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Anele Nzimande

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My Philosophy: Find out who you are – and then do it on purpose.

Name: Anele Nzimande
AGE: 19 years old
HIGHEST QUALIFICATIONS: National Senior Certificate. I am currently doing the second year of my LLB degree at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Tell us more about yourself:

I’ve always used my name as a point of reference for overcoming obstacles in my life. The English translation of Anele is ‘enough’ and I constantly remind myself that I am exactly that, enough – and that the will and strength I have inside of me will carry me through anything. It serves as a constant reminder that everything I will ever need exists inside of me and I can safely say that this paradigm has shaped my entire life.
I also have an intense love for poetry, the African continent and English literature. I appreciate diversity and I attribute this largely to my obsession with languages and words – if I had the time outside of my ambitions and my academics I would dedicate most of my time to writing and learning as many languages as I can. I am also one of the very fortunate few in the world who have a twin sister – yes, I am a twin.

What is the most current biggest leadership issue in South Africa?

South African leadership today is lacking selflessness. Unfortunately, the number of leaders who are using their influence and power for self-enrichment far outweighs those with noble intentions.

What South Africa needs is visionary leadership, strategists and business leaders who will usher us into the next era of our young democracy. There is a great need for this country to be economically competitive globally and this cannot be possible if our leaders aren’t making decisions that are in the best interest of the country as a whole. I believe we all love this country and share the same hopes for it – leaders and citizens alike and we need to make a greater effort to create a culture of excellence within this country.

So how would you use this program as a platform for your ideals as a leader?

One of the most significant powers of this program is that it brings the message of youth involvement and youth empowerment to all the relevant stakeholders – government, parents and of course the youth. The message of youth empowerment and youth involvement is a message that resonates with all of us in this country.
I would use my influence on this show to share my vision with the country which is one of social cohesion and economic development through providing equal access to opportunities for everyone.

What does the word “success” mean to you?

Success is a measure of the impact that your life has had on others. I’ve always believed that life is very permeable in its nature – in that the people you meet along your journey contribute a very significant amount to your personal growth as individual and in many ways their life experiences shape us. This is a clear indication that our lives are not independent of one another.
There are no chance encounters. We have to look for meaning in everything and I believe that is what success is, treating everyone with respect and allowing yourself to be impacted by their life and in turn have your life impact theirs. 

Who is a great South African leader that you admire?

There are few women who are as graceful, humble and accomplished as the media mogul Khanyi Dhlomo-Chijioke. The strides that she has taken as a young black woman have inspired a generation of youths. My dream is to establish myself as a brand by using her journey as inspiration and hopefully in a time to come - I too may stand as the paragon of excellence and grace for a generation of young people.

What is the most important character trait of a leader?

One of the most important lessons I learned at the very beginning of this competition at one of the informal workshop sessions we had was that there is no mathematical formula that exists when it comes to leadership. So, it’s very difficult to single out a single trait when it comes to leadership but I think it’s important to have a healthy balance of humility and fearlessness – but those traits are key aspects for a successful leader.

What are your strengths as a leader?

If ever there were a person who can inspire a nation - it would be me. More accurately, that person is me. The success of all great leaders has been in stirring up something that was previously dormant in the hearts of many before they came along. I have had a very colourful upbringing, I’ve experienced both love and disappointment and it has made me a very strong-willed young woman.

My gender, age, socio-economic status and accomplishments are secondary to my South African-ness. I am a South African first, and we have a history of revolutionary leaders who were unapologetic and uncompromising about their vision. My strengths are largely an inheritance from our predecessors. I am a patriot at heart and although patriotism may not cure us all of the ills that exist in our society but it’s a good start.