Ms Kgomotso Mokoena, a labour law lecturer at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), was named one of the 2015 Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans, in the category of Education.
Giving children from under-resourced high schools access to vocational guidance, Ms Mokoena, one of the founders of the SpreadLuv Movement, is committed to make a difference every day.
SpreadLuv has recently piloted a new project, Conversations, at UJ. The aim of this campaign is to provide social support to university students through a series of conversations that help them to cope with issues affecting their lives. Concerns such as relationships, personal financial management, racism and other forms of discrimination are addressed in the campaign.
Says Ms Mokoena: Its very important for young professionals to get involved in giving back. We’re aware of how fortunate we are to have our careers and of our role in nation-building, especially when it comes to uplifting the communities we come from. I am really excited by this as I find that even though our tertiary institutions try to assist students in this regard, the programmes are not always engaging them. I am hoping that this becomes an interesting and effective solution that the institutions are willing to try.
Ms Mokoena believes that it is critical for South Africans to find ways to change the course of history through personal interaction. “Apartheid was ended, at least in part, by ordinary people working together and really engaging in the kind of change that was necessary, she says. “Our people need a complete shift in mind-set and from our history I know that this is possible."
Mokoena is a fellow of Brightest Young Minds as well as the Young African Leadership Initiative and in 2014 she was awarded the Inyathelo Award for Youth in Philanthropy. She has also recently been appointed to the board of directors of Charities Aid Foundation, South Africa.