Youth empowerment activist, Thabile Noxolo Buthelezi has never shied away from social change. The UKZN graduate founded the Thabile Buthelezi Foundation, which provides opportunities to South African youth in the arts and culture field through seminars and workshops.  

The foundation provides community empowerment initiatives through information dissemination platforms in the townships and rural areas of South Africa. Its main objectives are to make sure that the safeguarding of South Africa’s intangible cultural heritage is realised through preservation projects and initiatives.

Buthelezi is currently registered for a PhD in Public Administration-Peace Studies at the Durban University of Technology, under the International Centre of Nonviolence. The 26-year-old is the first South African student to receive the prestigious Choreomundus: International Master in Dance Knowledge, Practice and Heritage Scholarship. 

Buthelezi, who has been performing for more than 10 years, started her career at the Kwa-Mashu Community Advancement Project (K-CAP) in 2000. She has travelled abroad as part of international cultural exchange programmes and is involved in various activities in the performing arts sector. 

Her advice to other performing arts students is: ‘You are never too far from your dreams, the only thing keeping you away from them is sitting and waiting for something to happen when you could create your own opportunities or other alternative ways of reaching those dreams.’