Simamkele Dlakavu has managed some significant achievements for someone who hasn’t yet turned 23. She was chosen as one of 28 of Africa’s Most Outstanding Emerging Women Leaders by the Moremi Initiative MILEAD Fellowship and selected as a One Young World Co-ordinating Ambassador for South Africa. She also does regular community and volunteer work with programmes such as Dream Girls International Outreach and Mentoring Program, and the Sakha Ulutsha Lwethu.
She also has a day job at the Broad Daylight Films Foundation. She believes that the idea of service is central to who she is as a person.
“I have worked in the developmental space since I was 15 and the idea of ‘service above self’ was ingrained in me, whether it’s through my work as a developmental media producer, telling the stories and struggles of ordinary South Africans or holding power and authority to account.”
Dlakavu uses her writing talents at the Daily Maverick, where she has written about everything from farmers to the plight of mentally and physically disabled women in South Africa. Everything she does is focused on making a difference.
“It is often said that you create the life that you want, I want to say to people that they create the community and the country that they want too,” she adds. “Not only do we need to take ownership of our lives, we need to take ownership of our communities and our country. Complaining won’t do much, we need to build.”
She is not letting anything stand in her way and has done more than many people twice her age; much of this comes from her resilient spirit and rare maturity. She knows that the way forward isn’t always going to be simple.
“It’s not easy being constantly inspired, constantly motivated,” she says. “What keeps me going is the belief that my actions can make a difference and they matter, in a small or big way.” — Tamsin Oxford