As the first person in her family and the only child on her street to finish grade 12 and attend university, Kealeboga Mokomane knows first-hand the difference education can make. This, along with a passion for youth development and women empowerment, set her on a path towards finding ways to uplift young South Africans.
“If I could change one thing in South Africa, it would be that every young person receives the best education and career opportunities despite their location, background or financial standing,” she says.
Driven by a desire to be a catalyst for change, Mokomane has founded two community upliftment initiatives in Gauteng, helping more than 3 000 girls, boys and women in the process. Her projects have garnered her recognition as one of the Junior Chamber International’s Top Outstanding Young Persons in South Africa in 2017, where she received the Humanitarian and Voluntary Leadership award.
Founded in 2011, her first initiative, Fab Glam, was in operation for six years. During this time, she facilitated the support, development and growth of women of excellence through mentorship programmes, personal mastery seminars, high teas and “dignity days”.
Dignity days, Mokomane explains, provide a safe space for girls to openly discuss issues affecting them. These events tackled topics such as puberty, feminine hygiene and menstrual management, and included activities like vision board building, career mapping and basic psychometric testing to help determine their strengths and weaknesses.
Her second initiative, GenZet, which she founded in 2019, follows a similar framework — she hosts dignity days, career days and other education-focused events centred on uplifting young people in various communities.
“From the dignity days that we have hosted to date, we have seen young girls rise up and become leaders, not just in their schools but in their respective communities too,” she says.
Over the next five years, Mokomane plans to extend GenZet’s reach into other provinces, because, as she puts it, “people are always looking for opportunities to learn and advance themselves”.
Working as a communications manager for the ONE Campaign, an international non-profit organisation that seeks to end poverty and preventable diseases, is another way in which she is contributing to making a difference on an even greater scale.
“Working at ONE has opened my eyes to the issues we are facing as a continent,” she says. “I hope that through my work at ONE, I get to make an impact that contributes to alleviating extreme poverty.”
When not working or running her initiatives, Mokomane gives talks in schools — a project which began when she worked for the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation’s Kagiso Shanduka Trust. Her motivation?
“I love talking to young people and being one of the catalysts that opens up their thinking and challenges them to dream bigger,”
“I truly believe that real and lasting change will be driven by a new generation of young people who are well educated and who have the tools to find solutions to the challenges facing Africa today. The youth of the continent have so much potential to be great — we just need to be given equal access to opportunities.”