Saajida Francis writes…

I’m used to living out of a suitcase, my late granddad’s in fact. The wheels are worn out, and the black leather is as weathered as its previous owner.

Stickers are plastered all over it, with travel tags clinging to every handle. The zips have strained and groaned as I tyrannically shoved in more items to take along with me on my next adventure.

I am addicted to change because change signifies to me a challenge, a growth, a renewal.

Too much comfort makes me lethargic and turns out to be my own undoing. I’ve lived in four different regions, changed schools four times, moving three times in the past year, traveled to 5 different countries in the past two years and just moved back to my home town, Durban, last week.

I’m a darling to change, the one constant in my life however is my job.

I haven’t changed my job because my job allows me to become a catalyst for change. I am the Editor of The Young Independents (TYI), a youth-centric portal engaging with tomorrow’s leaders. A platform created by the youth, for the youth. This platform is for young, inspiring South Africans that are challenging and changing the game, one action at a time.

Our audience are at the top of their field or poised to become just that. They are our leading entrepreneurs, award-winning creatives, key business drivers, all under 36 years old.

This digital platform invites South African youth to engage in the conversation and celebrate change-makers. The website hosts creative editorial elements to offer a balance between inspiration and information. Launched in 2015, by the Independent Media group, my team captures exciting youth driven initiatives locally and across the continent.

We encourage youth dialogues to inspire the youth to connect and build a common vision, whilst seeking to address the many challenges young African’s face. Work never gets boring as me and my millennial team aim to change the African narrative by providing spaces and platforms for critical engagement among young Africans.

I’m constantly motivated to give it my all because I work with young leaders just like me, the change-makers, the trailblazers, the innovators, the healers and the disruptors. We’re working this hard, because we truly believe that collectively, we all can change the world and Africa for the better. Being the Editor of TYI is an honour.

At 23-years-old and one of the youngest Editor’s at Independent Media, I am able to share young African stories of hope and leadership to an audience that craves it, even more so needs it. The thread of change runs through all of our stories, and our successes would not have been tangible were is not for those very steps toward change.

A few days ago, one of TYI’s young leaders Sandiso Sibisi, had been appointed as Accenture’s open innovation lead for Africa, making her a unicorn in Africa’s tech landscape, as she is one of the very few (young) black females operating at a regional level.

When bullying pushed Disruptor, Lindiwe Dhlamini’s nephew towards an attempt on his own life, she decided to take action. In 2012, she started Injabulo projects, a high school outreach programme to educate teens about diversity, acceptance, and the dangers of bullying. This drive to change the world is what motivated Innovator, Dinesh Patel, 35, the founder of orderin to create one of the first mobile food ordering and delivery services of its kind in South Africa.

As young African’s we cannot afford to get comfortable, we need to covet change and take a risk because if we do not create change, change will create us. As humans, we’re often resistant to change, and we don’t realize that change itself is constant.

When you initiate the change yourself, it’s pretty easy to adapt to it, since it’s a wanted one.

I’m not a millennial who excuses sleeping on my folk’s couch hoping for better days. I’d rather be covering and trying to assist as best I can with the Rohingya refugee crisis. I’m not about pouting on Instagram 24/7 in the hopes my likes will tally to a million, when I could be administering change for earthquake victims in Mexico and hopefully that article will tally to a million viewers who all share the same sentiment – Let us help by changing the world, one step at a time.

As millennials we need to be careful about the path we tread, fight the fight that truly matters. Let #Change be our new moniker. Don’t be afraid to submit your CV to the company you really want to work for.

Don’t let ageism and stereotype and prejudice deter you from anything you set your mind to. You can become an active agent of change.

Remember when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

– Originally published in the Mercury

Categories: Education