The One Young World experience

The South African Sasol Orchestra played a tune, and what an astonishing group those young fellows are! They owned the instruments and delivered a groundbreaking performance. I remember thinking, “They should definitely be invited to the president’s inauguration next time” (oh well – anything to showcase their talents, of course).

About 8 000 pupils from schools in Soweto were at the ceremony and enjoyed themselves at the stadium. Thanks to the 2010 World Cup that was hosted in our national grounds, when you bring “South Africans” and “stadium” together, you get “vuvuzelas” – and those could be heard throughout the opening delivery. Well enough – Kate Robertson and David Jones knew how to keep them silent. Everybody sure did have a joyfully fantastic time.

The break-out sessions were held in different communities across Gauteng, addressing pressing socioeconomic challenges and strategically finding new ways of steering change within existing and possibly potentially new systems that exist around the world.

Furthermore, I must say I used the networking sessions to my best benefit. I got the opportunity to engage in open discussions with young leaders from around the world who are doing amazing things in their countries of residence. Happy to say, I believe, I have new friends from over 100 countries who share the same ambitions and global vision as myself.

Collaboration was one of the most reiterated topics during the summit, and since then, collaborations, merging and the creation of new projects has increased. Young leaders are keeping in contact through the summit’s Facebook group created by One Young World Ambassadors, with over 800 members.

Well, there is a lot else that happened that you can reflect on by following One Young World on Twitter and to watch the videos posted on the summit, there are more videos on One Young World Youtube Channel.

The last day was filled with excitement, with Winnie Mandela delivering a keynote speech on the history, present and future of South Africa and the possibilities there are for determined young people with the drive, zeal, commitment and motivation to succeed. Changing the world is set to be done, especially after having had a session on “knowing Nelson Mandela” with leaders who knew him well.

Winnie’s presence was certainly eye-opening and inspirational for all who listened in and chanted “Amandla!” at the end of her speech, which is a Xhosa and Zulu word meaning “power”. The word is still associated with struggles against oppression, however at that moment, the chant signified unity! With youth from around the world in one dignified space, we certainly were unified and formed – a One Young World!

The fifth annual One Young World Summit will be in Dublin, Ireland in 2014.

Thanks to Brand South Africa for sponsoring myself and three other exceptional young leaders who are making a difference in our homes, communities and greater societies.