By Nombulelo Fox
When the youth of 1976 marched for the banning of Afrikaans as the language of instruction, the country stopped. The world saw what happened.
40 years later, where are we?
Despite the socio-economic conditions that still exist 21 years after the disintegration of Apartheid, the youth of South Africa has definitely prospered far greater than what most older generations may have assumed. Assumptions that millennials are lazy and want everything to be given to them is highly untrue. But one thing that stands out from the youth of today, is the feisty spirit that is within each and every person who feels strongly about the cause that they represent. We now have young people making it in all kinds of fields – be it in science, innovation, entrepreneurship, the media landscape and, even politics.
As much as the AlphaShe team wanted to include every mover and shaker that’s making a name for themselves in their communities or South Africa at large, we commend them for making a difference. These are the following young South Africans we applaud for representing the youth so well:
- Shaeera Kalla (Former Wits SRC President and co-founder of #FeesMustFall)
The former Wits SRC President has been one the most influential young people in our country to date who has influenced so many individuals to take a stand through the #FeesMustFall movement. Her leadership skills have been compared to the many veterans who played a fundamental role in the rebuilding of our country and its constitution. Shaeera has, and still embodies the vision (ideally the principles and values) of what the youth of 76 were fighting for – which is the right to education which in this instance, free education for all. Her stance on free education has inspired other young people around South Africa and even other countries to stand up and fight the system of paying for tertiary education within their different institutions. Although the #FeesMustFall movement resulted in a 0% increment, Shaeera is still very much vocal and active through this cause and hopes that her successors and the young people of South Africa would eventually see free education become a reality which will enable many people to have access to more opportunities than the previous generations ever had.
- Allegro Dinkwanyane (Founder and CEO of Orgella Media)
Allegro is what you would describe as a dynamite that comes in small packages. This is one woman who puts the phrase “play hard and work even harder” into practice. Initially having formed Orgella Online as an entertainment blog, her aspirations grew and resulted in her opening her own public relations and communications company called Orgella Communications (which are both divisions of Orgella Media). Her work has seen nothing but greatness with mentions from The Journalist as the youngest media mogul, and Forbes Woman Africa where she was described as the “poster child of social media” see here.
What makes Allegro an inspiring person is the drive she has for the work she does. She sees every obstacle that she encounters as an opportunity to create something bigger for her empire. Competing in an industry which doesn’t see a lot of black young people owning media companies, she has proven to her critics that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Building an agency like Orgella Media from the ground up is no child’s play but it should inspire thousands of other young people to build their own empires in the media landscape.
Facebook: Orgella Communications
- Laura Windvogel (Founder of Lady Skollie blog)
Laura Windvogel, more aptly known under the alias Lady Skolkie, is an independent visual artist whose work explores the controversial social taboos of sex and sexuality ; lust and desire; misogyny and objectification which is often comically exhibited in a way that hardly lacks brutal honesty or an erotic aura , cheeky captions, a never-ending splurge of watercolour and a copy of her ever eminent Pussy Print morph into an Instagram canvas of powerful protest and an artistically unconventional way to tackle sex education that goes beyond academia.
With all the discussions around matters of sexuality and misogyny amongst the youth (sparked by the student protests), there are many voices which go unheard. Laura explores these topics and takes freedom of expression to another level – the way that it should be. The same way that the youth of 1976 paved the way to allow the next generation of young people to be vocal about what they advocate for, Laura taps into the very matters that many are afraid to speak up about. Even if the truth makes people uncomfortable, her work drives awareness on social and sexual topics.
Facebook: Lady Skollie
- Jonathan Liebmann (Entrepreneur and Owner of Propertuity)
For many years, the moral decay and dilapidated buildings of Johannesburg CBD have been spoken about but no one has ever tried to give it a facelift. Not until there was a sudden trend where people would repurpose old warehouses to open up food markets, and residential buildings which were left empty were now enhanced into contemporary apartments. When you speak of Maboneng Precinct, one name that you’ll hear of is that of Jonathan Liebmann.
Having being named Africa’s Best Young Entrepreneur in 2013, Jonathan’s company, Propertuity, has developed one of the fastest growing precincts which has changed the way that South Africans look at Johannesburg. Jonathan’s intention is to change the reputation that already exists regarding the CBD and change the way it looks to attract more people to start living in the city. Not only is he making waves in the property industry, his work has pushed many young people to be involved in the regeneration and renewal of property across the country. His work has led young people to hanging out around their favourite spots in the Maboneng area, let alone working with the City of Joburg to assist in areas of improving buildings in order to provide more residential places in the City of Gold – working and living in Johannesburg has never been this cooler and more cost-effective.
- Malibongwe Nhlakanipho Xaba (Motivational Speaker and Author)
Malibongwe is a 28 year old inspirational speaker, author and youth motivator also known as “Mally” by his colleagues and friends. This South African idol is making a difference for many young people all over Southern Africa. Malibongwe is a phenomenal young man who plays a huge role in the lives of young people who are cast away by their families or even their community. He is well-known for the two books that he wrote which one of them he wrote on his smartphone and later published it himself.
‘All Things Are Possible’ and ‘Born to Leave a Legacy’ are the books that he wrote which emphasis his beliefs of self-love, self-belief, the possibility of dreams happening and positive expectations. He was nominated for Young South African of the year and he was named as Mail and Guardian top 200 young South Africa in 2015 which he considers as his greatest achievements. The actions of Malibongwe are a clear replica of what they youth of 1976 stood for as the class of 76 fought not only for themselves but for the future generation of this country. The class of 76 wanted to end the abuse that was directed towards the black nation and they wanted to make sure that all races receive the same quality education. We applaud Malibongwe for his tremendous work and wish his legacy betters the lives of others who are big dreamers like himself.
Facebook: Malibongwe Xaba
- Faith Mangope (Broadcaster and Entrepreneur)
Faith has to be one of the most patriotic individuals amongst our youth today. Patriotic in a sense where she wants to see South Africa developing and she asks crucial questions about what it would take to help South Africa become a better country. Although Faith is known for her work on Etv’s Sunrise show every morning, her expertise go far beyond broadcasting. She owns a public relations and events company called FTA Media. She has been involved in initiatives such as the Mandela Washington Fellowship where she represented South Africa and was later asked to be involved in Africa.Co (a programme based on global entrepreneurship and providing entrepreneurs with resources and opportunities).
Faith is also the founder of New G in Business Forums which is a series of forums where they assist young professionals by empowering, educating and equipping them with essential tools in the field of entrepreneurship. Her ability to aid up and coming entrepreneurs has set new possibilities for the future of the country as well as letting young people become part of the solution when it comes to the creation of jobs in the country.
- Mmabatho Mokiti (Founder of Mathemaniacs and DreamGirls SA)
At a time when the true state of our people’s economic freedom is in question, Mmabatho Mokiti, with seven years of experience in the education and youth development arenas, has made a worthy contribution by being a part of the answer as the founder and managing director of Mathemaniacs – a private tutoring company which was developed with the aim of making mathematics, science and accounting enjoyable areas of study for school, university and adult students. Noticing the dread with which most students approach this subject, Ms Mokiti saw the gap and took advantage of this shortcoming and has managed to make a reputable business out of it.
Mmabatho’s contributions include being the director of DAD Fund (youth development and mentorship programme), running DreamGirls International Outreach and Mentoring Program, was part of MG’s Top 200, and has participated in the Mandela Washington Fellowship institute (just to mention a few). Mmabatho has not only assisted thousands of young people across the country by bettering them in the areas of maths, science ad accounting, but has laid the foundation for them to build their future on through her teachings. What a better way to commemorate the youth who fought for quality education 40 years ago than to celebrate a member of today’s entrepreneurial movement who has taken it upon herself to play an active part in this continued struggle for quality education.
- Nhlanhla Mohlauli (Pilot and Founder of Native Airways)
From small beginnings, Nhlanhla has taken himself where a lot of young disadvantaged people only dream to go – the sky. A proud Sowetan he may be, his dreams stretched beyond where he lived and always wanted more for himself. His strong academic abilities saw him get a scholarship at one of the country’s top schools and where he first realized his passion for aviation. Nhlanhla worked his way through tertiary and later raised money for him to obtain a pilot’s license. He used this as a way of becoming an entrepreneur by creating Native Airways which is an aviation service that lets out jets and helicopters. Although the aviation industry in South Africa is still quite dominantly run by white males, Nhlanhla’s vision for other black young people like himself to own aviation companies and be pilots is steadily growing. Native Airways has also put in place the Female Bursary Fund which enables girls from disadvantaged backgrounds to study aviation through the organisation. Nhlanhla has given many young people hope to say that their futures aren’t circumstantial based on where they come from. The fact that he wants to see more young people in aviation and has put measures in place to see that dream finally happen, shows how much he truly cares about the youth of South Africa.
- Ludwick Marishane (Inventor of DryBath)
Hailing from the province of Limpopo, Ludwick Marishane’s story is one that truly inspires and has reached other countries through what he does. When he tells his story to other people, he describes how difficult it was for him to get where he is. A Business Science graduate himself, he invented what is called the DryBath which is a waterless bath/shower gel. Having this awesome idea but not enough funds to start the business to launch this product, Ludwick had to make a plan. Not having enough resources to even type out his business plan, Ludwick used his cellphone to do all of that. When he was in university, he raised funds through innovation competitions to ensure that the money went to his idea (which not a lot of people understood at the time).
As time passed, he partnered up with Lungelo Gumede and Dr Hennie du Plessis to create what is now known as Headboy Industries. This company is solely focused on making a social impact through innovation, and making lives easier through the products that they create. Ludwick’s company now creates a lot of the DryBath gels and sells it in European market and to communities where there is a scarcity of water. For what sparked the reality of many people across the world who do not have access to water to clean themselves, Ludwick’s invention has met that particular need to ensure that people do not get any diseases as a result of not bathing. Ludwick’s story has and is still inspiring many children who come from rural areas to start being proactive when it comes to their ideas. The fact that his product has enabled so many people to live healthier lives, it shows that with hard work and dedication your dreams will always come true if you put your mind to it.
Facebook: Ludwick Marishane
- Tiisetso Lephoto (Scientist)
In a world where not a lot of women scientists are known or praised, Tiisetso is proof that a black child has a lot going for them than what the media often portrays. It’s rude not to call her by her title (Dr.) but Tiisetso who is a One Young World ambassador is making her mark in the science field. Recognised as one of the new and upcoming researchers by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, her expertise has seen her receiving accolades in Berlin and locally in South Africa (talk about girl power!). She is also the secretary of Katleho Pele Education and nothing makes us more proud than seeing a young woman making a difference in the areas of Nematology, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Genomics and Bioinformatics. A woman who hails from Soweto, Tiisetso, she gives back to her community by tutoring and mentoring young people in high school. Through her Yes We Are Moving project, Tiisetso has collected books, clothes and food parcels for many orphanages. Now that’s what we call a jack of all trades – smart and humble too.
Facebook: Tiisetso Lephoto