Older generation calls us the degenerate generation – the low hung jeans and promiscuous sex generation, the want-to-be-CEOs-with-no-work generation.
We reject this stereotype by presenting young South African millennials* who are changing the game; created or on their way towards creating empires.
These are young leaders who were born to innovate, influence, heal, disrupt and trailblaze. They are our leading entrepreneurs, award-winning creatives, key business drivers, they are trailblazers, healers, disruptors and innovators.
We’re simply awestruck that each and every one of these individuals have persevered in the face of struggle, and achieved all they could. They have adopted a “the possibilities is limitless” mindset coupled with newly evolved technology, which has opened an exciting space where there’s no end to who you can become and what you can accomplish.
The new world is limitless, the sky is no longer the limit.
We saw it in the eyes of the youth during the 1976 Soweto Uprising who led us to this democracy we now enjoy. We are still shown the power of young leaders today with the #feesmustfall movement.
“#feesmustfall. This is when we are reminded not to underestimate the power of the youth,” says Disruptor, Thando Hopa.
Mzansi 100 believes that they can and will accomplish amazing and incredible things. Our leaders think beyond the end of the week, month, and even the year.
It’s about personal legacy.
Meet this week’s top 10 Mzansi 100 you should follow:
1. #Disruptor, Thando Hopa
As a child, growing up in Lenasia outside Johannesburg, her teachers said she would never finish school.
This perception befalls many children with albinism because their poor eyesight is associated with learning disabilities. It is this ignorance surrounding albinism that she is trying to change.
Twenty years later she proved that not only could she finish school, but she could also qualify as a lawyer and work at the National Prosecuting Authority.
As she began to embrace her hair and her skin without make-up, she was chosen to be on the cover of Forbes Africa and, soon after, as a brand ambassador for skincare company Vichy.
2. #Disruptor, Tebogo Siyaphi
Against all odds, the young female DJ is known as Ms Jones, has excelled in a male dominated industry and has built an incredible career by creating opportunities for herself.
Her journey started after some lessons in DJ’ing from a friend. Ms Jones started playing house music at gigs in her hometown of Bekkersdal (on Gauteng’s West Rand) and her career started making huge waves ever since.
3. #Healer, Misha Teasdale
When he’s not planting trees, Teasdale is inspiring entrepreneurs as a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative.
The young healer is the co-founder and Tree-E-O of Greenpop, a Cape Town-based social enterprise that brings volunteers, companies and communities together to plant indigenous trees in “under-greened” areas.
4. #Healer, Dr Sandile Kubheka
South Africa’s youngest doctor started primary school at the age of five, completed grade six and seven concurrently, matriculated at 15 and graduated from the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine at the age of 20. Now at 23 years old, he truly deserves the title of being South Africa’s youngest doctor.
He attributes these achievements to hard work; not to a genius IQ (he has never had his IQ tested).
Be a wolf. Be a lion. Set goals. Smash them. Be better. Show people who you are. Never apologize for being awesome. Stay positive. pic.twitter.com/Ao9jtBVvs7
— Sandile Kubheka (@sandile_kubheka) October 19, 2016
5. #Influencer, Vusi Thembekwayo
The young man, who’d been named best public speaker in Africa by the South African Guild of Speech in high school, started to see his talent develop into a career. Thembekwayo, born and bread in Wattville, Benoni, was 19 years old when he addressed the Black Management Forum in Johannesburg and that very night was when his career kicked off as he received the only standing ovation of the night.
… An excerpt from my keynote at the Suits & Sneakers. Took a break from my structured keynote to relax the audience with some humor. Great public speaking technique – try it next time you have to do deliver a speech. I tackled the punishment of kids using the corner. A fascinating construct. Enjoy. VT
6. #Influencer, Sylvester Chauke
This young entrepreneur now sits on the board of the State Theatre and is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper Alumnus. After his tough journey filled with falls and set backs, he rose to fame for his irreverent work as Nando’s national marketing manager. He later joined MTV Networks Africa as Director of Marketing and Communication, before starting DNA Brand Architects, an award winning marketing consultancy.
Related Article: How Siya Beyile rose from the ashes: Mzansi 100
7. #Innovator, Sbusiso Leope
DJ Sbu, is not just a media personality, however, he is also a businessman and philanthropist. He first made a name for himself in the music and entertainment industry. His company, TS Records, of which he is a co-owner, continues to produce hit music and popular artists in South Africa with a continental appeal. He is also co-founder of Leadership 2020 and MoFaya energy drink, and the founder and chairman of SLEF, the Sbusiso Leope Education Foundation which has given away over 500 bursaries to pupils in 300 schools nationwide.
8. #Innovator, Loyiso Mkize
Why do South African kids have to identify with spandex-clad American superheroes?
They need a comic book character who looks like them and speaks the same language, 28-year-old Loyiso Mkize says. So he created Kwezi, a 19-year-old superhero. Mkize’s career as an illustrator began when he started drawing for SupaStrikers, a soccer comic newspaper supplement, while he was studying graphic design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
9. #Trailblazer, Gert-Johan Coetzee
“Designing a gown is not just about glamour. It’s about bringing out the beauty of the person wearing it and seeing her eyes light up when she sees how beautiful she is”, says Coetzee.
This desire to make a difference to people’s lives, to raise their self-esteem and boost their confidence is what underlies Gert-Johan Coetzee’s love for the fashion world. So while this 28-year-old’s designs adorn international and local stars – from Minnie Dlamini to Thuli Madonsela – he also finds ways to use the media platform to promote awareness of serious social issues.
10. #Trailblazer, Cassper Nyovest
‘Abuti Fill Up’ was the first South African artist to fill up The Dome, Johannesburg with a capacity of 20 000. He has won more awards than he knows what to do with and he has worked with continental and international artists.
Given everything he’s achieved, what keeps him grounded?
“It’s definitely my family. My mom and dad would slap me silly if I ever acted up.”