Principal: LEAP School, Ga-rankuwa

Tumelo Malekane

Few can argue with Plato’s advice that a healthy society needs either its philosophers to become kings, or its kings to become true philosophers. Tumelo Malekane is one man who not only recites this wisdom, but also lives it. Three years ago Malekane was set to rule a vast commercial kingdom. He had earned a BSc in actuarial science from the University of the Witwatersrand and landed a top job in finance.

But his personal commitment to the greater good prompted a change of plans. In 2010 Malekane joined LEAP Schools — a group of independent high schools placing special emphasis on maths and science — to teach and to follow his passion “to be a positive influence in children’s lives”. Having proven himself to be just that, in 2012 at age 27 he became one of the youngest principals in the country when he took charge of the LEAP School at Ga-Rankuwa. Malekane may be building his kingdom after all.

— Ian Macleod