4 Activators, 4 reflections on being members of the ACTIVATE! network

For some ACTIVATE! is just a training programme, for some it is a space to connect, a place of belonging, for some it is part of their journey as agents of change – four Activators give us a window into their lives and how being part of this network has touched their lives.


Nonkululeko Hlongwane:

I’m a middle child, so middle child syndrome is my name, no doubt. I’ve always been different growing up and it didn’t bother me. My sister has always had and still has far more to say than me. Then, ACTIVATE! came into my life. Let me back track a little, I had received a link to apply to join ACTIVATE! through a gentleman I’d met at the Department of Social Development. I applied on the closing day. At the time, I was not clear what direction I wanted to take. I was constantly depressed.

Immediately during module of training, I discovered what it is that has always made different all this time – my silence is worth a thousand words. I’ve discovered what my passion comes from my own life.  I’ve never been more encouraged than when I was amongst the amazing group of individuals (Activators) in intake 2 in KwaZulu-Natal.  For a moment, I reaised that I can be proud of where I’ve been and to use those experience to forge a new direction for myself while I continue helping others at the same time.

My fellow Activators, your stories, your insights, your view of the world have and continue to be a part of my growth. You will always be the people I refer back to in my future. Thank you ACTIVATE!, thank you Activators.

Dimple Smitha Neonath:

Growing up “different” meant no friends and learning to accept the value of the solitude thrust on me. I felt like nothing I did was worth anything. My opinions weren’t worth anything. I wasn’t worth


But something happened when I joined the ACTIVATE! network. I have discovered a group of people who believe in me even when I don’t.

During each training module, there were days where I became very anti social, my roomies noticed it
best I think, but it was usually because I was reflecting on what was happening to me and seeing how much I was really changing.

I know now that even when my resolve faulters I know I will always have you, my fellow Activators, to help me.  Being a member of the ACTIVATE! has given me the freedom to express myself in ways I never thought ofand the tools to help me make a difference.. And I don’t intend to waste any of it.

I choose …
To live by choice, not by chance,
To be motivated, not manipulated,
To be useful, not used,
To make changes, not excuses,
To excel, not compete.

I choose self-esteem, not self-pity,
I choose to listen to my inner voice,
I choose to do the things that you won’t so I can continue to do the
things you can’t.

I want to inspire people.
I want someone to look at me and say; “because of you, I didn’t give up.”

Sinothando Ndelu:

I’ve always been in the spotlight and seen as a leader of sorts even when all I wanted to do was shrink and even disappear. I never understood what it is that people saw in me.

Friends often sought advise from me yet no-one was there for me to seek advise from. And so I continued to consult Dr.Paper&Ink.

When I applied for ACTIVATE! I truly had no idea what it was allabout. All that Khanyisa (fellow Activator) told me was that it will be worth it and will change my life, or maybe that’s all I heard as it was what I was searching for at the time…

Activators have not just changed my life, they have transformed it. I have suckled from each and every single one of you in one way or another (from the way you present yourselves, your crazy personalities, your abilities to dream  and achieve, your wisdom, your laughter and even your silences). I am who I am now because of what you all have allowed me to gain from you. I shall be who I am destined to be through keeping up with the like of all of you. You are all investors in my life and future and I can only promise to make good by you all by being the best product I can possibly be.

I may not fully understand, still, what you see in me…but thanks to the facilitators and fellow Activators and the greater ACTIVATE! family, I am starting to understand it. Starting to see it. Starting to like it.

Action Setaka:

ACTIVATE! helped me to understand the changes individuals can make in the community and in the world. Attending all training modules was  a phenomenal experience for growth and opportunity. The training has given me skills I can use to be a servant of change.

The volunteering opportunities took many of us  out of our comfort zones, giving us an opportunity to work with new challenges, people, politics and interpersonal dynamics

ACTIVATE! has helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses as a leader better. I have seen real improvement in my communication and leadership style almost immediately through this renewed energy I have and how my fellow Activators respond to me.

I think I could sum up this new perspective I have gained by saying:

If you want to get away from a problem, you should not focus on it because too much thinking and analysing just makes any problem worse especially when you can’t reverse the situation.

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