Arts, Entertainment, Film & Media

Khotso Mashile, 25

Founder and managing director
Perfect Love Publications

Khotso Mashile, known to her friends and peers as KayDee, is a socially minded creative who uses her art to empower and encourage the youth. She sings, writes and recites poetry, works in PR and has founded an organisation called Perfect Love Publications that seeks to give the youth access to mentorship and publishing opportunities. She attained a degree in social work from the University of the Free State and wanted to empower girls like herself from the village. In fact, a large driving force behind Mashile’s work, alongside her faith, is her determination to be the type of role model she wishes she’d had when she was a teenage girl trying to find her way in the world. To amplify the voices of the younger generation, she works directly with township and rural-based youth, providing them with tools to rewrite the African narrative in their own image.

Never limit yourself. Grab every opportunity given to you with both hands. Be confident and believe in yourself.

Author - Anita Makgetla
Lana Crowster, 33

Lana Crowster, 33

Musician, educator and consultant
Crow’s Nest Productions

The biggest surprise of Lana Crowster’s 20-year plus career as a musician is quite simply that she has a career in an industry that is not often welcoming to women. In 2018 the songwriter, vocalist, educator, band leader and record label owner founded The Lady Day Big Band – South Africa’s first women-only big band. The project was 10 years in the making and something she sees as necessary for the development of young women musicians and for creating a safe space for them to follow their passion for performance. The University of Cape Town and New York University alumnus who hails from the Cape Flats sees her role as a changemaker for women of colour. After 20 years of creating her own opportunities and going against advice to not pursue music, paving the way for other women seems the perfect way for Crowster to cement her legacy.

I have always been driven by a passion to make a difference through telling powerful stories.

Sandiso Ngubane | mg.co.za
Tshegofatso Mhlongo, 28

Tshegofatso Mhlongo, 28

Singer and actress
Self Employed

Tshegofatso Mhlongo – or Eli Zaelo, as she’s known on stage – is a multilingual singer who performs in English, Mandarin and isiZulu. Her vocal talent has taken her around the world to study at Trinity College London, as well as in the vocal performance department at the Los Angeles College of Music. Mhlongo currently resides in Hong Kong, where she operates as an independent performer. After releasing only two singles, she garnered notable press attention, featuring in the South China Morning Post, BBC, France 24, SABC Morning Live, Pretoria News and Cape Talk, among other platforms. The BBC noted that she is the first black woman to release music in Mandarin, an achievement Mhlongo is understandably proud of. Although much of her work may be in the language of another land, Mhlongo encapsulates that most South African spirit of ubuntu, sharing the common humanity between continents through art.

It’s in my DNA to push forward, to create a better future and to find new ways that help people find better ways of working using technology.

James Nash | mg.co.za
Kat Sekhotho, 30

Kat Sekhotho, 30

Reporter
Kaya FM

Reporter Kat Sekhotho covers a broad range of subjects for radio station Kaya FM 95.9, spanning news, politics, education, crime, health and the arts. She anchors the news sometimes and works with the digital department to capture videos to tell stories online. Her personal touch is seen in The Arts Report, which she curates to cover less mainstream issues for the station’s website and social media platforms. Sekhotho enjoys being able to reflect the thoughts and feelings of ordinary people in her stories, especially when they highlight different African cultures. “I hope that the words I write and the work I do gives a voice to people often marginalised and who go unseen in our society,” she says. Along the way, some mistakes have emphasised the importance of fact-checking what people claim to be true. “It’s taught me a great deal about the power of words,” she says.

Be fearless, express yourself freely and travel! You are enough.

Lesley Stones | mg.co.za
Moses Seletiša, 35

Moses Seletiša doubly contemplates his acceptance of an invitation from then-president Kgalema Motlanthe to perform at the official launch of his foundation as both his proudest moment and biggest mistake. It is ill-advised for an artist, he opines, to declare one’s political affiliations publicly. The Sepedi performance poet and author hails from Ga-Matlala ‘a Rakgoadi in rural Limpopo, and boasts a burgeoning career seemingly unencumbered by his perceived faux pas. His poem Mahlalerwa earned him a Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award in 2017, the first recipient writing in a language other than English or Afrikaans. He penned Tšhutšhumakgala, a Sepedi biography of struggle stalwart Tlokwe Maserumule, which earned him a South African Literary Award, and Ke Hwa Natšo, a short play about honouring one’s oaths. Seletiša has also received recognition from the National Heritage Council of South Africa and mentors young authors seeking literary guidance.

I accept that failure will always be present through my journey, but it is how I respond to it that will determine whether it is a learning opportunity.

Zia Haffejee | mg.co.za
Nadia Fisher, 35

Nadia Fisher, 35

Street artist
Self-employed

Nadia Fisher, known as Nardstar*, is a street artist based in Cape Town who works throughout the country and across the world. “Every time I am invited to paint abroad I am surprised,” she says. Fisher has taken several international residencies and earned a Mbokodo Award nomination. “The fact that I am an artist who is 10 years deep in my career makes me very proud,” she says. Her murals are inspired by local themes, including indigenous flora and fauna. “In recent years, my art has focused on the representation of women of colour. I am committed to celebrating women on walls to inspire women and help them feel appreciated and seen,” Fisher says. She wants her work to resonate with South Africans. “It doesn’t have to be life-changing, but if my art adds a momentary lift to someone’s day, then I’m cool with that.”

As young black professionals we tend to suffer from imposter syndrome and doubti our capabilities.

Nabeel Allie | mg.co.za
Nicole Davy, 27

Nicole Davy, 27

Singer, songwriter and activist

Nicole Davy is a singer, songwriter and activist who is reconnecting with her Cape Town roots through her music. “In my latest EP, We Are Gold, I connect with my musical identity rooted in the ghoema and yaadt sounds of Cape Town,” Davy says. Recently, she collaborated with Cassper Nyovest and YoungstaCPT, but collaborations and accolades aren’t her career highlights. “My proudest moment is a recurring feeling when I am being interviewed and I have the opportunity to define my narrative as a coloured, female singer-songwriter who can proudly speak about my identity, my music and my life,” she says. The opportunity to self-define has enabled Davy to partner with collaborators who share her values and spread her brand across South Africa. “Contributing to young people finding their truths and fulfilling their potential, despite economic, social and environmental limitations — this is a dream of mine,” she says.

We are all capable of greatness

Nabeel Allie | mg.co.za
Ziyaad Plaatjes, 35

Ziyaad Plaatjes, 35

Co-founder iloveza.com
iloveza.com

Promoting other companies is iloveza.com cofounder Ziyaad Plaatjes’s mission. He describes his business as a proudly South African online media, marketing and advertising company focusing on local businesses, entrepreneurs, brands and events. He fills iloveza.com with videos, photos and articles that highlight good things other people are doing. This gives local entrepreneurs more exposure and lets them sell their products through his online store, hopefully winning more customers, leading to growth and job creation. He also reviews cars, accommodation, eateries, tech products, movies and events to help people make informed purchasing decisions. “When I started iloveza.com, it was at a time when not many people were happy with South Africa because of the way the government was running the country,” he says. “The response has been phenomenal and every day, people contact us to assist them, and I find new, innovative ways to help them.”

Stop overthinking stuff and wasting time in the engine room. Start taking more risks that’s how you grow and will be able to connect the dots.

Lesley Stones | mg.co.za
Mandisa Ntsinde, 30

Mandisa Ntsinde, 30

Content producer
Zkhiphani

Mandisa Ntsinde is excited by the idea of making a difference in people’s lives, and uses her position in the music industry to do so. “What I enjoy about the kind of work that I do is being able to discover and give a voice to up-and-coming artists,” she says. As a content producer for Zkhiphani, Ntsinde writes music reviews and artist profiles; she also covers events. Besides providing a platform for young local artists, she hopes that she can play a role in documenting South African youth culture through her work. “People will look back at this era in time and recognise the richness of the culture,” she says. At just 28, Ntsinde was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Since overcoming the disease, she has shared her story with various audiences, aiming to reduce stigma and promote awareness.

Believe in yourself, and always put your creativity first.

Andie Reeves | mg.co.za
Karabo Legoabe, 34

Karabo Legoabe, 34

Operations manager and producer
University of Johannesburg arts and culture department

Karabo Legoabe Mtshali is operations manager and producer for the University of Johannesburg (UJ) arts and culture department. Her role involves producing the entire artistic programme including Building Blocks, a programme designed to bolster the capacity and sustainability of the country’s arts industry. “I would love for young people and children to have more access to arts education and the arts in general,” she says. “I’m passionate about producing work that is thought-provoking, groundbreaking and fun.” And it shows – a play she produced at UJ called Metamorphosis received nine Naledi Awards nominations. She’s also a freelance set and costume designer, and has worked on various TV productions and shows at the Market, Baxter and Soweto theatres. As a filmmaker, she’s produced a human rights documentary for SABC1, and has been a judge for the South African Television and Film Awards for the past four years.

You should be willing to work as part of a collective, but be prepared to go at it alone if necessary.

Lesley Stones | mg.co.za
Khehla Makgato, 32

Khehla Makgato, 32

Independent visual artist and freelance writer

Khehla Makgato shares his time between Polokwane and Johannesburg, just as he divides it between creating art and writing about art. A historical awareness of the resilient leadership of black women, and the century-spanning erasure of their tales, is woven into the tapestry of his oeuvre. Celebrating unsung stories of the likes of 19th century political strategist Queen Manthatisi Mokotjo of the Batlokwa, Makgato qualifies his intentions. He does not seek to save or speak for these figures, but rather to cast light on their legacies. Having abandoned a corporate path for artistic pursuits, Makgato looks to foster the talents of others who may be so inclined, offering workshops on the basic elements of visual arts to young people in his respective locales. He wishes to see more widespread appreciation of the arts from the general public, and wants people to attend galleries and museums in similar numbers seen at sports stadiums.

Trust yourself. You have the power and ability to do anything you put your mind up to.

Zia Haffejee | mg.co.za
Brenwin Naidu, 28

Brenwin Naidu, 28

Motoring editor
Arena Holdings

Last year, Brenwin Naidu was the youngest of four South African journalists serving on the World Car Awards jury. This is in addition to accolades including the 2017 Bridgestone Steve Dlamini award for excellence in motoring journalism. These milestones are not something Naidu takes lightly, admitting to often “waking up in a cold sweat” earlier in his career, owing to the magnitude of his responsibilities as motoring editor for the Sunday Times and Sowetan newspapers. While he gets to test drive new cars and attend industry events, Naidu warns that the profession is not as glamorous as influencer marketing might lead some to believe. As editor, he bears the responsibility of serving readers with automotive content that is incisive, unbiased, informative and relevant to the diverse and ever-changing South African market – something he takes very seriously as he continues to aim for the highest standard in motoring journalism.

Do not allow imposter syndrome to derail your projection towards your dreams and goals. Plan and strive towards them regardless of how unachievable they seem.

Sandiso Ngubane | mg.co.za
Lutendo Mugagadeli, 31

Lutendo Mugagadeli, 31

Praise poet
Self-employed

Highlighting and celebrating cultural diversity are among the aims of the multilingual praise singer known as Vendaboy Poet. Lutendo Mugagadeli describes himself as a custodian of Venda heritage, an addict of Venda regalia and a product of poverty. He can recite poetry in six languages, often over a hip-hop, jazz, soul or reggae soundtrack. He’s recorded four albums, won several awards for traditional music and performed at events across the country. “I’m trying to put Venda on the map to say yes, we’ve got poetry,” he says. In 2018 he released the single Muphuresidente, dedicated to Cyril Ramaphosa, which led to his proudest moment so far when he performed the poem for the president on a flight from Durban to Johannesburg. He’s driven to succeed by remembering the poverty in which he grew up. “It is my duty to change everything through my poetry deliverance,” he says.

If I want to see change I have to be part of it, and I must make that choice every day, both in big moments and in small choices.

Lesley Stones | mg.co.za
Jacoline Phalane, 30

Jacoline Phalane, 30

Co-founder and creative director
Jacoline S Designs

Interior designer Jacoline Phalane is aiming to grow her business, Jacoline S Designs, into one of Africa’s largest black-owned interior design companies. Her studio offers product design and project management services across the residential, hospitality and commercial sectors. As its cofounder and creative director, she’s already enjoyed success, including winning SABC3’s Win a Home: The Design Edition. Her fresh approach to design has also seen her work featured in magazines and adverts. Phalane was the first in her family to earn a matric and a degree, and is proof that education can change lives. She hopes that growing her business will create new opportunities for others and encourage the next generation of black women designers. “I hope my story will inspire them to know that their past does not determine their future. They can be raised in Diepsloot and become an interior designer for houses in Steyn City,” she says.

If the Americans, Europeans and Koreans can export their media and stories, there is nothing stopping us from doing the same.

Lesley Stones | mg.co.za
Aishah Cassiem, 28

Aishah Cassiem, 28

Investigative journalist
Independent Media

Investigative journalists are playing a vital role in saving South Africa, so Aishah Cassiem has an exciting career ahead of her. She’s with the special investigations unit at Independent Media, and enjoys her work because she can expose corrupt government officials and give a voice to the voiceless. Her studies towards a bachelor’s degree at Unisa will help her understand how government structures should operate, which will strengthen her investigations into state corruption. “If we do not work together to expose and get rid of the corrupt, specifically in government structures, we will not succeed,” she says. Cassiem also runs a mobile pop-up library in Cape Town, which she launched in 2018 to take reading to informal settlements. As a photographer, she encourages the youth in those communities to explore the media to gain more knowledge and imagine a different future for themselves.

Keep working hard, girl, it’s going to be so worth it and everything is going to fall into place.

Lesley Stones | mg.co.za
Kabelo Maaka, 26

Kabelo Maaka, 26

Founder and creative director at Cabblow Studios
Cabblow Studios

Kabelo Maaka is a 26-year-old illustrator, creative director and founder of Cabblow Studios, which she runs with her mother, Tshepo Maaka, the director of business development. As the head of the studio, Maaka wears many hats including administrative tasks and teaching. She is currently running an animation residency where she will give five aspiring animators the opportunity to further their careers by assisting in the creation of their first short film. Her own short film, 3 Teaspoons of Sugar, released in 2019, remains one of her biggest achievements, and gained international recognition with screenings at festivals in China, Nigeria, Germany and Scotland. Despite her international success, Kabelo is committed to telling South African stories and helping other artists do the same.

If the Americans, Europeans and Koreans can export their media and stories, there is nothing stopping us from doing the same.

Tshiamo Seape | mg.co.za
Faye Kabali-Kagwa, 29

Faye Kabali-Kagwa, 29

Cultural curator, arts administrator and writer
ASSITEJ South Africa

Faye Kabali-Kagwa is the Western Cape coordinator for ASSITEJ South Africa — an organisation providing children with access to the arts by bringing theatre into schools and children to the theatre. Through her work at ASSITEJ, the Rhodes University drama and sociology graduate has realised the importance of creating opportunities for children to engage with the arts, be it through books, theatre or other creative content, and the transformative role this plays in stimulating imagination, shifting perceptions, teaching empathy and promoting nation-building. She recently spearheaded a project called WhatsApp Theatre, starting with The Shopping Dead — a play the audience followed through text message, links and GIFs on WhatsApp. Hailed as a triumph by theatre critics, it’s an idea Kabali-Kagwa is hoping others run with. She is also an arts coordinator and curator of poetry at the annual Open Book Festival in Cape Town.

My greatest desire is to see all students accessing and succeeding at university, regardless of gender, disability, race and socioeconomic status.

Sandiso Ngubane | mg.co.za
Dali Luthuli, 26

Dali Luthuli, 26

Executive assistant
Jiyuu

Freestyle performance poet Dali Luthuli hopes his work on stage and in the classroom will lead to a more open approach to tackling mental wellness in young people. Luthuli is with an organisation called Jiyuu, which helps high school students express themselves through poetry to deal with depression. “We work on trying to get them to express themselves while using poetic tools to help draw pictures of what they are going through,” he says. “We also use the poetry sessions or workshops as support groups to discuss different coping mechanisms to tackle depression, peer pressure and bullying.” Luthuli wrote and self-published an anthology of semi-autobiographical poems called Bubbles, which includes the numbers for suicide and anxiety hotlines if readers need professional help. His biggest mistake, he says, was not seeking mental wellness help sooner, and he wants to prevent others from making the same error.

When I live my purpose of co-creating a more equal world, I know that only my absolute utter best will do.

Lesley Stones | mg.co.za
Musa Khanyile, 29

Musa Khanyile, 29

Clinical psychologist and poet
University of Cape Town

Building a nation that reads and prioritises mental health are two main causes Musa Khanyile is here for. “My day-to-day work as a clinical psychologist at UCT [University of Cape Town] entails treating mental disorders, as well as helping and educating students on all things involving mental health,” he says. He already has two master’s degrees – in clinical psychology and in English creative writing – and is currently studying towards a master’s in public health at UCT. He’s an award-winning poet too, having won the 2020 South African Literary Award for poetry in English, as well as the 2021 Humanities and Social Sciences Best Poetry Award. “I want to leave an impact on South Africa where literature reflects the ordinary lives of people living in the townships and rural areas, so that children can pick up books from local library shelves and see themselves in them,” he says. .

Your ideas work — trust in yourself and make others learn to trust your vision — because when they listen, everyone will succeed together.

Buntu Ngcuka | mg.co.za
Gary Hartley, 35

Gary Hartley, 35

Writer, director, editor
SCAFFOLD and CWDi

Cape Town-based Gary Hartley is the founder and editor-in-chief of SCAFFOLD — an online platform that hosts indepth interviews with queer South African artists and shares international queer arts and culture news. Scaffold is a one-man show, but that doesn’t deter Hartley from maintaining the space “dedicated to uplifting, celebrating and promoting” the LGBTIQ+ community. The former writer and producer for e.tv and eNCA noticed how the South African queer community leads progressive and critical thinking in the country and how this thinking is often showcased in the work of queer artists, so his platform aims to amplify just that. For Hartley to finally create SCAFFOLD, he had to overcome self-doubt and anxiety by trusting his ideas, instinct and capabilities. He’s learned to not wait for people to grant him permission to follow his goals, and is determined to build an online archive for the LGBTIQ+ community.

Be yourself and embrace who you are, because that is what gives you more power in this world. Most importantly, be patient with yourself, but do not lose focus of where you want to go.

Cinga Dyala, 33

Cinga Dyala, 33

Artist
World of Art Movement

Cinga Dyala is an artist and author residing in East London. Growing up, art and creative outlets were always seen as hobbies in her community, never as serious careers to be pursued. This had a profound effect on Dyala, inspiring her to work towards changing this idea and inspiring future generations of young people from her community to engage with the arts in a meaningful manner. After publishing her first novel in 2016, titled Sihle Tell the Tale, Dyala registered her own company the following year and launched a child development programme based in the Mdantsane Arts Centre. After receiving a catalyst grant, Dyala was able to start an arts festival for local children. Inkcubeko Yomntwana Arts Festival began in 2018 and, by 2019, had been recognised with a Top Achiever Award by Business and Arts South Africa. Dyala continues to teach, mentor and support young creatives in her community, aiming to empower those who will follow her.

I will not wait and see my country suffering due to being computer illiterate.

James Nash | mg.co.za
Neo Motsatse, 21

Neo Motsatse, 21

Musician
Self-employed

Classical musicians tend to think the industry is limiting for them in South Africa, but Neo Motsatse doesn’t, because she’s creating her own opportunities. She began staging her own annual Neo Motsatse the Concert events at the age of 10, and has performed at corporate events and the National Arts Festival, where she won the Standard Bank Ovation Award in 2016 and 2018. She plays mostly violin or the piano, but believes it’s important for musicians not to limit themselves to one instrument or genre. “Widen your scope and explore different things until you can culminate all of them into your own unique sound. You have to push boundaries and get out of your comfort zone to succeed past the ordinary,” she says. Motsatse also runs Girl Power SA, which she founded when she was 15 to help girls find their inner power and reach their highest potential.

I wish to advance Cyberstability. There is an urgent need to understand and strengthen the means of protecting cyberspace and digital rights as part of the broader array of civil liberties.

Lesley Stones | mg.co.za
Ayanda Sithebe, 34

Ayanda Sithebe, 34

Founder and chief operating officer
Actor Spaces

Ayanda Sithebe founded Actor Spaces, a platform that celebrates South African actors and runs acting workshops for emerging actors. He’s a casting director for several television shows and the director of the Africa Rising International Film Festival, which connects African and international filmmakers. The festival also focuses on women empowerment and youth development, while providing a platform for the queer community and people living with disabilities. Sithebe says: “I wear a few hats, all that aid in the development of our local acting industry.” He was awarded a South African Film and Television Award in 2018 for the work he does at Actor Spaces, and is working hard to bring respect to the craft of local film, television and theatre.

While anyone can be good at something with enough hard work, those who find pride and enjoyment in their work will succeed more than those who don’t.

Oratile Mashazi | mg.co.za
Graig-Lee Smith, 32

Graig-Lee Smith, 32

Broadcast journalist
Primedia Broadcasting: Eyewitness News

Broadcasting journalist Graig-Lee Smith attributes his determined spirit to the challenges he has overcome. “Growing up on the Cape Flats will prepare you for almost anything in life,” he says. Smith had to deregister while studying journalism at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology due to a busy work schedule and the death of a loved one. Eventually, he managed to return and complete his studies — his proudest moment. While studying, Smith hosted multiple national radio shows at the SABC and was then headhunted by e.tv. Next, Smith was a reporter for Eyewitness News, where he was able to practise his love of storytelling every day. Smith has recently joined Radio Sonder Grense as the station’s programme manager. Through his work and personal success, he hopes to help change negative stereotypes about the Cape Flats and highlight the potential of its people.

Trust in yourself and your ability to grow and change spaces and I promise you can achieve anything.

Andie Reeves | mg.co.za
Jeani Varty, 27

Jeani Varty, 27

Animation trainer
Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct

Although teaching was never something she considered before, animation trainer Jeani Varti has found her passion doing just that. After majoring in animation and screenwriting at AFDA, Varty soon started working on global projects, including advertising work for Lego’s Ninjago TV series and The Lego Movie sequel. Offers from animation studios both at home and abroad came pouring in and eventually led to a job interview for her current position as trainer at the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Johannesburg. Varti helps to develop animators, upskilling and getting them ready for the marketplace. Her responsibilities include teaching 2D animation fundamentals, visual development and self-management to ensure best professional practice. She wants to make an impact on the growth of the South African animation industry, which she says is currently exporting talent instead of telling uniquely African stories.

Follow your passions and bring more colour into your studies, work shadowing and chosen profession.

Sandiso Ngubane | mg.co.za
Andile Ngcobo, 31

Andile Ngcobo, 31

Founder and presenter
Siyaviva TV1

Andile Ngcobo, aka MC Pholobas, is a presenter on Vuma FM. He is also the founder of Siyaviva TV1, a YouTube channel, and Siyaviva Online Radio. “Siyaviva TV1 specialises in investigating African spirituality and traditional healers’ way of living,” Ngcobo says. The ambition to be an advocate for and give hope to those who were previously disadvantaged and marginalised is what drives Ngcobo to excel. Siyaviva TV1 came from the radio personality’s own journey to learn. “I was on a quest to find out more about African spirituality, not realising that this initiative would impact a number of people,” he says. Ngcobo has had an impact on listeners, and he urges young people to nurture their ambitions. “I would like to see traditional healers educated more about misconceptions,” he says, speaking of his hopes for the future.

Your life will change, ask for help, it will be okay.

Nabeel Allie | mg.co.za
Luleka Mhlanzi, 28

Luleka Mhlanzi, 28

Author, youth programmes facilitator, poet and actress
HeartNet

Luleka Mhlanzi is an author, youth programmes facilitator, poet and actress. She has multiple qualifications and is driven by the impact of her work. Born and bred in Pietermaritzburg, Mhlanzi wants to live in a society of understanding people that promotes healing and “celebrates diversity, not tolerates it”. Making the decision to write a book about the journey of her life and her experiences was one of her most noble moments. “My biggest mistake was thinking suicide was the answer to end my pain. I have never felt so deliberate about my existence,” the author says. Mhlanzi swears by living in the moment and doesn’t allow herself to sink into negative thinking. Her experiences — such as seeing one of her dreams fulfilled when she performed at the 23rd Poetry Africa Festival — are part of her decision to be happy and to not allow pain to consume her life.

I would like for South Africa to have a thriving classical music industry and I would like for classical music to be relevant and accessible to our society.

Lineo Leteba | mg.co.za
Goitsemang Lehobye, 33

Goitsemang Lehobye, 33

Opera singer and student
University of Michigan

Ga-Rankuwa-born opera singer Goitsemang Lehobye is achieving her wildest dreams. The specialist in voice performance at the University of Michigan says: “Performing around the world has allowed me to share my culture through my art. I also love being able to learn from others so that I can bring that knowledge back to improve what we have.” In 2018, Lehobye joined the Grammy Award-winning Minnesota Orchestra’s first tour to South Africa, in honour of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, as a soloist. In South Africa, she was part of the celebrated classic music collective Black Tie Ensemble. One of her goals is to inspire more local interest in opera by mentoring young singers. “When I was young, I never knew about opera, so I would love to see more young people learning the art form and seeing the opportunities that it could present to them.”

When things don’t make sense, that’s when God is working and aligning everything for your own good.

Jabulile Dlamini-Qwesha | mg.co.za
Katherine Couzyn, 30

Katherine Couzyn, 30

Regional head of digital
Havas Media Johannesburg

“I had a bit of a late start in life,” says Katherine Couzyn, head of digital at Havas Media. “I failed my undergrad the first time and came back to it at 26. That meant I hadn’t spent as much time building my career as others and had a lot of ground to cover to get where I wanted to be by 30.” Since then, Couzyn has made up for lost time. With active campaigns in five countries – South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania – she’s adapted her thinking to the nuances and idiosyncrasies of the different regions and countries spanning Africa. Couzyn points to critical thinking and a brilliant team as the keys to ongoing success. She also recognises that the only way to maintain a healthy work-life balance while meeting your highest goals is to build the types of teams that are supportive and collaborate well together.

I think the hospitality industry needs more representation of black and female chefs sharing their stories.

Anita Makgetla | mg.co.za
Megan-Geoffrey Prins, 31

Megan-Geoffrey Prins, 31

Piano lecturer
University of Pretoria

“One of the things which I am proudest of is managing to raise enough money to study in the US,” says Megan-Geoffrey Prins. Performing at his own fundraising concerts was as fulfilling as winning several awards while enrolled at the Cleveland Institute of Music. In Cleveland, he graduated with a master’s in music and is currently completing doctor of musical arts degree. Currently working as a full-time piano lecturer at the University of Pretoria, winning the 2019 Standard Bank Young Artist Award meant the most to him musically. “I already knew so many incredible artists across different genres who had been recipients of the award,” Prins said. The Riversdale-born pianist is wary of his awards overshadowing the work required to earn them. “When people read my biography or hear about awards I won, they don’t hear about all the times I auditioned or applied for something that ended with a rejection letter,” he says.

Trust in your capacity to be of service to humanity, and be confident in the fact that each soul goes through crisis and victory.

Nabeel Allie | mg.co.za