July Maziya has been able to help a lot of Swazi young people through arts. 

He was bold enough to establish the first arts academy in the Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland) without any financial support from either the government or the corporate world.

He is innovative because he started an orchestra lesson programme, first in the country. He also grooms professional actors and actresses. 

Maziya believes that being innovative enables him to create unique ideas that will benefit the community as a whole, especially the young, and they will find themselves occupied with great things to take part in every time. 

Establishing an arts academy says it all, it allows the youth to achieve skills and knowledge and to make a living. The former US president, Barak Obama, is his role model because he has done a lot of crucial work in terms of youth development, particularly in Africa.

Maziya’s inspiration comes from the talented young people, the way they dedicate time and energy to arts even when they are doing it for fun. 

This inspires him more to push and advocate for arts education. What drove him to establish the arts academy was living in an unbalanced society where there were only white-collar jobs for people, because of the education system that doesn’t accommodate arts as a career on its own. 

Working with the youth crime prevention clubs also made Maziya realise the need for an arts centre; there are many talented youths who are not taken care of and end up diverting their energy to anti-social behaviour, which leads to a bad society. 

Daily he gains more confidence in what he is doing, thus bringing success. His measures success by the people whose lives he has changed, not what he has personally gained. 

His experience includes establishing a theatre group which has performed in most theatre festivals in South Africa, and he has worked with professional theatre practitioners from South Africa to increase the knowledge of the youth in theatre.

One of the visions he has for the work that he is doing is establishing the first opera company in Eswatini, and a playhouse with a 10 000-seat theatre, hall, dance rooms, music rooms and visual arts rooms.

He believes that if more youth dialogues can be introduced where the youth are able to come together and discuss solutions rather than challenges, there are chances of a better Africa. His advice to young people: They should have the courage to effect change in their communities and set a new trend of creating success within themselves.