Two Witsies have found themselves on the pages of one of South Africa’s most anticipated publications of the year. Tshidiso Ramogale and Zareef Minty have been named as two of the top 200 young South African’s in the Mail & Guardian’s Young South Africans 2014 list.
Ramogale was nominated in the civil society category while Minty in the politics and government category. At just 21, fourth-year LLB student Ramogale refused to let his childhood challenges hold him back from success.
Ramogale was 15 when he “felt like it’s over” following his father’s disappearance, his mother losing her job and their home being unlawfully sold in execution. His experience led him, at 19, to start a non-profit organisation called Change SA that “uses entrepreneurship as a trajectory for change”.
“I usually speak to schools about where I started out, this is my experience. I often say: ‘I was exactly where you are right now and I was able to work slowly out of it and why can’t you?’,” said Ramogale.
When Ramogale is not giving motivational talks, he is representing informal traders and others in need in court, in relation to socio-economic issues.
“What motivates me is my mother, undoubtedly. I always say I’m lucky to have a mother who has always been supportive,” said Ramogale.
There is no secret really to his success, he says but adds that, “the best way to start, is by starting somewhere.”
Like Ramogale, third-year LLB Zareef Minty has “always been someone who believes in change”.
The 20-year-old Patriotic Alliance national youth president, who is also the Wits Black Lawyers Association chairperson, said his aim is to “encourage leadership”, not only in schools but also in communities everywhere.
“I want to encourage people that they can be the best at what they do. As young people we always have this mind-set that we go to university and once we’re done we sit down and think ‘okay, what are we going to do with our lives?’ We need to get rid of that mind-set,” said Minty.
Minty has also established the ‘Zareef Minty Build a School Foundation’, through which he aims to create an education link between state and the private sector.
“The best part for me is sitting one day and receiving an email or message from someone saying ‘you know what, because you did this, I’m also inspired to do the same. That’s what I want,” said Minty.