The Power of the ACTIVATE! Network

One of the highlight events that closed off youth month with a bang was the 6th Intentional Nzulu Seminar, spearheaded by Activator, Thembinkosi Matika, and organised by Activator, Mboneleli Gqirhana. The seminar was held at the Khayelitsha Site C Blue Hall, Cape Town which was also launched as the new ACTIVATE! Workstation on Saturday, June 27, 2015. The main aim of the event was “to trigger a sense of moral hygiene”, according to Matika. This means to enlighten and empower young people to see financial freedom and personal development in a business and adopt an action-oriented perspective, with an emphasis on emancipating the young black mind from seeing themselves as employees all the time. 

The speakers were young males who had all gone through their share of challenges and experienced a positive turning point in their lives. The four key speakers were business and personal development coaches who are partners within the Thembinkosi Matika and Associates’ mentorship and coaching business. During his speech, Mr. Zuko Vanyaza touched on an important aspect of priority. He stated that the problem with young people is that the entertainment culture is much more important than the education culture. “There is something they are not teaching us in schools, and that is how to prioritise self-awareness and its importance,” he said. He then encouraged audience to make rational decisions as “we create our own fate by how we think and act now”.  Another powerful message he shared with the audience was the assessment of one’s “financial drawer”. He cautioned against expecting to living on an income in this day and age of a changing work environment. 

Mr. Siyavuya “Chief” Mlungu spoke of the SWOTAL analysis (the usual SWOT with Assets and Liabilities added). He said that is important for one to understand what initiatives young people want to do, the value they would add to that project and to be in an environment that would develop one in that regard. “Your environment should be congruent to what you want. I am a good speaker and I do that for a living – that is my asset. So if I am about to open my mouth, then someone must pay,” he said. The third speaker was Mr. Thembinkosi Qhole of Whizz ICT Centre. He moved the audience as he shared his brave journey to people development as an employment activist. “We are a product of our society, but it is in us to shape a better future for ourselves.” His main message was that the best way to organise is to solve problems.  He said, “If you are organising something, you are closing gaps that cause problems. I did that when I was advocating for employment. I had to show them that we were hungry so I led a group of unemployed men into different grocery stores and we just walked in, peacefully, took bread and milk and ate. We needed attention so we did that so they could see that hunger is a matter of urgency.”

Finally, Activator, Thembinkosi Matika shared a portion of his personal development coaching session with the audience, emphasising the power of the mind and how positively conditioning your subconscious is important for habit development. He used numerous examples and encouraged everyone to make good use of the 96% subconscious influence in order to impact the 4% of the conscious. “Tell yourself that you already are what you want to be, and work to be better. Do not allow the TV, media and advertising to make decisions for you when you have 3600 thoughts that you process every day. Put those thoughts to good use and make something of yourself.”

During lunch, the ACTIVATE! workstation was introduced by training facilitators Ashley Roman and Lezerine Mashaba, and viewed by Activators who attended the seminar, which included Senzo Hlope, Nikki Alexandra, Vuyokazi Malafu, Amanda Mamase and Dean Jates. An official launch is still to take place, where all Activators from around the area will be invited to view and make use of the workstation.The most powerful aspect of the entire event, however, was the collaboration amongst Activators in making the event a success. Thembinkosi was head of the project, Mboneleli acted as the organiser, Nomtika as the Programme Director and Dean Jates as the sound engineer. This shows that making good use of the ACTIVATE! Network can transform most social ills for the better. 

Nikki said, “it was the most innovative teachings from inspiring men from our very own township communities. I would have loved to have seen women representatives as well, but I guess if I want to see that happening I should initiate it myself.” Senzo Hlophe added, “We need more platforms like the ones the Nzulu seminars have created for young township entrepreneurs. It is when people are well informed that they become giraffes and eat at the top of the tree.” Activators are encouraged to trust each other and collaborate in driving change. This seminar has proved in so many ways that many heads are better than one.

Calling All Young Change Makers to Shape SA’s Future and Join ACTIVATE! Youth Network for 2016! Applications for ACTIVATE! 2016 are now open. To apply, click the Apply Now button on the ACTIVATE! homepage at

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