Former DA MP Lindiwe Mazibuko.

Johannesburg - Former DA MP Lindiwe Mazibuko has used examples of several women who supported her to show the importance of mentorship in young lives.

She said the narrative that women should be threatened by each other and threatened by each other's success and either claim each each other's success or destroy it was one of  the greatest limitation on women's success in public office. 

"It's dangerous. I want you to remember that women pulling each other down, women undermining each other in public is not something that happens among little girls on the play ground.

"It happens in corporate, it happens in different organisations and it happens in politics," she said.

Mazibuko was speaking at the Marie Claire Power Summit embracing Mandela Day. 

Her topic, "Speaking Politics: A Crash Course in Being in Power" was part of the programme at the first ever summit held in association with Audi and the Nelson Mandela Foundation at Gold Reef City on Wednesday.

Mazibuko also used an example of Helen Zille to remind people that not everyone will see a woman's growth as their gain.

She said Zille had often failed at nurturing new leadership. She also said the benefits of working with elder leaders helped her, using  the example of having Mamphela Ramphele taking her on as a mentor.

She said she received several calls from these types of power women to help her out. 

"I've been lucky to have women in my life who never viewed me as someone they had to destroy or prevent from rising to success." 

Mazibuko also spoke on politics.

"We've had a e exciting year in politics. We came out of a tumultuous period."

She focused on the baton of power always being in contestation, usually between two older men using examples of South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe. 

"Why does it matter that the vast majority of people contesting for real power are all the same? What's the difference between them and other people? We are the youngest continent in the world, an average African is 19 and women outnumber men by a million. "

"Our major defying characteristic is the youth. That's what makes us excited. They dominate discourse and social media but they are not taking up political power. 

Mazibuko said the challenge was leaders who don't want to step down, using the example of several African leaders who have clung to power for decades. 

"We're aiming for cooperation a respect for the wisdom of elders and innovation of the youngsters."

Mazibuko said the world was heading to a time where gender quality and technology would drive decisions. 

"We can't expect people who cut political teeth in cold war to take leadership when there's people who are more connected to the 21 st century who can take the lead." 

Her Apolitical Academy is about connecting young minds with politics. 

"We want to support nurture and build the next generation of public leaders," she said.

The Star