The Mail & Guardian’s annual feature of eminent 200 Young South Africans has become a hallmark of our calendar, and is now in its 13th year. It is one of the most popular editions of the M&G, but it has earned significance far beyond our newsroom. A listing in the 200 Young South Africans supplement is now a feature of the best CVs in the country.
Every year since 2006, we’ve featured 200 young South Africans, on course to touch the world with their greatness. It is not an award as much as it is a mark of distinction — a number of young people featured have since grown into leaders in their fields. This is a celebration of excellence as much at is a directory of future leaders.
We begin by inviting nominations from the public, of people between the ages of 18-35, and we received over 2 500 nominations in 2018
What’s our track record?
Among the notable young people we’ve featured in since 2006 are the likes of Julius Malema, who went on to launch his own political party, and of course become the most vocal in the National Assembly, or Trevor Noah, who was featured in 2010 and now hosts the Daily Show in New York City. There’s Kagiso Rabada, who was featured in 2014 as a rising star in the U19 cricket set-up – today he’s recognised as one of the world’s best bowlers.
And to prove that we do indeed take a listing in 200 Young South Africans seriously, our editor-in-chief was listed in 2011.
As in previous years, the project will continue the task of showcasing young leaders, and celebrating the good work they do. The bigger function is to change the image of our youth: if we don’t see them only in terms of the challenges they pose to society (like employment and poverty), then we can begin to build them as key to the success of South Africa.