Two youths from Chris Hani have made the district proud by making the cut in this year’s Mail and Guardian 200 Young South Africans last week.
Masonwabe Fuma, 27, from Komani gained recognition for his contribution to business and entrepreneurship as head of marketing and communications at the Africa Cooperatives Institute of South Africa, whose end goal is to become a co-operative university, something classified as a unique institution and the first of its kind in the country, established in 2017.
Meanwhile, Tarkastad-born Asa Smouse was recognised in the rural development projects section for her work through her NPO, Asa Smouse Ree-Volution.
The Africa Cooperatives Institute of South Africa is aimed at providing skills and training development for co-operative enterprises and non-profit organisations in South Africa and on the African continent. It is also the first institute of its kind in South Africa to focus on practical activities for co-operatives and non-profit sector organisations.
Fuma said: “I am humbled by these recognitions. Over the years I have dedicated my life to building sustainable communities and an economy that actually works for the majority of people. It says that I am on the right track in what I have set out to achieve. It also says that a young person from a small town such as Komani is capable of competing among the best across the world and come out tops.’’
Last year he was nominated in the same category, but only managed to be a finalist. Just days before learning about making selection with the M&G he scooped the Sunday World Top 100 Unsung Heroes as a result of his work in underprivileged communities and forming part of Africa’s development.
“South Africa is confronted by many challenges at the moment, from Covid-19 to social ills such as youth unemployment which is currently at a staggering 74%. Our mission is to shape spaces and build a country that actually works for its majority. Our role is to put pressing issues on the national agenda and be involved.’’
He urges people to take a stand by getting involved instead of bemoaning the state of the game.
Among other things, Fuma is also a global business speaker, entrepreneur and activist.
“I am the co-founder and executive chairman of Mentorship Foundation Africa, a youth platform that aims to create intergenerational dialogues among the youth of Africa on key pertinent issues. The organisation aims to foster mentorship and robust debates around youth social ills.’’
Thirty-one-year old Smouse offers free coaching, mentoring, job placements and tertiary funding to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Her organisation aims to fight domestic violence, child abuse, poverty and socio-economic inequalities.
“I offer free life coaching sessions to people in the low-end market in order for them to have access to a better quality of life. This spans from personal development to mindset coaching, accountability, small business coaching and career coaching,” she said.
Smouse also brings a wealth of experience from a stellar background in the corporate world. She was a board member of a Brussels-based Euronext-listed company by age 25 and a founder of a junior mining company that she ran for two years.
On making the list she said: “To whom much is given, much is required. I have been given a responsibility that I don’t take for granted. The list was a confirmation to me that when you choose purpose over popularity, all these other things fall into place!
“There are things that money cannot buy – the touching testimonies and the number of transformed lives happen to be some of them,” said Smouse.
Currently, she is also a resident life coach on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Lukhanji FM and also a guest host on Vukani FM twice a month.
Additional reporting by Ntsikelelo Qoyo