The liberation of the people of South Africa from the scourges of poverty, unemployment and inequality is what Simangaliso Mlangeni dreams about, and what he dearly hopes the future holds. “Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible”.
Mlangeni believes that these words by St Francis of Assisi encapsulate everything he believes in. “This saying serves as a motivation for me to push on when times get tough, and when I see what seemed impossible yesterday is possible today, nothing seems impossible tomorrow,” he says.
Mlangeni strives to make a positive impact on the political consciousness of young people in the communities he reaches. He believes young people need to become politically informed before they can participate in issues of governance. He joined politics at just 14, when he was recruited into the ANC Youth League.
Since then, he has held many different portfolios, including ANCYL branch chairperson and branch secretary, South African Students Congress branch secretary, and ANC branch executive committee member and branch secretary. At 28, his involvement in governance saw him elected to the Youth Ambassador Office of the KZN Premier in 2011, working as a peer educator at Injisuthi Clinic near his home town of Estcourt in KZN, and overseeing the youth portfolio during Operation Sukuma Sakhe (2011-2016) by helping people deal with social ills and work on crime prevention improvements in the area.
“There is nothing I find more inspiring than seeing people I’ve helped in turn contributing to their community and the success of others,” says Mlangeni.
— Linda Doke