June is celebrated as Youth Month in South Africa, paying tribute to the school pupils and ordinary citizens who lost their lives during the 16 June 1976 uprisings in Soweto. This year marks the 43rd anniversary of that fateful day. As we celebrate the youth of our country we are mindful of one of the major challenges facing our young people, that is, unemployment. One of the solutions to this challenge is entrepreneurship.
We recognize youth entrepreneurship as a promising alternative to unemployment and we actively promoted a conducive environment for this to thrive. Please join us to discuss this topic with our panel of speakers, Dr. Coceka Mfundisi, Sibusiso Ngalwa & Unathi September.
Sbu Ngalwa has been a journalist for over 16 years, having started out as a rookie reporter at the Sunday Tribune in 2003.
He grew up in Mdantsane, the place he still calls home. He moved to Durban in his teens and registered for a National Diploma in Journalism – after he matriculated from Khulani Commercial High School. He also obtained a B.Tech degree in Journalism from the Durban University of Technology in 2004.
He worked as a reporter for most of KZN newspaper titles i.e. Daily News, The Mercury and Independent on Saturday. But he spent some of his best years in journalism at the Sunday Tribune covering investigations and politics.
In 2007 he was the first runner-up in the inaugural Taco Kuiper Investigative Journalism Awards for his exposé of corruption at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture.
He spent two years as a parliamentary correspondent, based in parliament, Cape Town.
He joined the Sunday Times in 2010 as a Politics Reporter. In this role he also covered continental politics, including AU & SADC summits and the 2013 Zimbabwe elections.
In 2014 he became the Sunday Times’ presidential correspondent for the general election of that year.
Before his appointment as Editor in Chief of the Daily Dispatch in January 2016, he was previously the Politics Editor for the Sunday Times and also the Bureau Chief for the same title in KwaZulu-Natal. He stepped down as Dispatch editor at the end of December 2018.
Sibusiso has a passion for farming and lives on a small-holding where he keeps a modest number of Boer-goats and is also a crop farmer. He is also a director of a communications and content-production company.
He is a council member of the SA National Editors Forum and is still a regular commentator on media and politics on various media platforms.
Unathi September was concerned about the low pass rates in subjects like maths and science in township and village schools, especially in the Eastern Cape, where he grew up. He also realised that learners from these areas struggled to pursue studies beyond matric due to them not having enough information about post-school opportunities, so he decided do something about this.
September (26) initiated Inspire Foundation Group (IFG) Africa, which was founded on the principle of bridging the gap between village/township learners and their former model C and private school counterparts. IFG Africa designs and implements programmes that complement the theory taught in class. For example, its entrepreneurship programme, “Junior Apprentice South Africa,” empowers learners with the basic concepts of starting up businesses and funds these business ideas to allow learners to run them practically. The organisation also supports schools through awarding full scholarships to financially needy learners with high academic potential.
Over the past six years, IFG Africa has impacted over 16 000 learners across the country, through its various programmes and assisted by the South African public and private sectors. Unsurprisingly, last year, it was recognised as the best youth-led emerging social enterprise at the Price Waterhouse Coopers/LifeCo/University of Johannesburg Emerging Social Enterprise Awards, and September was also selected for participation in the Top 100 Brightest Young Minds (BYM) summit.
September left a lucrative career in investment banking to focus on growing IFG Africa and running Gradesmatch, an educational technology company aimed at solving challenges faced by learners through research and innovation, which he co-founded. “I’m really passionate about making a difference in our continent, specifically in the education sector. Unfortunately working at a bank on a full-time basis didn’t allow me to do that,” he says.
“This is a global trend amongst millennials: research shows that our generation is really interested in doing meaningful and fulfilling work, more than just [earning] big paycheques.” As part of his education sector research, September also dedicates some of his time to teaching, in order to better understand the challenges facing teachers, as opposed to just making assumptions about this.
“The African continent at large has numerous challenges that I strongly believe will be solved by our generation,” he says. “Find an area that you’re passionate about and play your part in finding and implementing a solution, starting on a small scale.” — Fatima Asmal