Youth Overcoming Preconceptions to Role Model Equality

Growing up in a traditional home, as the child of a Chief, Terrence Tinyiko Hlatywayo learned from an early age that you can’t cry when your father is a leader of a nation. He spent his youth withholding his emotions until he got his heart broken. The familiar experience initiated a search for a community of men who could understand his pain. Not finding this community, he has instead coached young boys, ex-offenders, and single mothers towards building healthy relationships and strengthening their mental health.  

Tinyiko, now 36-years old, grew up as a witness to politically motivated killings. Throughout these ordeals, his mother encouraged him to show compassion and care for his neighbours, as she was doing as well. Due to the stature of his father, Tinyiko grew up with his mother and seven siblings. “I saw where she struggled and I was saved by the men in my community,” he says.

Since launching his Boys to Men programme, Tinyiko has learnt that “The one person who can defeat gender-based violence is also the victim.” 

“When you go to the prisons, everyone has written on the walls ‘Dear Mama.’ Everyone is waiting to get out of prison and see their mother. We need to empower mothers, as the influential parent, to speak to her boy child comfortably about sex and relationships, as a boy and not a man.” 

I learned from the summit that men can submit to women of authority

Terrence Hlatywayo

For his humanitarian and youth advocacy, Tinyiko became a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, a Change Champion for Global Citizen, and a Goalkeeper for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

In 2018, ex-offenders who were guided by Tinyiko met with Mr Patrice Motsepe and Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, who offered them encouraging words of wisdom. Many of the ex-offenders have since turned their lives around to become successful businessowners.  

Tinyiko, in addition to his work with men and boys, also transforms township dump sites and develops them into functional community spaces. In collaboration with the Motsepe Foundation, he successfully built two car washes, a church, and a soccer field from dump sites in Gauteng.  

As a regular guest at the International Women’s Day Summit hosted by the Motsepe Foundation, Tinyiko says, “At these platforms, you see how powerful women are. They are driving impact that is results-driven.” 

During the summit in 2021, he formed a partnership with another organisation in attendance to successfully create stable employment for 30 women in his network.  

“I learned from the summit that men can submit to women of authority. It also made me realise that women are always willing to share their wealth, knowledge, and power with men.” 

Tinyiko has become a role model to boys and men who are searching for positive examples of masculinity. He is working to grow awareness and support for girls’ and boys’ emotional wellbeing and has expanded his network to include guiding traditional leaders in their work with youth.  

He reveals that since he was young, art became his outlet for healing and a way to communicate the things he couldn’t say. But today, he is an avid art collector and is confident to admit that he is “a man that is always about my feelings.”  

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Failure is part of the journey, and it doesn’t mean you should stop and not do anything

Nomfundo Nsele

“The Women’s Day Summit, with women who are influential and who run successful business, was a confirmation of everything I was thinking over the years” said Nomfundo Nsele, a radiographer and founder of the NGO Siyanakekela Transformation Agency.

In 2016, a 23-year-old Nomfundo graduated and co-founded her own radiography practice, which she ran successfully for 2-years. “It needed patience and financial assistance because it didn’t breakeven quickly. Being young, there was a lot I didn’t anticipate,” she says.

Now, at 30 years old, Nomfundo credits the Motsepe Foundation’s annual International Women’s Day Summit for helping her overcome her disappointment and prepare to start over. “The summit was a light bulb moment of getting over my fears.”

During a session on entrepreneurship, led by influential businessowners Basetsana Kumalo, Thabile Ngwato, Sibu Mabena and Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, she learned that “Failure is part of the journey, and it doesn’t mean you should stop and not do anything.”

“Being around influential women who have beaten the odds was motivating. Social media creates a perfect picture of how life is. The glitz and glamour are possible to achieve but we need to have an idea of who we are first.”

Through her organisation, the Siyanakekela Transformation Agency, she focuses on wellbeing. Siyanakekela, the isiZulu word for nurture, was inspired by her work in public hospitals. “I would see women who could not express their needs, goals, or desires because they have written themselves off completely. It made me wonder what the mother will tell her child when she herself is lost.”

“I met high school students who didn’t know what subjects to choose or careers to consider. I realised the importance of helping kids understand themselves and their own strengths and weaknesses.” Established in 2021, the Siyanakekela Transformation Agency is self-funded and based in KwaZulu-Natal with national programmes and initiatives for youth and Zulu maidens.

After attending the 2023 International Women’s Day Summit she also launched her women’s leadership programme Rise Dear One for diverse and aspiring professionals.

“It’s a safe space for women to dream big and communicate their dreams. Women need to understand their worth. You can never have one talk and that’s enough. We must keep assisting each other and nurturing each other.”

Nomfundo has renewed her dream of establishing her own medical practice and plans to continue sponsoring and supporting girls across the country with educational programmes on self-awareness and knowledge that will guide them into adulthood.