You’re never too young; you’re the change you’ve been looking for

Lebidike Phatudi

By Mzukona Mantshontsho

At the Sandton Convention Centre on Thursday 26 September 2013, at the conclusion of the announcement of the top-20 youth delegates that would be representing Johannesburg at last year’s One Young World (OYW) Summit, Lebidike ‘Dike’ Phatudi made the list.

“The City of Johannesburg has recognised the leadership abilities of these individuals that
demonstrated potential to harnesses the youthful energy needed to create change and have
an impact in their communities on a range of issues, including the role of business in society,
transparency in business and government, the impact of climate change, global health and
hunger relief,” said Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Clr Mpho Parks Tau.

Hosting the OYW Summit 2013 in Johannesburg provided the City with a platform where an exchange of ideas took place on the importance of developing the youth into future leaders, taking home lessons from both developing and developed countries.

The annual OYW Summit brings together 1 500 exceptional young people from around the world and the young delegates converge to find solutions to local, regional and global challenges with special focus on the following:
• Education
• Human Rights
• Youth Unemployment
• Sustainability
• Global Business
• Leadership and Governance.

The focus on these topics went well for South Africa, as the country faces these issues on a
daily basis. The Summit provided a platform for the delegates to express their ideas around these issues and gave them the opportunity to develop solutions that will change the future of the country,” explained the Executive Mayor.
TransformSA wanted to know more about Lebidike ‘Dike’ Phatudi:
Dike: Lebidike was born, and partially grew up in Polokwane, Limpopo until he started primary school in Johannesburg (Blairgowrie Primary), when my mother moved to Johannesburg. I went to King Edward VII high school, completing matric with a first class pass.
Dike is currently a 2nd year BA LLB student at Wits University, where I’m majoring in Law and Politics. I have a number of years of experience in the retail industry, like many young people, having had worked for stores such as Hang-Ten to make extra income. I have also worked for financial institutions and brand & marketing companies in deciding which path I wanted to ultimately take.
TransformSA wanted to know what Dike was passionate about:
Dike: I am very passionate about leadership, business, and education. I am particularly passionate about leadership as I am of the conviction that the many issues that face many African countries including South Africa, are due to a lack of ethical and moral leaders and leadership. I hold dear to me values of selflessness, courage and service. I am convinced that if one embodies such values and embraces such as a leader, society would be holistically transformed, objectives achieved and goals for improvement of the standard of living for the majority of our people attained. These values go against corruption, which is based on self-entitlement and greed. South Africa is a rich country. We are blessed with resources to enable us to compete internationally, our progress to be a world class nation, not just limited to the confines of Sandton; we limit ourselves, and ultimately greed.
TransformSA wanted to know how he made it to the OYW Summit:
Dike: I think this goes back to what I spoke about earlier, regarding the values I hold dear to me; that of selflessness, service and courage to act. The mayor of the City of Johannesburg Mpho Parks Tau selected me to be part of his delegation at the summit. I and the 19 other great individuals after a stringent application process where one of the deciding factors were active participation in bringing change and transformation in your immediate community, which had to be within the Johannesburg area. I received the call about a week before the Summit, having had thought I was no longer going to be part of it, to inform me that my work and active stance in promoting social justice and bringing about change in whatever way I could, was acknowledged by the City, and was selected to be part of the mayoral delegation. It was a good day indeed!!
TransformSA wanted to know what Dike took away from the OYW Summit:
Dike: I truly am able to be the change I want to see. Whatever ideas one may have, whatever action one may want to take to be at the forefront of leading his or her community in whatever aspects, whether it be through campaigning against gender violence, being an activist for deliverance of social justice, leadership and governance, human, children, women’s rights, there is a way to do something about anything you’re passionate about and implement effective change, and there are people out there who are there to assist you, financially and otherwise. The tools are there, you just need to get up and do something about it. I have contacts of brilliant young people across the globe, from the Indonesian Islands to unknown countries I had never heard of until the Summit, and all across the African continent, who I communicate with on facebook regularly, who are doing crazy amazing things. You’re never too young, YOU! are the change you’ve been looking for. And across the globe there are people out there who are taking heed of our world and solving its problems one small project, campaign, speech at a time. The statement that we are a lost generation, after the summit, confirmed that it is an outrageous myth. We are the best generation yet!
TransformSA wanted to know what Dike is up to currently and what we can expect from him going forward:
Dike: Right now, I am reminded that I am a student who has a degree to attain. Nonetheless, the 20 Mayoral delegates of OYW are in the process of forming an organisation which seeks to implement certain projects in certain areas such as sustainable energy, education etc. it is still in the pipeline, but we have the full support of the Mayor, and the City of Johannesburg in terms of assistance and resources. One of the benefits of being a part of the Mayoral delegation is that when it comes to projections that the City undertakes e.g. youth development, we are called to assist, which is a great privilege.
On the home front, I am working on my youth development organisation, and I am planning on speaking again. Speaking has taken me as far as speaking in the Constitutional Court of South Africa and winning numerous first place awards etc. Now I really want to become a motivational speaker and give back using whatever talent I have to make positive impact in this country which I love, I’m going for training to prepare me for that. 2014 is going to be a year where great change is going to occur, both personally and on the national front. I am excited to be a part of that change.
TransformSA wanted to know what Dike does to unwind:
Dike: As mentioned I will be concentrating on my motivational speaking and building my Youth Development Organisation, now that my academics won’t be a factor for a while. I am always one looking for opportunities that will grow me personally and position me to be impactful and be an effective young leader. But when things work out, you will soon be hearing of the work we do all in the name of building this great country, and its future leaders.
Dike’s Achievements so far:
One Young World Delegate, Under the Mayor of the City of Johannesburg’s Delegation (2013)
o Golden Key: Top 15% of the University’s Academic Achievers (2013)

o Founded and is Vice-President of the Black Lawyers Association: Wits University chapter (2012-2013)
o Four distinctions in Matric Final year (2011)
o Winner: First National school moot court competition in the constitutional court 2011 which was featured in various publications and the media
o Winner: Best speaker of the year: 2009, 2011
o Winner: SAIICA Model United Nation Debate on children’s rights 2011
o Head masters service award: 2011
o Leadership award for mentoring grade 8 learners: 2011
o Top 20 application marks: 2007 ,2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011
o Winner: Morgan Ellis Speech Festival 2010
o Young Historians speech competition: 2nd 2010, 3rd 2011
o Dike received an art special mention for best art in his grade in 2008.
o Golden key International Honours Society (2013)
o Black lawyers association: Wits University chapter (2012 – 2013)
o Wits Students Business Society (WSBS) 2013
o Law student council : Treasury subcommittee Wits university (2012)
o Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ) 2012
o Hillbrow Entrepreneurship Initiative (2012)
o Phoenix inter-school leadership committee (2010-2011)
o Former member of Representative council of learners (2007-2008)
o Leading member-KESCO: School charity outreach Organisation
Leadership Roles:
o Vice-President of the Black lawyers Association: Wits University Chapter
o School and hostel Prefect 2011
o Phoenix inter-school leadership committee
o Vice-captain of the choral society: 2010- 2011
o Class leader: 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011
o Mentor: to Grade 8 boys: 2011
o Member of the Representative Council of Learners (RCL)
o Deputy Head Boy and Hostel Prefect 2005 (Primary school).

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