#UPYouthMonth: 18-year-old UP student Tshepiso Malema instils hope in young people from impoverished communities

Posted on June 17, 2021

Nestled between Tembisa and the affluent Midrand, Ivory Park is a densely populated area consisting of informal settlements. Tshepiso Malema, a University of Pretoria IT student, is one in approximately 184 000 people who live in this township. The tragic death of his father in 2017 marked a significant turning point in his life: “I had to start taking on responsibilities and become independent because my mother was not working. I used to sell ice juices on weekends at the traffic lights so I could buy myself soccer boots,” he said.

In 2019, Malema realised most of his peers were so consumed with their circumstances that they saw no light on the other side and were not motivated enough to chase their dreams. This sparked the creation of his blog, Tshepiso Malema Speaks, a platform where he writes motivational insights in the form of blog posts. “My first blog post reached over 500 reads in just a few days and positively impacted people and gave them hope. As I started seeing the impact that my blog had, I decided to transition it to an organisation so that it can change even more lives,” he said.

Last Christmas, UP student Tshepiso Malema (front) hosted a community Christmas party through his organisation, Tshepiso Malema Speaks. 

The organisation shares a name with his blog and helps young people find their purpose at a young age. It has also helped countless individuals within his community. “Last year, we managed to impact many people through our campaign called the Kasi Give Back Campaign. One event that was very close to my heart was when we hosted a Christmas lunch for the less privileged. Growing up in one of the most disadvantaged townships made me realise that not everyone has the privilege to have a proper Christmas feast, hence this campaign is here to bring smiles to the less fortunate,” he said.

Malema is just one of the many young people striving to help the less fortunate. “This year marks 45 years since the uprising in which many children lost their lives while standing up against a system that sought to strip them of their identity and break their spirit. Today, as we try to transition to a better world, we, as young people, will be the leaders of that world. For this reason, the month of June is probably the most important month to be commemorated in our democratic history.”

He added: “Giving is not just about money; so you don't need to be rich. Giving to others can be as simple as a single kind word, smile or a thoughtful gesture. It can include giving time, care, skills, thought or attention. Sometimes these mean as much, if not more, than financial gifts. So, if you want to feel good, do good.”

- Author Mecayla Maseka
Published by Hlengiwe Mnguni

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