UKZN alumni Mr Keshin Govender, Mr Jhono Bennett and Mr Sicelo Bhengu are on the prestigious Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans 2020 list.
The 200 high achievers – identified as young stars shaping the country’s future – are featured in a special supplement of the newspaper.
Govender, a creative director and head of strategic initiatives for Siemens, holds a Bachelor of Communication and Media degree from UKZN. He was the winner in the Business, Entrepreneurship and Tourism category.
His growing list of accomplishments is impressive on its own, but it is his drive and forward-thinking that made the Berlin-based Govender stand out. His job at Siemens brings with it the unique ability and responsibility to shape the future — not through the ways technology are used but through the transformation of Siemens’ content from a global perspective.
Govender is among a growing number of South Africans working in markets overseas in an age where although a global perspective is paramount to business success, the unique worldview and experience offered by talent from Africa is becoming more valuable.
Speaking of tomorrow and shaping the future, Govender grasps the responsibility he has in sowing the seeds for a better world in which his daughter can grow up. ‘My hope is that the South African spirit of collective wellbeing and inventiveness is unleashed for the world to learn from. We have more to offer the world than we realise.’
Bennett, an Architect at 1to1 – Agency of Engagement, won in the category of Civil Society. An elected Ashoka Fellow for Southern Africa, he has worked with Architecture for Humanity on the Football for Hope Initiative as well as the South African Shack Dwellers International Alliance. Bennett developed a critical stance concerning the fluid and dynamic role of design in South Africa’s development during the Slovo Park Project, a student and community research and design initiative.
Bennett founded the non-profit architectural firm, 1to1 – Agency of Engagement which aims to play a role in achieving spatial equality in South Africa. He says his career goal is to help eradicate apartheid spatial planning that deliberately kept sections of society separate. ‘I believe in the power of our urban spaces to address patterns, and provide a platform to develop new and inclusive patterns of sharing, making and growing together as a nation,’ he says.
Bhengu, a senior deputy headmaster at Southdowns College in Gauteng, won in the Education category. Bhengu says his wish is for young people to take their education seriously. His belief in education as a tool to unlocking an individual’s potential was why he co-founded Linking Notes in 2011, a finishing school that helps young people improve their matric results. In 2015, he also co-founded Catholic Youth Development, which fundraises to pay the registration fees of young people who want to study at university.
‘My advice to young people is to choose a career you are passionate about and not one that people believe is the right fit for you. Don’t let expectations from those around you deter you from fulfilling your purpose,’ he said.