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Change the world


This article, about NMMU BSc honours graduate Khanya Mkoto going off to represent South Africa at the Young World Summit in Columbia in October, appeared in The Herald on 26 June 2017.

GIVING BACK: Khanya Mkoto jets off to attend a Young World summit in Colombia in October.

A Port Elizabeth youngster who will be jetting off to the seventh annual One Young World Summit in Colombia hopes that when he returns he will be able to use what he has learnt there to help students struggling with maths and science.

Khanya Mkoto, 26, who was born in KwaMagxaki, has been chosen as one of the South African representatives to the summit, which aims to bring together the brightest young leaders from across the globe.

The summit, which will be held between October 4 and 7, brings together influential business, political and humanitarian leaders who share innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.

With 1 300 delegates aged between 18 and 30 and representing 196 countries, the qualifying candidates are those who have demonstrated a tangible impact as well as leadership, teamwork and an ability to tackle local as well as global problems.

Mkoto said: “I’ve always seen myself as someone who’s very influential. Growing up, my mom always made it a point to instill in my siblings and me the importance of being a good role model and the importance of education”.

He said his strongest subjects while at school were maths and science.

For this reason, when he returns, Mkoto will provide lessons to struggling students as a start, and develop this into a project that can grow.

“At the age of 15 I was chosen to represent my country at a maths Olympiad in India, back in 2006. From there, I’ve never looked back.”

Mkoto said he had always been someone who wanted to have a positive impact on young people.

“I believe the One Young World Summit will give me a platform to do that.

“I want to take what I have learnt from there and give to my peers here at home,” he said. Mkoto, who graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science honours degree from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2015, said he was excited about the trip to Bogota.

One Young World African Local Organising Committee, chairwoman Catherine Peters said Mkoto qualified because of his evident commitment to effecting positive change.

Peters said: “The leadership development and exposure opportunity is second to none . . . the access to global leadership figures, the networking and workshop sessions and general experience”.

She added that after the summit, delegates were recognised as One Young World ambassadors and this had, in many instances, been valuable on their CVs, but more importantly, with their new-found networks many ambassadors had been able to make a more significant or sustainable community impact.

Private Equity thought leader and the SA ambassador at One Young World, Tshikila Holdings chief executive Lunga Tshikila, an alumni of the seminar, said: “Being a candidate at the One Young World Summit for me was a life-changing experience.

“I attended the eighth annual meeting of One Young World in 2015, hosted in Bangkok, Thailand.

“You have this incredible network that gives you access to South African and global leaders willing to lend an ear and impart lessons.”