Sam: “If you were given a billion dollars what would you do with it?”
Me: “Ensure that for at least one night not a single person in the world would go hungry”
The above exchange took place a few weeks ago between myself and a friend and is an example of the kind of person that I am. Simply put, I want to save the world!
My parents instilled in me the value of giving back and always fighting for the rights of people who couldn’t fight for themselves. It was therefore no surprise that I joined interact in high school and got involved in many rotary initiatives including visits to old age homes and orphanages. My favourite activity though was teaching English to refugees from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Unbeknown to me at the time, the time spent with these refugees would guide me into my chosen career
I spent a year in Vichy, France as a rotary exchange student. I spent the year learning a new language, immersing myself in French culture, travelling and most importantly meeting people from around the world. On my return to South Africa, I studied Political Science and Law at the University of KwaZulu Natal and was very involved with Rotaract. On completion of my studies, I was awarded a rotary ambassadorial scholarship to study Peace and Conflict Resolution at the University of San Diego’s Joan Kroc School of Peace. Joan Kroc was the wife of the late Ray Kroc who started MacDonald’s. Joan dedicated her life to helping others and was a firm believer in Peace and upon her death she funded the Peace Centre. While I was at the university I joined a nation wide organisation called the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance which is made up of African students studying in the US who want to change Africa through various initiatives. My project involved working with local South Africans and refugees and immigrants during the 2008 xenophobic attacks.
I then moved to Washington DC and helped start an African non-profit that worked with recently arrived African immigrants and refugees. An opportunity to work for a South African non-profit in Los Angeles arose and so I moved to the land of movies, skinny lattes and yoga. I spent two years working for a non-profit that worked with women who are HIV+ and pregnant in Southern Africa. I recently moved back to South Africa to work on a project with the eThekwini Municipality on issues facing the Warwick Area.
I’ll end with my favourite quote that makes me so thankful to have been born in Africa. The lessons that I have been taught have shaped me into the person that I am today.
“Being from Africa is the best thing that could have ever, ever happened to me. I cannot see it any other way. All of my fundamental principles that were instilled in me in my home, from my childhood, are still with me.”- Hakeem Olajuwon
This photo was taken while at the university of San Diego with my classmates and Martin Sheen who is very involved in peace projects.
This photo was taken with fellow ambassadorial scholars and former district governor, Marge Cole.