Sibongile Khumalo

Sibongile Khumalo considerers herself an alternative thinker, which is perhaps why, having received her master’s degree in Sleep Physiology at the University of the Witwatersrand, she decided to make a difference in people’s lives. Pursuing a career in education she used the influence this afforded her to help underprivileged children. In 2006 she volunteered for the Student Sponsorship Programme (SSP), a non-profit trust that provides high school scholarships to disadvantaged South African children. A year later Khumalo was heading SSP’s operations in East London. It was here that she joined Rotary International and established a literacy class in Gonubie township, teaching women of all ages how to read and write in isiXhosa. Still as selfless and single-minded as ever, she now works as SSP’s academic director in Johannesburg and spends every Saturday running a media centre and library at Thabisang Primary School in Soweto. “I love the fact that I am influencing people, that I’m changing lives,” she says. — Billy Rivers