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Often innovation is associated with technology and the “for-profit” sector. However, in the ACTIVATE! Network there are many young people (Activators), who use innovative approaches in addressing South Africa’s most pressing challenges.

ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, in partnership with the SA Innovation Summit, offers a platform for nurturing, developing and showcasing social impact through the first ever Social Innovation Summit. This summit within a summit, hosted by ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, is a platform for social entrepreneurs to demonstrate how taking an innovative approach to overcoming problems can change their communities for the public good.

The Activators who will be showcasing at this year’s summit are just a few members of a network of more than 2500 young people who are using innovative thinking to overcome social ills like unemployment, a lack of skills development, substance abuse and financial barriers to accessing higher education, among a myriad of other social ills.

One Activator who exhibited at the 2017 Innovation Summit, Xolisile Malgas from the Eastern Cape founded Mwanga Youth Development Fund. He developed a financial model, the R1 Campaign to overcome financial barriers to accessing higher education while teaching emotional intelligence, financial literacy and developing a savings culture among young learners aged 13-24. The idea is that if a child saves R1 a day from the time they’re in grade 8, by the time they finish grade 12 they would have saved over R100k for tuition fees.

With the aim of overcoming financial illiteracy, Mwanga Youth Development Fund aims to get youth actively involved in the development of a household budget, setting them up for future financial decision making, and directly impacting their socio-economic conditions. Some of the connections Xolisile made at the 2017 Innovation Summit include:

  • Mentorship from Hashveer Singh (ManUp Industries) who also became a non-executive board member of Mwanga. Singh guides strategic thinking for Mwanga and is helping them move into the digital space.
  • Kutlwanong, Centre for Maths, Science and Technology in Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape has partnered with Mwanga to provide emotional intelligence training to learners.
  • Kedge, provides tools to Mwanga to ascertain how they would function in 2030 and what the political, societal and economic impact would be. Mwanga was also offered a 5-day training course in Stellenbosch with The Futures School.

Check out Xolisile’s profile below and stay tuned for more #SISFlashback2017 news from the Social Innovation Summit!


ACTIVATE! is a network of 2 500 young leaders equipped to drive change for the public good across South Africa. Connecting youth who have the skill, sense of self and spark to innovatively address tough challenges and find creative solutions that can reshape our society.

On social media:

Twitter: @ActivateZA

Facebook: ACTIVATE! Change Drivers

Instagram: Activate_za


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