Civil Society

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Nonhlanhla Bakasa, 30

Development officer
National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD)

As a person with disabilities, Nonhlanhla Bakasa not only works for the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), she’s also set up two of her own organisations to help disabled people thrive: AdoWord Multimedia and AdoWord Disability Trust. Her role with the NCPD involves the social and economic empowerment of youngsters and entrepreneurs, and her insight into the resources available helped her launch her two side projects. One major success came during the Covid-19 lockdowns, when many university students were struggling to continue their studies because they didn’t have the necessary equipment to work from home. AdoWord Disability Trust managed to secure funding and provide devices. “My greatest desire is to see a South Africa that is fully inclusive and accessible to all,” Bakasa says, “and to help people with disabilities become confident in their strengths and use their abilities to contribute positively.”

I want to see you women stand up and speak out, women no longer dying in silence and women putting themselves first.

Author - Lesley Stones
Zara Randriamanakoto, 35

Zara Randriamanakoto, 35

Postdoctoral researcher and science outreach professional
Ikala STEM

Zara Randriamanakoto can attest to what anti-apartheid revolutionary and political leader Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Having secured a number of qualifications and with academic awards to show for it, she is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the South African Astronomical Observatory after having successfully conducted a three-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the astronomy department of the University of Cape Town. She’s not only involved in mentoring programmes at the university and the observatory, but she also cofounded a global movement known as Ikala STEM. It is a non-profit organisation that rallies about 300 women scientists across four continents to inspire mainly girls and women to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “I am doing something that I love, which, I believe, is a key ingredient for excellence,” Randriamanakoto says

Lineo Leteba | mg.co.za
Geronimo de Klerk, 18

Geronimo de Klerk, 18

Co-founder
Feed The Future For Life

When South Africa entered lockdown in March 2020, Geronimo de Klerk was already working within his Elsies River community. Feed The Future For Life started community gardens in the area. “I started the Feed The Future food gardens, which supplies the feeding schemes. It supplies the soup kitchens in the area. It’s definitely working in the manner of staying self-sustainable,” De Klerk says. Since founding Feed The Future For Life, funding and resources have been a challenge. “With the easing of lockdown, we’ve been able to get access to more spaces and more schools in our area. We were able to educate and motivate other communities to do the same,” he says. Through this expansion, De Klerk’s gardens continue to grow as a job creator in his community. “It’s not difficult to stay self-sustainable. This initiative started in Elsies River, but it’s going wider,” he said.

Nabeel Allie | mg.co.za
Mnothowandile Cele, 30

Mnothowandile Cele, 30

Provincial deputy chairperson
Provincial Youth Community Police Forum

Mnothowandile Cele is a provincial deputy chairperson from Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) who wants young South Africans to know that knowledge and education are power. Her work has earned her many awards, and focuses on bringing awareness to gender-based issues affecting women and children. Cele was the 2018 Miss Eagle South Africa beauty pageant Warrior Princess, and a 2019 Forbes Under 30 list nominee for her work in community development. She is a radio presenter for MadibazRadio and ChapterONE Radio, a blogger for the movement Future Females, president of the International Law Students Association, chairperson for the Youth Desk at the Humewood Police Station, the goodwill ambassador for Yokhuselo Haven, an ambassador for the She Leads Africa organisation and founder and chief executive of the Clipped Wings Foundation.

Success is waking up each day and making a conscious effort on small wins that will eventually build up to big wins.

Lineo Leteba | mg.co.za
Lisette Oelofse, 24

Lisette Oelofse, 24

Social work masters student
University of Pretoria

Lisette Oelofse finds herself at the start of a new journey. After completing her law degree, she realised her true calling, “Africa, its animal life and its people”. Her biggest mistake is also her proudest moment, because despite not wanting to complete her law degree, she was determined to pull through and did so with high marks. Studying at the University of Pretoria, Oelofse is putting in another five years to complete her master’s in social work, saying: “If I spent more time researching what I am passionate about I could have already been working and doing what I love.” Oelofse believes it is important to learn from each other, and “it is absolutely free to learn from other people’s mistakes and wisdom. There is always someone who knows more than you do, so be ready to learn in every situation.” She also volunteers at Kids in Action.

Through my work I would want the youth of this country to be motivated, to stay positive and to get up and get things done.

Eunice Stoltz | mg.co.za
Luchulumanco Nanto, 26

Luchulumanco Nanto, 26

Finance and operations manager
Que Trade 100CC

Luchulumanco Nanto has a background in finance and accounting, and a focus on community development. In 2017, his role as a student leader and his focus on social justice merged to support an informal community in Cape Town. “My proudest moment would be when I was able to fundraise over R10 000 for the community of Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay,” he says. A Cape Peninsula University of Technology graduate and master’s candidate, Nanto currently works as a finance and operations manager. “I am passionate about community engagement and development, as well as social entrepreneurship, hence the establishment of my two companies, LLN and Luchulumanco Nanto Foundation NPO,” Nanto says. “These are titles that you have to work at least 10 years in the various fields to attain,” he says of his appointment as country director for the Global Youth Climate Action Initiative and Global Youth Network.

When you have the courage to go where you may feel like you don’t belong, you also open the door for others.

Nabeel Allie | mg.co.za
Karabo Sekgale, 29

Karabo Sekgale, 29

Report writer
Humana People to People in South Africa

Karabo Sekgale is a report writer at Humana People to People in South Africa, an international developmental organisation that reaches more than half a million people annually in South Africa. The organisation has been active in South Africa since 1995 and focuses on healthcare, education, food security and community development. Before joining it, Sekgale cofounded and worked for a leadership institute in his home province of Limpopo — the Bolobedu Leadership Institute. Through his work, Sekgale hopes to contribute to a society that supports the ambitions of young South Africans. He hopes to help empower other young people, especially those from marginalised and disadvantaged communities. Like many young people, one of the biggest obstacles Sekgale has had to overcome was self-doubt. He has since learnt that the best path to success is to focus on your goals, make the right connections and stop worrying about what other people think.

You are the only one that can limit yourself.

Anita Makgetla | mg.co.za
Grant Edmond, 30

Grant Edmond, 30

Executive director
Just Grace

Grant Edmond is the executive director of Just Grace, a non-governmental organisation that strives to unlock the potential of the people they serve. Through designing and implementing the organisation’s projects, Edmond aims to not only solve problems, but to also give people the tools to solve those problems themselves. Just Grace focuses on youth-related projects such as youth development, youth activation and learner engagement. In order to better equip young people for the challenges of the modern world, Edmond employs a holistic approach to education that stands in contrast to the status quo. With the overarching goal of creating a more inclusive learning environment and greater global citizenship, his vision is continually validated through all the success stories he helps to create.

Hard work doesn’t always get you the results you want but it will teach you something.

Tshiamo Seape | mg.co.za
Helen Aadnesgaard, 27

Helen Aadnesgaard, 27

Business development manager
Quote This Woman+

Helen Aadnesgaard is driven by her dream to leave the world more equal than she found it. She focuses her work on gender equality, believing it to be “the rising tide that will lift all boats” because of its intersection with race, poverty, disability and more. Aadnesgaard works on fundraising solutions and business development at Quote This Woman+. The non-profit company has a database of women experts who can be consulted. “This ensures we stand by our democratic promise that every voice is heard,” she says. Her proudest moment has been getting accepted to do her master’s in gender studies at Utrecht University, in spite of not yet having an honours. Going forward, she aspires to facilitate the growth and work of marginalised groups. “Hopefully, this will lead to decreased gender-based violence, closing the gender pay gap, and more women and non-binary people in visible leadership positions,” she says

I’ve always been so deep into programming that I thought I’d be inventing new algorithms forever, but I’ve found understanding and collaborating with people far more exciting and impactful.

Andie Reeves | mg.co.za
Salaminah Mofokeng, 31

Salaminah Mofokeng, 31

Chairperson
Life 4 U Foundation

As the cofounder and chairperson of the Life 4 U Foundation, Salaminah Mofokeng works on a variety of initiatives to improve the communities of Ivory Park and Tembisa.
The foundation provides disaster and poverty relief by running feeding schemes and caring for widows and orphans, providing them counselling, food and clothing.
It offers youth development services by helping graduates to improve their skills, find job opportunities and encouraging them to volunteer to build their communities.
Mofokeng’s primary task is fundraising and connecting with potential partners and sponsors. Her proudest moment was when CNN featured a project they are running, showing that their work is being recognised beyond South Africa.
She also serves as a volunteer and Gauteng ambassador for My Hands and Heart.
“I have a passion to help the underprivileged and marginalised people in the community, with a dream of seeing a prosperous, poverty-free South Africa,” she says.

Defining a lesson as a mistake has a negative connotation. Mindset is important in this game called life, and not having the right mindset was one of the best and biggest lessons I learnt.

Lesley Stones | mg.co.za
Olorato Moatshe, 21

Olorato Moatshe, 21

Marketing manager
The Sisterhood Club ZA

At 16, Olorato Moatshe started Barrier Breakers, a non-profit organisation (NPO) that provided sanitary towels and toiletries to children’s homes. “The advice I have for a young me is to never be afraid to be yourself, don’t shrink yourself and don’t apologise for being yourself,” says Moatshe.Currently working as a marketing manager, Moatshe also studies at the University of Pretoria. “Having people trust me even when I am still studying towards the qualification truly shows that I take my skills and talent seriously,” she says. Her work leading up to this culminated in her winning the Global Youth Award in 2018. Moatshe has since founded other NPOs, including The Sisterhood Club ZA, which aims to create a safe space for women to speak about the issues affecting them and offer career guidance. She also still delivers talks at schools, speaking about her own journey affected by rape, alcohol and drugs.

You don’t have to be the best at something to create work that resonates with people.

Nabeel Allie | mg.co.za
Kamohelo Ramaipato, 33

Kamohelo Ramaipato, 33

Youth and adult development facilitator
Columba Leadership Trust

As a youth and adult development facilitator for Columba Leadership Trust, Kamohelo Ramaipato’s biggest learning curve was spending time on himself. “I realised that I should put more focus and time into pushing for my own goals as much as I’ve been doing and continue to do for other people,” he says. Despite this learning curve, Ramapaito feels proudest when the young people he works with discover their true potential, evolve and succeed. Ramaipato works to transform school cultures through a values-based leadership model. “Knowing that my job allows me to directly speak into and impact the lives of young people across the country further emphasises the fact that I have a responsibility to play a role in moulding future leaders,” he says. Through his work and as a youth leader, Ramaipato wants to mentor young leaders who work towards self-reliant and self-sustainable communities in South Africa.

Keep going; the more you believe in yourself, the better and the closer you are to winning!

Nabeel Allie | mg.co.za
Ziyanda Stuurman, 32

Ziyanda Stuurman, 32

Policy manager
Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, South African Labour Development and Research Unit, School of Economics, University of Cape Town

As a policy manager at Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at the University of Cape Town, Ziyanda Stuurman’s academic journey has taken her to universities in England and the US. With two master’s degrees under her belt, Stuurman now works to turn academic research into the blueprint for actionable policies for the betterment of all stakeholders. When she was younger, she believed she needed a law degree to have the type of career she has now, but she dropped out because she didn’t feel happy or healthy, pivoting instead to political science. It’s one of her most valuable “mistakes”, as it’s led her to where she is today. Her proudest accomplishment is the completion of her book, which focuses on the history, politics and future of policing in South Africa. It’s a subject that has far-reaching implications and one that has come under increased scrutiny in the past year.

I want young people who are dreaming of being lawyers one day, not to do it because of money but to do it because they wanna help people and make a change in our communities. Let’s hold our leaders accountable. Let’s change the status quo. We are the change we have been waiting for.

Tshiamo Seape | mg.co.za
Lehlohonolo Mabaso, 33

Lehlohonolo Mabaso, 33

Project manager
Qwakanda NPC

“Trust the process,” says Lehlohonolo Mabaso when asked to advise his younger self. Mabaso, also known as Hlox Da Rebel, is a project manager, a spoken word poet and an entrepreneur. “The projects include building self-reliant and economically independent communities through small-scale farming and turning illegal dumping sites into food gardens,” he says. Mabaso organised a community-wide clean-up in his hometown, Phuthaditjhaba — his proudest moment to date. “90 Minutes for Qwaqwa Clean Up campaign has become an annual campaign for organising resources and getting the community together to dedicate their time to cleaning their environment,” he says. This is one way he helps township communities become self-reliant and economically independent. Mabaso was surprised to be recognised for his poetry in 2017: “My biggest surprise was when I was invited to perform at the 21st Poetry Africa International Festival.”

Buy that Udemy course. Save for that drawing tablet. Invest in art supplies. Get involved in the community as much as you can, and try to learn something new every day.

Nabeel Allie | mg.co.za
Karabo Malahleha, 23

Karabo Malahleha, 23

Founder
Asikhulumeni

Karabo Malahleha is a final-year student at the University of Cape Town and the founder of Asikhulumeni — a non-profit organisation that aims to start conversations about gender-based violence throughout high schools in South Africa. Asikhulumeni’s main goal is to raise awareness about these issues and to initiate positive change, with a special focus on providing young men with the critical knowledge they need to grow, think and make better decisions. Malahleha believes that this project is vitally important within a South African context, and feels that people are drawn towards ideas and solutions that can positively contribute to the future of South Africa. By engaging with the students on a personal level, Malahleha talks about how prevalent and damaging gender-based violence is. He hopes to dismantle the traits of toxic masculinity in high schools to ultimately put an end to sexual and gender-based violence in South Africa.

Passion is so important in all that you do, it will keep you curious, innovative [and] fuel your motivation.

Shai Rama | mg.co.za