“I think in the next 3 years the ACTIVATE! Network will be home to many young people in the country who will be part of driving positive change in their respective communities.” This is the vision of the network from 2016 Activator, Neo Gwangwa. Neo also believes that the network will benefit from making it easier for Activators to be able to locate each other if someone in the network required the assistance of a graphic designer or caterer, etc. He believes that if Activators are able to find each other more easily, this will strengthen connections.
Neo Gwangwa is from a small town called Mokopane in Limpopo province. “Like most people, my upbringing was very tough because my family had limited resources to give us a proper upbringing. Throughout all those challenges, I always knew that I am destined for great things, but I needed to give God some time to properly prepare my path, but most importantly, prepare me emotionally, mentally and spiritually for the journey I was about to embark on.”
Neo’s experience during training of the ACD programme
Neo decided to join the ACTIVATE! Network in 2016 because he knew that if he wanted to be great in whatever he was doing, he needed to be in an environment with people from different backgrounds, with different ideas, which, he thought, would also somehow challenge his ideas and strengthen his thinking capacity.
Completing his training at the Alpha conference centre in the North West province, Neo says it was a significant experience for him to engage with other young people who had the desire to develop their communities and, more importantly develop themselves. “I really had a great time engaging with the facilitators because they always made it easy for us to grasp the knowledge that they were imparting to us,” he adds.
When asked if training changed him, he gives an emphatic “most definitely,” and says, “When I left training I was totally a different person because I now started to be more concerned about development throughout the country as opposed to only being stereotypical and concerned about my community.” Neo’s favourite part of the training programme was doing team building activities because he felt that that really forced him to think outside the box and be creative.
Connections with other Activators
The ACTIVATE! Network is special only because of the connections that Activators hold to each other, Neo says that his connections in the network has grown because he met people with whom he is now involved with in different projects. Activators like Mmabatho Sefala, Lwazi Nongauza, Kholo Maloka, and Pritchard Sibanda remain strong connections that Neo maintains. He does admit that even though he has these connections, he still feels like he needs to grow his connections within the network even further.
When asked how he thinks the network can grow and be of value to Activators, Neo says, “I think if the network can somehow reach out to all Activators and try to understand some of the challenges they are facing in terms of making their projects a reality, which would go a long way. If we are able to understand their challenges and assist them, then that will make life easy for them to create change in their respective communities and the country as a whole.
“My message to other young people who want to join the network is that they should know that being part of the network is the best thing that will ever happen to them, simply because you get to interact and learn from different people.” Neo says that being part of the network would also assist them in terms of creating a network of many people with different set of skills that they can collaborate with in their projects.
Follow Neo on social media
Twitter handle: @eazipin