People always want to know how I found the courage to start an organization while in university, and how I aggregated the resources. My answer is simple — just start. When I started, I had no idea what was required to run an organization and I received advice from nobody. I simply wrote down my ideas in a journal, introduced those ideas to a few friends, invited them for a meeting and took their questions. The more questions they asked, the more I refined the idea. We had no funding, no registration documents, no advisors — nothing. All we had was passion and that was enough. The rest came after.
As I have found myself in positions to mentor others, I have devised a theory of my own – that everyone is qualified to be a mentor. I believe that even if you are only one step ahead of another person on the ladder of life, you have a responsibility – an obligation – to reach behind you and help them up with a combination of your experiences and your wisdom.
Public leadership must always be held in trust. The privileges that we hold today must never be equated with lifetime mandates. Individuals who have been called to serve must truly approach their tenure with an element of humility and a commitment to decisiveness. In these uncertain times, people cannot afford many apologies. Who knows what new challenge lurks around the corner?
The first time I met him was in March 2015, and at that time he was remarkable in an unremarkable way; he was a chubby little boy with a curious dress sense and an eagerness to stand out. We later joked about his checkered shirt and tie combo on his first visit to South Africa…