Bongani Gets A Nod For YALI

My name is Bongani Uhuru KaHlatshwayo, I am a 23-year-old from Matlosana, Klerksdorp in the North West.  I joined ACTIVATE! In 2013.

What is your field of passion/interest?

I’m passionate about community development, with a specific focus on youth development and educational development and equally – I love politics.

What are you doing to drive change?

To drive change, I create opportunities for young people in the education and entrepreneurial sectors, through sharing information such as bursaries and funding opportunities, through hosting developmental spaces such as seminars and dialogue sessions. I mentor a couple of young people in my town.

How has ACTIVATE! supported you in driving that change?

This is close to home, because I joined ACTIVATE! after I left the North West University while pursuing my studies in Political Sciences and International Relations. Within a year of being an activator, ACTIVATE! entrusted me with the responsibility of organising an engagement session (dialogue platform) in my province. This opportunity exposed me to a larger number of associates and stakeholders around me. Through being the Connector, I have work experience to reference when I apply for new opportunities. ACTIVATE! still continues to support me through the local stations and the Mobile Library initiatives, to which I’m a champion for. I have so much to mention, but I think the mentioned will do justice and I’m really grateful for the support.

Let’s talk about Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). What is the programme about?

Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) was launched by President of the United States Barack Obama as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. The need to invest in grooming strong, results-oriented leaders comes out of the statistics: nearly 1 in 3 Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60% of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35.

YALI promotes three models designed to identify and empower young leaders: the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship, YALI Network, and now the establishment of Regional Leadership Centers across Africa- which I will be attending.

How did you get selected?

Activator Victor Seshoka inspired me to apply and I applied for their 2nd cohort- I didn’t make it through. I skipped the 3rd application intake and applied for their 4th intake with reviewed essay answers and I made it to the interview phase, where we spent about 15 minutes on the conversation. Three weeks later, I got a confirmation email that I have been selected.

What are your expectations of the outcome of the Initiative and what do you hope to bring home to your community?

I selected the Public Administration and Governance module, due to my interest in politics, so I want to learn from things from a regional and continental perspective and also share my knowledge with fellow Southern African Development Community participants and be able to create networks that cut across our region. I hope to bring more information and knowledge and create relevant spaces for young people in my district who couldn’t be part of the programme and create partnerships with local stakeholders and create innovative and sustainable ways to develop Matlosana and hopefully the rest of South Africa.

As a leader, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’d be having my Masters in International Relations and a Law degree, which I’ll be starting next year.-Moreover, I would have launched the 1st Matlosana Youth Development Hub in Klerksdorp- married I hope(lol) and serving at the South African Embassy to China.  

Where do you see South Africa in the next 5 years?

SA would have reviewed its constitution and made amendments and it would be having more entrepreneurs and our economy would be back at being number 1 in Africa and also competing positively in the global economy  

Final comments…

My mentor normally says “Young people can progress from poverty to prosperity, provided they prepared to pay the price of purpose”. Through YALI,  and over the price paid, I wish to see more change in myself, my community and the rest of the spaces in which I am involved with, after all, if I don’t provide leadership, who should?

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