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Mpho Manyisa, 28

Coordinating ambassador
One Young World

Mpho Manyisa has made her voice heard across the globe and brought about meaningful change through her own ambition and entrepreneurial spirit, particularly through One Young World.

This is an organisation that aims to convene the brightest young talent from every country and sector, and Manyisa is the coordinating ambassador for South Africa. One Young World works to accelerate social impact by identifying, promoting and connecting the world’s most impactful young leaders to create a better world, with more responsible and effective leadership.

Manyisa’s proudest moment was during her term leading and hosting the Future Economies Caucus in collaboration with EOH. The caucus brought people together to pack meals with Rise Against Hunger for 7 000 families across South Africa.

She plans to tackle the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in delivering quality education and reducing inequality among and within countries.

“Believe in your dreams and your ability to reach them and drive change for the next generation of young leaders.”

Author - Tshiamo Seape
Vuyokazi Futshane, 32

Vuyokazi Futshane, 32

Project officer: mining, extractives and climate justice
Oxfam South Africa

As Oxfam South Africa’s project officer for mining, extractives and climate justice, Vuyokazi Futshane coordinates initiatives that involve those affected by the mining industry, particularly women. Futshane’s experience spans social justice, media and communications, advocacy and research, and movement building and training.

Among these initiatives, Futshane’s contributions arise from seeking out opportunities to influence policymaking, placing focus on people-centred development, as well as shifting to a just social, economic and environmental narrative.

She is busy coordinating Oxfam South Africa’s climate justice media project, the objective of which is to defend community rights and to realign our society towards ecological and economic justice.

In pursuit of an equal and feminist future, Futshane envisions a South Africa where everyone is seen and heard, and where women, young people, excluded communities and sustainable design are active on the frontline of progress and reform.

“Have the courage to dream out loud.”

Grace Winkler |
Zanoxolo Mciteka, 22

Zanoxolo Mciteka, 22

Community development practitioner
Department of social development

Promoting the rights of women and children and combating gender-based violence as well as economic inequality are key focuses for Zanoxolo Mciteka.
As a community development practitioner with the department of social development, he supports community development through interventions including facilitating the No Means No campaign and the Stepping Stones programme. Mciteka is studying law at Wits University and organises fundraising through Unicef Wits.
He grew up in a family affected by poverty, substance abuse and gender-based violence and knows it’s the reality for many, yet he believes social justice is attainable. “I want the work we do to create sustainable livelihoods for the people who need it most,” he says.
His proudest moment was his first case of household profiling, when he identified needs and organised solutions for several families. “The joy on their faces gave me a sense of fulfilment and purpose,” he says.

One better individual results in better communities — better communities make a better South Africa.

I believe that social justice is an attainable dream.

Lesley Stones |
Tyson Mthokozisi Sithole, 33

Tyson Mthokozisi Sithole, 33

Trustee and chairman
Temba Bavuma Foundation

As the trustee and chairman of the Temba Bavuma Foundation, Tyson Mthokozisi Sithole is a product of opportunity, and wants to give other people the same level of access he’s had in his career.

He worked with the foundation to donate food parcels and winter blankets to over 5 000 people during the Covid-19 lockdown. These initiatives took place in Kagiso, Alexandra, Tembisa, Langa and other townships around the country.

Through his work, the University of Cape Town business science and senior leadership development graduate wants to level the playing field at a grassroots level through access to quality education, and the requisite infrastructure in township schools for learners to compete at the highest level and realise their full potential.

Sithole is driven by a “deep passion and purpose to make a difference” in the lives of young people in South Africa and the rest of Africa.

“Be intentional and deliberate about learning from those who have been on a similar journey.”

Lineo Leteba |
Thandile Chinyavanhu, 26

Thandile Chinyavanhu, 26

Environmental and social activist (climate and energy campaigner)
Greenpeace Africa

Thandile Chinyavanhu is a Johannesburg-based climate and social activist working towards establishing an intersectional response to the climate crisis as the norm. She places the focus on the women who are most affected by extreme weather events due to poverty and what their reality may resemble when factors like gender-based violence and the femicide rate are considered alongside environmental issues.
“I am happy to have the opportunity to work with an organisation as renowned as Greenpeace Africa. It has opened many doors for my advocacy and has allowed me to have enough resources to pursue it full time,” says Chinyavanhu.
Chinyavanhu holds on to the hope of a socially equitable South Africa where everyone can experience an environment that is safe, free from harm and conducive to a life of dignity. Working together, South Africans can achieve the goal of a society that is safer for women, and where environmental issues and inequality don’t further displace marginalised groups.

I fear for the reality of a climate collapse and the potential of its cascading impacts, but I have an unrelenting optimism in humanity because I have seen people come together for a common purpose time and time again and that motivates me.

Jabulile Dlamini-Qwesha |
Thokozile Nhlumayo, 35

Thokozile Nhlumayo, 35

Executive secretary
International Youth Parliament

Thokozile Nhlumayo gained recognition throughout Africa for her #NotTooYoungToLead campaign. She recalls, “This was a defining moment for my career because it meant the whole of Africa is finally heeding the call to give young people a seat at the table.”
As executive secretary of the International Youth Parliament, Nhlumayo is dedicated to advocating inclusive and collaborative government practice across the continent. With a particular focus on young women and the LGBTQIA+ community, her term of office has achieved international regard, from the African Union to the United States government. When asked about what she aspires to accomplish, Nhlumayo explains, “My hope is that in years to come, I won’t have to be doing this work anymore; that we will have moved on, that we will be on our way to gender equality, to racial equity, and there will be no need to do what I do.”

I envision a collaborative, inclusive and democratic political system in South Africa, free of prejudice and bigotry.

Grace Winkler |
Shadrack Mlambo, 29

Shadrack Mlambo, 29

Founder and board member
Project 2030

Shadrack Mlambo is the founder of a nonprofit organisation called Project 2030. Driven by the desire to change the lives of young boys and girls in rural areas, Mlambo’s goal is “to see a South Africa characterised by equal access to opportunities”.
The core mandate of Project 2030 is to produce 10 lawyers, accountants, doctors and engineers in and around the small rural town of Burgersfort in Limpopo. Every year, high school learners from these communities are selected for the high school programme. They are provided with tutoring, career guidance and financial support in applying for tertiary education.
In 2021, the organisation managed a 100% matric pass rate and sent eight out of 10 learners to universities. “My work seeks to change the shape of my rural town, then Limpopo province, then eventually South Africa and, potentially, the entire African continent,” says Mlambo.

I wish to see a world where young rural boys and girls have access to opportunities that can change their lives.

Simon Dey |
Rethabile Mosese, 34

Rethabile Mosese, 34

Admitted legal practitioner and deputy director
Lawyers Against Abuse

Rethabile Mosese is an admitted legal practitioner with qualifications from the University of Cape Town and the University of Pretoria, among other institutions. She is a master’s candidate at the University of Pretoria and the deputy director at Lawyers Against Abuse (LvA).

Mosese says she is driven to excellence by the knowledge that she is making a difference, and that the work she does matters. Through her work with LvA, Mosese employs an innovative approach to addressing gender-based violence (GBV) in the country; working in individual communities to strengthen the justice system’s response to GBV by providing holistic support to survivors, engaging with local state actors and empowering these communities.

Lawyers Against Abuse operates in three community-based centres, located in Diepsloot, Orange Farm and Hillbrow. Mosese would like to see LvA’s model replicated across all South African communities.

“It is a privilege to witness someone’s healing and restoration.”

Neo Khanyile |
Ntebogang Segone, 25

Ntebogang Segone, 25

Quantitative analyst

He may have grown up amid economic hardship and even been financially excluded from the University of Cape Town in his first year, but the odds that were stacked against Ntebogang Segone didn’t defeat him.
With a bachelor of science, honours and master’s degrees under his belt, he’s proved the importance of finding your passion. In 2021, he was awarded the highly prestigious Mandela Rhodes scholarship.
With past leadership involvement in organisations such as the University of Cape Town’s Black Management Forum and student representative council, Segone is a person for the people.
The biggest impact Segone wishes to have is to support disadvantaged individuals seeking career advice, which is the reason he created YourCareerPlug, a guidance service to empower young professionals.
Today, Segone works as a quantitative analyst at Investec with a focus on exposure to the various facets of the company. His goal for the future is to provide his mother, who cared for seven children alone, with her own home.

One of the best ways to constantly validate yourself is by doing everything and anything you want to do, don’t overthink it, just do it.

Louise Bell |
Ntombizodidi Mapapu, 34

Ntombizodidi Mapapu, 34

University of Reading

Ntombizodidi Mapapu is completing a master’s in climate change and development degree at the University of Reading in the UK, focusing on the interface between climate change and development, specifically on ecological economics. She is a three-time University of the Western Cape graduate, most recently with her master’s in law. In 2021, she was awarded the Chevening Scholarship, one of 1 633 successful candidates out of 64 408 applicants.
Mapapu has worked in policy and research for eight and a half years, largely in parliament, writing research briefs and preparing analytical documents. Her research was key in the implementation of laws, application of budgets, and management of government departments and entities. She believes there is more to life than what is presented to her, which drives her to seek a happy life. Mapapu says, “I want to demonstrate to those who believe that it can’t be done, that it can and will be done.”

Change starts with one person or a group of people believing and working towards a better tomorrow.

Ncumisa Lerato Kunana |
Lesedi Senamele Matlala, 28

Lesedi Senamele Matlala, 28

Researcher and evaluator
JET Education Services

Lesedi Senamele Matlala works as an educational researcher and is involved in various youth development projects. Through his work and research at JET Education Services he hopes he can change South Africa’s education system.
“It’s only through the development of the social welfare system and appropriate government policy that the disadvantaged may be helped and protected,” he says.
JET Education Services is an NGO that works to improve the quality of education in South Africa, regularly working with government and educational institutions and organisations. In his role as monitoring and evaluation officer, Matlala has authored a number of publications, and regularly presents at conferences.
Matlala also serves as executive director of Career Avenue and Education, an NGO that creates in-depth career exhibitions for geographically isolated learners. Matlala is a PhD candidate at the University of Johannesburg, researching how new technologies are impacting monitoring and evaluation in the public sector.

Learning something new every day is what motivates me to get out of bed.

Andie Reeves |
Lebogang Mulaisi, 32

Lebogang Mulaisi, 32

Head of policy
Congress of South African Trade Unions

Lebogang Mulaisi is labour market policy coordinator at Cosatu who coordinates and implements its labour market policy and the just transition to a low carbon economy.

As a member of the National Economic Development and Labour Council’s executive committee, she represents organised labour in the labour market chamber. Mulaisi is also a commissioner on the Presidential Climate Change Coordinating Commission. Her goal is poverty eradication through job creation that pays workers a decent wage.

Surprised by how much she enjoys trade union work, Mulaisi never expected to contribute to society at the scale she does now. Her proudest moment was when she was appointed to the National Development Agency Board by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2021.

Mulaisi is pursuing a PhD in economics at the University of Johannesburg. She realised there is no age to have things figured out, and encourages herself and others to be more patient and kinder to themselves.

“Be consistent and show up even when you don’t feel like it — it pays off in the end.”

Shaazia Ebrahim |
Karabo Mogane, 32

Karabo Mogane, 32

University of Pretoria & St Benedict’s College

Karabo Mogane is a researcher, lecturer and educator who is skilled in lecturing in Music Education, Methodology, Arts and Culture and Musical Arts Productions.

She is also a transformation, diversity and inclusion officer at St Benedict’s College, and an advisory board member at the National Arts Council of South Africa. She is focused on original, creative performing arts productions. Her studies have helped her acquire a comprehensive foundation in musical arts principles and music education.

At 15, she started teaching the recorder to children in her hometown, Soshanguve; the project was sponsored by the Unisa Music Foundation. She now teaches arts and culture to children in Mabopane, and the violin, viola and theory of music to children from Stinkwater. All her music students are enrolled for graded music examinations at Unisa.

Not only do I teach creative arts to my children, but also I get the rare opportunity to instil values in them such as discipline, manners, honesty and self-acceptance.

Nelisiwe Masango |
Dimpho Lekgeu, 27

Dimpho Lekgeu, 27

Community manager
Youth Lab

Overseeing social media strategy, creating online content and implementing community programmes are Dimpho’s duties at youth development outfit Youth Lab.
As the company’s community manager, the Johannesburg resident spearheads projects such as #LeanOnMe, a drug awareness campaign that teaches school learners how to deal with substance abuse in their communities, and Community Vaccine Conversations, which facilitated partnerships with community organisers to promote Covid-19 vaccine awareness. She was one of the 2020 winners of the World Bank’s Blog4Dev competition, an annual writing contest that invites young people to weigh in on aspects of their home country’s economic development.
Dimpho is a One Young World ambassador and has moderated discussions for organisations such as the African Centre for Economic Transformation, TuksNovation at the University of Pretoria, and World Bank Africa. She was also recently spotlighted by True Africa as one of 25 African women breaking barriers in male-dominated industries.

I want my work to help create an inclusive and participatory young Africa.

Zia Haffejee |
Beverley Siwisa, 34

Beverley Siwisa, 34

Chief operating officer
Afrizan Academy

As the chief operating officer of Afrizan Academy, Beverley Siwisa has dedicated her professional life to ensuring that young people in South Africa are equipped with the tools to attain gainful employment. The academy’s focus is training young South Africans to arm them with the skills that are needed by corporates, and then providing them with the experiential opportunities that get them employed.

Siwisa studied psychology with the intention of becoming a clinical psychologist, but went the entrepreneurial route shortly after graduating. From this experience, she decided to help broaden the perspectives of young South Africans beyond traditional work roles, and encourage them to find the right careers.

Siwisa believes the youth unemployment crisis is not insurmountable if we can meet the pressing need to invest in our youngsters.

“Taking the road less travelled can be far more rewarding if you keep your head down. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

Anita Makgetla |
Alistair Conn, 33

Alistair Conn, 33

Chief innovation officer
SA Harvest

Alistair Conn gave up his Qatar-based job in film and production, where he worked with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran and Cristiano Ronaldo, to respond to the dire hunger crisis in South Africa.

His idea was to intercept food before it went to waste and divert it to communities in need. Conn used his savings to start the nonprofit UPcycle Project in 2015, which was later invited to join the Western Cape’s greening initiatives.

In October 2019, Conn joined SA Harvest. The team has expanded from three to 35, with warehouses in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. Conn began as regional manager for the Western Cape, and is now chief innovation officer overseeing branding and media. SA Harvest has rescued 6.5-million kilograms of food and delivered 21-million meals to communities in need, with plans to expand further.

“If you succeed, every mistake will become legendary; if you fail or stop too soon, your mistakes are mere mistakes.”

Shaazia Ebrahim |