On this Youth Day Tag My School catches up with one of the most dynamic young people who received his first interview with the TMS Mag 4 years ago. Since then Tshepiso Malema has done several interviews with the mainstream media.
Tshepiso good talking to you again, talk to us about your journey since we last spoke?
The journey has been an exciting and humbling one. There is really a huge progress from where I was when Tag My School Magazine first featured me in 2017 (see the interview here) to where I am currently. At only 18 years I have learned so much and exposed myself to most of what my age group seem to be skeptical to even attempt. This year it marks four years since my journey of being that change I want to see began, and throughout these years it has been all about establishing the name Tshepiso Malema.
My biggest highlight was when I was selected for a national teen entrepreneurship competition and won as a runner-up with a cash prize of R20 000 and represented South Africa at a global stage. That also came with being awarded as a Teen Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 and also getting myself out there by being interviewed on broadcasters like SABC News, ENCa News, Alex FM and so on. These publications open so many doors for me and spoke for me in boardrooms I did not even enter.
One of my biggest challenge has been adapting to the hype that I get from people around me and those who follow me on social media. Its funny because I get to be treated different, like I’m this so called celebrity. I know I’ve built a strong influence as a leader but I do not want to be a leader that is feared, I want to people to be free around me. My purpose to inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more.
In 2019, I realized that most of my peers were not motivated enough to work towards chasing their dreams. I then started a blog called Tshepiso Malema Speaks of which I was writing inspirational insights.
The amazing thing is that after I posted my first blog post, it reached over 500 reads in a few days and positively impacted people and gave them hope. As I started seeing the impact that my blog had, I then decided to transition it to an organization so that it can change even more lives. Today, the organization is called The Tshepiso Malema Speaks Initiative and our aim is to help young people to find their purpose at a young age.
Last year, we managed to impact many people by giving back to communities through our campaign called the Kasi Give Back Campaign. One event that was very close to my heart was when we hosted a Christmas lunch for the less privileged. Growing in most disadvantaged township made me realize that not everyone has a privilege to have a proper Christmas feast hence this campaign is here to bring smiles to the less fortunate. We are currently busy with a campaign called the Matric Motivational Drive, this event’s purpose is to help matriculants to choose their careers wisely and to give them a clear picture of what to expect when they get to tertiary, also taking into consideration that not everyone will go to a tertiary institution. In a nutshell it is a platform that will give the learners a big picture of ‘life after matric’. All thanks to my team, we are working absolutely hard to bring change.
Tshepiso you have built a brand for yourself, something that is extremely difficult to do especially for an 18 year old, what does it take to build a brand?
Building a brand needs patience. You need to focus more on the foundation, if your foundation is solid you will conquer in everything you do. Personally for me, if I didn’t build a strong foundation for myself I would have given up.
As a teenager exposing myself in a field where many people start to wake up in their late 20s is hard. Some people won’t take you seriously, some will criticize you or even laugh at you. I remember at this other business seminar one telling me that my peers are attending extra-classes, then there is me busy doing ups and downs. Funny enough the very same person today wants to be my business partner. I even got similar remarks from my own family. For me to be where I am today required me to undergo many things that broke me.
Building yourself as a brand also requires consistency. We, the youth of today are very fortunate because we have social media. I can totally say if it was not for social media, I do not think I would be where I am. My mentor, Emmanuel Bonoko always says that, “Don’t use social media less. Use it more intentionally. Follow people who inspire and motivate you. Engage with experts you can learn from. Create genuine, positive friendships. Just stop mindlessly scrolling, complaining, hating and engaging in negativity and bitterness.” And for me I’ve always taken that advice by being consistent on my social media platforms. There are many people who are using social media but what makes me stand out is how authentic I am about my journey.
Now you’ve worked with the most interesting people in the Communications Space tell us about that experience.
There’s a quote that I like that says, “Your network is your net worth”. My presence on social media has opened so many doors for me that I don’t even have to introduce myself when walking into some rooms. The influence that I’ve built towards me had many people being curious in knowing more about me which in turn allows me to work with these individuals that are doing the most in their spaces. I encourage young people to attend business seminars because sometimes it’s not about how good you are but because of who you know.
Last time when Tag My School Magazine featured me, I was talking about my gaming facility which is about bringing the 4th Industrial Revolution into the townships. And I’m proud to say that my facility is now running on a daily basis and I’m planning to launch it soon.
I am in a process of writing my book because I believe that I have important things to say that the world needs to hear. My vision is just clear, above all in everything that I want to do, it’s all about making impact.
Today is a Youth Day, talk to your peers…
One quote that I like to say is that, “Don’t let your current situation determine your final destination”. Whatever is happening right now, will change. Nothing stays the same, that’s one thing we can all be sure about. And that is a good enough reason to never give up. You might be so close to getting to where you want to be, but you’ll never know if you give up now. No matter how hard it gets, don’t lose hope. You might come close, but if you hold onto even the tiniest bit of optimism, you will get through it. Never lose your capacity to see the light in the darkness. Without hope you have essentially given up on life. But with it, you are able to move past the difficult times and welcome the good times. Always remember that no matter where you come from, success doesn’t need a Visa!
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