Marketing student participates in the Obama Young African Leaders Initiative

Posted on August 19, 2016

Ms Mahlodi Kgatle, a BCom Honours in Marketing Management student, is participating in an initiative launched by President Barack Obama of the USA as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) takes place from 15 August to 15 September 2016.

Ms Kgatle admits that she has always been conflicted about her career aspirations. 'Having a two-year academic background in Psychology fuelled my need to pursue social justice, but having graduated with a Marketing degree from the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, I developed a strong business acumen,' she says.

A turning point in her life was when she served as Chapter President of the Golden Key International Honour Society. Ms Kgatle adds that this is where her character and leadership ability was tested and refined: 'It is in this role that I had the confidence to explore and appreciate the value of social capital. It also showed me that coming from a financially disenfranchised background does not stop you from dreaming. In fact, your background becomes the breeding ground for creativity and sustainable solutions towards improving the livelihoods of Africans.'

She ascribes her successful application to participate in YALI to her earlier participation (February to July 2016) in the Auwal Socio-Economic Research Institute Future Leaders Programme, which was geared towards fostering civic engagement among young South Africans. She is also the founder of an NPO, Present Day Leaders, which lends itself to the plight of young men and women in townships with the aim of inculcating a culture of active citizenship instead of just speaking about problems. The inspiration behind her application is the words of one of the late students known as the Wits7, who passed away in a road accident on 1 May 2016, Mr Dakalo Mulima. He once said: 'Instead of going with the flow, we are going to be the flow. Instead of demanding change, we are going to be the change. We are the ones we have been waiting for.'

As a participant in the YALI Regional Leadership Centre Southern Africa, she expects to gain knowledge on topics including governance, civil society and entrepreneurship, while enhancing her professional development and networking with other participants from around the African continent, American professionals, and experts from across the region to obtain internships and foster mentorship relations.

Watch this space for her feedback at the end of the programme.


Ms Mahlodi Kgatle in action 

- Author Department of Marketing Management

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