Tshidiso Ramogale

Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellow

Tshidiso Ramogale’s passion for positive change began during a period when he had lost hope. His mother had just lost her job, his father was nowhere to be seen, and their home had been unlawfully sold in execution.

After many tears and bouts of anger, he realised that with a flip in mindset, difficulty could present an opportunity for change. In spite of the challenges he faced, he matriculated with six distinctions and went on to study law at the University of the Witwatersrand. When Ramogale shared his story with pupils during a speech he delivered at a school in Katlehong, he was shocked by the response.

“These learners were being told on a daily basis that they would never amount to anything, that they are not smart enough to defeat the odds,” he recalls.  Inspired by the impact education had made on his own life, he founded Change SA, the aim of which is to show how entrepreneurship and education are catalysts for change.

He has already witnessed learners with whom Change SA interacted attending some of the country’s best universities.

“It was a full circle moment when I was approached by a first-year student at a debating tournament and he told me that he was able to gain entry into the school of accounting because of the tutoring programme we held at his school,” he recalls.

Ramogale, who is an Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellow, also played a role in the litigation that enabled informal traders evicted by the City of Johannesburg to return to their lawful trade.

Yet in spite of his numerous achievements, he remains modest. “My contribution to civil society has been minimal. In my small way, I’ve been able to but I believe that change comes from a culmination of individual actions. Never underestimate the impact you have, even if it is small.” — Fatima Asmal