Kgadi Mmanaka has made it her life purpose to plan the “seed of possibility” in the minds of people. Now we get why she calls herself a possibilitarian. At just 21 years old, Kgadi is heavily involved in equipping and inspiring people in her community especially around development and solving socio-economic issues.
When she’s not inspiring people with her speaking, Kagid runs The Possibilitarian Group, See Beyond the Clouds Foundation and KM-CDS, a strategy consulting company. She’s also a certified Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, an organisation working to promote values of Commonwealth citizens.
Tell us about your childhood.
Born and bred in Ga-Matlala Ga-Ramalapa, a rural village in Limpopo, I am the fifth and last in my family. I’m also the first to fill out an application form to study further after Matric.
I grew up in an abusive and violent home, an environment that gave me all the “good” reasons why I will amount to nothing in life. Growing up, I was a loner that was always depressed and felt so small around my peers.
My turning point came when I was in Grade 8 (I was 14 years old), when I made a vow to myself that I want to make sure that whatever choice I make in my life will get me to a point whereby I can come back and make a change at home. I wanted to live my life as far away as possible from my comfort zone.
At that point, I was really tired of being labelled poor and of waking up to bogobe ka meetse (pap and water) everyday. I knew that the tendency that has run through my family for ages can and will stop with me. I was the link between the past and the future.
That vow that I made when I was 14 drove me to become the top Matric achiever at my school. Today, when my family sends, “Please call Electricity” messages I can reply them with the voucher. I never want to return to where I’m from (my childhood) again but I will honour it forever.I was really tired of being labelled poor and of waking up to pap and water everyday Click To Tweet
“Kgadi Mmanaka the possibilitarian”, why do you call yourself that?
A possibilitarian is a person who knows that no matter how dark the clouds may be, there’s still the brightest sky up in there. A possibilitarian is a possibility thinker, has positive attitude towards life and gives a positive interpretation of a negative event that happens to them —they choose to see possibilities.
Finally, a possibilitarian refuses to be defined by circumstances.
If you could wake up in someone else’s body, who would you pick and what would you do?
I would pick any person who has superpowers to convince the students at higher learning institutions that there are other ways to send a message or rather communicate their demands besides the destruction of property (learning infrastructure).
For I think, the more the property is destructed the less chances of being granted their wishes i.e. free education. This regardless of the fact that they did the maths and free education is feasible.
As much as I understand what they’re fighting for, I am against the destruction of property because that doesn’t only delay the processing of their demand, but also the academics. A new strategy is needed that still emphasizes the demands but that doesn’t destruct the property nor delay academic activities.A possibilitarian has positive attitude towards life Click To Tweet
“See beyond the clouds” is a very powerful name, tell us more.
See Beyond the Clouds is a foundation I founded to create an enabling environment that is rich in information, support and resources for youth in rural and township areas to better their lives and the society.
I was inspired to establish it for I have realized that past mistakes, failures and underprivileged background often-times are the reasons why most people’ dreams are diluted and why they give up in life. The mandate of the foundation is to create possibilities to help them “see beyond their clouds” and whatever attempting to dilute their dreams.
The foundation seeks to transform youth from being job-seekers to job creators by introducing entrepreneurship as a long-term solution to unemployment through the Enterprise Development program. We also aim to increase higher education enrolment by exposing school and and out-of-school youth to post schooling opportunities and and information through the Career Development and Mentorship programs.
Lastly, the foundation seeks to equip youth with computer skills and make internet services available through the ICT skills program. With all these, the foundation seeks to help them See Beyond the Clouds.Kgadi Mmanaka's foundation creates possibilities to help youth see beyond the clouds Click To Tweet
What have you always wanted? Did you ever get it ?
I’ve always wanted to live my life as far away as possible from my comfort zone. To make choices that will get me to a point whereby I can come back and change the economic status at home.
For me this is a process and not an event. Recently, I’ve just turned 21 and when I was reflecting, I was so proud of the choices I have made so far. Honestly, I can say I am off my comfort zone. I am determined to let those vows be the blueprint of my life.
Congratulations, you were selected as one of the 60 emerging women leaders that participated in Vital Voices mentoring walk SA. How did you make it?
Basically a mentoring walk is an event whereby emerging women leaders (mentees) are partnered with established women leaders (mentors) along industries. It creates an opportunity where time is spent together to give the mentee an opportunity to learn from the mentor and establish the mentorship relationship for the year ahead as they “walk in the park”.
This is a global initiative, when I was selected it was happening for the 3rd time in South Africa and was hosted by the flag bearer Hema Vallabh at Marks Park Club in Randburg. To be selected, you need to apply and meet the requirements —proven leadership potential, ability to “pay it forward” and mini essays— were amongst what was on the list.Kgadi Mmanaka: I’m a self-acclaimed “possibilitarian” Click To Tweet
But I personally think my drive and passion played a vital role in all that, as well as how I poured myself out in those mini essays. Their age requirement was 22+ and at that time I was 19 and I made the cut. I give credit also to the person who came up with the “when an opportunity comes, seize it whether you’re ready or not” quote. I think that counted also.
On the topic of quotes, what’s you favourite quote and why?
“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.To give you a future and hope”- Jeremiah 29:11
This quote has helped and continues to help me to raise my sights to see possibilities when the going gets tough. Seeing possibilities is important to the person I am.
How do you want to be remembered?
I want to remembered as a definition of possibility.
A definition of possibility that inspired many to start seeing possibilities in their own lives.