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Remarkable South African Youth Making a difference

In South Africa, 16 June is a sentimental public holiday, which is reserved to observe the tragic events that transpired on 16 June 1976. The day is referred to as the “Soweto Uprising”, a day in which protests were led by high school students in South Africa, protesting against the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in local schools. As in most states governed by oppressive systems, the state at the time (1976) reacted by killing many of the unarmed students who decided to act and take a stand on their beliefs.

In commemoration of those who spoke truth to power, with the help of the ‘Mail & Guardian 200 young South Africans’ we would like to celebrate young South Africans that are making a difference in present day South Africa, where they are, with what they have.

I for one, always thought that making a difference in other peoples lives required being ‘an Oprah’ or an ‘Arianna Huffington’, but many of my peers and the below listed young people of my generation are showing more and more that that is not the case.  I will take a bold step and dare my generation by claiming that our theme should be:

“Make a difference- do what you can, with what you have, where you are now…”


Siyabulela Xuza  

According to numerous sources, Siya was just five years old when he started experimenting in his mother’s kitchen in a poor community of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. Siya’s intrigue and passion for science led him to winning a scholarship to an all boys private school in Johannesburg. Upon matriculating, Siya was afforded the opportunity to study at “Havards School of Engineering and Applied Sciences”.

In honour of his work in developing a record-breaking rocket and creating safer, more energy-efficient rocket fuel, Siya Xuza has a minor planet named after him.  The planet: ‘23182 Siyaxuza’ circles the solar system in the main asteroid belt near Jupiter and takes 4.01 years to complete a single orbit.


We Salute you!


Dr Vuyane Mhlomi   

Dr Mhlomi is a 25-year old medical doctor who is currently completing his medical residency at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. Raised in a household of 10 children in Khayelitsha, Western Cape, Vuyane lost his single-parent mother whilst writing his final exams and he made it. Vuyane has been awarded a variety of accolades in the medical field for his achievements and he has gone on to set up the “MH Foundation”, whose mission is: ‘to see every disadvantaged child become an outstanding scholar, by providing the resources and tools to enable children to follow their dreams’.


We Salute you!


Rapelang Rabana   

Co-Founder of Yeigo Communications, which in 2007 was one of the first companies in the world to offer ‘VoIP’ (Voice over Internet Protocol). Rapelang advocates that young Africans should be brave and take the risk by starting their own businesses and she did in the highly competitive telecommunications space.  Upon receiving her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Cape Town, a (then) 23-year old Rapelang co-founded Yeigo.


We Salute you!


Mamatsabu Maphike    

Cofounder of Motheo Chartered Accountants, a 100% black female owned accounting firm. Their company mission is: ‘We are dedicated to formulating solutions relevant to the African continent’ . Mamatsabu acquired a concentrated skill-set prior to establishing her organisation. She worked for a number of organisations within her field of interest.

Mamatsabu Maphike is passionate about the challenges we face as a country but refuses to complain about them — she’d much rather be part of a solution.


We Salute you!

As the above short bio’s of young South African’s doing amazing, innovative, life-changing work in their respective fields has shown: change begins with one human being. In true Mbewu Movement style, let us grow and prosper together!










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