This article forms part of SME South Africa’s Youth Month 2018 series ‘A Seat at the Table’ – an exploration of SA Youth’s efforts to step up and effect positive change. Follow all our #YouthMonth2018 coverage here.
Using live events and the power of social media, a number of entrepreneurs are building platforms to empower young people to achieve their professional and entrepreneurship goals, and in turn, finding success themselves.
One such initiative was founded by cousins, 17-year-old Amonge Elethu Sinxoto and 23-year-old Zingisa Socikwa, who are on a quest to change the youth narrative and the negative portrayal of African youth.
In 2016 they launched Blackboard Africa, an organisation working to foster conversations among SA youth and to connect them with other young people facing similar challenges.
“There was a lack of authentic representation of who we are. I think we wanted to be the ones to drive that narrative,” says Mpumi Sinxoto, who is organisation’s creative director.
Blackboard hosts events across the country, this includes their ‘Big Sister Little Sister x Big Brother Little Brother’s series and the recently held Blackboard Relay, both of which aim to provide a forum to pass on the ‘baton’ of knowledge between generation, they also run a youth-centred interactive book club.
Between events they communicate with their community through social media. Experts at Instagram, the founders often share snaps of their community members and post messages meant to inspire and ignite debate, including on issues of African unity and heritage, among others.
Since launching Blackboard Africa has also secured a number of successful brand partnerships – key among them is with the online retailer, Spree for the #BlackboardxSpree collaboration. The founders were also invited to participate in the Global First Ladies Alliance event in New York and as panelists at#ChildSafetySummit2018.
Inspiring Business – Find out more about Blackboard Africa and two other initiatives serving a similar purpose.
Nigerian-born entrepreneur Afua Osei is on a mission to make an impact on the lives of female entrepreneurs in Africa. She is the founder of She Leads Africa, a social enterprise that is aimed at advancing female entrepreneurship in South Africa and on the African continent and the diaspora.
In an SME South Africa article Osei says she and co-founder Yasmin Belo-Osagie launched the platform to help young women achieve their professional dreams whether it’s starting a business or climbing the corporate ladder by using their networks, expertise and experience. They do this through engaging online content and pan-African events.
The platform hosts a wide range of events such as SheHive Bootcamp which is held across the continent, including Johannesburg, South Africa and focusses on providing information and skills needed to run a successful business to women, some of these include social media marketing workshops, building a brand and business development.
Melenial is a digital lifestyle content magazine aimed at the “middle class black millennials” of South Africa and the diaspora, with a particular focus on women.
The platform was founded by Simbongile Ndlangisa and Nomvelo Chalumbira and serves as a “vehicle and authority on all things Black Girl Magic and making alternative mainstream”, according to Cosmopolitan.
Not only do they provide engaging content on their website, they also host interactive events such as Mono by Melenial, where they invite accomplished young Africans from various fields to contribute to national and global conversations by using stories of their journeys, challenges, successes and dreams.
The inspirational women they have so far featured at the event include, Luyanda Mafanya, founder of Cooking with Luyanda who has prepared food for well-known celebrities, including rapper Cassper Nyovest and American actor, Dule Hill, as well as top South African blogger, Twiggy Moli, a lifestyle and travel blogger who has worked with the likes of Ray-Ban, Absolut, Tastemakers Africa and RedBull.