Through her involvement with the Ubuntu Education Fund, Nozibele Qamngana has taken a message of African hope to New York, London and Oslo.
Now Qamngana, 26, will add the Central American country of Belize to her list, when she attends the World Youth conference being held in that country later this year. Qamngana is one of only 250 applicants from around the world – and the only South African – to be invited to the November conference, hosted by the Belize government.
The goal of the conference, Qamngana says, is to promote meaningful participation from youngsters and assess their willingness to assume their role in helping their countries achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The prospect of being able to articulate ideas and learn from others is exciting for me,” Qamngana said.
“I’ve always been passionate about global issues and taking local issues to a global space.
“When I saw a call for applications for the conference on social media, I just took a chance and forgot about it.”
That was until she received an e-mail on Friday, informing her she had been selected to represent South Africa.
“I just started crying, because it’s such an honour to imagine joining other young people to debate issues and come up with solutions.
“To be seen as a suitable representative of my country is amazing.”
Though she has had to approach different stakeholders in the metro in an effort to raise funds for her trip, Qamngana is adamant she will not miss this occasion.
“I’m passionate about allowing people to see what Africa really is – a developing country that faces a lot of the same issues as other countries.
“I also want to learn from the other participants.
“The only way I can make my community and country better is to learn the best practices [from other countries].”
As a beneficiary of the Ubuntu Education Fund and now working as the organisation’s communications manager, Qamngana believes Ubuntu has helped her to develop as a public speaker.
“I am forever grateful for the platform Ubuntu created for me, where I could stand in front of 300 to 400 people and tell them about the work we do.
“That gave me the confidence to apply for this opportunity.
“Though I have been overseas as a speaker, it never gets old. I can’t put [my excitement] into words.
“I always say to the kids at Ubuntu that they should take a chance and explore opportunities because you never know where it will take you. That is how you grow and learn.”