Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young People

2014-07-26 09:17

"Zareef Minnty: Mail and Guardian Top 200 Young"

The list of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Most Influential Young South Africans is out and looking at this list, I am proud to say I am South African. Our future looks great if these influential youth continue on their path to greatness. In previous years we saw names like Dj Sbu, Julius Malema, Lindiwe Mazibuko and Chad le Cros on the list which is a good indication of how prominent and consistent these lists are in identifying our best of the best. The list is divided up into different categories such as Arts, Business, Civil Society, Environment, Media, Politics, Sciences and Technology, Health, Sport and Education.

I strongly believe that this is the list before the Forbes Africa list of Most Influential People in Africa and South Africa, anyone on this list really has that potential to reach great heights. Even though this list is more about identifying profiles for the future if we look at the work these 200 young people have done for South Africa already it is extremely exciting to predict what will be done by them in the future. It was always a dream of mine to make this list before I turn 25; I am humbled to have made the list at 20. I have to thank the people who made it possible, the people who made me who I am today. It is really crazy to think that I cannot just identify one or two people but rather a large number of people because every single one of them influenced my life in some way, good or bad.

We should start looking to Generation Z – that exceptional group of young, up-and-coming individuals whose age and ability find them fighting for their ideals instead of squabbling over tenders. It will take the whole country to raise our leaders into the people they need to be so that they can influence change in South African society.

As a young South African I strongly challenge the masses to try and get on the 2015 list, work extremely hard so that next year you can be in that pool of 200. What I love about a list like this is that it isn’t about who is the most controversial or who is the most popular. It is about who is the most influential and that’s what our country really needs. That is, influential young people looking at changing this country one day at a time.  This year, the list of 200 includes the likes of

Bidvest Wits Sibusiso Vilakazi and Proteas Quinton de Kock stood out in the “Sports” section, while a friend of mine and fellow Witsie Tshidiso Ramogale made the “Civil Society” list. Tshidiso is an Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellow and most importantly he is humble beyond measure. 5FM’s Nicole Da Silva also made the list for “Media & Film” who is best known for her gig as a 5FM DJ on the night owl shift (from 3am to 5am). Also in the list is Imran Garda who is a presenter for Al Jazeera.

Looking at the piece of the list that covers “Politics and Government”, I am privileged to be among these amazing young leaders and politicians’, being able to lead a national youth structure at 19 has really taught me things no textbook or lecture ever could. I wish we all do well and use this platform as a step in the right direction to continuous development personally, for society and for South Africa as a whole.

The list was released on the 25th of July 2014, on the very same day the Mail and Guardian hosted a conference on the “State of the Youth”, examining the economic and social transformation of the youth over the past 20 years.

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