A WITSIE is part of the South African delegation to the One Young World leadership Summit in Ottawa, Canada, later this month. (more…)
Wits student Zareef Minty is the winner of national competition One Day Leader. He will soon begin an internship at the presidency.
Zareef Minty is a final-year LLB student, he was in the Mail & Guardian Top Young 200 in 2014 and he made the top 50 of South African GQ magazine’s Best Dressed in 2015. He is an author of a book called Empire and he was the chairperson of the Black Lawyers Association in 2014, he was the treasurer of the Law Students Council previously.He is currently participating in a show called One Day Leader on SABC 1.
Why did you decide to enter One Day Leader?
Ok, so what happened was that I tried to enter the year before, I didn’t even make it to top 90. I just always wanted to enter, I watched the show, before, saw Season 3, and I really enjoyed it. I felt it’s a really good platform for someone to build their leadership.
So far, what have you found challenging in being a part of the show?
So far it’s literally been just our vision statements and it’s quite simple. It’s what you believe in. We also tackled the #FeesMustFall campaign and we presented our solutions to the department of higher education into how can we solve the financial crisis. We looked at removing failing parastatals and cutting down the state wage bill. We also looked at how we can use solar energy for instance and cut down on the expensive way electricity is made at the moment. So these are all different concepts we’re looking at to make enough money available so that students will then have access to free education.
How has the journey so far affected your personal life?
I’m really starting to feel the leadership. I’m starting to feel the whole concept of being more accountable. I used to give myself a longer time limit to get things done, I think now being on the show and noticing that you have two days to do a task, and things need to be implemented, it can happen [in a shorter time].
What do you hate most about the show?
I really don’t have any huge criticisms of the show, I think it’s produced very well. The team that’s running behind the show is phenomenal. The tasks are very uplifting, so I really don’t see any cons to the show. Some room for improvement could be maybe lengthening the time of our debates. [This means] giving us more time to engage because you can’t say that much in two minutes.
What do you want people to know about Zareef by the end of the show?
I want people to know I’m here to stay. I’m not a one-hit-wonder that’s going to appear on a reality show then disappear, I’m going to be around for years to come. I’m here mainly to uplift society, show people the positive change you can create, but to also build a brand that people can understand that this is a future leader, and people [will be able to] identify in 5-10 years from now. I want to be an important stakeholder looking after society and making sure that communities succeed.
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.
Earlier today an article profiling Zareef Minty of the Patriotic Alliance was met with accusations flung at both Minty and Wits Vuvuzela.
Several Witsies took to Twitter to contest some of the positions Minty said he had held in the Student Discipline Committee (SDC) and within the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) some time ago.
In response to the allegations, Minty apologised on Twitter and clarified what he meant to say to Wits Vuvuzela reporters.
In a telephonic interview with Wits Vuvuzela earlier this evening, Minty he said, “I refuse to apologise for the SDC chair statement,” he added that he didn’t realise he needed to differentiate his position as chair of SDC representatives.
With regards to being a treasurer for the ANC Youth League he said he was willing to concede the error and apologise because he should have pointed out that he was “asked to assist as treasurer for a period of time”. He said the person who held the position at time was under review for non-performance, this person being Klaas Mokgomole (@Brainwasher1).
Minty said the complaints hurled at him were “really silly.” He also told Wits Vuvuzela that he would provide a statement but none has been received.
The slight looking 20-year-old Minty, who is also a fashion designer said the PA was youth-centred and had a strong focus on giving second chances to the reformed, like two of its own founders.
Second chances and new alliances
“If Nelson Mandela could have that chance to be reformed (sic) coming out of jail and having an opportunity, then we should allow Kunene and Gayton to have the same thing.
“In the same way a student has been charged with something should be allowed to have a future as well,” said Minty.
“Ex-cons” Gayton McKenzie, president of the PA and general secretary Kenny Kunene, met each other in jail and following their release in 2003, became business partners.
Minty met the two through his clothing line partnership, after Kunene was asked to be an ambassador for Minty’s own fashion label, Self Made Billionaire (SMB). “Kunene liked the idea of an up and coming clothing brand worn by celebrities,” said Minty.
He said the party also included more young people in its decision-making. He said four of the party’s 12-member national executive committee were under the age of 25.
“We are the only party out there who allows youth to have a platform in the NEC. The ANC and the Democratic Alliance has a separate Youth League so you don’t get young people in parliament,” he said.
Minty is sixth on the PA’s parlimentary list, which means if they manage to get six seats after the national elections this year, he could be sitting in parliament and not in stuffy lecture rooms.
The party’s focus on the youth and a “practical approach” to politics are what Minty believes will make the PA “a better alternative to the ANC”, which he said was policy heavy with little to no implementation thereof.[pullquote]”…if they manage to get six seats after the national elections this year, he could be sitting in parliament and not in stuffy lecture rooms.”[/pullquote]
He believes that PA would be able to relate mostly to the born-frees because it was a party that did not have any “baggage”.
The PA’s campaign trail on campus has come with its own set of issues, “Until we have permission to be a club or society on campus we can’t really go out in a group and recruit people. We have been working by going person to person, trying to get them to join,” he said.
The PA, often referred to as the “coloured” or “gangster party”, was founded in Paarl in the Western Cape three months ago and plans to contest in the upcoming elections.
Minty said they have a good chance of having up to six seats in parliament after this year’s elections.
Minty is treasurer of the Wits Law Students’ Counsel and the chairperson of the Student Discipline Committee, which influenced his alignment with the PA and their belief in reforming and empowering the previously charged.
Before the PA, he was part of the ANC Youth League on campus where he took up position as treasurer but the PA presented him with an opportunity for national leadership
Along with the multitude of things Minty has on his plate this year, he plans to publish a motivational book, Empire by March. Let’s watch this space.