Lead SALead SA


Written by: Sithandwa Ngwetsheni

The Rio Olympics is coming to an end tomorrow and we have witnessed many great moments.

More importantly we have been touched by the many inspirational stories that have emerged from the Games.

Our own Wayde van Niekerk’s dreams were nearly shattered a couple of years ago when he suffered an injury that almost brought his career to an end. He not only clinched the gold in the Men’s 400m race, but he also broke the world record.

Luvo Manyonga, brought a silver home in the long jump event. Just two years ago, nobody thought he would win an Olympic medal but he has!

Caster Semenya consistently refuses to allow others to hold her back. And we will all be screaming for her victory tomorrow morning.

I could go on and on.

My point is.

When we watch the Olympics, we are not simply awed by the extraordinary athleticism on show. We are reminded that nothing is impossible.

These athletes beat the odds not out of sheer luck, but because of hard work, passion, commitment and drive.

Their stories are our stories. All of us have the ability to make a difference, to make a change and emerge as leaders.


When we launched Lead SA we wanted to inspire people to unlock their leadership potential. We wanted to celebrate the amazing people of South Africa who consistently seek to make a difference.

Six years later, we get to tell more and more of the good in our country. The sheer force of leadership by thousands of people who live in our land is extraordinary.

Since we launched the Lead SA Heroes’ initiative in 2012, we have been blown away by the various projects and outreach that our heroes do in their communities without want for praise, but rather because they want to make a difference.

A little bit later we will be selecting our fourth Lead SA Hero and Lead SA Youth Hero of the Year.

Through the continuous support of the Dis-Chem Foundation our regional and overall winners have been able to empower charities of their choice. Today will be no different.

I cannot thank the Foundation enough for their partnership and commitment to helping our Heroes grow and sustain their projects and initiatives. We would not be able to do this without you.

We welcome all our Heroes here today. Obviously a special welcome to Emile, Cadi, Franck and Jonathan who are our regional winners. We are honoured to have you as our heroes and we can’t wait to share your stories with the rest of the audience.

We have a great line-up of speakers – listen to them, learn from them and action whatever dreams and ideas you have been harbouring. They have all given generously of their time to be here today and I am immensely grateful to them.

I’m particularly delighted that you will also hear Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela today. She is a person of enormous courage and integrity who we all admire.

Changemakers, when you leave here today, may your heart and mind be filled with purpose and determination.

Thank you.

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