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Source: TYI

Growing up in Stinkwater, a township near Hammanskraal, which has been plagued with violence, Koketso Mbewe had dreams of becoming an astronaut.

But all that changed when she began to realise the rate of teenage pregnancy, the scourge of drug abuse and the number of high school drop-outs in her community.

It’s what inspired this 23-year-old chemical engineering student to co-found the Youth Leadership Investment Network, which provides schools with mentorship programmes, camps, and workshops.

Inspired by her grandmother’s advice to “commit to one’s task”, Mbewe is committed to empowering women, and finding innovative solutions to socioeconomic problems. That includes “adopting” 20 girls from her previous schools, and getting involved with charity drives like Pledge a Pad and Women in Engineering, which assists schoolgirls with engineering careers.

Her efforts have been applauded by many. After receiving the Mayoral Excellence award in the Tshwane North district for academia, in 2016 she was named one of the top 10 Social Entrepreneurs by Monash South Africa.

That same year, she was selected as a South African delegate for the Mandela Institute for Development Studies’ Annual Youth Dialogue.

With so much passion for her community, it’s no wonder her high school named a building after her.

|The hardest lesson I have learnt is rejection and failure are both part of life.|