“The youth of 1976 realised their power, potential and purpose; we need to continue to be strong and courageous,” says Kory Shukrani Potgieter, an alumna of the University of Pretoria (UP) and Chairperson of EnactusUP, a non-profit, student-run organisation that offers students who are high academic performers the chance to develop their leadership potential.
Potgieter is also the founder of the Atara Atelier Africa and its non-profit Foundation, which aims to empower young girls by educating them about self-care and teach them how to make their own natural products. She offers insights into her journey with EnactusUP and what Youth Month means to her.
What did you study at UP and when did you graduate?
I hold a BEng in Civil Engineering and a BEng (Hons) in Industrial Engineering, which I obtained in 2018.
Tell us about your business.
The name of my business is Atara Atelier Africa, which means “crown workshop”. We exist to refresh, restore and renew physical and proverbial crowns through physical products, services, workshops and courses, which we will be running soon. It has been amazing to hear and see the testimonies from our clients who have become like family. We are always working on how to better serve and help them with their biggest pain points. We officially launched in May 2019 but, unofficially, I started the business at the end of 2017.
How has Youth Month had an impact on your life?
For me, young people represent possibility. We have so much to offer and impart to the world with our energy, strength, ideas and beliefs. The youth of 1976 realised their power, potential and purpose – we need to continue to be strong and courageous and be the change we want to see in the world.
What has your involvement with EnactusUP taught you?
It has taught me that I am my own greatest project to work on – you have to be willing to grow and learn every day. You will be humbled all the time, yet nothing matches the reward and fulfilment you get from serving others and creating something from nothing.
How are you helping your community through EnactusUP?
I believe in the empowerment of people; this is what Enactus is doing. The saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” holds true for me. I also believe that everyone should be able to operate according to their natural strengths and abilities – everyone has something to offer and everyone has a place. This propels people out of helplessness or dependency, and provides them with the tools to help them understand themselves, so that they can solve their own problems. The Enactus UP Business Advisory Board and Alumni embody this and are quite dedicated in coming back to impart their knowledge from their tenure as well as their acquired professional experience. This is the strength of Enactus UP and I’m proud to be a part of this greater team and to serve in facilitating the stakeholders involved.
What do you ultimately hope to achieve?
My end goal is to make a contribution to the African socio-economic landscape and help raise it to its true potential. We have incredible resources, especially people, who we need to steward so that they may fulfil their purpose.
What advice would you give to young men and women about helping their communities?
Firstly, listen; then learn as much as you can from and about the people you are aiming to serve. And make sure you leave your ego at the door.
What advice would you give to people about perseverance and overcoming adversities?
Maintain a strong, deeper “why” for doing things, beyond just you and/or the superficial, and you will find your strength and stamina to keep going.