Meet 15 year-old motivational speaker, Kimberly Malope

PHOTO: Supplied to DRUM
PHOTO: Supplied to DRUM

Kimberly has had a chance to travel to New York and Washington and delivered speeches to students and members of parliament. With her motivational speaking she’s also met Graça Machel and Bill Clinton, to name just a few VIPs. Kimberly speaks to DRUM about what inspired her to be a motivational speaker and her journey so far.

WHAT INSPIRED HER

“I love giving back to the community. I was at a school in Limpopo and the school burnt down. Matric students didn’t want to go to school because it was a tough environment without textbooks. They have given up,” she recalls. She spoke to pupils about education referencing the late struggle icon Nelson Mandela on his stance on education. But some of them didn’t heed to her talks.

“They thought I was better than them and I was lying. It wasn’t about that but I had gone there to see how they lived. But the following year I got calls from them (matric pupils) saying they have passed and I should check the newspaper. That showed me I actually have a talent to motivate.” Her first mission was accomplished.

EDUCATION IS KEY

Kimberly will be in Grade 11 at Crawford College in Pretoria next year. “I try to live by example. Whenever I say education is key to life, I need to show people what I mean – my education comes first.”

The teen says she does her motivational speaking mostly on weekends, and if she isn’t too busy at school, she squeezes in a few sessions usually on Wednesdays. 

HER CHILDHOOD

I’m very busy with going to orphanages and motivating people, I only have one best friend. I didn’t really don’t get time to play with other kids. I missed having a childhood because I matured at the age of 9. But I am actually grateful for it because it taught me a lot.”

MEETING THE OBAMAS

Kimberly attended Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in 2013 where she met former US president Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle. “It was a wonderful experience. My mom was overseas so I had to go to the memorial service alone. When I was running around I bumped into Michelle going out,” she revealed. Michelle said she was adorable and would love to adopt her. “She asked if I was related to Nelson Mandela. I said I just a have a close relationship with them. When Obama came, I saw an opportunity to introduce myself. And they said I should visit them overseas.”

Kimberly tells us she was supposed to visit the Obamas this summer but because of exams she’s postponed her trip to next year. “It feels amazing and sometimes unbelievable.”

REBUILDING A SCHOOL

Kimberly is renovating a library in Eshowe, KZN, and she’s rebuilding a school in Limpopo called BK Matlala Commercial High School. The rebuilds are done out of her pocket and sometimes funds are raised.

SHE’S ONLY 15

“I want to open doors for every human being in the country.”

Before addressing an audience, she does her research and writes the speech to complement the crowd. “It’s not easy because sometimes you don’t know what to say. You don’t want people to say, ‘Oh we’ve heard this before’. You got to try to have new materials.”

She wants to release a book next year about her journey and how to achieve your dreams, and to learn about being confident.

ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE

“The sky is the limit. That crazy idea that you have, it is crazy. Whatever past you’ve had don’t let it demotivate you because it could help someone else.”