FROM KAGISO TO THE WORLD: SIBONGILE MDLALOSE’S JOURNEY OF LEADERSHIP AND EMPOWERMENT

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By Madali Chibambu

  • Sibongile Mdlalose, a 22-year-old from Kagiso, West Rand, has achieved remarkable success with the support of the Gauteng Department of Social Development.
  • She discovered her talent for public speaking at a youth camp organised by the National Department of Social Development in collaboration with the South African National Defence Force.
  • Mdlalose now runs her own business mentoring young girls and aims to create job opportunities in disadvantaged communities through her facilitating centre in Gauteng.

Sibongile Mdlalose, a 22-year-old from Kagiso, West Rand, has charted a remarkable path to success, thanks to the support from the Gauteng Department of Social Development. Mdlalose credits the department for helping her uncover a talent she never knew she possessed. Her journey began when she was chosen to be a programme director at a youth camp organised by the National Department of Social Development. Representing Gauteng at the camp, a collaborative initiative with the South African National Defence Force, Mdlalose found her calling in leadership and discipline.

A former student of Mandisa Shiceka High School in Kagiso, Mdlalose reflects on how the camp experience shaped her. “I participated in school debates and stage dramas, but I never imagined my mentors at the camp would recognise my talent,” she says. Today, Mdlalose is a poet, facilitator, and public speaker. She has also launched a business dedicated to mentoring and empowering young girls from disadvantaged communities. Her hard work and dedication have been fuelled by the positive feedback she receives. “Getting compliments from people pushed me to work hard and ensure that all the girls I mentor see the light after attending my sessions,” she shares.

Mdlalose expresses deep gratitude for the unwavering support she received from social workers at the Gauteng Department of Social Development. “They were with me every step of the way, making follow-ups and treating me like their child. They encouraged me to take my gift as a public speaker seriously,” she says.

Mdlalose pursued a leadership course at a business school to balance her business and career. She emphasises the importance of taking one’s gifts and passions seriously, as they can eventually provide a livelihood. Despite the high unemployment rates in the country, Mdlalose envisions creating job opportunities through her own facilitating centre in Gauteng. She aims to make it a globally recognised hub, especially for disadvantaged areas.

Currently involved in multiple career opportunities, Sibongile Mdlalose is also an ambassador for the Thuli Madonsela Foundation, continuing to inspire and lead by example.

Her message to young people is one of resilience and determination. “Failure is a choice. You will face challenges, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. You have a chance to stand up and dust yourself off,” she concludes.

 

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