President Cyril Ramaphosa and track star Caster Semenya made Time magazine’s Top 100 most influential people in the world list. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
South Africans are well known the world over for their tenacity to achieve the unimaginable in the face of adversity or where any other person would easily give up, given the hurdles normally associated with hardship.

One of the greatest characteristics we see daily here at home is how so many people are always willing to go the extra mile and help those who can’t help themselves. We have such people in abundance. They are celebrated and acknowledged for their deeds by all South Africans who recognise their brave, open hearts.

This past week the influential Time magazine named Caster Semenya, Trevor Noah and President Cyril Ramaphosa as some of the most influential people in the world. These are South Africans whose shine is well recognised around the world.

They are the kind of citizens who continue, in a great exemplary way, showing what we are capable of as a nation.

We also celebrated our very own Thuso Mbedu for making history by landing a leading role in Hollywood series The Underground Railroad.

On April 27 we will be celebrating 25 years of our democracy. This is a notable celebration and we should rally millions of other South Africans out there to be the next Caster or Trevor. To the ones who didn’t know that there are a lot of Mandelas in South Africa, now they know.

We need more of such brand ambassadors who keep on raising our flag and getting it noted globally.

Other South Africans we continue to look at for inspiration are the likes of Bulelani Balabala and Vincent Khosa.

These are two gentlemen who recently showed us they not only possess a will to go all the way and assist, but they can also inspire those around them and get their communities to believe in them.

Balabala was recently honoured by Rob Davies, the Minister of Trade and Industry, at the 6th annual South African Premier Business Awards, hosted by Davies’ department together with Proudly South African and Brand South Africa. Balabala embodies what it means to be an inspiration as he has shown in his work in entrepreneurship and youth development programmes.

What we need are more women and men like Balabala who, in true South African spirit can say yes, we have done a lot in the past 25 years, but what can I do as a rallying call to improve the lives of those around me?

We have such characters who possess skill, rigour and order to go all the way and find solutions to various challenges that continue to hamper the progress of our communities. As a leading light at the Township Entrepreneur Alliance, Balabala has helped over 9800 township and rural entrepreneurs and more than 25000 high school pupils. There is no excuse in finding your inspiration - use an exemplary person like Balabala.

Then you get someone of utter bravery like Khosa. This is someone who said: “I will mute the screaming noises around me and risk my life so that I can save another.”

Despite the flooded Jukskei River in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, Khosa saw fit to reach out to a child that is not his but a child being raised by the whole community.

And save Mpilo Ngubane he did. This is the kind of South African we applaud, and we can proudly say today that a child is alive because of the selflessness Khosa displayed.

* Ntombela is the acting chief marketing officer at Brand South Africa, the official marketing agency responsible for managing the nation’s brand reputation.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.