Q&A with Namhla Ruselo, ONE AU Youth Voices finalist
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Q&A with Namhla Ruselo, ONE AU Youth Voices finalist

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“My mother believed that if I could complete school that would mean my future prospects were better instantly.”

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Namhla Ruselo. I was born and raised in Port Elizabeth, a coastal town in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. I’m the last born with two older siblings. We were raised by a single mother who worked as domestic worker. Currently I work as a resource consultant for a multilateral organization, living in Johannesburg. In 2015, I started a social enterprise named eLimu Hub. Through it we do a lot of work with young people from disadvantaged communities, particularly in Port Elizabeth, in a quest to accelerate youth employment in the province. My plans for the future include, but not limited to, being a chair of the eLimu Hub board in 10 years’ time, in our aim to be the leading youth-led consultancy for youth employment on the continent.

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What inspires you?

I’m inspired by seeing progress and the vibrancy of young people leading change in their communities, young people leading conversations to issues that challenge them in their own way and own voice and I am inspired by the hope of the African people as a whole. I have travelled to various African countries and each one has ignited something in me that I believe to be the hope that we have as a people of this beautiful continent.

Why are you passionate about human rights specifically girls right and access to education?

I grew up in a township and I went to township schools. Two out of four girls do not complete school for various reason, one of them being teenage pregnancy which is a result of lack of information or access to information. Poverty is another barrier to education and learning and poverty in its nature affects women more as most households are headed by women who have to see to needs of their children with limited to no resources. The cycle is kept going which continuously exasperates the limitations that are faced by girls. I am passionate overall because I too was raised by a single mother, a domestic worker, who supported me in spite of having limited resources.

My mother believed that if I could complete school that would mean my future prospects were better instantly. I live in a country that has resources, and to a certain level our infrastructure is improving compared to that of our neighbouring countries. Yet, we are still facing significant challenges relating to access to facilities where young girls are meant to get help and support being their family structure, this affects young girls enormously. So I committed early on in my career that I would work towards making it easier for young girls to at the very least have access to information. The information will enable them to make informed choices about their future, to dream about that future and realise their potential and broaden their scope. That is what changes communities!

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Tell us about one woman who inspires you and why she inspired you?

I’m inspired by Siza Mzimela. She is the first black woman to own a commercial flight airline; Fly Blue Crane. Ms Mzimela is among two few pioneering women who are leading successful aviation companies in a male dominated industry. Ms Mzimela started her career as an analyst at SAA in 1996 and ascended to the CEO position of the international airline for the period of 2010 – 2012. In an interview, she stated that the airline employed 104 people (as of June 2016) and majority of its employees were young black women. I was lucky to have met her at a youth employment conference in Stellenbosch in 2014. I would like for her to mentor me one day, she truly inspires me in my lifelong pursuit to “dare greatly” and she does it with elegance, humility and passion!

Plans for International Women’s Day?

We don’t have anything planned at eLimu Hub on International Women’s Day, however we will have a program set for Women’s Day (South Africa) on the 9th of August.

What one BIG idea should African leaders adopt to harness the power of girls and transform all our futures? Read our top youth voices’ ideas here.

 

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