Activator, dancer, choreographer and theatre practitioner starts a gym in Bloemfontein

By: Zilungile Zimela


16 MARCH 2018

Re: Activator, dancer, choreographer and theatre practitioner starts a gym- a safe space for the LGBTIA+ Community.

Bloemfontein born Activator Sifiso Teddy Mhlambi, fondly known as the ‘Pink hustler’ has always aspired for only the best things life has to offer. A little over two years ago he was approached by a newly established gym (SS Health Club) that was at the time in search of trainer who specialised in aerobics or any dance oriented workout, for which he was the perfect fit.

“While the trainer there, I decided to enrich and further my knowledge into a healthier lifestyle as I was in a steady journey to self-reinvention,” added the flamboyant Teddy-B.

From the first day conducting his first training, Teddy-B felt the strong desire to one day open his own establishment also focusing on promoting healthy living- a gym that would have the dual function of firstly being a fitness hub and a safe haven for the members of the LGBTIAQ+ community. He added sternly that, “as a theatre practitioner and member of the LGBTIA+ community I have observed how the same community can neglect to lead a healthy lifestyle thereby contributing to the deterioration of our health.”

Teddy is a classic example of what happens when a young person decides to take action steps and journey towards attaining personal goals, in this case “personal fitness goals”. The gym is currently undergoing massive facelift and will be open for business towards the end of 2018 with a whole list of fun and interactive workouts that will have your body bolting with fresh and new energy.

The high-spirited and ever motivated hustler Teddy maintains that “When in doubt…Be extra!”


Notes to the Editor:


ACTIVATE! is a network of young leaders equipped to drive change for the public good across South Africa. Connecting youth who have the skills, sense of self and spark to address tough challenges and initiate innovative and creative solutions that can reshape our society.

For more information:

Facebook: Teddy B Vuitton

On social media:

Twitter: @ActivateZA

Facebook: ACTIVATE! Change Drivers

Mind The Red

”We are our own superheroes ”

By: Ziseko Geza

When you think of yourself at 20yrs, images of an over tired varsity student who just wants to pass second year, look good and have fun finding yourself, this is not the case with Asanda Mtshabe a 20year old who is one of the founders of #MindTheRed;an initiative that seeks to balance the gender scales for young girls in the rural Transkei schools in and around Mthatha.

#MindTheGap crew interacting with Eastern Cape pupils.

An idea among friends who saw the project through its birthing process in 2016, distributing over 1000 pads to students of surrounding villages and schools in rural settlements around the Mthatha area, the idea was inspired by having a few girls disclose that they used cloths and other unhygienic materials during their menstrual cycle and the health issues that come with using that method, Asanda stated how hard it was in the beginning hearing influential women in these rural communities state that they too used these methods and are fine, the girls can just stay home for the cycle period and were reluctant to accept the organization’s help.

Generous donations of shoppers in the form of sanitary towels put into good use.

The girls collect the donated sanitary pads during holidays at local shopping malls in Mthatha, solely dependent on random donations from holiday shoppers, as they have schools in different cities during the year, they only recently received their NPO certification and now allow volunteers from local High Schools, this initiative comes after the much debated condom distribution in high schools debate with the staggering 60% contribution the youth has to new HIV/Aids infections it makes sense why the Eastern Cape spent R17m on condoms last year but these girls feel that the core issues are not being dealt with, that being open conversations about the respective sexes reproductive health and sexuality.

Pupils receiving sanitary towels from team #MindTheRed as led by Asanda Mtshabe.

3 out of 5 girls in Quartile 1 schools miss an average of 5 days a month due to the menstrual cycle, this means that they miss an average of 2 months worth of school that they do not recover from academically, this is the logic that drew Asanda, an A student in her right who believes the only way to uplift communities is focusing on making the basic need available to those who need it the most.

To these young ladies this initiative is an answer to the cry of many young girls who suffer in a patriarchal society that sees this practice as a norm,they challenge the women in these
societies by holding short talks on the harms of using cloths and other materials, reproductive health and periods, in the attempt to desensitize menstruation and thus minding the red.

Cheerful recepients of the much needed sanitary towels as donated by the #MindTheRed initiative. 

With the year just starting and resolutions being made this group of young women are hoping to inspire more and more girls to question their societal norms and seek to better the lives of those in need. We need to learn that we are our own heroes in a patriarchal society.

After researching on the Activate Leadership platform these 4 ladies are ready to take their initiative to the rest of the Eastern Cape and become active change drivers in the rural communities the Eastern Cape is made up of.

Tanzania National Youth Assembly

During the month of November 2017, the Vijana Assembly and YESPeace Network successfully hosted and facilitated the Tanzania National Youth Assembly in Arusha Tanzania hosted by the the Institute for Accountancy University. They hosted a total number of 652 delegates of which 339 were females and 313 were males. The ages varied between 15-35 from all regions in Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and Burundi. The majority of the youth were between 15 – 30

The event was hosted with the aim of creating a platform for youth practitioners to share their best practice on how they are promoting peace and sustainability through education within their spaces, the facilitation team from Kenya and Tanzania held a conversation and education around the SDGs and the impact which they have in our society. There was a well informative discussion around the objectives of a national youth council and the young people who are part of youth councils within their governments joined the discussion to provide more clarity and insights. Through the discussion it was realized that there is a possibility of forming a youth council for Tanzania.

The member of the YESPeace Network Activate Change drivers from South Africa lastly conducted a dialogue which focused on exploring possibilities of collaborations and how there can be a sense of interconnectedness and connections in the society. This rich conversation created an opportunity for the youth to also share their commitments of how they plan to promote Peace, Sustainability and education in their society. There was some individuals who also shared their personal stories of peace and healing.  Jonas Kessy, a victim of drug abuse shared his story and what he is doing in his community to eradicate the use of drugs and violence.

“When I started I didn’t know the effects of drug abuse… My testimony can be very helpful to victims of drug abuse” Jonas Kessy

The event was well attended and supported by the office of the regional commissioner and the regional commissioner himself Mr Mrisho Gambo as the main guest speaker. Mr Gambo’s was impressed and proud of the Vijana Assembly team and the YESPeace Network for organisation such a well-attended and informative gathering. Mr Gambo further shared with everyone his commitment to support the work of the Youth in Arusha and possibility supporting the YESPeace Network for the upcoming events and activities. “Be the change you want to see in Tanzania” Mr Gambo quoted the wise words of the honorable Mahatma Ghandi in relation to Tanzania.

Going forward Vijana Assembly and YESPeace Network Africa plans to host annual National Youth Assembly collaboration events within different regions around the African continent with new organisations who have just joined the YESPeace network from Kenya, Zanzibar, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

“We going to make Sure the Government officials who signed and committed to making sure the SDG’s are realised keep their promise” – Albashir from Kenya

There is also a possibility to host the capacity building workshops for some of the grassroots organisations who have shown a need and eagerness to learn about the Sustainable development Goals.

“The future of the African continent lies in the hands of the current young people and our passion can better be realised in collaboration,” Lezerine Mashaba.


Over 250 youth from across South Africa gathered at The Innovation Hub in Pretoria to participate in the inaugural Green Youth Indaba on the 31 July 2014.

The theme this year was ‘Advancing Youth Interest in Green Economy and Sustainable Development’ and was hosted by TOSACA Media Group alongside other green partners such as the Water Research Commission (WRC), South African Weather Service (SAWS) and the Department of Energy and Department of Environmental Affairs.

Speakers included from the private, public and NGO sector included:

  • Green Economy Specialist at The Innovation Hub, Dr. Charity Mbileni
  • Founder of Generation Earth and UNEP Youth Ambassador , Ella Bella
  • DBSA Green Fund Manager, Michelle Lytte
  • Head of Green Economy at the Gauteng Economic Development, Noxolo Mthembu

Speaking at the opening of the Indaba, CEO of TOSACA Media Group and Activator Calvin Makhubela said, “This initiative seeks to create a platform for young people to be exposed to the green economic opportunities in South Africa and engage with both government and private sector to enable an environment for youth to participate in the economy.

The Indaba focused on four topics; renewable energy, climate change, waste management and water conservation and as part of the event, delegates participated in breakaway sessions to discuss and debate issues around climate change, how it affects youth and what youth can do in their homes and communities.

Green youth entrepreneurs were then given an opportunity to pitch their practical innovative green ideas to a panel of investors such as Wits Business School, The Innovation Hub, Nissan SA, and Industrial Development Corporation.

The ideas were practical solutions that can be implemented in our homes, communities and provinces.

For example, Tumelo Mashile and Mandla Mdluli of EnGenius Green Solutions pitched an idea of a mobile treatment plant that would purify water in rural municipalities using technology powered by solar panels.

The aim of the Green Youth Indaba is to sensitize and empower young minds about the opportunities within the green economy, explore economic opportunities for young people within the environmental sector, engage youth to play a pro-active role in addressing issues related to sustainable development as well as address the stigmas about taking up careers in the environment or green field.  

For more information about the Green Youth Indaba, visit

Spreading warmth in Standerton

Activator, Anele Cele, co-founder of Inhlos’enhle Community Building (ICB), an organisation focused on broad-based challenges in the Standerton community, continues to put up a brave fight against Mpumalanga’s icy Highveld chill with her campaign to distribute used clothing among the residents of the Sakhile Informal Settlement.

Project Siyagcoka donated four bags of clothes to nine families at the beginning of June, says Anele, adding that continues to grow from strength to strength as more people become aware of the campaign and make the effort to drop their unused and unwanted items off at ICB’s Tholimpilo Home base.

First launched in 2008 after witnessing a small boy’s vain attempts at keeping his bare feet warm in mid-winter, Anele explains that this cause is close to her heart as she, too, was raised by a single mom who relied only on a social grant and income from occasional informal work passed on by their neighbours.

“I know how hard it is to have needs, that many consider basic, that are simply not met because the household only has one income to depend on. Social grants barely cover important items like groceries, toiletries and if one is very luck, a school uniform. There is never money left over for clothes.”

Through Project Siyagcoka,  people have an opportunity to participate in addressing the needs of those less fortunate in the community by donating, rather than just getting rid of, clothes they no longer want or need, she says.

Project Siyagcoka distributes clothes twice a year. Anyone wishing to donate any recyclable items can do so by contacting Anele on 082 599 1174 or email:

Dress Jozi 2014

More than 500 young people, including Johannesburg-based Activator, Mzwandile Msimang, joined forces to spread much needed warmth to the inner city’s homeless as they took to the streets to hand out bags of clothing to the many shack dwellers and people living on the streets around Newtown just as the first serious cold front hit the Highveld last month.

“This year’s Dress Jozi was an unprecedented success with many more young people joining in and much more support received in the form of clothing donations as well as marketing and logistical support from both the city council, government and private organisations,” says Neo Kuaho, founder of YDIdi and Dress Jozi.

The annual event this year received welcome additional support from YFM, The City of Johannesburg, City Year SA, Harambee, PrinceMed, SAPS – Joburg Central Department, JDA, Bredwinna, My Hands & Heart, Shoprite Foundation, Lead-SA, Employed Youth Challenge and Black Stars, he said.

 “As much as the initiative benefits the city’s indigent with clothing and food parcels, it is remarkable to witness the impact the experience has on the young participants who gather to walk and donate. Without fail they leave with a profound change in perspective and a renewed sense of ambition and more often than not, go on to  become better citizens in their own communities after realising just how fortunate they are.”

According the Kuaho, the event often has even more impactful positive consequences than the clothing and sustenance that is handed out. ”

 “In June 2012 for example, we came across Noluthando, who at the time was living under the Newtown Bridge and wanted desperately to write her matric exams. However, she didn’t have an identity document which meant she was unable to register to write her matric exams. Our team immediately set to work to trace her both her educational records and birth certificate and she was able to get the necessary documentation and successful sit for her Grade 12 examination.””

 When first mooted in 2012, Kuaho says YDIdi was looking for an initiative that was bold enough to capture young people’s imagination.  We were considering volunteering our time and resources at various shelters but then realised that we needed a unique event that could really address the needs of this group of destitute people which is often bypassed by the official support systems from the Department of Social Development.

“We have received so much interest from young people around the country that our next step will definitely be to take the project nationally in the near future.”

Be28 Sets Out to Make a Habit of Success

The Be28 initiative, based on the principle that positive behavior can be established by 28 days of repetition, has taken up the challenge of developing a nation of good habits.

Founded by Activators Tshepiso Phakedi, Tshepang Mokgatla and Elcin Botha and launched officially in Johannesburg earlier this month, Be28 aims to encourage young people to adopt success-orientated habitual behavior by providing leadership development, access to motivational speakers as well as to social media-based networking and thought-sharing at regular think tank events, says Mokgatla.

The event attended by fellow Activator Linda Simelane of  Eldos FM 87.6, Dineo Mahao, the co-founder of NGO, Each One Help One and life coach Xoliswa Moraka, also served to announce Mdumela Media’s sponsorship of a website and corporate branding design for the initiative as well as the unveiling of the Be28 branded clothing range that will include T-shirts, sweat shirts and snap back caps.

Be28 was placed among the top ten social entrepreneurship projects featured at the annual Activate! Showcase in January this year by fellow Activators. The initiative will be piloted in Johannesburg initially with a view to a national roll-out during the course of 2014.

Contact details:

Facebook: Be28 Movement or

Twitter: @Be28Movement


Innovation from the ACTIVATE! network

The one thing that connects Activators is their drive to contribute meaningfully towards addressing many of the challenges that face South Africa. Activators are inspired youth who want to see their ideas come alive and make a difference for themselves and those around them. It is this state of mind that makes one realise that the network is no stranger to innovate. Driving change is one of the pillars of public innovation.

The network is rich with ideas in various stages of development. Many of us are still reeling from the energy and inspiration of the recent ACTIVATE! Innovation Showcase held in Magaliesberg during January.

Here we explore a couple of ideas from within the ACTIVATE! and how these are changing the communities they are in.

What’s in a lunchbox?

Many of us have fond memories of carrying our lunchboxes to school and the excitement of finding out what was in them. The reality for many learners in Bafokeng Primary School in Gauteng is that they have to rely on the government-sponsored lunch to make it through their school day. For many, this may even be the only meal they have for the day. There is definitely a clear link between education and good nutrition. But why was Bafokeng Primary School experiencing a low turnout on the feeding scheme. And they couldn’t figure out why. Activator, Tebello Rampo, managed to connect the dots. Learners were ashamed of being seen collecting the free lunch even though they really needed it. That’s when she decided to work on the idea of a lunchbox that would be branded with the school for every learner in the school.

Rampo’s Lunchbox was one of the winning projects from the 2012 ACTIVATE! Innovation Showcase. Lunch Box was launched during June 2013.

Postbox hotspots

Every city in South Africa has its fair share of housing issues, the biggest being the continuing rise of informal settlements. By design such living spaces are “informal”, meaning many don’t have recognisable street names or numbers. This creates a challenge of connecting people with information. Enter Mpumi Mali’s idea – PVC postboxes that would suit this environment.

“I noticed that many people weren’t receiving their mail as most of it would end up lying on the street being kicked about by children”, says Mali.

During the process of getting this project on the ground, Mali and his partners made another realisation that with Wi-fi technology taking centre stage in cities and townships, these postboxes could contribute  towards making internet access easily distributed via collaboration with corporate and government agencies.

“Our ultimate goal is seeing this project touching every city and townships, contributing towards decreasing youth unemployment and being endorsed by people on the ground. We wish to also go beyond SA borders”, explains Mali.

Connecting youth to their dreams through real role models

South Africa is home to what is believed to be one of the worst youth-unemployment problems in the world. The problem could get worse, as the country’s population is young- meaning we have hundreds of thousands of new job-seekers every year. 

Contributing factor include the difficulties many young people face when attempting to build their careers. In many marginalised communities, young people have no mentors and are exposed to a variety of unrealistic role model perceptions.  As a result of this, the current status quo is maintained – leaving youth throwing away their dreams and desperately pursuing any income-generating activities. 

It is this cycle that Activator, Unathi Jacobs, is trying to trying to change through her involvement in the ‘Outspoken Youth Initiative’ (OYI), where she is a part of the executive committee. The project serves to connect young people with different professionals. The mentors range from musicians, dancers, chefs, photographers to parliamentarians.  This project allows young people to be exposed to a different range of professions and also impressions on how they can develop their passions into careers.

OYI is looking to expand the programme in time and operate throughout the country. Although sports and arts will be the main focus, the dream is to have every young person exposed to a mentor in any field. To achieve this OYI is also strengthening its own internal capacity by ensuring that there are professionals within the organisation, contributing to this. 

The project is, however, not limited to mentorship. It is also used as a means to create awareness on a range of social issues. As Unathi Jacobs says, “it is through awareness of what is happening in one’s hood that one gets involved in creating social change”.

Young Change Makers

Activator Tshepo is a 3rd year law student at the University of the Free State. He helped to start an organisation called Young Change Makers. He tells us what the organisation the aim of the organisation is.

Young Change Makers is a specialist organisation that is aimed at equipping the youth, school learners and student leaders with communication skills, debating skills and public speaking skills. This organisation also provides development services such as: conference facilitation, motivational speakers /programme directors and many more to NGOs and Youth Organisations. The organisation has provided youth services to schools NGO’s and at seminars in the Northern Cape, Free State, Limpopo and Gauteng and has trained 20 schools and their student leadership councils.

I have also written a book under Young Change Makers titled: “Public Speaking and Debating Incubator Handbook” this handbook focuses more on equipping aspiring debaters and public speakers in schools with the deep skills and philosophies of debate and public speaking. It also provides in depth tips that helps debaters and public speakers with dynamics and tips on how to become successful speakers. It also gives guidance on how debaters can use rhetoric strategically. The book has been helpful to student leaders and speakers in equipping them with skills and debating skills.

If you would like to contact Tshepo you can tweet to him @TshepoMabuya. To get more information about Young Change Makers you can visit the Facebook Page.

Paperboy – Postboxes for Everyone

Information that’s not transmitted to its recipients is futile in a communication link. I have noticed that a lot of households in my community don’t have post boxes, and this in turn results in a number of letters and responses from the post office and relevant stakeholders getting lost in transition.

Primary school students who come back from school earlier are seen loitering around the streets with flying letters roaming all over which they pick up when the intended recipients are at work. I have taken it upon myself to build post boxes for my community to eradicate this problem. I would need relevant materials to build them and I can work from home. I live in a large community especially now with the recent RDP houses that have been built but I would like to pilot with at least 1584 houses in my section.

This will lead to job creation and community development, and this will also save the post office a lot on duplicate distribution costs and the community at large on getting their invoices and notices on time. This can trickle down to other communities with the same problem.

To contact Mpumi you can email him at or you can follow him on Twitter @MpumiMali

Township Roots Project

What is township roots all about? 

Township Roots exists to improve education in Nyanga, Cape Town. Through our programs we aim to help the young people of Nyanga stay out of crime and stay in school, all the way through primary and high-school and into university. 

Right now Nyanga has some challenges. 

•  The annual dropout rate of students in grades 1-8 is between 1% and 4%. Between grades 9 – 11 this grows to 12%. 

In response to this we focus our efforts on children moving from primary school into secondary school. We believe that if we can keep kids in school, we can keep them out of crime. 

What do we do? 

Township Roots runs exciting educational and life skills activities for kids aged 12-16 in Nyanga community after school hours, over weekends and during school vacations. Our young people are mentored both academically and socially to enhance their chances of succeeding in high school. We also partner our kids up with mentors – successful people from Nyanga who are eager to invest in the next generation. We even engage the parents of Nyanga, holding regular community meetings to pursue a vision of hope and opportunity. 

Our Plan 

How much does it cost us to run Township Roots for 40 students? 

We invite sponsors to select the area that they would like to support directly. 

T-shirts for the Learners R4000 

Marketing Banners R1400 

Refreshments for the Learners R2000 

Tutor Support – Transport for tutors R1500 

End of Year Excursion R7000 

Our financial accounts are audited each year by Spark* International. 

(We keep our operating costs as low as possible, and receive strategic, financial and operational support from Spark* International)

from here… 

We are eager to talk with forward thinking South African companies and organisations who would like to partner with us in our vision for Nyanga. 

By investing in the young people of the community, we can work together to turn Nyanga around in a generation. 

We look forward to sharing more with you. Please contact us at the following details: 

Phone: +27812522375 



Africa’s Greatest Entrepreneurs

Activator Calvin has embarked on a project to document African entrepreneurs. He explains the reasons behind the project and why he feels that it is necessary.

Africa’s Greatest Entrepreneur is a documentary series that comprises of profiles and in depth interviews with some of Africa’s greatest entrepreneurs. These are entrepreneurs who have emerged across Africa from different backgrounds. The purpose of this documentary is to highlight how Africa is able to produce influential entrepreneurs.

For the first time ever these inspirational true stories are captured in one single documentary, we aim to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship and truly embrace our own African Entrepreneurs and what they have to share with the World.

Africa has always celebrated Western entrepreneurs and looked up to them for inspiration; the time has come for Africa to celebrate Africans.  With all the challenges that our continent is facing there have been few people who were able to rise above this challenges. These individuals, we feel, need to celebrated and embraced for their success. We also believe that it is important for them to share their knowledge about their philosophies and world views.Our aim is to create a documentary that will inspire a continent.

To get hold of Calvin you can email him or you can follow him on Twitter @Calvinmakhubela.

Lunch Box Project

“We are looking at the high number of learners who come from disadvantaged backgrounds to school without having eaten breakfast or without a snack for lunchtime. We see a decline in the number of children who queue for food that has been prepared for them as they are sometimes teased for having to do so. And so, although the learners are hungry, they are too embarrassed to be seen queuing and would rather go hungry. The kitchen then ends up throwing away a lot of leftovers. This issue is known by school teachers and parents who have their kids receive food. I have come to an innovative idea: to design a conventional lunchbox to be carried by every learner at school. The significance of this Lunch Box is to have it produced specifically for the school with its emblem, and the name of the learner and grade with a variety of colours on it. This product will restore the school’s unity by having all learners carry their lunch box and eating at school. As the learners will all drop their lunch box at the kitchen while they are in classrooms, and when its lunch time they will just collect it and nobody will know who brought food from home and who didn’t.”

Mocha Panda Movement

Activator Kanyisa Booi started a youth movement called Mocha Panda. She explains what the movement is all about and what its goals are.

Mocha Panda (Youth Forward) is a sturdy show of solidarity amongst youth. Activators will conduct jam sessions throughout South Africa. Symbolically this will be carried out the Youth Month (June) up to Mandela day (18 July) marked by a 67 minute peaceful ‘Youth Attest’ walk to the Union Building. Information gathered in these jam sessions(dialogues) will be compiled into an Interactive Research, Study and Findings for Youth Development this to be handed on completion to Ministry of Performance and Evaluation Collins Chabane on the 18th of July. This will be a valuable contribution in devising an effective integrated Youth Strategy. With the South African Youth Policy being reviewed in 2014, Mocha Panda (Youth Forward) will be carving the way to a meaningful discussion document.

To stay in touch with Mocha Panda you can join the Facebook Group and follow us on Twitter.