Eleven-year-old boys are usually into sports or technology.
Not Neftaly Malatjie. At that age, he was already trying to inspire young people around him to carve brighter futures for themselves. Malatjie grew up in Diepsloot, a crime and poverty-ridden township in Gauteng. Eager to see things change, he worked hard to educate his peers about the dangers of substance abuse. He took on other roles too: HIV/Aids counsellor, library assistant, teacher, and more.
In 2005, aged just 14, he used the money he saved from his part-time job to initiate the Southern Africa Youth Project (SAYP), which gives young people access to skills training and information about job opportunities.
The project operates in Diepsloot and Daveyton in Gauteng, Atok in Limpopo, and Manamakgotheng in North West. To date, over 5 000 young people have benefited from its programmes and it has created jobs for 16 young people.
Malatjie has also accumulated a string of local and international accolades, including the Africa Growth, Innovation and Leadership Award (2015) and is a Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship fellow. His next goal is to equip townships in South Africa with state-of-the-art colleges and incubation hubs. Considering how far he’s come with SAYP, that dream is likely to be realized soon.
Find Malatjie on Twitter: @sayouthpro