“MANY leaders lead, but they have never been through what they are leading people through”, Octavia Prince Shabangu, the only Witsie on the “One Day Leader” show, told Wits Vuvuzela this week.
Shabangu’s obstacles have helped him to share and give advice to other people. “You’ll find leaders advising people about poverty but they don’t know about poverty. I’ll never advise you on something I do not know”, he said.
“One day Leader” is a show aired on SABC 1 that is dedicated to uplifting young leaders by providing them with the skill-set and knowledge they need to tackle social, political and economic issues in South Africa through debate and other leadership activities. The six contestants compete with each other for the coveted title, “One Day Leader”.
Born and breed in Mpumalanga, in a small town called Gedlebane, Shabangu has climbed up the ladder to be the only Witsie and one of the top six “One Day Leader” contestants. but Shabangu’s climb has not been without difficulty.
Shabangu is in 3rd year, studying a bachelor’s degree in accountancy. He is the eldest of six children. His mother is a retired domestic worker and his father a part-time employed truck driver who just recently got employment in 2013.
“Growing up was tough but I think it’s something that I needed to prepare me for the harsh reality of what life had to offer,” said Shabangu.
He believes a great leader should be resilient.
“Don’t give up on yourself, don’t give up on your dreams, don’t give up on the people around you,” he said.
One day [last year] he and his family were evicted. “When we arrived home and we found everything in the streets, my parents at the time were both unemployed and there was nothing they could do. Me and my family were rendered homeless, I was still in school, I had to leave school for a while, for about four months so I could just find a job and stabilize everything. I never thought that I as an individual, I could be hopeless,” he continued.
However, despite the hurdles he faced last year having tried to get on the show, and not making it to the top 20 of season two, Shabangu went back to school and decided to try and enter the competition again.
He was in a taxi rank when the phone rang for an interview with him. Later that same day, he heard he was again not on the top 20 list of candidates who made on the show. After hearing the news he decided to beg for a second chance. “Let me debate all 20 of them,” he said.
After being allowed to debate one of the top six candidates, Siphosenkosi Malimela, he made it to the top six.
“I just keep on coming and coming as hard as I can. I’m true to my values and I believe in the power of inspiration,” he said.
He draws his inspiration from big problems in his hometown for example, the poverty, high pregnancy rate, including no running water.
When Shabangu is not juggling school and the show, he plays basketball for the Wits Noswal Residence and is involved in the Campus Outreach Programme.
One Day Leader is broadcast every Monday at 16:30 on SABC 1. To vote for Shabangu sms “Leader 6” to 34020.