Voices of Youth Inspire! "Be your own leader, and believe in that leader"
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From January 13th to 17th, the 4th Pan-African Youth Leadership Summit was held in Dakar (Senegal). Voices Of Youth was there and interviewed young participants, among which Zandi Mqwathi, 31, from South Africa.
VOY: Tell us about yourself and why are you here today
I am a young leader, writer, blogger, and HIV/AIDS advocate in South Africa. I was designated as the focal point for ROJARLU (network of African UN young leaders) in South Africa. I am passionate about change in Africa.
I am currently studying Arts. I worked for an NGO in art therapy, doing visual arts, painting and drama to address health issues. I also trained prisoners in correctional centers on HIV/AIDS.
I attended a summit last year in Ouagadougou, and one of the members identified me as a young leader for South Africa. In ROJARLU, we work toward the realization of the Millennium Development Goals. We form relationships with other African countries and young people.
VOY: If you were asked to organize the summit next year, what would you change/add? What would be the topic of the summit?
I would ask young leaders to come together with their leaders and talk about ethics, writing and personal skills. We need to empower young people directly. The focus should be on personal development because we, the youth, need to carry change. Self-esteem is very important, because you need to know what you are able to do, and how to deal with your weaknesses.
VOY: What is your favorite expression?
Passion makes the way to growth. We need to find passion!
VOY: Do you have a message or a piece of advice for youth out there?
First, you must trust God. You need to start looking for opportunities. Always encourage yourself, don’t wait. Be your own leader, and believe in that leader. Then, you’ll be able to create massive change. And don’t forget to have fun!