We always throw around these words ‘find yourself a role model’ and we somehow expect the person to understand what we mean. But do people know how to distinguish between a good role model and a bad one? Do they even understand the purpose of having a role model?

This week we are going to give you some guidelines into finding yourself a good role model. And also help you understand what it means to have a role model.

Ability to inspire others

A good role model is someone who has the ability to inspire others with the work they do and with a strong set of values. A good role model is someone who has passion for what they do and who has good leadership skills. When choosing a role model for yourself you need to always study how the person you’re trying to model works; how they relate to the people around them and also, study their characteristics. Example: Trevor Noah has truly inspired many people, not only South Africans, to follow their dreams. He’s now the talk of the town, with his show in America and his latest book. Trevor continues to be an inspiration and role model to all.

Clear values and visions

Some people speak of the values that were instilled in them by their parents and others live according to their own values. A good role model is someone who lives by the values they say they have and also has a clear understanding of their vision in life. Having a clear vision of your future helps you to stay focused in working towards your goals. A good role model does the opposite of this famous saying ‘Do as I say and not as I do’; instead they really do practice what they preach. Example: Example: Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (EFF spokesperson) is someone who shows a clear vision and has good values. He’s someone who is constantly in the public eye and yet manages to stay true to himself; very inspiring indeed.


A good role model is someone who is selfless and is committed to helping those in need in their community. They don’t just focus on themselves all the time; they focus on others’ needs as well. Good examples of people who practice what they preach and do a lot for others would be Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey and many others. But it doesn’t only have to be celebrities. A role model can also be your community leaders who you think are doing great work for the community. It also could be your parents or even church leaders. A role model can be anyone who you think is doing good work and is passionate about what they do and whom you wish you could be like one day, or at least have some of their qualities.

Self determination

A good role model is someone who has the ability to overcome any obstacle that may come their way. They have the ability to stand out from the crowd and do what they feel will impact positively in their community. Sometimes people tend to give up too soon because things aren’t going their way, but a good role model sticks it out until it works for them. Example: Derek Redmond (400 metres sprint runner) in 1992 was running during the Olympics and his dreams were shattered when he felt his hamstring go. But that didn’t stop him; he carried on walking on a broken leg that his father came to assist him until he crossed the finish line. His determination to complete the race and archive his dreams makes him a good role model to have.

Admits to fault

A good role model is someone who admits when they are wrong because they know that in admitting your faults you are able to learn something. You have to fall down in order to learn how to get up and a good role model knows this. Not everything you do in life you will succeed in but it’s about persistence and knowing that even if you fail today tomorrow you can still excel. Examples would be your business entrepreneurs like Tokyo Sexwale, Mark Shuttleworth, Raymond Ackerman, and so on. If these people gave up on their ideas the first time it failed, they would not be as successful as they are now.

These are but a few qualities that every good role model should have. I hope that the next time you want to choose or find a role model that you consider these few key points. Remember having a good role model will not only motivate you but also inspire you to do greater things and be a successful person.

Written by Phoebe Sibomana


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