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6 Young South Africans Doing Great Things

Date : 03 June 2019

In celebration of National Youth Month, Eveready is excited to share the stories of six young South Africans who are doing great things. Each of them has shown that, irrespective of age or circumstance, young people have the power to make a positive difference – not only within our country’s borders but around the globe too.

1. Michaela Mycroft

Michaela Mycroft is an ability activist and co-founder of The Chaeli Campaign, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting disabled children throughout the country. Michaela was just 10 years old when she helped establish the foundation, which aims to mobilise the minds and bodies of children with disabilities. Her efforts also resulted in a similar initiative in Zimbabwe, Hope in Motion, which offers support to disabled children and their families. Despite being wheelchair bound with cerebral palsy, Michaela has achieved phenomenal physical feats many able-bodied South Africans would balk at. Not only is she the first wheelchair athlete to finish the Comrades Marathon, but she is also the first female quadriplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro.

2. Michelle Nkamankeng

At the tender age of seven, Michelle Nkamankeng made history by becoming the youngest author in South Africa. Her book, Waiting for the Waves, also earned her a spot as one of the top ten youngest writers in the world. Her keen interest in writing began after a visit to a local bookstore, where she noted that children’s books were mostly written by adults. “I was like, why can’t children also explore and share their own stories with the world, for the world to hear their voices and see their imagination,” she said. The nine-year-old author also has her own foundation, where she aims to empower other children through education, literacy and inspirational talks.

3. Siyabulela Xuza

Rocket scientist, Harvard graduate, energy expert and entrepreneur – these are just four titles to describe Siyabulela Xuza. This young South African innovator boasts a long list of achievements in the field of science and engineering. Impressively, he developed his own rocket fuel and rocket, The Pheonix, while he was still in school. The rocket achieved a height of over one kilometre, propelling him on a remarkable path around the globe. Siyabulela ultimately returned home to address Africa’s need for sustainable energy solutions through his company, Galactic Energy Ventures.

4. Sandile Khubeka

Meet Dr Sandile Khubeka – South Africa’s youngest doctor ever. Sandile was just 20 years old when he graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)'s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine. This brilliant youngster started school at the age of five and completed Matric by age 15. Today, Sandile maintains a special interest in rural health and critical care medicine, and is currently working in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. The young doctor was also voted the 4th ‘Most Influential South African’ in 2018.

5. Douglas Hoernle

Douglas Hoernle is on a mission to help scholars who don’t have access to textbooks, particularly those in the most rural parts of South Africa. His online platform, Rethink Education, gives high school learners the opportunity to access quality educational content on their mobile devices. Taking the country’s data expenses into account, the mobile-learning platform is specifically designed to use minimal data. A number of corporates have also sponsored user licences, making it freely accessible to many. To date, the platform has helped over half a million South African students.

6. Ludwick Marishane

Ludwick Marishane is the brains behind DryBath, the world’s first water-less bath. Just 15ml of Ludwick’s DryBath® Gel is enough to clean an average adult body, without the need for water. Ludwick invented the innovative gel at the young age of 17, as a solution to global hygiene problems stemming from the limited access to clean water in developing countries. On average, his invention saves about 80 litres of water with every use, and is estimated to have saved over 8 million litres of water thus far. 

Michaela Mycroft (Image source: commons.wikimedia.org)

Michaela Mycroft (Image source: commons.wikimedia.org)

Siyabulela Xuza (Image source: medium.com)

Siyabulela Xuza (Image source: medium.com)

Douglas Hoernle (Image source: allangrayorbis.org)

Douglas Hoernle (Image source: allangrayorbis.org)