Share Their Story

Tlou Seopa, 26

Senior campaigner

Civil action groups are vital for bringing about change. The cellphone-based app allows people to flag important issues and campaign for change.

Senior campaigner Tlou Seopa researches and listens to community concerns, designs community-driven calls for action, liaises with other organisations and submits petitions to decision-makers.

The app turns individual users into a collective voice for maximum impact; it has run hundreds of campaigns, spanning gender-based violence, economic justice, police brutality, corruption and climate change.

“My proudest moment was getting an opportunity to work on a campaign demanding an increase of the child support grant to help put enough food on the table for children while they stayed at home during the Covid-19 lockdown,” Seopa says.

“When not only the child support grant was increased but other grants as well, it was a powerful reminder of what’s possible when we come together.”

“The only way true change can happen is by working with others, bringing together our different expertise to collectively make change possible.”

Author - Lesley Stones
Vhahangwele Tsotetsi, 24

Vhahangwele Tsotetsi, 24

Project Youth South Africa

With an ever-increasing list of socioeconomic and political problems to contend with, youth participation in civil society and politics is more critical than ever. Vhahangwele Tsotetsi has created the nongovernmental organisation Project Youth South Africa to both educate and advocate for the youth.
Tsotetsi obtained a degree in political science and international relations from the University of Johannesburg in 2020 and has gone from theory to action since then.
Through Project Youth South Africa, he would like to improve a dwindling youth turnout at the voting stations across South Africa, and show the next generation that their participation matters and will shape the prospects of this country. Democracies can only function successfully with large-scale societal participation. Tsotetsi wants to foster this through Project Youth South Africa and intends to play an important role in shaping a stronger and more engaged future for a country that needs its young to be heard.

I wake up every morning with a purpose of sparking hope back to our youth

Albert Troost |
Nkele Galedzana, 27

Nkele Galedzana, 27

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo

A horticulturist by profession and a community leader at heart, Nkele Galedzana is involved in a number of programmes that help economically disadvantaged communities. These include distributing food parcels and sanitary towels, and providing essential mentoring for young people.
Galedzana’s love for helping people, especially the youth of South Africa, is what drives her. From organising blanket drives and soup kitchens to tutoring and hosting career expos, she builds a strong sense of family with the young people she works with, many of whom are struggling with drug abuse.
She strongly believes that any situation can be changed, no matter how impossible it may initially seem. Galedzana says: “I want to see the youth of this country mentally and emotionally stable. A South Africa filled with leaders — not just any leaders, but selfless community builders. A South Africa filled with love, and a South Africa for all.”

​​Never underestimate yourself. You’re a winner, and you’re able to change any situation.

Shai Rama |
Mpho Buntse, 33

Mpho Buntse, 33

Projects and communications associate
Access Chapter 2

“Speak, speak and never get tired of speaking. People may not hear you, but invest time and intellect to convince them to listen.” This is Mpho Buntse’s advice to others.

Buntse has been an activist for the LGBTQIA+ community since 15, driven by the injustices to which people who live outside the gender binary are subjected. He writes extensively on contextualising erased histories as a way of demystifying misconceptions about the LGBTQIA+ community.

At a local level, Buntse lobbies for queer-inclusive legislation and has been part of the campaign to push the passing of the Civil Union Amendment Act and the Hate Crimes and Speech Bill.

He was invited to be a speaker at the Victory Institute LGBTQIA+ Leaders World Conference in Washington, DC, attended by more than 500 LGBTQIA+ affirming legislators, judges, academics, business leaders and activists.

Buntse now works for Access Chapter 2 as its communications lead.

“My biggest mistake is yet to happen — and that is when in my lifetime I do not do anything to protect the voice of the queer community.”

Simon Dey |
Kelebogile Makgabo, 34

Kelebogile Makgabo, 34

Director of policy development
Department of home affairs

Kelebogile Makgabo works in South African government in the area of policy development. She holds a master’s degree in sociology and has participated in the drafting of the White Paper on marriages in South Africa, the White Paper on international migration, the one-stop border post policy and the official identity management policy, and contributed to the drafting of the national policy development framework in the presidency.

Makgabo’s work takes her into townships and rural communities, where she feels that she and her team do their best work. “The work of developing government policy impacts greatly on people’s lives and I would like to continue seeing the work I do have a real impact on improving the lives of South Africans, especially women, girls and members of the LGBTQIA+ community,” she says. She is motivated by her two daughters, knowing that the work she does shapes the South Africa in which they will live as young women.

By developing policies that are embedded in constitutional principles of equality and nondiscrimination we are edging a little closer to a better world in which to raise our young women and improve the lived experiences of our mothers and grandmothers.

Luca Hart |
Kgathane Paulina Mamogobo, 33

Kgathane Paulina Mamogobo, 33

Director of trade and investment promotions
KwaZulu-Natal department of economic development, tourism and Environmental affairs

As director of trade and investment promotions in KwaZulu-Natal, Kgathane Paulina Mamogobo is responsible for developing the province’s industrial sector through attracting and promoting foreign direct investment and helping capacitate local industries to become ready for and competitive in the export market. Her portfolio encompasses all manufacturing and services industries across the province. She develops interventions to enhance manufacturing and trade competitiveness, facilitate global market access for local products and services, and encourage business retention and expansion through investment aftercare.
Mamogobo leads provincial stakeholder coordination comprising government, business, labour and civil society to propel economic development and create employment.
Lastly, she interacts internationally to attract investment and market access for locally produced products and services.
With a raft of qualifications under her belt, Mamogobo is completing a doctorate in business administration at the Gordon Institute of Business Science. She rates finding a career mentor as excellent advice for other young people starting their careers.

If I am to make it to the next stage or phase of my life I need to believe, know, walk and talk that I can.

Nelisiwe Masango |
Itumeleng Mokoena, 27

Itumeleng Mokoena, 27

Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies

Itumeleng Mokoena is an economist at Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (Tips), a think tank that develops research that informs industrial policy and economic development strategies, and facilitates dialogue around economic issues in the country.
Mokoena finds great fulfilment in this work, as he can see the impact that its research has had on strategic choices made by relevant policymakers and government bodies. Some of the work Mokoena has participated in looks at securing livelihoods through the shift to ecofriendly industries and uptake levels of frontier technologies in the fourth industrial revolution, as well as leading a quarterly bulletin on the performance of South Africa’s exports.
In his time at Tips, one of his proudest moments was being the first intern promoted to economist at the organisation. This promotion is significant because of the stiff competition for economist positions at Tips, and is indicative of the organisation’s faith in him.

Be confident in your abilities as they will take you to unimaginable heights.

Anita Makgetla |
Cebbie Wolf, 34

Cebbie Wolf, 34

Head of security integration

Cebbie Wolf boasts an impressive career that has seen her move throughout the public sector as an invaluable public servant. After matriculating, Wolf had a strong desire to serve South Africa, a desire that saw her start a career in the South African National Defence Force. Serving in the military gave her a unique perspective on the functioning of armed forces as an extension of democracy and also allowed her to continue her studies at the South African Military Academy. After completing her undergraduate degree, she pursued two honours degrees as an academic assistant within the military strategy department. In 2020, she joined Transnet as the head of physical security integration, which was yet another opportunity to further display her commitment to her country. In her latest role, she is set to continue influencing and advising policy- and decision-makers on issues relating to national and internal matters of security.

When someone opens up and allows you to mould them, to be part of their journey and to influence them, that is priceless.

Tshiamo Seape |
Chrispin Phiri, 33

Chrispin Phiri, 33

Department of justice and correctional services

As a department spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri communicates official government positions. As a law practitioner and communicator, he is in a position to influence the room from a young, energised perspective.

For him, the law in the private and public sectors is an instrument that can correct the injustices that afflict society, and he believes that public service needs young professionals who have the will to become change agents.

The feedback from citizens and communities regarding resolved matters raised with the department of justice and correctional services highlights the importance of being responsive and approachable.

Phiri understands that the law is an enabler of change in South Africa, but it is not a remedy for social attitudes.

“South Africa requires a cohort of public servants who are appropriately skilled and ethical, and this is something I believe I offer the state as a young person.”

Nelisiwe Masango |
Comfort Matoti, 22

Comfort Matoti, 22

Graduate intern
Infrastructure South Africa

Helping to fix South Africa isn’t as hard as we think, says Comfort Matoti. His job with Infrastructure South Africa has shown him that good things can happen. “It only needs willingness and dedication to action,” he says.
Which is good news, because Matoti is an intern helping to implement South Africa’s National Infrastructure Plan 2050. He provides technical assistance to identify and plan the huge infrastructure projects South Africa so desperately needs. He’s currently working with some municipalities on electricity, water, sanitation, education, health and human settlement projects. Eventually, he hopes to help to transform this country and its people.
Matoti has already learned not to underestimate his power to make a difference. In 2019 he closed his own construction company because he questioned his abilities. In hindsight, he believes he could have succeeded, instead of temporarily becoming part of the problem by not acting to achieve the necessary solutions.

Never limit your dreams, it can always begin with you.

Lesley Stones |
Anisa Mazimpaka, 27

Anisa Mazimpaka, 27

Committee member
Johannesburg mayoral committee

Anisa Mazimpaka works in the private office of Johannesburg’s executive mayor, Dr Mpho Phalatse. An activist and former student leader, she will soon run her very own foundation, which advocates for social justice through education. Striving for the emancipation of the disenfranchised, she believes it is time for young people to rise to the occasion to position South Africa as a country to be reckoned with.
When she was president of the student representative council (SRC) at the University of Johannesburg, the university council and the SRC were able to raise more than R100-million towards student fees.
In 2019, she was the first woman to win One Day Leader on SABC1 during the #TeamAnisaMazimpaka campaign in Season 7, with many of her counterparts from opposition student formations coming together to support the campaign.

“My proudest moment was coming to the realisation that there was no boundary I had not crossed, no social class I had not interacted with — all while remaining true to what I truly believe in.”

Louise van den Bergh |
Ashley Mabasa, 27

Ashley Mabasa, 27

Deputy director and speechwriter
Gauteng department of sport, arts, culture and recreation

Ashley Mabasa was appointed deputy director of research, policy and speechwriting at the Gauteng department of sport, arts, culture and recreation when he was just 24, making him the youngest deputy director at the time.

His diligence and longstanding efforts to advocate for the wellbeing of his community have led to him being entrusted with handling the MEC’s sixth administration service delivery commitment. As part of this work, he has thrown himself into extensive research on community development.

His concern for people’s quality of life and eagerness to positively impact South African society extends to his role as part of the departmental policy committee team. In this capacity, he takes the lead in setting the agenda and assisting with policy formation. For the MEC, Mabasa also coordinates legacy projects, such as the Sharpeville and West Rand heritage routes, to raise awareness about our local heritage.

“We need a new set of leaders, with a deep understanding of society and policies.”

Alice Sholto-Douglas |
Albertus Schoeman, 28

Albertus Schoeman, 28

Africa fellow
The World Bank

Based in Pretoria, Albertus Schoeman is a member of the World Bank’s Governance Global Practice. His work focuses on building institutions and improving governance, and he aspires to alleviate poverty and economic inequity in South Africa.

He has published his research in journals such as Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, and the Institute for Security Studies Southern Africa Report.

Schoeman has a practical and educational background in political economy and anticorruption. After his undergraduate degree in international relations at the University of Pretoria, he studied at the University of Nottingham for his master’s in political development. He received his PhD from the University of Sussex, where his research focused on understanding state capture.

Since then, he has gone on to work as an adviser to policymakers, government officials and legislators in several countries. In this capacity, he has focused on policy and reducing the risk of corruption.

“I’d like to see South Africa return to a place where the economy is vibrant and inclusive.”

Alice Sholto-Douglas |
Aluwani Chokoe, 26

Aluwani Chokoe, 26

Deputy director of parliamentary and stakeholder relations
Gauteng department of economic development

Aluwani Chokoe has dedicated her professional life to the improvement of government services in Gauteng. As the deputy director for the parliamentary liaison office and stakeholder relations, her area of focus is to provide information and support to the Gauteng economic development MEC, as well as developing regular reports and liaising with business and other stakeholders.
For Chokoe, it’s important to be part of a government that understands the needs of the people it serves and that it consistently delivers relevant services efficiently to those communities. “May the final hour meet us in service of our people,” she said, reflecting her passion for serving South Africans.
Chokoe’s proudest moment was seeing the Township Economic Development Bill passed into law. As a part of the stakeholder engagement team, she understands the impact this legislation can have on the people it most directly affects.

For anything to work, you need to put in the work.

Anita Makgetla |