Eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity of young peo­ple

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS - Wes­ley Diphoko

ON JUNE 16, 1976, con­cerned young South Africans voiced their con­cerns about in­jus­tices in the coun­try. Hec­tor Pi­eter­son be­came the sub­ject of an iconic June 16 im­age of the 1976 Soweto up­ris­ing when a pho­to­graph by Sam Nz­ima of the dy­ing Hec­tor be­ing car­ried by an­other stu­dent while his sis­ter ran next to them, was pub­lished around the world. He be­came a sym­bol of po­lit­i­cal chal­lenges dur­ing his time. To­day, we are faced with a dif­fer­ent kind of in­jus­tice, an eco­nomic in­jus­tice.

Many young peo­ple are eco­nom­i­cally in­ac­tive. The eco­nomic in­jus­tice is the next in­jus­tice for which young South Africans need to voice their con­cerns. There’s a need for young South Africans to bring to an end the chal­lenge of eco­nomic in­ac­tiv­ity. Who will be­come the Hec­tor Pi­eter­son of this gen­er­a­tion and fight the eco­nomic bat­tles of youth to­day?

The eco­nomic in­jus­tice should not be fought by throw­ing stones and marches. This form of in­jus­tice should be dealt with through en­tre­pre­neur­ial ac­tiv­ity and at­ti­tudes. Young peo­ple should use ev­ery op­por­tu­nity they have to cre­ate eco­nomic value for them­selves and their com­mu­ni­ties.

Eco­nomic bat­tles

The next iconic (June 16) pic­ture should not be of a dy­ing young per­son, but a young per­son list­ing on the Jo­han­nes­burg Stock Ex­change, hav­ing man­aged to with­stand eco­nomic bat­tles and cre­ated a suc­cess­ful busi­ness. Even busi­ness fail­ures by these young peo­ple should be cel­e­brated, as we learn to be suc­cess­ful from our mis­takes.

From this week, in my ca­pac­ity as the edi­tor of Busi­ness Re­port On­line, I will make it my duty to doc­u­ment the bat­tles, chal­lenges, suc­cesses and op­por­tu­ni­ties by young peo­ple’s eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity. This month I will start by high­light­ing some of those who are worth cel­e­brat­ing, be­cause of their eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity. They are:

Rapelang Ra­bana – a com­puter sci­en­tist, en­tre­pre­neur, and key­note speaker. She is the founder of Rekin­dle Learn­ing, a learn­ing tech­nol­ogy com­pany, and pre­vi­ously co-founded Yeigo Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, South Africa’s first free VoIP mo­bile ser­vices provider.

Nic Har­alam­bous – founder of the on­line style com­pany, was the chief ex­ec­u­tive and co-founder of Motribe, the mo­bile com­mu­nity plat­form, be­fore the com­pany was suc­cess­fully ac­quired by Mxit in Oc­to­ber, 2012. He also founded Fore­Front Africa, a con­sult­ing firm, be­fore sell­ing the busi­ness to Im­pe­rial Hold­ings.

Lufefe Nom­jana – a so­cial en­tre­pre­neur, known to his com­mu­nity as “The Spinach King” or “Pop­eye”, not only be­cause of his love for spinach, but be­cause of what he has turned it into. He founded Espinaca (Span­ish for spinach) In­no­va­tions in Khayelit­sha. Espinaca In­no­va­tions is a Green bak­ery sup­ply­ing su­per healthy and green baked goods.

Top 40 mem­ber

Por­tia Mn­gomezulu – is the founder of Por­tiaM a cos­met­ics com­pany that sells prod­ucts for some of South Africa’s largest re­tail­ers. She has been se­lected as a SEDA Na­tional Gazelle Top 40 mem­ber.

Gert Jo­han-Coet­zee – a fash­ion de­signer who was born in Koster, South Africa’s North-West prov­ince in 1987. Fash­ion was in his blood since his ear­li­est days; he was mak­ing dresses as early as eight years old. At 16 he left high school to en­rol in the North­west School of De­sign in Klerks­dorp to fo­cus on the busi­ness of fash­ion. He is a proud cham­pion for South African fash­ion, he runs a suc­cess­ful de­sign busi­ness with South Africa’s A-list celebri­ties.

They are not the only eco­nom­i­cally ac­tive young South Africans, there are more. It will be my mis­sion to doc­u­ment the ones through a Youth Eco­nomic Ac­tiv­ity info graphic to be pub­lished at the end of this month. Ev­ery month we will add more young peo­ple who are eco­nom­i­cally ac­tive.

This will be­come the in­for­ma­tion re­source that fun­ders and other busi­ness devel­op­ment sup­port­ers can use to as­sist young peo­ple to suc­ceed eco­nom­i­cally.

I in­vite you to write to me on: wes­ley. to in­form us about eco­nom­i­cally ac­tive young South Africans. I also en­cour­age our read­ers to tell us about these ones via Twit­ter us­ing the Hash­tag: #Youth Eco­nomic Ac­tiv­ity. You can watch the video ver­sion of this column on­line weekly on: – on the opin­ion sec­tion.

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