Education

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Nasrin Olla, 31

Scholar of Africa and the African diaspora
Brown University

Nasrin Olla is a visiting scholar at Brown University. Before arriving at Brown, Olla completed her master’s and PhD at Cornell University. In 2020, she was awarded Cornell’s Guilford Prize for the best dissertation of the year. “One writes a dissertation in relative isolation – alone in a library for hours on end. So, to have a panel of scholars read my work and enjoy its insights feels really rewarding,” Olla says.
In her work as an educator, she focuses on literature from Africa and its diaspora. “I am fascinated by how African aesthetic traditions can help us understand how we might relate ethically to the foreigner, the stranger, or the other,” Olla said. Her courses engage with ethics, humanism, gender and race, among several other intersections.
Nasrin’s impact continues, showcasing the creativity, insightfulness and imagination of African novelists, poets and critics.

Follow your dreams. Always be patient and consistent in what you do.

Author - Nabeel Allie
Noluvuyo Gqadu, 34

Noluvuyo Gqadu, 34

Technology is the key to unlocking all sorts of opportunities for the youth, and no one knows that better than Noluvuyo Gqadu, founder of CodeNgwana, which teaches children from disadvantaged areas how to code. “I’ve also written stories about technology for kids and have published three books, including a coding encyclopaedia that has been translated into isiXhosa and Setswana,” she says. Gqadu is involved in numerous initiatives that close the digital divide. Most recently, she helped translate the Massachusetts Institution of Technology Scratch Junior curriculum into isiXhosa. She’s also a mentor at the Miller Center of Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley. She contributes to the food security space in Nigeria and early childhood development in Kenya, where she mentors organisations and helps them scale. Gqadu is also a board member for Waves for Change, which teaches surf therapy to kids.

Our South Africa can become self-sustainable and we can create projects for job creations for our youth

Jameelah Omar, 33

Jameelah Omar, 33

Visiting the University of Cape Town’s upper campus with her parents, neither of whom had had a tertiary education, eight-year-old Jameelah Omar marvelled at its sprawling ivy and decided that she would one day study there — and she did. With bursaries for both her undergraduate and master’s degrees in law, Omar specialised in criminal justice before dipping her toes into practise. She soon returned to the university to teach in the law faculty, and to pursue the PhD with which she is currently busy. Omar coordinates the final year of the LLB degree and convenes the community service programme, undeterred by the administrative burden because of the module’s proximity to her heart. Social justice pervades Omar’s legal outlook. She advises non-profit organisations such as the Women’s Legal Centre, and runs her own educational initiative, Right(s) From the Start, whose activities include providing foundational legal knowledge to primary school children.

Everything that lives grows: if your idea is alive and true, it will grow.

Zilungile Zimela, 32

Zilungile Zimela, 32

When asked what drives her to excel, Zilungile Zimela says: “I am driven by the rural, marginalised and segregated child who does not see beyond the grazing farms and marriage as an immediate attainment of a goal for a girl child.” Zimela was a founding member of the Invoked Debating Consortium, the first debating society at Walter Sisulu University’s East London campus. The team went on to win a number of championships, including the Provincial Debating Championships, and, after pushing for isiXhosa to be a category language, she went on to coach the first team to ever win in that category. She was also exceptionally proud to be the first queer woman to receive the Advanced Leadership Silver and Advanced Communicator Silver awards. To have a positive effect on South Africa’s youth is her goal, and she wants them to know that anyone can be a person of consequence, regardless of their background.

Kagiso Kgomane, 29

Kagiso Kgomane, 29

Providing skills development and opening doors for young people is what drives Kagiso Kgomane, the founder and chairperson of the Ga-Rankuwa-based organisation, For The Youth By The Youth. It helps matric learners from disadvantaged communities to access higher education, assisting them with enrolment at tertiary institutions and connecting them to internship opportunities. Kgomane is also a youth hub manager for Activate! Change Drivers and a facilitator at Atvance Academy, which offers affordable training and skills development to more than 30 000 learners at 245 campuses across South Africa. He has assisted in launching community campuses in Lydenburg, Duduza, Ga-Makgato, Hammanskraal and Ga-Rankuwa, offering courses in occupational health, safety and business administration. Kgomane also helps former students to set up their own businesses. He has personally incubated two culinary ventures, helping his students to create employment for themselves and others.

When the opportunity to learn and acquire more skills presents itself, take it without hesitation.

Athenkosi Nzala, 29

Athenkosi Nzala, 29

Since graduating with a BSc honors in civil engineering and a masters in educational technology from the University of Cape Town, Athenkosi Nzala has gained years of experience in leadership and development from working with companies like the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, Investec, McKinsey and Company, Young African Leaders Initiative and Pearson South Africa. Nzala has worked with the Engineers Without Borders on the Engineering for People Design Challenge aimed at delivering a global engineering curriculum that helps graduates make positive social and environmental engineering decisions.

Beyond engineering, Nzala aims to revolutionise the way people learn, train, collaborate and assess online with Limitless Online Learning Solutions, the e-learning company he founded. “I see myself adding value to the youth not only through entrepreneurship, but through creating platforms for them to receive quality education so they can be empowered to create opportunities for others and themselves.”

Through my scientific research, I endeavor to nurture novel, innovative and translatable research that is locally relevant and globally competitive.

Glad Kaiser, 33

Glad Kaiser, 33

Soweto-based Glad Kaiser is the publisher and self-declared “head honcho” at his own publishing house, which occupies an extraordinary niche. Inspired by the story of the world’s youngest published author, a four-year-old American girl named Dorothy Straight (who has held the record since 1964), Kaiser wandered the yellow brick road to found Bala Books, which specialises in works by child authors. Its inception dovetailed with his team’s creation of the eponymous Glad-Kaiser method for assisting the translation of children’s imaginations into structured narratives, and which has resulted in more than 10 000 Bala Books publications in several of South Africa’s official languages. Kaiser emphasises that what we stand to learn from children is not childish, but rather childlike. His annual inter-schools book-writing competition caters to entrants from grade one to matric, with bursaries and publishing deals up for grabs.

I want South Africans to truly believe that the world is our oyster and we are allowed to think outside the box while remaining true and authentic to who we really are.

Leana de Beer, 35

Leana de Beer, 35

Started as a response to #FeesMustFall, Feenix is a public benefit organisation that gives students a platform to formalise their fundraising efforts, connecting them with communities that are willing to fund their education. Since 2017, Feenix has supported more than 2 000 students and raised almost R77-million.

Along with being the chief executive of Feenix, Leana de Beer is the chief executive and founder of WaFunda, which connects, designs and manages alternative education products. In June 2021, WaFunda will launch a youth-centric financial literacy product; showing how to manage finances and get out of debt. WaFunda will launch an ethical community loan for students in the technical vocational education and training space and aims to create something similar for refugees and migrants. She says “The work I do is focused on combining hybrid methods and approaches. We do social impact work but we do it by seeing ourselves as technology start-ups.”

Pursue your passion and dreams but most importantly prioritise your education because it allows you to sit in rooms and grants you access to people and spaces that will help you reach your destination.

Iviwe Mtubu, 20

Iviwe Mtubu, 20

Student and intern teacher Iviwe Mtubu is determined to fight the education system that allows poverty to hinder a child’s opportunities. He’s a director at SHAWCO, a student-led organisation that designs programmes to enhance township education, and is introducing a mentorship initiative for matric learners in Gugulethu with IkamvaYouth Gugulethu. Most township kids have few post-matric possibilities, lack academic help at home and may have poor mental health from the strain. To alleviate that, each student is guided by someone from a similar background who has triumphed. Mtubu is a teaching intern at an affluent school, where he educates privileged students about flaws in the system. “South Africa’s education system is very uneven, with race and money determining whether you have a better or worse schooling experience,” he says. He juggles all this while completing a bachelor in social sciences, majoring in environmental and geographical science, history and industrial sociology.

Striving for excellence is my way of giving thanks for the opportunities I have been given — and earning them.

Swati Dhlamini, 26

Swati Dhlamini, 26

Swati Dhlamini is an attorney with a passion for community work and youth development. Through the Ubuciko Youth Development Agency, the non-profit organisation he founded, Dhlamini seeks to help people in his community reach their full potential. The agency assists them through a number of programmes aimed at helping the youth and addressing social ills in the community through extra classes, basic legal and crime prevention training and entrepreneurship training. Through the agency’s first educational event, Dhlamini advised and helped 250 matric students complete and submit tertiary applications. Of those 250, 204 are currently completing their qualifications. This encouraged Dhlamini to recognise the importance of the work he does in the community. His advice for young people is to never surrender to your circumstances or give up on your goals. He hopes to see a South Africa where young people take an active role in leadership and business.

Be consistent in what you do. It pays off in the end.

Nomacala Mpeta, 29

Nomacala Mpeta, 29

Nomacala Mpeta is a learning theory and strategy game- changer, programme developer and designer, insurer of quality, monitor and trainer, among other things. Her pride comes from seeing young people who didn’t have many opportunities presented to them graduate from their programmes at Digify Africa and start working in the digital industry. The 29-year-old’s affirmations include her belief in God, His plans for her life and that she will become whoever she thinks she will become. “You decide how the story will go and how it ends,” she says. Living up to her title and her family’s passion for transforming lives, the head of learning wants to see the young people whose talents she helps nurture through the learning programmes “owning their destinies and using the devices in their hands, facilities in their schools and community centres and even the Wi-Fi at the bus stops to learn and upskill themselves”.

I’d like to see South African schools introduce and implement learning that leads to opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.

Merle Mansfield, 33

Merle Mansfield, 33

Merle Mansfield started her schooling career with over 300 fellow grade eights, but matriculated in a class of just 53. “At the time, this was not significant to anyone, including me,” she says. Now Mansfield is committed to tackling the normalisation of dropping out of school in South Africa. She is the programme director for the Zero Dropout Campaign at the DG Murray Trust. What began as a research project in 2015 has since grown into a national advocacy campaign. “Our goal is to halve South Africa’s dropout rate by 2030 by spurring individual and collective ownership of the problem,” Mansfield says. It is the resilience of South African students that inspires her. “Many learners’ lives are filled with deep turmoil and trauma, yet a commitment to education and school persists,” she says. Through her work, she hopes to give students the chance to enjoy learning — and stay in school.

Work hard. Everything worth having requires a little bit of hard work.

Michelle Nkamankeng, 12

Michelle Nkamankeng, 12

Michelle Nkamankeng is a truly astounding young girl. She published her first book at the age of seven, making her the youngest published author in South Africa and Africa, and one of the youngest 10 published authors globally. Now, at the age of 12, she has three published books. She’s also a youth activist and an advocate, a philanthropist and a motivational speaker.

Nkamankeng’s love for books and reading was nurtured at a young age and that gave her the encouragement and tools to start writing from the age of six. Through her advocacy work and her namesake foundation, she hopes to encourage other children to embrace their passions and to help them access the tools to do so. She believes that we need to build a world that makes it easier for more children like her to reach their creative goals and build their own legacies.

10 years from now, you won’t recall the sleepless nights, missed events or steep sacrifices. You will, however, reap the rewards and revel in the success as a result of those sacrifices.

Lindsay Moshesh-Van der Byl, 35

Lindsay Moshesh-Van der Byl, 35

Linzito Inspires is a company created by Lindsay Moshesh-Van der Byl, a motivational speaker committed to arts, culture, sports and fitness. He wants to inspire people to grow beyond their circumstances and become the best versions of themselves. One of his greatest passions is literacy — in a country where 78% of grade four learners cannot read for comprehension. “I’ve dedicated my life to this particular problem by cycling every year from the Union Buildings in Pretoria through the hinterlands, promoting the love of books and reading through my other organisation, called #Cycle4Change,” he says. One highlight was cycling 502km from Johannesburg to Babanango in KwaZulu-Natal to donate 50 boxes of books to the community. #Cycle4Change also helps to build libraries in rural areas to help raise literacy in South Africa to match First World countries. Moshesh-Van der Byl’s third project is #CoachLinzito, which runs cycling, running and other cardio classes.

Until the kind of society we wish to live in has manifested, our role is to constantly build it to be what we want it to be, and to conscientise our people to understand that they, too, are worthy.

Jaden Corker, 19

Jaden Corker, 19

Jaden Corker is a second-year university student who wants to graduate so he can teach high school education. But he is already working to ensure young people have access to better education. During the pandemic, Corker sent an email to the Western Cape department of education and asked if he could volunteer at a school in the area, tutoring the matrics in mathematics. Corker was appointed as an education assistant as part of the presidential employment initiative. He is now a grade eight and nine mathematics tutor, all the while keeping up with his academic studies. Corker says his proudest moments are seeing his learners’ faces light up whenever he walks into class, and seeing them dedicated to their mathematics. He says: “I want every child in South Africa to take responsibility for their education, and remove the stigma behind maths being a ‘difficult’ subject.”

As long as you are disciplined and make the necessary sacrifices, it will all work out.

Zanele Maduna, 28

Zanele Maduna, 28

This 28-year-old has no fear and is determined to break the poverty cycle with education. Zanele Maduna is the founder and chief executive of No Valo Holdings. It provides coaching support, mentorship programmes and e-learning services to university students and young professionals to help them through their career journey. “I was that child in the township with hope but no guidance… I want them to say ‘I did it because of the support I received [from] No Valo’,” she says.

Maduna is also a senior fund accountant at BNP Paribas. Her greatest achievement is coaching students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and says she was mostly surprised by how at home she felt as a lecturer compared to her day job in the corporate world. The chartered accountant works with certified coaches and mentors at No Valo Holdings, and wants to instill the young with faith in their journey.

Make sacrifices when there is a need to and always believe in the things you cannot see as yet.

Frans Lesetja, 30

Frans Lesetja, 30

Frans Lesetja is a social worker from Ga-Maja village in Limpopo who wants to see more learners furthering their studies without difficulty and graduating to become employable citizens. He works with vulnerable and often orphaned children. “My work includes placing them with foster parents through court order, supervising their placement, conducting life skills and parenting programmes, providing psychosocial services such as counselling, motivating learners at school, and conducting campaigns on issues affecting learners such as substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and bullying,” he says. Lesetja started his practice, Manthosi Training and Social Consulting, to create the change he wants to see. “I want to contribute to local research within social work and influence policies about children in need of care and protection,” he says.

My purpose in life is to make the world a better place through the skills and knowledge that I have been lucky enough to have.

Grace Sibanda, 24

Grace Sibanda, 24

Grace Sibanda started a non-profit organisation that seeks to empower the more vulnerable children in our communities through education, entrepreneurship and skills development. By creating opportunities such as spelling bees, leadership programmes and the planned establishment of a community centre, the Window of Heaven Foundation seeks to create an environment that nurtures and encourages children to dream and achieve more. In just a few years, Sibanda learnt much about managing organisational structures to best achieve her goals. These lessons have taught her that a strong work ethic is a key factor in success and, especially in the volunteer space, can make or break a project. In her growing capacity as a social entrepreneur, and along with a strong connection to God, Sibanda’s life centres on peace, purpose and unconditional love for others. With these as the core tenets for living and working, she believes we can all achieve unlimited focus and happiness.

Love what you do, stick to your own roots, and love and appreciate your culture.

Aldridge Munyoro, 32

Aldridge Munyoro, 32

Growing up with albinism in South Africa, Aldridge Munyoro endured years of struggle and discrimination. Now he is driven by that experience to change lives and create a better society. “You are a seed, and when life’s tribulations try to bury you is when you start to blossom,” he says. Munyoro worked as a security guard in his early life, and when he graduated from Wits with an MA in development studies, it felt “too good to be true”. Now he is a champion in the field of fighting the stigma around albinism. He was recently accepted as a fellow at the non-profit Tekano, working in the field of health equity. Among other projects, he is involved in the CanBe campaign, which helps learners with albinism succeed at school. “There is nothing more fulfilling in life than making a difference in other people’s lives,” he says.

I am helping build a South Africa that is concerned about wealth creation and sustainability, a country that understands that every decision is a financial decision.

Bulelani Jili, 28

Bulelani Jili, 28

Driven by the rapid advancement of global surveillance technology, Bulelani Jili plays an integral role in emphasising the need for adequate checks and balances to strengthen regulatory frameworks and cybersecurity to protect citizens in Africa. “The continued and trained inability to acknowledge the relations that produce precarity in postcolonial societies is shocking,” he says. As a Harvard University PhD Oppenheimer graduate fellow in African Studies, he was recently asked to join a research initiative on the proposed America Leads Act, to counter digital surveillance incursion and help civil society in Africa adequately deal with surveillance. His research interests include Africa-China relations, cybersecurity, ICT development, Africa’s political economy and internet policy. He is a policy member on the Harvard Covid-19 taskforce and he mentors in the Greener Scott Scholars Program. Jili urges young people to consistently advocate for themselves and their work.

Make sacrifices when there is a need to and always believe in the things you cannot see as yet.

Chumile Samson, 31

Chumile Samson, 31

Chumile Samson is a PhD candidate in political science at Stellenbosch University, where he completed his honours in international studies. He serves as the head of communications for the South African Youth for International Diplomacy alongside his studies. “As head of communication and member of the selection committee, my mandate is the recruitment and training of South African youth delegates to represent South Africa in various youth summits,” Samson says.
A member of the International Youth Council, founded by the United Nations in 2007, Chumile has found himself in work environments where he undermined his abilities. “Whenever I am in doubt I should always strive to leverage others’ expertise and experience and not strive to work in silo,” Samson reflects, after working as a global management trainee in 2019. “Through my work I want to see a South Africa free of unemployment, inequality and poverty.”

I want to see a psychology that speaks my language and embodies my culture so that psychological interventions can be relevant to Africans – and I hope the same for all indigenous communities

Lazarus Kgageng, 20

Lazarus Kgageng, 20

Community is everything for Lazarus Kgageng and he created the Thola Lesedi Foundation in 2016 when he was in grade 10. Starting the Pens Up career exhibition was his next step: inviting various professionals to share their experiences in their respective fields with high school learners. The Into Varsity project was perhaps his most ambitious endeavour – helping nearly 400 matriculants apply for tertiary education in 2020 – but for him, the yearly Beacons of Hope gift donations hold special significance. “Knowing that my community and my team was able to make those children’s Christmas memorable is something that makes me proud to this day,” he says. Kgageng attributes his drive to help others to the tragic passing of his sister in 2014. Although he is still studying at Rhodes University, his mission remains to help every child reach their full potential.

I want to see my country and its citizens flourishing, and I know that if I support those that want to learn how to make that a reality through psychology, then I’m doing what I am supposed to do.

Lebogang Diale, 30

Lebogang Diale, 30

Democratising education in South Africa is the task Lebogang Diale has set himself. As the cofounder and executive director of Gradesmatch, an ed-tech company using big data and artificial intelligence to create tools and technologies, Diale is helping young people and their families to make good decisions regarding their careers. His goal is to enable the journey from education to employment or entrepreneurship so young people can improve their prospects and realise their dreams. Diale completed a business science degree and followed it up with an engineering bachelor’s in electro-mechanical engineering, both from the University of Cape Town. He says his proudest achievement is seeing how Gradesmatch was able to assist thousands of students in 2020, and has grown from supporting 34 students in 2018 to more than 7 000 three years later. He is passionate about solving problems that will have an impact on people’s lives for decades to come.

I want to create a blueprint for the township to transform into the future self it needs to be.

Boitumelo Ramatsetse, 31

Boitumelo Ramatsetse, 31

Boitumelo Ramatsetse has worked for almost a decade as a lecturer specialising in mechanical engineering design and manufacturing. Preparing students for the industry, Ramatsetse says: “Practical assessments are fundamental in creating a learning-friendly environment that allows students to innovate and also think beyond what they learned in the classroom.” Ramatsetse’s proudest moment was when he designed and developed a reconfigurable vibrating screen (RVS) – an innovative machine designed to screen mineral particles of varying sizes and volumes. It is a first-of-its-kind solution and is locally manufactured in South Africa. Through his upcoming work, he wants to build on the success and fulfillment he has already experienced as a lecturer. “I believe that the RVS machine that I designed and developed will increase the manufacturing and screening activities in the South African mining and construction industries,” he says, adding that this will in turn contribute to GDP growth and meaningful job creation

Dream big, develop a well-researched plan of how to attain your dream and work on it, step by step.

Itumeleng Mohanoe, 32

Itumeleng Mohanoe, 32

Affectionately known as Coach Itu, Itumeleng Mohanoe is the cofounder and chief executive of the Coach Itu Academy. As a debating coach, Mohanoe travels with teams throughout Africa and the world. His proudest moment in these travels was making it possible for an all-black South African debating team to win a debating competition in Europe. Working in education and working with youth, making an impact is meaningful for Mohanoe. “Waking up knowing that I am helping to shape South Africa’s brightest minds drives me to excel,” he says. Mohanoe, who also works as the head coach for Tanzania’s national debating team, is a servant of African youth. He runs the Pan-African Schools’ Debating Council, coordinating debates that high school learners participate in throughout Africa. Through this organisation and other platforms, Mohanoe connects the continent’s brightest minds with the rest of the world.

You are not too young to make a difference in your community.

Dzivhu Mavhungu, 32

Dzivhu Mavhungu, 32

As a self-described “skillspreneur”, Dzivhu Mavhungu is in the business of building the potential of young people, nurturing the skills and experiences that will support them throughout their careers. Through his business EarlyCareers, and by undertaking a PhD at the University of Johannesburg that is centred on strategies for the improvement of generation Z’s career trajectories, Mavhungu seeks to ensure the employability and long-term retention of young people in corporate workplaces. Through EarlyCareers, Mavhungu coordinates early career programmes such as industry-aligned and allied bursaries, internship opportunities and graduate programmes. Beyond the success of his own business and studies, Mavhungu feels deep satisfaction knowing his work ensures the futures and livelihoods of so many young people. His proudest moment? When a participant in one of his graduate programmes was hired directly into a managerial position. For him, this was a testament to the importance and relevance of his work.

My advice to my younger self, is the advice I followed exactly 10 years ago when it seemed impossible to start a business at 17, I did it and here I am.

Gugulethu Radebe, 26

Gugulethu Radebe, 26

Gugulethu Radebe juggles two jobs, both helping young people to get ahead in life. As the youth programmes coordinator at IKhaya LeLanga, she works with young men from Langa who are vulnerable to socioeconomic exclusion in their society. She’s also the founding director of GALE, the Girls Advocacy, Leadership and Education programme that educates girls and women aged 14-21 about leadership, community empowerment, human rights and advocacy. Working with educational experts, she developed a curriculum to offer academic support, leadership training and opportunities to hone their skills in safe environments. Establishing GALE took courage, because she’d doubted her ability to run something of her own, but she went to a school that believed in her, and found mentors who nurtured her potential. “My dream was to offer these experiences to girls who might not be as lucky,” Radebe says. She’s also involved with Edtech Global Africa, helping educators integrate technology into their classrooms.

I would like to see an inclusion of mental health services in sports across all sporting codes and competitive levels.

John Molepo, 31

John Molepo, 31

John Molepo has dedicated his professional career to good governance and promoting effective service delivery. He is a senior lecturer and programme leader for the public administration department at the University of Mpumalanga. In this capacity, alongside his executive directorship of the South African Association of Public Administration and Management, he seeks to elevate professionalism, scholarship and practice as they pertain to public administration. In his personal capacity, Molepo founded Thusangwanageno, which translates to “help your brethren” and is a programme intended to assist students across the country. Through this initiative, more than 600 students have received assistance through tuition and registration fees, driver’s and learner’s licence fees, facility refurbishments and mini-library donations. Through his work, he wants to see more young South Africans achieve their goals, and hopes to be able to say that he contributed to a better South Africa.

The greatest impact would be seeing the township economy in the hands of the township youth.

Mlamuli Mbambo, 35

Mlamuli Mbambo, 35

The financial statistics for the average African are horrifying, says financial adviser Mlamuli Mbambo. He founded Money Fundi to provide people with financial education to improve their relationship with money and the skills to achieve financial wellbeing. “I want to see entrepreneurs and businesses become financially sustainable, young people building income-generating assets, and South Africans living within responsible debt levels before retiring comfortably,” he says. That’s a big wish list, which he tackles through fun and interactive talks, masterclasses and workshops. He also wrote the book Winning the Money Game, A Guide to Financial Well-Being, telling a story with financial lessons. During the Covid-19 lockdown, he extended his reach with his YouTube channel, Winning the Money Game. Mbambo is the commissioner of financial literacy at the Reset Global United Nations Advisory Board, and in 2019 was chosen to attend the Tokyo International Conference on African Development.

At some point you need to give yourself permission to live your own dream.

Cyril Madiba, 34

Cyril Madiba, 34

A chartered accountant working as a senior finance specialist in Absa Group’s financial control unit, Cyril Madiba combines his banking career with involvement in a variety of bursary providers, youth coaching programmes and mentorship initiatives. Alongside his role as the chairperson of the Cyril Ramaphosa Education Trust advisory board, Madiba commits his time to his own philanthropic organisations, explaining: “I came from an environment where the family struggled to make ends meet, but through education, I have been able to break that cycle in my family and inspire others.” Driven by this, Madiba founded The Growth Switch — a career and personal development organisation — and the Cyril Madiba Empowerment Foundation, which focuses on mentorship initiatives for unemployed graduates and young professionals. He has published two books and was recognised as one of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Top 35 under 35 finalists in 2020.

There is not a single thing I stand for that doesn’t affect me.