#UPYouth Month: “Don’t dream just for yourself; dream for your community” – SRC deputy president

Posted on June 26, 2020

“Having a vision and knowing your identity” as a young person in South Africa is what will drive students to achieve success and contribute to building a stronger country, says Mpho Mehlomakulu (24), deputy president of the Student Representative Council (SRC) at the University of Pretoria.

The Practical Theology honours student offered his thoughts on how he is playing his part – and how other youth can play theirs – to ensure a better future for South Africa, in commemoration of Youth Month.

Mehlomakulu, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theology, works as a research assistant in the Faculty of Theology in addition to his SRC duties. He has also served his community as an environmental spokesperson at a greening project, and was a facilitator at a global leadership psychology event. He is also chairperson of the Student Christian Organisation. 


Mpho Mehlomakulu.

Many young people do not have enough faith in themselves or in the change they can make in their communities through their careers, Mehlomakulu says. His decision to study Theology was partly based on his belief that better leadership will be the foundation for a better South Africa. “Our nation is in dire need of ethical leaders,” he says. “My greatest calling is not only to be an ethical leader but to grow ethical leaders; only then do I think we can create an ethical culture and system that will outlast us all.”

He finds great fulfilment in being involved in the personal growth of others. “I have come to realise that helping people to discover their purpose brings me so much joy – that to me is success. The reward is that people play their part in building South Africa, be it through social justice, business, teaching, medicine or even being the next big artist. My reward comes from walking the journey with people as they become what they were born to be.”

As for how the older generation can do better in assisting youth, Mehlomakulu highlights the importance of leadership and mentorship. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it – Proverbs 22:6,” he says, drawing on a quote from the Bible. “There cannot be lasting change without wisdom from those who have gone before us.”

To the youth, he has this to say: “Dare to believe that you can build a nation that is unified, innovative, ethical, progressive, free of poverty, and healthy enough to be a light to Africa. Don’t dream just for yourself; dream for your community.”

- Author Primarashni Gower

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