar held this past Friday on the 6th July from 14:00 to 16:00 lead by Mzwandile who is the sector coordinator. An impressive number of 76 Activators, old and new, were in attendance but most importantly, actively participated. The objective was to gather insights into the thoughts of Activators on the research presented on the ACTIVATE! Literacy Sector inforgraphic interrogating realities of literacy in South Africa in reference to the world.

ACTIVATE! had already motivated the “why” behind the select focus on the chosen sectors; it would be rather interesting to find out or confirm if Activators agreed with the network or perhaps differed as far as the research was concerned; the need and relevance thereof.

Four Activators stood out for me as engagements started to gather momentum during the webinar. These are young people that not only participated but each one showed a deeper understanding, genuine interest and interrogation on the matter at hand and moreover, they also demonstrated an understanding of the importance and impact of literacy for our country.

2018 Activator Lillian Madubedube, aged 22 from Katlehong hit the ground running, as one may tell she is a recent recruit to the network but this did not seem to hold her back or slow her down. Lwando Fanana from Eastern Cape and Tshepo Moatshe from Gauteng, 29 and 24 respectively both 2017 Activators added perspective to the conversation; it became impossible to ignore, not least at all, Zamokuhle Gama 19 years of age another 2018 Activator based in Gauteng but originally from KZN shares her story of how she battled and conquered illiteracy as a young child.

Does literacy deserve to be one of ACTIVATE!’s focus areas according to Activators?

Before we answer this, here are some dictionary definitions for the words literacy and education. Education is the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university and literacy is the ability to read and write or competence or knowledge in a specified area. It becomes clear that these two are connected and have dependency, hence the common theme that most of the webinar participants showed i.e. to acquire an education one has to be literate. As a result Activators showed strong support and belief that literacy should be one of The Big 5 focus areas.

Did the literacy champs learn anything new?

Additional to the launch, ACTIVATE! needed unpack in order to understand why it is that Activators seemed to gravitate to these focus areas. This is why intensive research was conducted in support of this strategy and inforgraphics were produced for each sector. Literacy champions will hate to admit it (or rather did admit) but the webinar presented a lot of fresh and new information. A lot of learning took place- especially around the stats.  

Lillian, for example, experienced shock at the local versus international gap looking at literacy, “the international medium score for Grade 4 who can read with meaning is 80% compared to 34% in South Africa”. One of Tshepo’s points spoke to how necessary it is for parents to read to their children as this lays a needed foundation for teachers to take over and he was alarmed at how 95% of parents don’t read to their children. Another stats that got a lot of talking points is home languages where African home language speakers perform significantly worse than English home speakers, Fanana’s approach here was that the country needs to urgently implement diverse education systems and strategies where culture and mother tongue is prioritised.  

Should the country be worried and does this research fully capture the reality of literacy in South Africa?

A general consensus showed that Activators feel that our country is in distress. Most agree that our country’s literacy levels are very low and this is due to uneducated parents who struggle  to read to their children as well as a poor education system – specifically looking at ECD (Early Childhood Development). Evidence is seen in everyday life, mostly in the most poor and marginalised communities. For example; low rates of supervision of children, high dropout and unemployment rates and crime. Activators feel that the information or the facts given in the presented infographics present a very good place to start. Tshepo feels that by virtue of being in this sector and partaking in this webinar, he has learned so a lot. He says this research and the new focus will help strengthen clarity, informed decision making and approach selection in Activator projects.    

Did anything come out of this webinar?

More than anything Activators that took part felt a strong need to act, to do something. Some admitted that they have walked away with a mandate while others started to see loopholes in their current interventions and were adamant that this information will factor in to creating improvements to their projects.

What makes ACTIVATE! platforms work efficiently is the conducive and safe environments created that encourage sharing and genuineness. Zamokuhle shared her story demonstrating that every challenge can be a lesson learned.

Zamokuhle admitted to only starting to read and write for comprehension a bit later in her life and that is when she was in grade 4 to 5 just above the age of 7. This was because early in her life her education was mired; her early years of school were in the deprived deep rural KZN. Things took a turn when she moved to Johannesburg. Regardless of her humble beginnings, she says she was determined to improve so every time she come across an old newspaper or magazine, she would put her partial literacy skills to test. It. In high school she came in second place in a book reading and review completion and this was huge because it was a begging of new chapter in her life. She ended her story by saying that it does matter how you start but what matters more how you finish. To construe what she said; teachers are there to cultivate but the learning is up to you.

Life stories, ideas to actual interventions, to conclude this extract see below what literacy initiatives are run by Activators today and other activities they are part of:  

Lillian is a Journalism student at Rosebank College.

Lwando is the cofounder of Rural 200 youth communities (R200Y) a social entrepreneurial organisation which comprises of three departments (education, agriculture and technology).

Tshepo is a facilitator for an after-school literacy program at Sparks school in Bramely.

Zamokuhle recently started a women empowerment movement called #TheIdealWomanIsYourself encouraging girls to stay in school and pursue tertiary education.



Celebrating heroes with #100WordsOfActiveCitizens!

By Kay-Dee Mashile

Activators celebrate the 100th legacies of iconic heroes Albertina Sisulu and Nelson Mandela in 100 words!

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of, not only one but, two of South Africa’s heroes, uMam’ uAlbertina Sisulu and Tata Madiba. While they are both late, the lives they lived (especially during their youth) continue to make an impact in society. It is only befitting that the active youth citizens of 2018 should look back, acknowledge and learn from these heroes and others like them. In efforts to do just that, Activator Paul Mabote (better known as Fosh Pilato) came up with the #100WordsOfActiveCitizens campaign which will run throughout the month of July in the ACTIVATE! Network with a specific focus on active citizenship.

The current generation of young people in  South Africa is typically described as lost, apathetic and passive. It is thus crucial to develop an alternative narrative for young South Africans – one where, despite the challenges we face, we remain actively engaged citizens. For this reason, ACTIVATE! Change Drivers essentially views the youth as change agents with the capacity and potential to contribute positively to society. The network believes that this potential must be nurtured and developed in an effort to enhance civic engagement among South Africa’s youth and to promote youth participation within South Africa ’s development context. Within the network, active citizenry is approached in five sectors which are education/literacy, health, interconnectedness and inclusivity, youth economic participation and overall active citizenry. This is so that we have a wide array of leaders to address the societal ills we see today as the heroes of the past did in their time.

The #100WordsOfActiveCitizens Campaign will not only echo the words and actions of Nelson Mandel and Albertina Sisulu, among other heroes; it will also be a narration of the story of today’s heroes and a forecast into their future legacy. Throughout the campaign, ACTIVATE! will host an Instabition (a picture exhibition on Instagram) where Activators will share 100 words on how their personal hero has inspired them to become active citizens. The Instabition will be live on the ACTIVATE! Instagram page @ActivateZA. In addition to that, a series of Twitter chats will be held with young people from different walks of life throughout the month of July. These chats will focus on the lessons that can be drawn from the active citizenry of previous generations of heroes, which includes both what we can repeat and the mistakes we can avoid, as well as what the youth of today think our legacy will look like based on the efforts for the youth today.

ACTIVATE! is committed to making today’s heroes visible and we acknowledge that these heroes are way more than our network of almost 3000. Bearing this in mind, we will engage with young people such as author and radio personality Ace Moloi and youth leader Lindokuhle Ntuli, amongst others, to find out what their thoughts are on the abovementioned topics. Keep an eye out on the A! Blog (at www.activateleadership.co.za) for their, and other, articles on this topic. And be sure to share your #100WordsOfActiveCitizens on the ACTIVATE! Twitter and Facebook pages!

The campaign also serves as a reminder to continue being the change we want to see. If we, the youth of 2018, continue to walk out what we talk about, the 3018 conversation will be one to look forward to. As Activator Action Setaka says, “Well done is a much better compliment than well said.” Hence, true heroes are remembered for their deeds and actions over their speech!

About ACTIVATE! – ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is a youth leadership network of over 2500 members, and counting. We are committed to making the ideas of young people tangible into the solutions they want to see in South Africa. Moreover, we realise that young people are already implementing a lot of solutions across the country and thus also commit to illuminating their work, making them visible as the true heroes they are. We do this by connecting young people who are doing similar things and giving exposure to young people who are making a difference in efforts to inspire and influence other young people to also become active citizens. We also create platforms where young people can provoke conversations on controversial issues in order to find innovative solutions.

To find out more about the A! Network, follow us on these social media platforms:
Facebook: ACTIVATE! Change Drivers
Twitter: @ActivateZa
Instagram: @ActivateZA
Website: www.activateleadership.co.za

Parow Youth Summit

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead


By Miranda Bambata


Youth development, empowerment and leadership and how local government is contributing towards developing its Youth to become future leaders. Including local stakeholders like business, churches and the importance of investing in the Youth.

Youth development is a process that prepares a young person to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood and achieve his or her full potential. Youth development is promoted through activities and experiences that help Youth develop social, ethical, emotional, physical, and cognitive competencies. Youth leadership is part of the Youth development process and supports the young person in developing: (a) the ability to analyse his or her own strengths and weaknesses, set personal and vocational goals, and have the self-esteem, confidence, motivation, and abilities to carry them out (including the ability to establish support networks in order to fully participate in community life and effect positive social change); and (b) the ability to guide or direct others on a course of action, influence the opinions and behaviours of others, and serve as a role model (Wehmeyer, Agran, & Hughes, 1998).

Conditions that promote healthy Youth development are supported through programs and activities in schools and communities. Youth development researchers and practitioners emphasize that effective programs and interventions recognize Youths’ strengths and seek to promote positive development rather than addressing risks in isolation. Youth who are constructively involved in learning and doing and who are connected to positive adults and peers are less likely to engage in risky or self-defeating behaviours.

Providing the conditions for positive Youth development is a responsibility shared by families, schools, and communities. The conditions for healthy Youth development reside in families, schools, and communities.

Well-designed and well-run Youth development programs promote Youth leadership by involving Youth in needs assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation. A growing number of organizations include Youth on their boards of directors. Effective programs engage all participating Youth in constructive action through activities such as service learning, arts, and athletics; and emphasize common values such as friendship, citizenship, and learning.

“If you ever think you’re too small to be effective, you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito!” — Wendy Lesko


What is a Summit /Hackathon?

The term is used to describe a group of people coming together with a common purpose, to meet and engage in a collaborative way by unpacking and exploring ways of understanding various issues and challenges associated with that

16 June is a public holiday in South Africa. It commemorates the Soweto Riots of 1976 that began after the government declared all instruction in black schools would be in Afrikaans.

Hector Peterson, a black school child, was shot by the police during a peaceful protest march. The image of the dead child was seen across the world and showed the brutality of the Apartheid regime. In the weeks that followed more than 700 people – mostly youth – were killed.

Youth Day reminds South Africans of the importance of its youth, and hopefully reminds us that the country never wants to see those days again.

In celebrating Youth month, having a Youth summit will serve the purpose to engage with the Youth of Parow to identify issues that most affect them with the end goal to make awareness, provide an empowerment platform and present opportunities for employment, leadership and development.

Problems identified

  • Drug abuse
  • Prostitution
  • Unemployment
  • High crime rate


  • Harvest Information
  • Mobilising like-minded people to participate in the discussion
  • To inform the Youth on different stakeholders and their roles in the community and How to make local government work
  • Find possible  solutions to be implemented
  • Give platform for young people to express  their views

General Theme

Topic Sector – Youth Develop, empowerment and leadership.

Panel discussion of 3-4 speakers representing different community stakeholders

  • Municipality (councillor)
  • Social Entrepreneurs (NGO, NPO)
  • Local Businesses
  • Gov Departments (Dep. Health or SAPS)
  • Media Entities

A Souljah’s Purpose

By Relo Malepe

Who is Fikile Jimmy Souljah?

The third son of four, parented by late Moola and Nomvulaza Mokae. I was named after my mom’s father, the late Fikile Jim November. I was born in Taung, in the North West, raised by my mom’s parents in the Free State in a small town, Hertzgvill. At age 14, I moved to Randfontein, west of Johannesburg to live with my mom and siblings.

Why Jimmy Souljah?

Jimmy is my middle name, Souljah is self-given. Which means warrior of God.

What drives you?

The need to empower my family and community makes me want to do more and work hard to achieve economic independence so I can fulfill this passion. It is more of a purpose.

Why fashion?

I always choose to answer this question by quoting Georgio Armani “I never thought in my wildest dreams that I will be a fashion designer, fashion chose me”


Running a small business on it’s own is a challenge I have to face on a daily basis. That’s one. Second, economic struggles are real. If it weren’t for money, I would be travelling my entire life.

What impact does your job allow you to achieve?

Fashion is art, and art is a great tool one can use to air their inner views and most importantly, it is self fulfilling to see someone beautifully covered by the work of my hands. It’s priceless.

When did you realize fashion is how you want to make a living?

When I enrolled for a fashion design course I didn’t know it was something I could do for a living. For me it was doing something rather than staying at home. I was encouraged by my lecturer to give it my all even if I did not like it. From then it’s been about passion.

Advice to others?

One, you don’t need a background in sewing to begin or train as as fashion designer. Anyone with a learning attitude can do it. Secondly, be prepared to be your own boss; that includes a lot of hard work for you to be your own designer.

How about the Indonesian-inspired trend you want to introduce?

Yes I’m launching my brand later this year. My inspiration comes from African traditions. I love colours, prints and patterns. So Indonesian Batik and our original African prints. It is a fusion of Batik and our original African prints. The fabric is from a province in Indonesia called West Papua. So my brands is about challenging three things: self Conciousness, change and restering pride.

What’s the idea behind this Indonesian inspiration?

Well I am not just a designer, I am a social activist in my own accord. West Papua faces hard times being oppressed by the Indonesian government. And the world talks little about this apartheid-like state. As a South African social activist with apartheid history, I believe my brand will play a part in spreading awareness about West Papua’s existence and struggle, with hope that more people will know about it. The more the Indonesian government is exposed, hopefully, West Papua will be freed.

Joining the ACTIVATE! network has been blissful. I got to strongly learn about myself in the first week and met incredible influencers, it’s a network of dreamers with a great potential to assist me on my journey. I am looking forward to the future, and it looks positive.

Nondumiso is a diva that seeks to uplift her community

Name: Nondumiso “DIVA” Mthethwa

Province: KwaZulu-Natal

Facebook: Nondumiso Nongcebo Mthethwa

Twitter handle: @nntmthethwa

Instagram: Ms Diva Nondu

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

I am a lady aged 24 and currently working as an Ambassador at ANOVA Health Institute, a peer mentor at Dreams Thina Abantu Abasha & Africa Unite. I’m very passionate about community development and advocacy. I’m bubbly, energetic and I am a KZN A! Health Champion as well as a founder of Footprince Youth Development Project.

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

I needed to expand my knowledge by learning new things, relearn what I already know and to pass it to others and unlearn all the bad habits and myths that were hindering my way forward as a young person.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

My Past Collage; where I had to deal with things I didn’t want to talk about, the wash line planning tool, my iconic self & my journey it was a platform of introspection and now I know who I am and where I am going.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

Before the training the drive of helping adolescent girls and young women I gained from my past experiences that I haven’t dealt with but my perspective changed when I had to open up and tell my stories for the first time

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

Always. I have been inspired by my pain to inspire others. As far as I can remember, I started being an inspiration in my community when I was 13 years old with a dance group called Glamour Girls where I got the name “Diva” – from a Beyonce song called I Am A Diva.

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

We are capable but we are still treating the symptoms rather than the root cause.

What is your field of interest?

Community development of key population, the voiceless, the violated adolescent girls and young women & the LGBTQIA+ community.

How are you driving change in your communit?

I’m driving change in my community by being involved as a brand ambassador for the Health 4 Men project of ANOVA Health Institute (MSM & TG /LGBTIQA), a peer mentor for Dreams Thina Abantu Abasha project (AGYM), peer mentor for Africa Unite (Human rights & advocacy), KZN A! Health champion, serving in the disciplinary committee of the eThekwini Youth Sector & Footprince Youth Development. All these projects interlink in my world by conducting dialogues, seminars, workshops, talks. That how I’m driving change giving information and implementations. 

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

I serve as a KZN A! Health champion where we host imbizos, hackathons, webinars and being present and adding value, ideas, input on social issues as young people that we face.

I also collaborate with other Activators that share the same ideology as me so that we can do work that will have an impact in our community.

What are your plans for this year?

  • To go to Amsterdam for the AIDS conference 😊
  • To make an impact on many spaces and to grow my business and being the change I want to see with my Footprince Youth Development Project.

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

Yes, it very helpful because that is where we as the youth spend their precious time in.

Additional information you would like us to know?

During school holidays, I have sessions with adolescent girls and young women. I’m all about women empowerment in the Durban Pinetown district as I’m also a young mother (I am 24 years old) to a beautiful girl, Senamile, that I got when I was 19 (teen mom).  #YouthHealthMatters #GirlEmpowerment #AbstainBefaithfulCondomise #7Bs





New King of Democracy: Data

By Koketso Marishane
For a long while in our modern day democracy, people have been controlled by the owners of their means of production, be it in agriculture, education, science, business or telecommunications. Everyone has been having a boss.
Whether you and I have been controlled by the owners of land, or preoccupied by armed conflicts revolving around land? Whether we’re concerned by the influence and power of those who own national and international patents for machines or innovations that shift power from land owners to machine owners or inventors. 
Whether we feared the owners of capital for running our lives, for creating institutions that ravage nations and create massive imbalance in the distribution of wealth? The bottom line is, capital has changed in its form. 
The recent technological advancements that we see and use, are giving us a power shift.
By now, with most people in the country and continent having access to a telecommunications device / tool, we need to take cognizant of the reality that power is changing face.
I recently attended a conference on Responsible Business Forum on Africa where the bright young minds of Africa gathered to deliberate on issues of common public concern. Listening to the great inspirational speakers from across the African continent talking about almost everything sustainable development goal, from Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and the Future of Tech, one felt that Africa is finally getting light. 
The reality is, most organizations are now looking at data as a tool to improve effectiveness and do more from less, whist others, especially those whose core mandate are built on data, as well as various governments such as Kenya, Morocco and Rwanda, are ahead of the curve and realizing that power today resides in Data. These organizations and governments have noticed and acknowledged that those able to commoditize, package and re-sell data, will have significant control over the resources, and with that, control power.
Ecotimising Evolution on Power and Armed Conflicts from Land to Machines to Data.
For the large majority of settlers during the 19th Century, economic power and wealth rested on land ownership, and still does! Whoever owns the land controls people, and other resources. And because land has been the greatest asset as a factor of production, it influenced their geo-politics, socio-economic, cultural and religious orientation:  where people lived, what they ate, how they built and their state in society. 
Naturally when it comes to conflicts, it is mostly over land. Slaves, during those times, were brought in large numbers from as far away as the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana) in West Africa to work on land, African-European land. When this is not enough, Europe went to occupy as much land as they could across the World. 
Africa was divided into tiny pieces of land, which today we call Countries, with no regard or sensitivity to the social structures. In short, the fight over land is what gave birth to Africa. But that changed at the turn of the 19th Century with the coming of age of machines and inventions that mechanized farming and farm value chain. 
Lately, it’s becoming almost null and void about who owns the land. Unlike before, it was about production and machines. Whoever had the means of production (machines) controlled people. And so slaves were no longer needed in large numbers as before. They needed fewer people to occupy less land, but work on large sections of it using machines. And so many slaves were shipped back to Africa, first to create space, but also to allow for skilled labour which Europe could now provide. 
Support for the abolition of slavery was therefore not purely a moral decision-it was a response to the coming of age of machines and inventions. Those left were pushed to small segments of land- the ones we call today slave countries-Haiti, Jamaica etc. 
The greatest experiment with returning slavery was in Africa, where a small group of returning slaves from America created a new ethnic grouping known as American-Liberians. To date, they still control that land, which they renamed Liberia. Others found themselves in Brazil and the Caribbean. Benevolence, while playing apart in ending slavery, was not in itself a strong catalyst. It was the Machines. Still, conflicts moved from battles over land to patents and machinery. 
Land occupation across vast places such as Africa, Latin America and Asia, by Europeans, became increasingly unnecessary. They could exercise power and control people by merely mechanizing large swaths of land in places like Brazil, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Sri Lanka and India. Colonialism thus moved from occupation to controlled availability of machines and mechanical means of production. 
Capital Emergence
The owners of the means of production (machines) could not do much without Capital. Land continues to be good. Machines are even better, although Capital has been King. Paper money and gold became the new centres of power. Slaves were needed, but as consumers of capital and not as producers of wealth. And with it came the kind of colonial education that has ravaged most of Africa and Latin America. Capital needed to be reproduced, and the best way to do this was to increase consumption in a completely new industry-service industry. 
It is where Capital is multiplied through the consumption of luxury goods. Machines and land are still valuable, though only in their ability to reproduce capital-money and gold. Mining gold and other capital yielding minerals became the center-piece. Having oil reserves meant you could afford power of luxury living, move machines and control land. Capital easily became king. 
Now it didn’t matter if you owned land or machines. Your land and inventions needed capital to have value. Conflicts were over money. If you had money you had the ability to start or end conflicts. 
The establishment of the Bretton Woods Institutions such as IFC, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and all those institutions that control how capital flows are all part of this power and control. The WTO came primarily to shift the flow of capital. We now have stock exchanges and derivatives and sub-prime mortgages and investment banks. Africa has for a long time been persuaded that what it needed was not more production, but more money to meet the costs of those production. 
Education was not necessarily about producing independent critical thinkers, more, about how to secure jobs so as to earn capital and use the capital to consume goods and services produced. Only that no one was told who was doing the production. We did not have to care. 
We only needed to know that if we have capital, we can consume whatever we want. And so in came GMOs and all manner of mass production that capitalized on capital reproduction. Whenever there were conflicts, it was hardly over land or machines. It was over capital distribution. Oil and Minerals were valued, not for their intrinsic value, but for their ability to be converted to capital, and be reproduced.
Time has changed and data is the new oil: The King. 
Intrinsically speaking, today our capital is nothing compared to whoever owns data on humans, on the planet or on the world. The person (company or organisation) who owns information about us- our land, our machines, our capital-controls us, indirectly so! Data has become the new global power. With our data easy to analyse through the use of Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence (AI), it’s possible to draw our profiles and everything about our personalities and economic value.
Monetising Movement: Data collection – Commoditize it – Sell it.
We’re now learning that data has become the new power. It works in fascinating ways. For example, someone (your spouse, sibling or offspring) takes your data from you under the guise of safe keeping or free storage or giving you “better user experience”. But once that person has enough of it, he/she can use it to analyze you, and when you want to proceed to sell the new information to gain capital, you might as well put price to it. If you want it back, well, buy it! 
The reality is, we often times than not think we have power because we have capital but, until we discover that the data we have about ourselves in our respective spaces can bring us down in a minute. 
Today, in the world of data machine learning and artificial intelligence and we have several layers of capital flow. Swam and Honey economies-capitalizing on the ability to bring together like-minded people who have been matched by algorithms and artificial intelligence-is the new language. 
It is now the engine of capital-the ability for different owners of data to use it to create a power that can generate infinite capital. All the different global corporate (Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, all the way to Airport and Border controls, Cambridge Analytica) and even the new control used to keep some undesirable governments in check- is all based on Data, not capital or machines or land.
Imagine one million doctors working on one single idea-creation using Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
What about 100 million engineers working on analysed data to build something together? Or even worse, imagine politicians with the perfect knowledge and ability to understand every emotional, physical and social aspects of voters? Imagine they can manipulate that to control us and decide what we buy and how and whom we vote. Well, for the big majority among us, some online platforms have taught us not to imagine these anymore because it’s already happening. 
If things go well, Africans within the African continent will soon be using a single data platform for connectivity across the continent. No more multiple sim cards for every country you travel and no more international roaming when you cross borders because we’re together working on a new information and communications technology spectrum.  
Thus, as we continue making strides for human advancement, let it be known that the future of power has now become data. 
To the stubborn people, the question is: which battle are you stuck fighting: Land? Machines? Capital? Or are you in the age of information power? The Data power!
Koketso Marishane is the NDP 2030 South African Youth Ambassador and writes as an active citizen.
Photo credit: WinPure