Goodman Lepota has always been politically conscious and cognisant of the power of social awareness. Born in a township east of Johannesburg and raised by his mother, Lepota has played an integral part in influencing policy from the age of 13, when he became involved in a reproductive health campaign for young people in his school district in Ekurhuleni. Aged 18, he was invited to interview Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on MTV Africa, and was selected by BBC Africa World News to share his vision of South African society 20 years after apartheid ended.
Lepota won a scholarship to do his high school at the African Leadership Academy in 2011, and in 2014, he became a MasterCard Foundation Scholar at Marist College in New York, studying a BSc in Business Administration. He is fascinated by the impact technology has on presidential political campaigns and government communications, specifically psychographic segmentation and micro-targeting using personal data from the electorate.
In 2016, aged 22, he managed a university campaign for a former classmate and friend in the US that, with 53% of the vote, elected the first African in over 200 years as student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “I was then selected to join the communications team as an intern for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Tim Kaine’s presidential campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, through to the general election,” says Lepota.
“The same year, I won first prize at the Mid-Hudson Regional New York Business Competition for an idea to offer tools to support minority university students in the US to run for student leadership positions.” Through all his efforts to succeed, Lepota has been inspired by his family. “On the wall at home we have a photo taken in the early 1900s of my grandfather, a man who moved his wife and children to Johannesburg, as many families did in those days, to realise a better life. That pioneering narrative inspires me. I have a strong belief within me that the future is going to be better.”
— Linda Doke