One Day Leader a youth debate and leadership show on SABC1 on Sundays at 6:30 is almost wrapping up it’s second season, with only 1 episode left to air where the winner between Seadimo Tlale and Ndumiso Hadebe will be crowned. The show hosted by Masechaba Lekalake has young and brilliant minds gathered together to make an impact and inspire the lives of fellow South Africans. Anele Nzimande is a young Wits student with a bright head on her shoulders and one of the few voted off the competition alongside Sanda Ncama and Bongekile. Anele shares her experience as a One Day Leader season 2 contestant and dining with President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma.
Who is Anele?
Anele is a young woman with a ferocious and insatiable appetite for life. I was born in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal to Bajabulile June-Rose Nzimande and Sithembiso Philemon Nzimande. I have two older siblings – a sister and a brother – and I have a twin sister studying medicine in Cuba.
What made you enter One Day Leader season 2?
I’ve never seen myself as anything less than extraordinary. I’ve always wanted to share parts of myself with the world – my ideas, my passion, my fears and my journey. Most of us in our youth are so afraid of criticism that we would rather abandon our dreams – or worse still – deny the existence of such dreams. More than anything, One Day Leader was an act of fearless and paying tribute to the legacy of my mother who continues to inspire me every single day.
You are a student, please tell us about your academic life and aspirations?
I’m a 2nd year LLB student at the University of the Witwatersrand. My love for law has always been contested strongly by my love for English Literature. Ultimately, I would like to become a writer, a news broadcaster and an ambassador for the United Nations.
What are the biggest challenges you think we are faced with as a young South African youth?
We are a much divided youth. The divisions have become such an intrinsic part of who we are – we sometimes fail to define ourselves outside of them. The divisions vary based on nationality, race, tribe, age and gender. South African youth don’t realise that we all face the same problems and thus need to work as a collective towards finding common solutions.
What are your hopes for yourself and the youth of this country?
It’s all articulated so brilliantly through this quote, ‘Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfil it, or betray it.’ – Frantz Fanon. May we have the courage and the sense to discover and fulfil our mission.
As a young leader, is there immense pressure especially now that you have done #ODL2?
You know, I am constantly evolving, shedding my former skin and growing a new layer. That makes it difficult for me to succumb to any of the pressure that’s emerged because of the show. I’ve grown so much and I’ve learned to love myself passionately, and deliberately. When people see you as a leader they don’t expect you not to falter and I’ve been brave enough to allow people to come on my journey with me and to celebrate my victories with me and to learn from my losses and failures. The only pressure is that of keeping my character intact, and my feet firmly on the ground.
How was the ODL2 experience? What did you take out of all that? How were the judges, being mentored by Vusi? Who have you developed a closer relationship with amongst the other contestants?
The ODL2 experience was tumultuous. It wasn’t always good. The judges were very difficult to decipher at times in terms of what they were looking for – however they always gave us essential advice on how to improve every week. During the course of the show, I developed a very strong bond with Bongekile, it felt very comforting to have a friend on the show because there were times when things became unbearable. The pressure of the show along with academic stress almost knocked the wind out of me.
What/who inspires you?
My mother and father, my siblings and God.
Where do you see yourself on the next 5 years?
I see myself in a place of contentment. That’s all I choose to see.
What do you do when not being busy changing the world and being nerdy?
Taking pictures. I need photos to prove to my children that I lived a full life in my youth.
What have been the most fulfilling moments of your life?
There are so many. I suppose some that may top the list was being in New York City as part of the South African Model United Nations delegation in 2011, having dinner with the President at the SABC Henley Studios and every waking moment I spend with my friends and family.
What can you say to a hopeless, uninspired little rural girl who doesn’t see a future for herself in this South Africa?
You are God’s favourite creation. You are more than enough, far greater than ‘too much’ and far more phenomenal than your age suggests.
What is leadership? What makes a good leader?
Leadership is the measure of the impact you have on the lives of others around you. If you can inspire people to act, to believe in themselves because of you and to challenge the status quo – you are a leader. Leadership should always move others to act.
As a young democracy of less than 20 years, do you think as a nation we are on the right track?
No. If South Africa is anything like me, then she’s only just learning who she is and who she wants to be. Let’s not resist the transition, it is necessary. And I think a lot of the strife that exists is large a consequence of resisting change. The ‘Last Poets’ said it best — N*ggers are afraid of revolution.
Follow Anele on Twitter @Anele_Nzimande
By: Bonnie Meslane