Asisipho is driven by the need to contribute to social justice. She works as an Occupational Therapist in mental health, where her primary goal is restoring independence to her clients and equipping them to become active members of the community. Asisipho’s background in Occupational Therapy has given her the standing to become a firm advocate for equal occupational rights and opportunities for people across different abilities. She is also the founder of an NPO called 21 Daughters and Sons of The King that aims to stir up young people to become agents of change. Dedicated to finding and implementing effective strategies and solutions to global issues, Asisipho was awarded Best Delegate at Model United Nations III in 2019, where she represented South Africa.
Sisipho is from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, she is a youth activist that is passionate about social transformation and advocating for quality education for all. Sisipho decided to pursue studies through the University of South Africa (UNISA) based on its system of independence, affordability, drives discipline, self-directedness and autonomy. She graduated with a diploma in law in 2018 and is currently doing her third year in LLB (Law). In her journey of student activism, she was elected as the deputy chairperson in the regional Student Representative Council (SRC) at UNISA and Treasurer General in the National SRC. Furthermore, Sisipho has led in the provincial structure of SASCO of Western Cape as the Provincial Treasurer. Some of her achievements include undergoing leadership training with Activate leadership.
David is a writer, poet, social activist, and aspiring filmmaker. Born and bred in Mabopane, Pretoria and later moved to Kimberley, Northern Cape. His poetry was recognised under the Northern Cape Dept. of Social Development under the ‘Anti-drug poetry award-2013’. He participated in the Writer’s Summer school in Southern Africa hosted by the Sol Plaatje University (2017). In 2019 he formed part of 20 young filmmakers across the country in a Script to Screen project (SAACYF/ MultiChoice).
He served on several boards including Balang Book club academy where he is now an advisor to the board and currently serves as the Secretary of the Northern Cape Diamond Gays and Lesbians (D’gayle).
Lebogang Mahlalela is a researcher and activist. She is the Director/Founder of the Ubuntu Box Initiative, a grassroots organization tackling socio-economic challenges facing University students. She is also a Research Fellow for the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness based in Canada, as well as brand owner of Activist Apparel. Lebogang holds an Honours degree in Sociology as well as a BA degree in Political Science in International Relations. Her research focused on revolutionary politics, student activism and class divisions. Lebogang served as an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Pretoria in 2019. She received an award for The Ubuntu Box Initiative from the South African Union of Students. She is passionate about social justice and has held leadership positions in university organizations and has been involved in a number of movements as an activist and leader. Lebogang has an interest in tackling intersectional injustice in South Africa and the developing nations.
Thanduxolo is a lawyer by training and an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa. He is a qualified and accredited Mediator in commercial and court-annexed mediation. He is also a social entrepreneur and serves in various social enterprises, including a clothing and textile rural enterprise for women and a technological innovation and consultancy enterprise. He previously served as the Deputy President of the University’s Student Representative Council (SRC) and held various other student leadership roles. He was also a student activist in the #FeesMustFall movement, advocating for decolonised and free quality education. Thanduxolo is a passionate and patriotic South African who thinks critically and analytically about the socio-political climate of South Africa and its future. He has written several reflective pieces, some published in the Mail & Guardian and Daily Maverick.
Xoliswa Jwili obtained her LLB from UKZN & is an accredited Mediator. She is a passionate social justice activist from the province of KwaZulu-Natal who has dedicated her life to addressing social ills. Her love for helping people and solving their problems inspired her to start an NPO that aims to be the voice of the voiceless and ensure the vulnerable are heard. She is also the director of Jwili legal consultants, an alternative dispute resolution law firm that seeks more peaceful ways to address legal issues. Recently elected as the KZN ambassador at youth for human rights international. She seeks to spark a change in the country where everyone will be treated equally under the law.
As a film and business management graduate, Nehemiah specialises mostly in documentary filmmaking. He has a keen interest in the creative arts as a tool for social innovation and entrepreneurship. Born and raised in the Cape Flats, he believes society could change the narrative if all sectors can work together. He strives to create projects that deal with digital technologies and media platforms in remote locations in South Africa to bring awareness and to provide a platform to give a voice to the unheard voices of our country.
Mfanufikile was born and bred in Bulwer. He studied Theological Studies at KwaZulu-Natal Bible College and graduated with a Certificate in Ministry in 2013. He was employed by the KwaZulu Natal Department of Social Development as a Facilitator under the Behavioural Change Programme. He was nominated as an Exco member at the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council, under the committee focused on Land Affairs (Land expropriation without compensation). In 2016, Mfanufikile received an award for Best Community Service and Therapy. He is currently training as a national traffic police officer with Road Traffic Management Cooperation.
Surekha is a 23-year-old, recent University of Cape Town (UCT) graduate, having obtained her Bachelor of Business Science degree with majors in Finance (Honours), Accounting and Economics. She’s presently enrolled for a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting via Milpark Business School and aims to one day become a member with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. As a passionate problem-solver, she also currently tutors Strategic Thinking (an honours-level course) at UCT. She wishes to be involved in public policy–making and research at some point in her career, as she has a deep interest in the economic development of our country. Surekha values having a growth mindset to cope with the ever-evolving decision-making landscape that modern leaders are faced with. As an active citizen who values the democratic process, she’s always believed that she should embrace opportunities that help her pay it forward to better the country.
Vuyani is a Bachelor of Arts (Political and International Studies and Law) graduate, currently reading towards a postgraduate LLB at the University Currently Known as Rhodes (UCKAR). He served as the Legal Volunteer at the Cape Town Biodegradable Festival. He is currently the Vice-Chairperson at the BLASc and a Mentor at the 9/10ths Mentorship programme at RUCE.
Vuyani believes that we need to elect in regular independent working people in local government elections who understand the plight of their communities. Individuals who put people before corporate or political party interests to make government more accountable and responsive to the needs of their constituents, especially in Cape Town where he lives. “We must ensure power still rests in the people, with ward and PR councillors that will endorse and co-ordinate policies that are premised in equality, justice and redress”, he states. His interests lie in environmentalism, political ecology, public policy, and the law.
Yolokazi is from eXesi KwaMathole. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in political studies and International Relations at the University Fort Hare in Alice. She holds a BA Honours majoring in history, communications and political science. She serves as an assistant administrator in the Student Governance and Development unit in the university. She is a member of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) SA Youth Advisory Panel. She also heads projects for the Fort Hare Autumn School Alumni Board among other programmes that she is involved in. Yolokazi is an avid reader whose passion lies in community development, education and gender inequality and she prides herself in feminism. She is the former President of Enactus UFH, and is also an award-winning public speaker with Junior Chamber International South Africa.
Thabo Batshe is a literary activist who writes excellently. Through his work with NGOs, he helps high school learners transition smoothly into varsity life. Thabo drives social cohesion in Kimberley through fighting illiteracy by hosting monthly library pop-ups where many gather to discuss literature. The Pop-ups are held by Eyethu Pop-up Library, an organisation he co-founded. “A literate South Africa is a better South Africa.”. Bringing positive change to the lives of others is something he is deeply passionate about. He has worked with and supported organizations like 100 Kids to Varsity (#100K2V), Black Space, and currently works with Eyethu Pop-up Library. In addition, Thabo is a 2019 Activate! Change Driver. Thabo holds a BA in Communication Science from the University of the Free State and a Fundamentals of Digital Marketing certificate from Google Digital Skills for Africa.
Abongile is the Director and founder of YouLead Twenty6, since 2018, a company that focuses on youth leadership skills, literacy and business development, and bringing opportunities to young people as a tool to improve active citizenry and youth economic participation. Abongile studied a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Fort Hare, in which she was an intern student. Abongile was later given an offer to work as a voluntary Social Worker for Child Welfare SA: East London, where she served until she was employed by Nal’ibali Trust as a Literacy Mentor. Abongile’s passion for community development, reading and writing brought an opportunity to become an Eastern Cape Activator with Activate! Change Drivers Network since 2017. Abongile has also been a steering committee Chairperson of the Eastern Cape LGBTI Organization since 2018. Abongile is an active member of the Approval’s Committee for Small Project and Support Fund which is overseen by AIDS Foundation of South Africa in 2020. She love reading and writing.
Bohlale resides in the Eastern Cape. His passion for development and the inclusion of those who are marginalised motivated his work in civil society and local government. He co-founded a non-profit youth development organisation and he co-developed an initiative named “Sondela” that aims to bridge the gap of transparency and accountability between local municipalities and citizens. In the business sector, he has achieved many milestones such as winning and being a runner-up of pitching competitions by Standard Bank and the Daily Dispatch. He is also a grant recipient of the National Youth Development Agency. He is currently studying towards a degree in Development Studies through UNISA. He is passionate about being a voice for the voiceless and a beacon of hope for his community of Mdantsane, South Africa and the rest of the world.
Bokang Fortunate Phethoha is a young emerging farmer from Mount Fletcher, a village in the Eastern Cape. His education includes completing his secondary education at Mariazell Senior Secondary School. He graduated with a BA Social Sciences degree at Walter Sisulu University in 2017. One of Bokang’s greatest passions is his drive towards positive global transformation by strengthening social safety and security through psychological measures.
Some of Bokang’s achievements include speaking at the Speech of the Province Address in the Eastern Cape Debate Competition in 2012; being treasurer for Matatiele’s Mount Fletcher Academic Initiative (MMADI) back to school campaign for first time tertiary intakes; opening and closing guest speaker for 21 years of Democracy Debate at Fort Hare University in 2015; member of Walter Sisulu University Debate Council from 2014 – 2016; the head chief for ward 12 interviewing team for Water & Sanitation research in 2017; and he was a member of the Regional Strategic Planning Committee for career exhibitions in 2018 – 2020. What keeps Bokang motivated is to “never avoid the fear of the unknown, because it is natural but rather, overcome this, as bravery is to not be afraid but to overcome fear.
Iviwe is a second-year student at the University of Cape Town majoring in Environmental and Geographical Science, Industrial Sociology and History. Iviwe describes himself as a people’s person who is passionate about education. He aims to actively help in the development of a South Africa that is just and being a voice for equity. Currently Iviwe is a Jakes Gerwel Fellow, seeking to nurture expert teachers who embrace innovation and lead change.
Athenkosi is an activist, motivational speaker and awarded philanthropist who was featured by Beautiful News South Africa on the media 24 website in 2017 for his community development work and former Miss Gay East London 2018. Athi, affectionately known as ‘GAGA: The Gay of all Nations’ is a vibrant young man passionate about social justice issues. He is a third-year student at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) pursuing his second qualification – a National Diploma in public relations management. As a young person who identifies as gay, fighting homophobia has always been a cause that he feels passionate about. In 2018, Athi joined SHE, an organisation working on LGBTI health and rights. He is currently organising metro-wide events focused on LGBTQI visibility. One of the motivations for his advocacy is that he wants to show that people from the LGBTQI community “are capable enough to lead” in key positions and to fight patriarchy in the Eastern Cape. In addition, Athenkosi is the chairperson of the student movement Umtapo, an organisation that promotes ethical leadership and to fight the existing injustices while practising socialism and embracing the spirit of Ubuntu. He is a firm believer in change.
Lusapho is a student, education, HIV/AIDS and gender activist. She is an MC, panellist, peer educator and mentor. Lusapho is currently studying towards a Diploma in Clothing Management and Textile Technology at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She is very passionate about people and striving towards improving the quality of life, as well as the standard of living of the worlds dispossessed and marginalized. Born and raised in the Eastern Cape, her son, travel and sport are what keeps her going when she is not trying to save the world. Inspired by the words of the late Thomas Sankara “Comrades, there is no true social revolution without the liberation of women. May my eyes never see, and my feet never take me to a society where half the people are held in silence”. We should all strive to be active citizens who become part of the solutions to create social change in our communities.
Sanelisiwe is a 24-year-old from Khayelitsha, Western Cape. She is currently pursuing a BA Degree from the University of South Africa, doing a double major in Communication Science and Industrial-Organisational Psychology. Sanelisiwe is a Human Rights Peer Educator under Africa Unite and a member of Activate; a youth organization that consists of over 4000 young people, who are on a mission to empower communities. Sanelisiwe is a former Miss Teen Cape Town 2014 and Miss Khayelitsha 2014. Sanelisiwe is honoured to have been selected to participate in the Democracy Works Academy. She applied for the programme because she wants to sharpen her leadership skills and to get a better understanding of how democracy works. Sanelisiwe strongly believes in Michelle Obama’s quote: “You may live in the world as it is, but you can still work to create the world as it should be.”
Kelly graduated from Stellenbosch University with a degree in International Studies and is currently pursuing an Honours degree in Gender Studies at the University of South Africa. She is the Founder of Girls Leading Change an NPO that focuses on empowering teen girls to change the narrative through leadership skills, capacity building, and community impact projects. She recently partook in a fellowship journey through Apolitical Academy, a programme that is aimed at grooming the next generation of ethical leaders. She shares her experience in community impact as a consultant to assist benefactors. Kelly is currently a researcher for the National Freedom Party’s Parliamentary caucus and aspires to become a public representative in the next national election.
“I believe women create a healthier political climate and it is of utmost importance that women occupy spaces where decisions are made regarding the future of the country”.
Lesego Pearl Nkosi
Lesego Pearl Nkosi, born in Mabopane, South Africa was raised in New York City, attended junior high, high school and one-year at Baruch College until 2015. A 2019 GradStar Award recipient, Lesego is a Sociology and Psychology major at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth. She volunteered to assist students and teachers with test week at Elsen Academy, Port Elizabeth and tutored students with homework at NMMU. Since a young age, Lesego has had an interest in social justice and human rights. Therefore, she dedicates her life to self-development and helping young people. Lesego graduated with Honours and received a Citation of Honour Award for leadership. In 2013, she was awarded the Future Woman of Distinction by Girl Scouts of Greater New York. In her free-time, Lesego enjoys travelling and spending time with friends and family.
Chanel Thompson has held professional career positions in administrative support services for various small to medium enterprises in the sectors of business development and mining. She is a graduate of the Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development at the University of Johannesburg and is currently studying towards an LLB with UNISA. Outside of the workplace, Chanel holds a few titles one of the most important being a mother, a humanitarian, a feminist and an activist. She values truth and justice and believes in deriving strength from adversity. She enjoys reading about politics, religion, and ancient mythology. Chanel believes that we must restore ethics, passion and truth within governance in order for democracy to work for the masses. “I stand for free and equitable access to education, I stand for labour law, I stand for children’s rights and I stand for black women”. Aluta Continua.
In 2009, after completing his matric, Mboneleli received the opportunity to be part of a learnership programme in Development Practices (NQF Level 5). This augured well with his previous involvement in high school with various volunteering organisations such as the Children’s Resource Centre. Mboneleli has experience in programme development, organisational development, and fundraising. In 2010, the corporate sector came calling and Mboneleli was invited by the Mediterranean Shipping Company to be part of their marketing team, as part of their flagship learnership programme in International Trade (NQF Level 2), he learnt valuable lessons that he carried into the development sector. Mboneleli has expertise in strategic thinking, complex situations, is an avid learner, competent, relatable, organised, natural leader, and works well under pressure.
Njabulo Togane is from Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. He is a youth activist advocating for gender equality, sexual reproductive health and rights, and social entrepreneurship. In 2019, Njabulo obtained his Btech qualification from the Durban University of Technology in Public Management. He volunteers in different youth movements that aim to lobby and champaign youth-related issues. Currently, Njabulo is a member of a youth organisation called Source of Hope Youth Foundation – a youth-led initiative assisting in sexual reproductive health and rights through facilitating comprehensive sex education via the Primary School Adolescent Health programme. He is also a member of the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Youth advisory panel’s national youth advocacy group.
Njabulo’s skills and experience include strategic planning, resource mobilising and organising at a community level, and six years of experience in a youth organisation. As a ward committee member representing the youth in his community, Njabulo continues to advocate for proper healthcare facilities to benefit the youth on issues of teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and STI’s. Currently, Njabulo works for an NGO called Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PACSA) as a process facilitator, supporting young people in business startups.
Sinethemba is an aspiring African Community Champion, whose interest lies in youth development in the education and after school care sector. Sinethemba currently occupies the Branch Coordinator role at an after-school organisation, Ikamva Youth. He also prides himself as an advocate for social capital as he believes in the power of networks. Sinethemba’s story is simplistic, he believes that ‘there is nothing wrong about being ambitious, however, be ambitious enough not to change the whole world but the world around you because charity begins at home.’.