Ask any of his teachers and they will all say the same thing about Yeoville-born Thapelo Motsumi: what a wonderful young man. Attentive, thoughtful and engaged. One of the many casualties of a broken education system, Thapelo (21) was never going to let disadvantages beyond his control stand in the way of personal growth.
Enter the Umuzi Photo Club, a non-profit organisation that aims to teach teenagers in urban, township and rural environments how to become activists and leaders within their community. Although the programme uses photography to give their students a voice, the idea behind the programme isn’t to create hundreds of photographers, but rather to give youth a voice and a chance to make a change in their communities.
This doesn’t mean that no photographers are born along the way. Thapelo joined the programme and quickly realised a love for telling stories through images. After spending a year in the programme, he pledged to work for the agency side of Umuzi, an offshoot of the original foundation.
“When we created Umuzi in 2009 the idea was for professional photographers and media specialists to share their knowledge and expertise with high school students, so that they could find their own voices, learn how to be activists and make a difference in their community,” explains David Dini, the founder of Umuzi Photo Club.
“This has grown to include an agency, which gives the students who really do love photography a platform to hone their skills.”
Blue chip clients of the agency include Volkswagen and Vodacom, and students go through a grading system, from second assistant, to first assistant, and then assistant photographer. “They need to pass certain criteria before they are upgraded to the next level,” explains David. “It’s basically a photography apprenticeship. For our corporate clients it’s a CSI spend, and for our students it’s a way of furthering their education.”
The students are paid for their work, but it’s not a ‘cash in hand’ system. Instead, Umuzi keeps their earnings for further education. For example, Thapelo completed his matric in 2011 and worked for Umuzi to earn money for further education. He has since amassed clients like Marie Claire and Vice in his freelance portfolio, and has been accepted at the world-class Market Photo Workshop, a photo journalism school established by world-renowned local photographer, David Goldblatt. The year-long course will be funded by Umuzi earnings and a bursary.
Leading by example
For David, working alongside Thapelo has been an inspiration. “He’s become one of the breadwinners for his family, while focusing on getting an education and furthering his talents.” He also volunteers as a speaker and teacher in Umuzi Photo Club workshops, encouraging younger learners to become leaders in their communities.
Thapelo’s real strength lies in his quiet humility. “We’ve gained enough traction since we launched Umuzi to become a go-to point for local youth,” explains David. “An advanced photography training programme that was run during the 2010 Soccer World Cup was looking for students and we sent eight learners, including Thapelo, who got press access to events, learnt from international professionals, and ended up involved in an exhibition in Wembley in London as a result.”
Over and above this exhibition, Thapelo has participated in two local exhibitions, and was chosen to receive a gift on behalf of Mandela: a football jersey commemorating the ANC’s 100th anniversary, presented to Thapelo on the Newscastle football pitch in England.
Thapelo isn’t loud, or even outwardly opinionated. He does, however, have a presence, and is fast on his way to becoming an iconic youth in South Africa, not because he says what he thinks people want to hear, but because he leads by example. He has pulled himself through school despite challenges, embraced photography and teaching young community members how to become leaders, and continues to focus on furthering his own skills. After completing his course at the Market Photo Workshop, he plans to learn filmmaking at Big Fish. Step by step, Thapelo is focusing on his future — and helping the country that he represents.
Founded by David Dini, Umuzi Photo Club was established as a non-profit organisation in 2009. It currently has two full-time employees and ten voluntary facilitators, and to date 120 students have passed through the programme.
David and his team identify schools in areas where they wish to make an impact, and then pitch the club to the student body. Candidates are asked to motivate why they want to join the programme — after all, it’s not only hard work, but will hopefully result in the development of community leaders.
“We use photography as a medium through which to teach leadership and activism skills,” says David. “That’s the core focus. The fact that this led organically to budding photographers hungry for more training has resulted in the establishment of the agency, but Umuzi’s core focus is still developing youth. The children of today are tomorrow’s voice, and it’s important that they learn to use that voice.”
An example of this idea in action is the Diepsloot Change Association, a body made up of eight students who are teaching their community about their rights, and demanding improved service delivery. Graduates of the Umuzi Photo Club, these are budding activists who have found their voice.
Visit umuziphotoclub.blogspot.com for more information.
10 Young Entrepreneurs Under 30 Share Their Start-Up Secrets
The future of entrepreneurship has never looked so bright…these young entrepreneurs share their wisdom around building a successful business.
Natural Talent Can Become Your Success
Thabo Khumalo – ToVch
“I learnt to design and sew while assisting my mother who was a seamstress, and that is when I realised that I had a talent to create,” Thabo Khumalo explains. “But I never knew I was an entrepreneur.” Thabo Khumalo started his company ToVch in 2010 and has since appeared in South African Fashion Week, Soweto Fashion Week and Mpumalanga Fashion Week.
Khumalo has a small but engaged audience, who he communicates directly with. “The brand has a dedicated audience, and the social media presence also allows me to continuously scan the fashion environment to keep up with external forces.”
One of the most challenging aspects of launching his businesses was marketing the brand with limited funds. He used social media and word-of-mouth to market. “On social media, people share your brand with others simply because they want to,” says Khumalo. “It’s a powerful platform, and it does not cost anything.” Khumalo built up his company using support from a strong online network, which became his marketing strategy.
For Founder Of National Tekkie Tax Day Having A Higher (Business) Purpose Keeps Her Driving Forward
The NGO space isn’t easy. It’s a constant uphill battle to connect scarce resources with the vulnerable. Annelise de Jager has persevered in this space because she’s tapped into her personal purpose and values.
- Player: Annelise de Jager
- Initiative: National Tekkie Tax Day
- Launched: 2013
- Visit: www.tekkietax.co.za
Use your purpose to drive you forward
Connect your purpose with what you do, and you’ll find untapped reserves of perseverance and the discipline needed to achieve your goals.
Purpose before profit is not a new concept in business. In fact, it underlines the motivations behind some of the most successful entrepreneurs. It’s also not reserved for social enterprises alone.
However, it is in the social entrepreneurship and charitable spaces that living one’s purpose first found a foothold, mostly because without a strong purpose, the work would just be too hard, and many would give up.
Annelise de Jager, founder of National Tekkie Tax Day, unpacks how she’s used living her purpose to drive her forward, even when she’s faced almost insurmountable challenges and disappointments.
Make ‘living a life that matters’ intrinsic to everything you do.
“I was lucky in that I didn’t ever need to sit down and say, ‘I want my life to matter, so I need to do x, y, z’,” says Annelise. “It was intrinsic for me. However, in the past five years I’ve become acutely aware of it, and I’ve seen how important the ability to look beyond oneself is when you’re facing disappointment and challenges.
“It helps you look beyond the now, find a solution and keep pushing on, because there is a bigger goal at stake. The biggest revelation for me has been that anyone can figure this out and use it as a tool to achieve their dreams and purpose — you just need to trigger your intrinsic motivators.
“Figure out what’s really important to you, and then align this with what you’re doing, in both your business and personal journeys. Robin Bank’s Mind Power and Shaping your Destiny courses are a great place to start.”
Don’t be afraid to ask what’s next
Critical to Annelise’s journey has been the realisation that when goals are met, we need to ask ourselves: What’s next? “Too many people achieve their goals and then feel adrift. You should meet your goals. Your ultimate vision should change. That’s growth, and it’s critical if you want to keep moving forward.
“Our experiences inform our knowledge base and world views, and so as you live and run your business, that view should be changing, bringing with it new challenges and perceptions. Don’t be scared of it; embrace it.”
Annelise went to Potchefstroom University to study social work where she joined the university’s musical revue group, the Alabama Student Company. “Alabama was given the opportunity to tour Taiwan, but I was about to graduate. Travel is high on my personal values list, so I started a second degree in communications to stay in university — and — in Alabama.”
New experiences can be the source of great ideas and strength
Studying communications opened Annelise to a new discipline that she loved. “Marketing and communications are so filled with energy — an energy social work didn’t possess. I loved both, and I wanted to find a way to meld them together. This would ultimately shape my business, The Marketing Team, after I’d been a social worker for a few years. Don’t be afraid to adjust your plans based on new experiences; they can be the source of our greatest ideas and strengths.”
No experience is ever wasted
“We spend too much time trying to plan exactly what we should be doing, where and when, instead of following our hearts and instincts,” says Annelise. “No experience is ever wasted. Once I discovered my love for communications, I questioned whether I’d wasted four years studying social work. I hadn’t.
“Both disciplines became the bedrock of how I would assist the charitable space in South Africa. Experiences open our eyes, our hearts, and our understanding. They give us empathy and patience. They allow us to view things from other perspectives. If you want to really make a difference in other peoples’ lives, these traits are invaluable.”
Be open to finding answers in unexpected places
“By 2004 I felt rudderless,” says Annelise. “I’d been running my own business, handling communications and marketing for NGOs, developing campaigns and even assisting NGOs to run more as businesses than under-funded organisations, but it didn’t feel like I was doing enough.
“Part of the problem was that you can only give people the tools to work with, you can’t make them use them. Another problem was under-funding. Corporates spend billions each year on CSI projects but they don’t like to fund salaries and basic operational expenses.
“It’s frustrating because volunteers can’t do what needs to be done — most households need two breadwinners, which limits the availability of volunteers to assist.
“I was looking for a way to add more value. Should I start my own NGO? Where could I make the biggest impact? I’d been offered an excellent coaching position, which would allow me to walk away from the problems this sector deals with daily. It was tempting, but it wasn’t what I wanted.
“At that time I attended the Global Day of Prayer in Argentina on behalf of a client. It was at that conference that I had an almost supernatural experience. I left knowing exactly what my purpose was.
“How these realisations come to you is less important than the fact that you’re open to them. Deep down I knew what I wanted and needed — I just needed the courage and fortitude to follow my path. My experience in Argentina gave that to me because I allowed it to.”
Always find the strength to persevere.
Nothing worth doing is ever easy. In the NGO space, this is particularly true. “I developed the idea for National Tekkie Tax Day because NGOs constantly asked me to help them develop funding campaigns. I developed this fundraising model when I launched Casual Day and ran the project successfully for 18 years.
“But I also believe the NGO space can benefit from a more unified mindset to overcome donor confusion and fatigue. This is my new focus, but it’s difficult to get organisations to shift their mindsets. National Tekkie Tax Day is a step in this direction.
“It encompasses 12 national NGOs and 1 000 regional organisations across five categories — but there’s one product and one national marketing drive. Donors can choose a category to support.
“I’ve needed to persevere to help NGOs see the benefits in working collaboratively, and corporates to see the benefits of supporting the operational costs of NGOs.
“I don’t have a high profile job at a top company. People don’t call you back in my world. And yet you need to keep pushing forward against incredible headwinds.
“I wake up each morning and repeat the mantra that my success helps everybody; my failure helps nobody. There won’t always be easy wins, but with the right purpose you can persevere. You can make a difference.”
Support National Tekkie Tax Day on 26 May 2017
12 national charities | 1 000 local charities | 5 sectors to support
Animals, Bring Hope, Children, Disability, Education
Available at Toys R Us, Clicks and Babies R Us or online at www.tekkietax.co.za
Meet The Man Behind The Brand: Patrick O’Shea Of Hi Honey Infusions
Patrick O’Shea Of Hi Honey Infusions on what put the bee in his bonnet.
- Website: www.hihoneyinfusions.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: Click here
- Orders: +27 23 614 2801
When Patrick O’Shea first started the Hi Honey range of honey infusion products from his Montagu home kitchen in 2015, nothing could have prepared him for the success that would follow.
Now just over a year later, Hi Honey Infusions has become a thriving, well-loved brand in the homes of many South Africans on their quest to live a healthy lifestyle.
We recently chatted to him about Hi Honey’s humble beginnings and his vision for the future.
It all started with a love affair with honey…
Patrick has loved honey since he could remember and his earliest memory was of the little light blue honey containers called Champagne Honey.
“My dad was a musician/entertainer on the Holiday Inn circuit during the mid-70’s in South Africa and we used to stay in the hotels he played at. I couldn’t wait for breakfast time so I could claim a few of them,” reminisces Patrick.
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The concept of combining honey and organics was still relatively new around the time Patrick began experimenting with it: “In early 2015 I read an article about the amazing health benefits of combining honey with cinnamon. Besides sounding delicious it also piqued my interest and I began researching the availability here in South Africa for such a product. I didn’t find any flavoured honey products and so began to create a range of honey infusions in my kitchen at home.”
After developing the recipes and manufacturing process, Patrick approached local Montagu business, Roscherr’s/Church Street. Managing Director Kallie Fourie and Production Head Martin Roscherr saw the brand potential and agreed to make the range.
The rest is history.
“They have been absolutely amazing since the first batch of Hi Honey Infusions were made last year,” says Patrick. “In June last year I was only supplying a few shops in the Montagu area. By November the range became available in Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts stores nationwide through Roscherr’s/Church Street.”
Honey and a healthy lifestyle
Only honey produced by South African bee keepers is used, primarily from the Western Cape area, to manufacture Hi Honey products. The honey is infused with certified organics which are sourced from around the world, except the Rooibos and soon to be released Baobab honey, which come from South Africa.
Since ancient times, the health benefits of honey haves been recognised and celebrated:
“Honey has so many amazing properties and health benefits. It is a really good, healthy food choice and pure honey is known to help build your immunity against sickness,” Patrick explains. “Honey contains simple sugars, which are not the same as white sugar or artificial sweeteners. Its exact combination of fructose and glucose actually helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. Some honeys have a low hypoglycaemic index, so they don’t jolt your blood sugar.”
Natural, raw honey combined with the health benefits of organics like cinnamon, Rooibos, ginger and others offer people the best of both. “It also makes the honey experience more interesting and yummy!” says Patrick.
Hi Honey and Montagu: A proud partnership
Patrick says that the Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts brand has been so supportive of this locally produced product from the start.
“Montagu CEO Hannes Jansen, Sales Director De Wet van Rooyen and Marketing Manager Liesl Carstens have and continue to give valuable advice and recommendations. Without their interest in the Hi Honey brand and products, I don’t think the business would be where it is today in such a short space of time,” explains Patrick.
“A small business that has great support from a big company forms the makings of something really special.”
New products and plans for the future
The Montagu franchise company recently turned five years old and Patrick was honoured to have been asked to launch the new alcohol- and preservative-free Hi 5 energy booster honey sachets to all the franchisees at the celebratory event in August 2016.
Patrick is constantly thinking of potential new combinations for the brand: “I think Hi Honey Infusions are a fresh new way to enjoy honey and I like the way they taste and look. The new addition to the range is Baobab and I think people are really going to enjoy the creamy fruity flavour,” he says.
Hi Honey can be enjoyed over oats, on toast or a pancake, or in these other useful ways:
- A teaspoon of Hi Honey chocolate, cinnamon or cayenne in coffee
- Hi Honey Rooibos or ginger in tea
- Hi Honey chocolate with almond milk for a lactose-free hot chocolate
- Hi Honey cayenne or turmeric in a curry
When he’s not running a thriving business, Patrick enjoys writing music and performing, reading, travel, making aromatherapy products, spending time with his two children and family and, when time allows (of which there is so little these days), playing golf.
Hi Honey Infusions is a preferred supplier to Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts stores nationwide.
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