Founder: Phumlani Nkontwana Foundation

Phumlani Stanley Nkontwana

At 26, Phumlani Nkontwana is fighting for a simple principle: quality education for all — and not just for those who can afford it. A One Young World Ambassador, Nkontwana is living proof that being disadvantaged doesn’t mean you can’t be successful and, through his Phumlani Nkontwana Foundation (PNF), he ensures that learners in under-resourced schools are given the chance to excel despite their circumstances.

Nkontwana identifies under-resourced, high-performing schools through PNF and helps to sustain them by capacitating leadership and providing academic and financial support to top students. His long-term vision is to link 1 000 Craig Paxton top-performing schools, creating a “club of excellence” that inspires under-resourced schools to perform better. With a degree in economics and statistics from the University of Cape Town and three years’ experience heading up the Entrepreneurial Leadership Programme at the Alan Gray Orbis Foundation, Nkontwana recently started his own consultancy, providing support to start-up entrepreneurs.

— Lu Larche

Twitter: @PNkontwana