UP SRC President David Kabwa included in JCI South Africa’s list of Ten Outstanding Young Persons for 2020

Posted on September 01, 2020

David Kabwa, who is the president of the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Student Representative Council (SRC), has been included in the final list of the South African chapter of Junior Chamber International’s (JCI) Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP).

This is yet another feather in the cap of the student leader who, apart from his role within the University’s SRC, is also prime minister of the Commonwealth Youth Parliament; an ex-officio member of the South African Union of Students (SAUS); and chairperson of the second commission in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature Youth Sector Parliament.

Kabwa was nominated by a colleague and feels honoured to have received an award that has been won by prominent individuals such as former President of the United States of America John F Kennedy.

“I feel humbled and grateful beyond measure. Moreover, I feel inspired after I got to find out more about the other nominees when we were shortlisted to the top 21. It has been exciting to see the work that young people are doing across the country,” he said, adding that he hoped his selection as the only top 10 honouree under the category of political, legal and/or governmental affairs would motivate young people to get involved in the sector.

Both the National President of JCI South Africa and the President of JCI Tshwane congratulated Kabwa on his achievement.

“I would like to congratulate David Kabwa for being chosen as an honouree under the category political, legal and governmental affairs,” said Zandile Makhoba, National President of JCI South Africa. “The TOYP programme recognises outstanding individuals who embody JCI’s mission in extraordinary ways. His achievement is remarkable as the future of our country lies in the rise of young leaders.”

“As JCI Tshwane, we are delighted with the selection of David Kabwa as a 2020 TOYP honouree. His selection is testament to the calibre of young leaders we have in our great city, and specifically UP,” said Mario Ruiters, Local President of JCI Tshwane.

The role of the youth in the sustainable development agenda

JCI is a global, non-profit organisation that runs an integrated programme across geographical territories where individuals between the ages of 18 and 40 network and work together on projects that not only drive sustainable development in their communities, but also empower young people by developing their skills. The overarching goal of the organisation is for young people to develop their skills and leadership abilities in order to become responsible leaders in the future.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted by the United Nations (UN) Member States are a group of goals that are concerned with development that will ensure that people’s basic needs are met. The SDGs stress the importance of inclusivity and equity in these needs being met. Some of the key goals include eradicating poverty and ensuring that there is parity across genders. Owing to the ambitious nature of the goals and the fact that it is hoped that they will be achieved by 2030, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has called on all sectors of society to play a role in the realisation of these goals. The contribution of young people and organisations like JCI South Africa in this regard is not lost on Kabwa and the leaders of the organisation.

“The role of young people is integral to achieving the sustainable development agenda. Young people are innovative, intelligent, inspirational, and infused with a vigour that is incomparable. We are the future; sustainability entails continuity and continuity regarding achieving the SDG’s will entail developing a cohort of young people to actualise the groundwork that has started,” said Kabwa.

Ruiters echoed Kabwa’s sentiments and suggested that in order for efforts that prioritise development to be sustainable, the role of young people within this context cannot be put on the backburner. 

“Any progress made towards achieving the sustainable development agenda will be squarely dependent on the young people in society and their drive to see the global goals for sustainable development come to bear. Today’s global challenges require innovative and creative solutions. JCI empowers young people to become active citizens; take responsibility for global challenges in their community; and identify targeted, sustainable solutions. JCI Tshwane members share the belief that in order to create lasting, positive change, we must improve ourselves and the world around us. In the South African context, we need to ramp up our efforts to bring about change and inspire action from the youth of our county,” he said.

Kabwa encourages young people to not treat their respective contributions with contempt and to never be discouraged in all that they do because their contribution in society matters.

“Never underestimate the small beginnings. Over the past few days, I have received word from so many people that have come forward to share stories about how I changed their lives. The common thread has been that it has been the little things that have been impactful. Serving with all your heart will create a series of differences. These differences will accumulate to change the world.”

- Author Kaya Nocanda

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