Never too much for a true leader.
By Thabang Matona
Exhaustion, fatigue, lethargy –when does it get enough? When can a human being get so tired of doing that they just cannot do anymore? “Never!” says Lwazi Knowledge Khumalo (19). This young trailblazing ground-breaker is proof that people can do, do again and continue doing.
In 2015, Lwazi was amongst the young people who got accepted from all over South Africa and parts of Namibia to attend the enke: Make Your Mark Youth Forum in Johannesburg. He did not allow the fact that he was practically in a new environment so far away from his home in Kwa-Zulu Natal get him down as he easily mingled, got to know a lot of his peers which he had met at the enke Forum and learn as much as possible from them. It was soon very clear to the enke presenters and other Trailblazers that Lwazi had an enormous passion and drive to change his community long before the enke program came along.
After the week-long training at the enke: Make Your Mark leadership forum, Lwazi wasted no time. He did not even wait to unpack but dived straight into utilising the skills that he had acquired at the forum. For him, an opportunity like this one was a first –so he had to use it profitably, not only for himself but for the sake of his entire community. When most of the young people whom he had been with at the enke: Make Your Mark youth leadership forum were still trying to figure out how they will start being propellers of positive change within their communities, Lwazi already had his fighting gloves on and had started changing his surroundings.
He and friend, Sanele Zuma (19) started a community action project that was aimed at improving the quality of education available to learners within their community. The community action project they ran consisted of two phases. In the first phase, they started extra classes for young children where they personally assisted then with homework and school work that was hard to understand during normal school hours. The second phase was done in collaboration with their school management and the local government, in this phase, they successfully brought their school library back to life; giving the average learner in a Kwa-Zulu Natal kasi the access to books for research, knowledge expansion and simple leisure.
What makes Lwazi’s story a very remarkable one is the fact that he did all of this in what is said to be the most stressful year of one’s life – his matriculation year. While his schoolmates and all the other fellows of the class of 2016 were busy stressing over the unreasonable amount work that was being piled up on them by their teachers, the little time they had and how they would get the distinctions that they promised their families and communities, Lwazi was busy juggling it all; keeping his head above water both at school and with his project.
This young man decided that he would not make excuses like most people would have done in his position but told himself that the amount of work being put on his plate was not going to stop him from lending his hand in the immediate transformation of his community. One would think that it would be impossible for one to cope with all those responsibilities over one’s shoulders however, Lwazi Knowledge Khumalo did it, attaining six distinctions at the end of the year and gaining entrance into Mangosuthu University of Technology to study engineering.
His very deep passion for improving the standard of education in his community, his eagerness and willingness to continue working in spite of the amount of work that was put in his plate and his very remarkable academic achievements in the National Senior Certificate final exams, in spite of the many obstacles that he faced during the year in and outside the classroom, rendered him a true role to the youth in the South African society.
Lwazi’s leadership potential was very clear long before he even began his work as a leader. His work loudly shouts the fact that it is never too much. His legacy as a true Trailblazer who leaves a mark wherever he goes has begun and it is clear that he is going very far in all aspects of his life. One of the things that act as evidence to the legacy that Lwazi is leaving in this world is Lwazi Youth for Youth Knowledge Hub (LY4YKH) – a project started by one of the trailblazers that met Lwazi at the enke: Make Your Mark Youth Forum – which aims to empower young people with public speaking and debate skills. He is perhaps the only Trailblazer in the entire history of enke who has ever had another Trailblazer name a project after him.
enke: Make Your Mark acted as a match stick which ignited an intense fire that was always hidden within Lwazi. It cannot be said that his journey ends here because there is so much potential within this young man and only time will tell what more he has to offer the world of engineering as a pioneer of great new concepts of innovation and social entrepreneurship.