She says these are young disruptors who are set to break away from the societal rite of passage that sees many people completing matric and getting a university degree with the sole aim of getting employment and retiring at 60.
Adv. Mkhwebane was speaking during The Young Independents Call For Nominations 2017 event in Cape Town, on Thursday.
The Young Independents is a youth-centric portal that is created by the youth, for the youth – aimed at recognising and amplifying the voices and actions of young South Africans.
This is an initiative of Independent Media, Southern Africa’s leading multi-platform content company which boasts 20 of South Africa’s most prominent newspapers and commands a daily audience of 7 million users.
The Young Independents are looking to reward inspiring young leaders with R250 000. Now in its second year, the initiative aimed at young people, ‘Mzansi100 – Top 100 Inspiring and Aspiring Young Leaders’ seeks to amplify the voices and actions of the youth. #Mzansi100Top2017.
Present at the glittering occasion was Independent Media Executive Chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé and Group Executive & Founder of The Young Independents, Mike Ntsasa, among other dignitaries.
Adv. Mkhwebane cites the example of Ludwick Marishane, a young entrepreneur and inventor from Limpopo who broke barriers and invented DryBath Gel, a world renowned hygeine product that is applied on the body in the place of a shower, or body wash.
“Now 26 years of age and one of South Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs, Marishane innovatively invented the product at a tender age of 17 to fill a gap he saw in the world and in the process help save water, a scarce resource for many.
His is an inspirational story of a young man from humble beginnings, who broke with convention and became his own boss in his formative years, in the process creating opportunities for himself and others across international borders. And his amazing story has not gone unnoticed,” Adv. Mkhwebane says.
She adds that in 2011, Marishane, who holds a Bachelor of Business Science from the University of Cape Town, was awarded the Best Student Entrepreneur in the World accolade. In the same year, technology giant, Google, named him as one of the 12 Brightest Young Minds in the world.
Two years later, Adv. Mkhwebane said, Time Magazine, an influential global publication, named him as one of the “Top 30 under 30 People that are going to change the world”.
She urges all young people to take a leaf from Marishane’s book and ask themselves the question: “What is stopping me from also thinking out of the box, breaking with the norms and traditions and identifying a problem that I can turn into an opportunity to be exploited?”
She recalls how young people across the country displayed a great deal of confidence on the Public Protector’s office by enlisting its intervention to address problems of stifling bureaucratic red tape by some state organs or lack of service delivery in some municipalities.
Adv. Mkhwebane lauds these youths for not resorting to wanton destruction of public amenities to vent their frustrations.
She says young people should draw from their talents to address the myriad of challenges facing them like disease, crime, high unemployment and challenges in education opportunities.
In another matter, Adv. Mkhwebane lauds Independent Media for the initiative, saying many people were impressed by the professional and responsible, yet independent manner in which the company approached issues of national development.
“Let me congratulate Independent Media for this noble initiative.
The media is usually seen as the sector of society that either makes or breaks people, with many inclined to agree mainly with the “breaking people” part. It is inspiring to see that through your corporate social investment programmes, you also do a lot to “make people”,” she says.
She adds that throughout history young people across the globe have always taken the lead in helping to resolve the problems their countries grappled with.
She cited the example of Sophie Williams De Bruyn, Nelson Mandela, Lillian Ngoyi, Oliver Tambo, Helen Joseph, Joe Slovo, Albertina Sisulu Walter Sisulu, Anton Lembede and Robert Sobukwe, among, then, young people who took it upon themselves to exert more pressure on the government of the day to liberate the disenfranchised.
“We can, therefore, argue on the basis of this rich history that it is not a big ask to call on young people to take it upon themselves to find solutions to the challenges that are standing between our country and prosperity,” she says.
Meanwhile, Ntsasa says Independent Media understands that the world needs new ideas, products and a fresh approach to emerging challenges.
“We look to young people to harness their skills and come up with solutions and interventions to take Africa and indeed the whole of humanity forward.
We are earnestly thinking about the future.
That is why we have created platforms to identify, nurture, encourage and celebrate young people who use their talents and who take charge of their environment to bring us something new or to improve on what already exists.
They are creative, enterprising, and entrepreneurial and they ask why. These are young ordinary people who have gone on to do extra ordinary things.
We celebrate them not just because they inspire hope for tomorrow; but to encourage their peers to look for opportunities in all obstacles. To draw from the power within and rise against adversity.
To make South Africa and indeed the greater continent a better place for everyone who lives in it”, Ntsasa says.
CALL TO ACTION
If you know a young person who is trailblazing their way to change the world, one action at a time, then The Young Independents is looking for them to take centre stage.
We encourage you to nominate (in 250 words or less) someone who is really making a difference in their industry or community. If you are eligible, you’re most welcome to nominate yourself!
To ensure that we include all South Africans from all walks of life, we have included various categories so you can nominate that deserving person:
Who is eligible to become a Young Independent?
Any inspiring young leader aged 18 – 35 (as of 1 January 2017)
All South African residents (they do not have to be born in SA but must reside here)
Five categories, 10 awards:
Category Winners: R35 000
Category Runner-up: R15 000
The 100 Young Independents will each win:
A profile in The Young Independents special edition across the Independent Media newspapers across South Africa in 2017.
A profile on the youth platform www.tyi.co.za
Exposure on our social media platforms.
The chance to win R50 000 in one of five categories.
Exclusive invitation to the launch event in JHB in 2017.
Invitations to relevant youth seminars and networks.
Closing Date for Nominations: 01 January 2017
All Photography by Ian Landsberg