Young ‘Mandela’ influences

Former president of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Student Representative Council (SRC), Sikhululekile Luwaca, has been named as one of the 100 Young Mandelas of the future by News24.

The top 100 candidates were announced on 3 July.

Readers nominated 1 300 South Africans from all walks of life who could be considered Mandelas of the future.

Luwaca emerged as one of the 100 who made the cut in the visionary category.

The initiative was inspired by what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday on 18 July 2018.

“News24 set out to honour 100 young South Africans who embody the characteristics Mandela was best known for,” said a statement by News24.

During his tenure as SRC president of the UFS, Luwaca’s office played a critical role in raising R1,2 million for underprivileged students.

He continues to make major strides as the current chairperson of the university’s ANC Youth League (ANCYL).

Luwaca was instrumental in facilitating a series of dialogues on transformation such as the UFS language policy, the Fees Must Fall movement and the Shimla Park incident.

“It is humbling. I embrace collective action and it would be unfair not to appreciate all the great minds I have encountered over the years and had the privilege to work with,” said Luwaca.

“Our individual progress can never be separated from that of the community. It is no longer I that lives, but us.”

Luwaca’s social and political influence goes back to his school days.

At age 13, he founded an association that sought to address school dropouts in rural areas.

In high school, the young philanthropist established an organisation that collected and distributed food for needy elders of the Cathcart township in the Eastern Cape.

For five years, Luwaca served the Student Christian Organisation as chairperson. In 2013, he co-founded the Ubuntu School Project that donated 100 full school uniforms to the Phomolong High School learners in Tembisa. Later on, as UFS student, Luwaca helped found the Hand2Hand Student Association.

The association drives fundraising initiatives, as well as the collection of non­perishable food items and second-hand textbooks for disadvantaged students.

In 2015, he was elected as residence committee representative for House Outeniqua and SRC: Dialogue and Association.

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