Mbali Ntuli of the DA. File picture: Nqobile Mbonami.

Barely a week after being sworn in as a member of the provincial legislature in KwaZulu-Natal, the DA’s Mbali Ntuli has received international recognition for her role in politics with a nomination for a prestigious political award.

Ntuli, 31, is among 20 young politicians from around the world to be nominated for the One Young World Politician of the Year award for 2019, with five of the winners set to be announced by the end of June and be presented with the award at the One Young World 2019 Summit in London in October.

The other 19 nominees come from countries such as Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Malaysia, New Zealand, Iceland, India, Israel, Brazil, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Mexico, Ireland, France and Venezuela.

According to One Young World, the award was created to celebrate the most impressive, impactful, young politicians under 35 from around the world. 

The five winners will be chosen based on the impact they are having on their community and how they used their position to benefit the lives of young people.

Ntuli says that despite being honoured, her nomination as the only South African on the shortlist was a surprise that she was incredibly proud of.

“Just being nominated has been great because if you see the calibre of people I’m nominated in my category with they’ve all done some amazing things, so whether or not I win I’m nominated on the shortlist,” Ntuli says.

With the nomination coming on the back of her recent swearing into the provincial legislature, Ntuli said that she was humbled to be recognised and hoped that she would continue her political journey and use the recognition to leverage herself being able to get into positions where she could assess the political direction of her party and the country.

“I also a lot of political work outside of my political party so I think that’s had some contribution. I am very organised in other civil society movements, I write a lot and I think that’s led to me being nominated so hopefully I can use that to start affecting more change of direction of my own party especially after the election results we’ve had,” says Ntuli.

She says that she has coped with her swearing and the nomination quite well despite having very little sleep as she juggles her work with being a doting mother to her newborn baby girl Sarabi YithiAmahlubi Hadebe.

“I’m trying to breastfeed and I’m up all night between it all, so I have to say I haven’t taken full stock of everything mainly because I’m operating on about three hours of sleep everyday, but it’s all very exciting and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” says Ntuli.

Her former DA colleague Lindiwe Mazibuko is part of the panel of six judges tasked with selecting the five winners of the award, and Ntuli says it was nice seeing her name on the list of judges.

“She’s so ethical, I’m not even going to speak to her about it and she also hasn’t contacted me about it. She’s obviously there in her role as the Apolitical Academy executive director,” Ntuli says.

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