By Selokela Molamodi
Youth month is usually flooded with showy events. Everyone wants to be seen to be doing something for the youth. As soon as the month ends, all the programs go right down with it. This is a narrative that the inspirational Khanyisa Mhlongo, Activator 2020, is working tirelessly to drastically turn around.
Born in Alex and raised in Yeoville, Khanyisa is a proud city girl who knows everything there is to know about the city. Khanyisa joined Activate in 2020 and made sure to take up every opportunity available. One such opportunity was the Literacy Hack4Change challenge which took place last at Activate. The challenge required that Activators record 2 minute pitches wherein they present solutions to dominant problems that exist in their communities. The current Miss Gauteng Exclusive Social Influencer did not disappoint and came out victorious. “I just wanted to use the opportunity to grow myself to become a full blown Activator”, she beamed.
A whopping R4000 was one of the prizes that Khanyisa won. “This is the money that I am using to make my literacy goal come true’, she explained. She went to highlight how Activate has helped her build her brand so many times. She recalled a time when she received R1000 from Activate so she could buy a ring light. This was to assist with her Youtube channel. “Activate has supported so much that I became affirmed that this was more a network. Rather this is home where we could all get a bit of assistance to further my dreams”, she said.
Asked where her love for education stems from, Khanyisa did not hesitate nor stutter in her response: “I have been exposed to so many bogus colleges in the city and I have seen the desperation of a better education in the eyes of parents and children”. As a result, she wanted to be proactive about yet did not know how to go about it until she joined Activate. At first she thought she could host career expos but she realized that exposure was not the problem. The problem was literacy-the ability to read and write. “Literacy is more being able to read and write. It is about making decisions”, she emphasized.
Consistency is important to this PR student at UNISA. This is exactly why she developed a literacy program for the youth called the 30 Day Marathon. For the month of June 2021, people will be attending this workshop every Saturday to learn how to read and write. This is beyond knowing how to read and write words. Rather it is also to empower people to write their own stories. “I have a team of facilitators that teach the attendees the various elements of writing”, she elaborated. Always aiming to spread the spirit of a united Africa, Khanyisa also exposes the attendees of the workshop to the works of black authors. This is empower and affirm the attendees, who mostly black, that anything is possible if they are willing to put their mind, pen and paper to it. The workshop will run until the end of the June 2021.
The reality that she wears so many hats does not scare Khanyisa even one bit. She plans on developing more literacy programs and working with teenagers in and around Yeoville. Her biggest goal is spread literacy as wide as the African continent. She is a city girl who wants to lighten up every corner of the world with literacy yet still remain pretty and cool, inside and out, while doing it.