The One Young World Experience

The 4th One young world Summit held in Johannesburg was a tremendous success!

Through the exceptional plenary sessions with various industry leaders from global business, entrepreneurship, civil society to government and recreation (sports). The information and experiences shared were uplifting and certainly inspiring and motivating. engaging in open dialogue discussions on socio-economic issues such as: Sustainable Development, Youth Unemployment, Education, Global Business, Leadership and Governance, Human rights and amongst a few others transparency and integrity.

One of my favorite sessions (well, there were countless, to be honest) but one that stood out and resonated with me the most was the session with the phenomenal Dr Mohammed Yunu's on Social Business. I founded the Young Social Entrepreneurs Academy, a start-up pan-African social enterprise in November 2012, close to a year now. When I did, I had a vision, a vision that consisted of ideas, inventions and creative illustrations driven by my imagination...a vision I believed nobody else in the world would ever have. The vision manifested each day, which involved the planning of new strategies, evaluation of goals and objectives and the creation of a propelling mission statement and plan of action. All that still exists and with Dr Yunu's talk during the opening ceremony held at Soccer City with over 1200 delegates from 190 countries around the world. Realized right then - that all the delegates that flew from all over the world to be together in Johannesburg for that particular week, also had visions of a greater future and even more different than the vision I had. Everyone had ideas, innovations,goals, ambitions and set objectives they wanted to accomplish...all in all we all share the same vision, and that was - to change the world. To visualize a world that we want to see, and create it for our generation and the  next generation to come.

Now, being a young and emerging social entrepreneur, getting words of encouragement from an experienced professional in the field of social entrepreneurship is always exciting and daring. Mohammed Yunu's shared how social business is rapidly changing communities and providing a better life for all, also inspiring delegates to think about the eradication of poverty and ensuring that we live with the motto "impossible is nothing" , by reiterating "We can make the impossible - possible." Well - that gave me a leap of faith to hold on to and practice right after the summit.
In addressing pressing socio-economic challenges, Kofi Annan reassured us that indeed - "We have the knowledge, resources and capabilities to overcome these challenges" He continued by saying, what was needed to make the change happen, with ensuring that our voices are heard was: "effective political leaders and effective democratic institutions.." (Well done to the launch of the  "School of Government" in South Africa, weeks after the One Young World summit, that replaced the Public Administration and Leadership Academy, Such an institution hopefully aims to achieve that and many other goals and contribute to social and political governance, leadership and the advocacy sectors. )
Bob Geldon, an icon that many look up to was as assertive as always and like anybody else would say, if you really want to get things done "Go on with it, get sh*t done"

Besides the plenary sessions, the summit had an official welcome, where all the individuals who helped with making the summit a success were welcomed and thanked, including the Councillors and a message from keynote speakers and the major of the City of Johannesburg was delivered. Later on, were performances from the Soweto Gospel Choir joined by song bird and South Africa's very own internationally renounced singing sensation:Lira, who blessing the masses with her hit single "Feel good" (oh, we certainly did FEEL GOOD alright!).
The South African Sasol Orchestral played a tune and what an atoning group those young fellows are, they owned the instruments and delivered a ground breaking performance. I remember thinking "they should definitely be invited to the presidents inauguration next time" (oh well - anything to showcase their talents of course.). The various schools that were invited to the ceremony that consisted of 8000 pupils from schools in Soweto, enjoyed themselves at the stadium - and thanks to the 2010 World Cup that was hosted in our national grounds- when you bring "South Africans" and "Stadium" together - you get "Vuvuzelas", and those could be heard throughout the proceedings of the opening delivery. Well enough- Kate Robertson and David Jones knew how to keep them silent. Everybody sure did have a joyfully fantastic time. (If you missed it, the video's above)

The break through sessions were held  in different communities across Gauteng, addressing pressing socio-economic challenges and strategically finding new ways of steering change within existing and possibly potentially new systems that exist around the world. Furthermore, I must say the networking sessions were used to my best benefit, I got the opportunity to engage in open discussions with young leaders from around the world, doing amazing things in their countries of residence. Happy to say, I believe, I have new friends from over 100 countries who share the same ambitions and global vision as myself. As much as collaboration was on of the most reiterated topic during the duration of the summit, collaborations, merging and creation of new projects has since elevated after the summit. Young leaders are keeping in contact through the summit's Facebook group with over 800 members, created by  One Young World Ambassadors.

Well, there is a lot else that happened that you can reflect on by following One Young World on Twitter and  to watch the videos  posted on the summit, there are more videos on One Young World Youtube Channel and

The last day was filled with excitement and with Winnie Mandela being present and delivering a keynote speech on the history, present and future of South Africa and the possibles there are for determined young people with the drive, zeal, commitment and motivation to succeed - changing the world is set to be done. Having had a session on "knowing Nelson Mandela" with leaders that knew him well. Winnie's presence was certainly eye-opening and inspirational for all who listened in and chanted "Amandla!" at the end of her speech, which is a Xhosa and Zulu word, when translated - means "power" - the word is still associated with struggles against oppression, however at that very moment, the chant signified unity! With youth from around the world in one dignified space, we certainly were unified and formed - a One Young World!

In closing, The 5th annual One Young World Summit will be happening  in Dublin, Ireland in 2014.

Thanks to Brand South Africa for sponsoring myself and 3 other exceptional young leaders making a difference in our homes, communities and greater societies. Hopefully at some point our impacts will not only shape our economy one day, but transform the rest of the world!

Read more about the Summit, Delegates and Brand South Africa Press Releases here:

Zanele Mabaso 
One Young World Ambassador
Twitter     : @zanelemabaso23