Wesley Diphoko, Online Editor,Business Report (02 June 2017)
Wesley Diphoko, Online Editor,Business Report (02 June 2017)

On June 16, 1976, concerned young South Africans voiced their concerns about injustices in the country. Hector Pieterson became the subject of an iconic June 16 image of the 1976 Soweto uprising when a photograph by Sam Nzima of the dying Hector being carried by another student while his sister ran next to them, was published around the world. He became a symbol of political challenges during his time. Today, we are faced with a different kind of injustice, an economic injustice.

Many young people are economically inactive. The economic injustice is the next injustice for which young South Africans need to voice their concerns. There’s a need for young South Africans to bring to an end to the challenge of economic inactivity. Who will become the Hector Pieterson of this generation and fight the economic battles of youth today?

The economic injustice should not be fought by throwing stones and marches. This form of injustice should be dealt with through entrepreneurial activity and attitudes. Young people should use every opportunity they have to create economic value for themselves and their communities.

Economic battles

The next iconic (June 16) picture should not be of a dying young person, but a young person listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, having managed to withstand economic battles and created a successful business. Even business failures by these young people should be celebrated, as we learn to be successful from our mistakes.

From this week, in my capacity as the editor of Business Report Online, I will make it my duty to document the battles, challenges, successes and opportunities by young people’s economic activity. This month I will start by highlighting some of those who are worth celebrating, because of their economic activity. They are:

Rapelang Rabana - a computer scientist, entrepreneur, and keynote speaker. She is the founder of Rekindle Learning, a learning technology company, and previously co-founded Yeigo Communications, South Africa’s first free VoIP mobile services provider.

Nic Haralambous - founder of the online style company, Nicharry.com.Nic was the chief executive and co-founder of Motribe, the mobile community platform, before the company was successfully acquired by Mxit in October, 2012. He also founded ForeFront Africa, a consulting firm, before selling the business to Imperial Holdings.

Lufefe Nomjana - a social entrepreneur, known to his community as "The Spinach King" or "Popeye", not only because of his love for spinach, but because of what he has turned it into. He founded Espinaca (Spanish for spinach) Innovations in Khayelitsha. Espinaca Innovations is a Green bakery supplying super healthy and green baked goods.

Top 40 member

Portia Mngomezulu - is the founder of PortiaM a cosmetics company that sells products for some of South Africa’s largest retailers. She has been selected as a SEDA National Gazelle Top 40 member.

Gert Johan-Coetzee - a fashion designer who was born in Koster, South Africa’s North-West province in 1987. Fashion was in his blood since his earliest days; he was making dresses as early as eight years old. At 16 he left high school to enrol in the Northwest School of Design in Klerksdorp to focus on the business of fashion. He is a proud champion for South African fashion, he runs a successful design business with South Africa’s A-list celebrities.

They are not the only economically active young South Africans, there are more. It will be my mission to document these ones through a Youth Economic Activity infographic report to be published at the end of this month. Every month we will add more young people who are economically active.

This will become the information resource that funders and other business development supporters can use to assist young people to succeed economically.

I invite you to join me in the journey to share these insights via the Infonomist column. You are welcome to also write to me on: [email protected] to inform us about economically active young South Africans. I also encourage our readers to tell us about these ones via Twitter using the Hashtag: #YouthEconomicActivity. You can watch the video version of this column online weekly on: www.br.co.za - on the opinion section.

@WesleyDiphoko is the Online Editor for Business Report and head of Independent Media’s Digital Lab.