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Viwe Jingqi, 17

TuksSport High School and Tuks Athletics Academy

Viwe Jingqi is the fastest girl in the world in her age group over 200m and second-fastest for over 100m. TuksSport High School offered her a full athletics scholarship after watching her at the SA Schools tournament in Gqeberha in 2019.

When she moved to Pretoria from Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape she had to overcome homesickness, family tragedy, expectations and injuries — far earlier than most. “She’d rather die than lose,” said her coach, sprinter Paul Gorries.

Jingqi combines humility and raw confidence in a manner all of her own. “For a girl coming from Ngcobo like I do, being recognised and being well-known is difficult. It’s not going to last for a long time, so while I can still be noticed, I’ll grab it with both hands,” she said. If her run continues till the Junior World Champs, she might just have to eat her words.

“I want children growing up in disadvantaged backgrounds to always have someone to look up to.”

Author - Cameron Peters
Thakgalo Thibela, 23

Thakgalo Thibela, 23

Helen Joseph Hospital

Thakgalo Thibela is South Africa’s youngest woman doctor. She graduated from Wits University after matriculating at 15. “I was initially rejected by all medical schools, until Wits had a change of heart and offered me a spot,” she explains.

Currently an intern, Thibela has worked across multiple departments, including paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedics and anaesthesiology. “You never stop learning and you can never know enough. There’ll always be a patient who will surprise you, no matter how much experience you have,” she says. Thibela manages patients from when they present their ailments through to when they are prescribed medication or moved into surgery.

She hopes to achieve better quality of healthcare in South Africa. “The majority of South Africans are unemployed and cannot afford private healthcare, but one shouldn’t have to go to a private institution to get quality care,” she says.

“The road to fulfilling your dreams is not an easy one.”

Alexander Brand |
Thuso Mbedu, 30

Thuso Mbedu, 30


“Thuso Mbedu is a South African actress with a reel of work that speaks of a reputable performer on the ascent. Since winning a Safta award for Best Actress in a TV Drama, Is’Thunzi, Mbedu is adamant about growing her global presence. Her starring role in The Underground Railroad made her the first South African leading woman in an American television series.

Mbedu has collected a number of accolades for this performance – three Emmy nominations and one Critics Choice Awards nomination. Currently, anticipation is rising around her leading role in The Woman King alongside Viola Davis and a notable cast.

In 2022 she signed a first-look deal with VIS at Paramount’s international studio. This aligns with the impact she wishes to make on job creation within the South African industry as she expands her experience and artistry by creating, developing, and producing exclusive programming.”

I would advise my younger self to believe in what people see in you.

Nelisiwe Masango |
Semakaleng Mathebula, 27

Semakaleng Mathebula, 27

Hot air balloon pilot
Balloon and Airship Federation of South Africa

Semakaleng Mathebula followed her honours degree from Wits University with a formal qualification from the Balloon and Airship Federation of South Africa. She became the country’s first black woman hot air balloon pilot.
The Midrand resident’s perspective on her career path is grounded in the change she envisions for the local aviation sector. Mathebula hopes to pave the way for greater diversity and inclusivity in the industry by inspiring others to follow their passions in the face of difficult social realities. “Ballooning is the art of acceptance; it is only when you let go that the natural path destined for you becomes much clearer,” she says.
Mathebula wants to increase the visibility of her sport and is making strides towards achieving this goal. Her achievements have made international news — she’s been featured on Reuters and CNN’s African Voices: Changemakers.

“Do not shy away from the road less travelled.”

Zia Haffejee |
Rabia Ghoor, 22

Rabia Ghoor, 22

Creative director and founder

Rabia Ghoor is the founder of swiitchbeauty, a South African makeup and beauty brand. Since its founding, swiitchbeauty has accelerated in growth, with Ghoor most recently winning the Forbes Woman Africa Young Achievers award in 2021.
“I saw a gap in the South African market for a local beauty brand harnessing the power of social media to connect with its consumer – and so swiitch was born,” explains Ghoor. Ghoor believes in listening to the consumer and tailoring a product with integrity and quality. Social media has been a major asset to swiitcbeauty. “Social media is not a marketing tool — it’s a storytelling tool,” she says. “Content is much more to do with saying something than selling something.”
Ghoor is driven by the swiitchbeauty community and support from her family. She hopes that the South African makeup and beauty market expands.

There is a space for everyone.

Sarah Irwin |
Russell Abrahams, 29

Russell Abrahams, 29

Yay Abe

Russell Abrahams is an artist and illustrator. He recently collaborated on a capsule with H&M, which he describes as “my proudest moment”. The Cape Town-based illustrator also released a collection with Markham earlier this year.

“I want to inspire the kids of South Africa, and I want more people of colour to believe that art and illustration can be a career path,” Abrahams says.

He grew up with a grandfather who was a painter, who returned home with paint-splattered overalls. “Two generations later, we’re back to painting walls,” he says.

In 2021 he plastered his blend of maximalist colours and minimalist patterns over the FNB Water Tower in Soweto for Adidas, and created an accompanying mural for its flagship store in Sandton City.

He’s grateful for the professional success. “But most of all, for how the people of South Africa have gravitated to my work. It’s such a beautiful and organic growth.”

“I always want to outdo myself.”

Nabeel Allie |
Jaen-Jacques Nell, 23

Jaen-Jacques Nell, 23

Chief executive and founder
The CMF Group (Pty) Ltd

Jaen-Jacques Nell believes that nothing is impossible. He is the chief executive and founder of the CMF Group, a consumer services company specialising in IT distribution services, from e-commerce to B2B clients.

CMF Group specialises in turnkey solutions and has a successful retail segment, fulfilling 2 000 orders per month. Nell prides himself on the fact that his company offers affordable repair solutions without compromising on quality. He believes that with hard work, you can reach the stars, and this paid off when he was listed in Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 this year.

Part of his motivation to succeed is to help his close-knit team find financial freedom, and he places considerable value in the advice of his colleagues and staff. For Nell, learning is for life, and he strives to make a positive impact in everything he does.

“Be consistent and try to improve on your skills every day.”

Laura du Toit |