Unleashing the Latent Potential of Young People in Africa: The Example of Dalumuzi Happy Mhlanga and Salathiel Ntakirutimana

Keywords: Youth potential participation and empowerment, Dalumuzi Happy Mhlanga, Salathiel Ntakirutimana, Africa, case study, social entrepreneur, sustainable national development.


This paper tells the story of two young people, Dalumuzi Happy Mhlanga from Zimbabwe and Salathiel Ntakirutimana from Burundi, to show how they have defied the lack of structured opportunities to impact on the development of their home countries and to make a mark globally. The intention is to highlight the potential of young people and to show how this might be unleashed when they are allowed to innovate and flourish. The paper begins by providing a contextual definition of youth from global and African perspectives, followed by an insight into youth participation. Their stories are then told, based on my personal interaction with them during their two years at Waterford Kamhlaba, United World College of Southern Africa in Swaziland, their activities in school, university and in their home communities, their postings on social media and interviews. The discussion identifies Dalumuzi and Salathiel as social entrepreneurs and servant leaders with an enlightened vision of community development and the empowerment of young people. They demonstrate the interrelationship between youth empowerment and sustainable national development. The paper concludes with a message for African leaders and institutions around the world that it is essential to invest creatively in young people as they can be powerful catalysts for African development.

Author Biography

Josephine Olufunmilayo Alexander, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AFRICA