The most iconic leader, the late Tata Mandela once said: “Education is the most
powerful weapon one can use to change the world.”

South African vision programs stated: “Educate a child, to educate the nation.”

Fourteen years ago a boy arrived in a small village called Mhlanga. A village that
is very remote with no water, electricity and proper sanitation. It was in this village
that this young boy – Phiko – learned how to be a man, how to respect others, and how to be responsible. This is a community with a high unemployment rate. Youth are involved with alcohol, drugs and all sorts of crime; youth have lost hope in life. I was that boy and that was the community that moulded me to be the leader I am today – a community that shaped me.

To be someone who sees challenges as opportunities. I am a leader who believes in increasing wealth in community members hands; a select few wealthy individuals cannot benefit the whole society. I am a leader that transfers skills and knowledge to those who are in need of educating.

On the 14 May 2019 was my graduation day. The hall was full with parents, faculty, and graduates. You could see parents giving praise and shedding tears of
happiness; moments that can’t be compared to anything.

It was a memorable occasion – see the walk he makes to the stage in that black graduation attire to be xxxxxx

Maybe you wonder what he is thinking while he walks to that stage? Is he thinking: I made it Mama – hard stressful nights passed off; or maybe he is thinking: God be the glory.

You could hear the dean saying, “Pikolomzi Qaba passes with distinction.”

Look, look – the walk he makes to accept his award – his academic excellence. Indeed hard work, perseverance and dedication have paid off for this young man.

When asked: “What does this mean to you?” tears rolled down his cheeks. He looked up to the sky as if he saw God, and said: “My mother! My Mother! This is for her. I thank God for her. She raised us with nothing, but today she is celebrating the success of her hard labour, the fruits of her own trees.”

The young man closed, noting that the community built and shaped him to be the
person he is now. It is within that community that some prioritised education to
change family situations, and it is in that community that some would learn life the hard way.

The graduation attire I wore signified the parameters I walked to be where I am now. It was not easy but we stood strong and knew our end goal – a goal that is based on changing an unjust society; to be a leader and catalyst to inspire others.