Catherine Constantinides

Executive Director, Miss Earth South Africa Leadership Programme

Catherine Constantinides’s list of achievements and accolades is long enough to fill pages, let alone a few paragraphs, in this year’s 200 Young South Africans supplement.

Who starts their first business at the age of 16 to highlight social issues? She did. Who has been named Top South African Young Woman Entrepreneur for Women Empowerment, as well as South African Youth Entrepreneur at the South African Premier Business Awards? She has. Who has ambitions to be a published author, and started a music, entertainment and arts magazine by the time she was 21? That would be her, again.

And who has set her sights on, one day, entering politics with the ambition of attaining the highest seat of power in government? You guessed it. Constantinides.

It is difficult to imagine that all this energy and drive exists in a single person, who also happens to be executive director of Miss Earth South Africa leadership programme, a movement to empower women in the climate, sustainability, food security and conservation sector. Oh, and she’s also the LEAD SA executive responsible for mobilising active citizens.

In case this is not enough evidence of Constantinides’s capacity as a young role model, she was the youngest of 20 emerging Africans named as an Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow in 2013, which saw her engaging with other young African leaders in a programme that included an intense module hosted at Oxford University.

She sees herself as an out-and-out social entrepreneur with a vision to change the world. She lives and promotes these values through her work, including another initiative she founded – the international climate youth network GENERATION EARTH.

“I also hope to continue building and challenging myself as a social entrepreneur, using innovation as a key foundation to building on the endless opportunity that surrounds us as citizens of this country.” — Johann Barnard