Fellowship Graduation – Class of 2011

Fellowship Graduation – Class of 2011

On 18th February 2012, the Foundation Fellowship was proud to graduate 45 of its Fellows at an intimate event held at The Holiday Inn in Sandton. This event was attended by all of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng graduates, in addition to a large number of well-wishers. The event is significant in the Foundation calendar as it serves to acknowledge the hard work and achievements of the Graduates, who will ultimately be at the forefront of the continuing economic and social transformation of our country.

Through the work of the Graduates, the vision of Mr. Allan Gray, the Foundation’s benefactor, will be realised- particularly his belief that the most significant investment is that of and in human capital. The Foundation has every confidence of the cumulative mark these 45 Graduates will make as they individually continue along their chosen paths.

In his keynote speech, Professor Walter Baets, Head of the Allan Gray Leadership Centre at UCT, discussed the necessity for values-based leadership in the country as a means of taking the nation forward. This speech reaffirmed the values the Foundation has entrenched in the Graduates, and the Foundation is confident that with the Graduates’ integration into the wider society, the impact of values-based leadership will be realised.

Given the Foundation’s belief that the Graduates are leaders who will activate opportunities and serve in the African leadership spirit of Ubuntu, they were invited to continue their journey with the Foundation. Through their induction into the Association of Fellows, they will continue to contribute towards the Foundation’s pillars of Achievement Excellence; Intellectual Imagination; Personal Initiative; Spirit of Significance and Courageous Commitment, and be able to remain connected to a community intent on transforming the social and economic landscape of our country.

The Dawn of a New Era

The Dawn of a New Era

September 2007 saw the dawn of a new era. For the first time in the history of the Foundation, the search for potential high school scholarship recipients was ignited. A total of 360 applications were received and assessed- a number which has since inflated to an estimated 5 000 applications received in 2011. Three brave Foundation Talent (Anthony Farr, Stephanus de Kock and Dianne Thembe) conducted all the interviews in that initial campaign in 2007. How things have changed! The current campaign saw 30 Talent interview almost 200 Applicants.

In 2007, 11 Allan Gray Scholars, namely; Ada Bentsela, Nonkululeko Sibonyoni, Keneilwe Nkholi, Mbalenhle Ngobese (St. Cyprian’s), Tyron Sneewe, Lyle Timotheus, Karabo Tshehle, Lwazi Volsak (Selborne College), Sabelwa Matikinca, Aseza Matanzima and Kayla Miller (Collegiate) began their journey with the Foundation. For these pioneering Scholars it was a world of new school uniforms, a home away from home and a host of new challenges. Boy, were these young people up for it though!

The past four years have been filled with many highlights for this group of trail-blazing Scholars. From tackling the Breede River in the teeming rain in kayaks, to sleeping under the stars in the icy chill of a Hottentot’s Holland Mountain Range winter. Not only did our intrepid group of Scholars overcome these physical challenges, they also overcame numerous personal challenges. For this I salute these brave young people and thank them for the faith in and commitment to the Foundation.

I have no doubt that the future looks bright for this group of pioneering Scholars. I am also quietly (well, not so quietly after this is published!) confident that we will see a significant number of them around for a few years still, as the Fellowship looms.

Here’s to The Allan Gray Scholars, class of 2012!

The Spirit of Significance – by Anthony Farr

The Spirit of Significance – by Anthony Farr

The more we immerse ourselves in the process of equipping the youth of our country, the more we realise that there are different types of success and that they are not all equal partners in the project of nation building.

Success can be achieved with a singular focus on self, or with a focus on others. At the Foundation we had captured this focus on others by seeking out people with a spirit of selflessness- a clear counter weight to the dangers of selfish success. However, there is another type of success that, while still maintaining the focus on others, is more enduring than the often transient nature of selflessness. This success we have come to understand as the ‘spirit of significance’. Our working definition of this term is: “A weight of personality that comes from living a life personified by passion and integrity. A recognition that ultimate personal satisfaction comes from empowering oneself in order that one may serve others.”

A clear understanding of this type of success was given by Victor Frankl in his enduring book, “Man’s search for Meaning”, where he states: “For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued, it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended consequence of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself.” It is that element of transcendence that points to a key characteristic of significance.

We live in significant times, and many would argue, in a significant location. It is our hope that both the Allan Gray Fellows and Scholars and the Foundation itself will be animated by aspirations of significance. In doing so, we will be joining many others in working towards leaving a legacy worthy of our moment in history.

And so as we read about the activities and achievements of our Scholars, Fellows and Alumni, it is our hope that they reflect the reality of a group of young individuals, who are growing more committed, year after the year, to maximising their impact by moving beyond success to significance.

No Water Added – Allan Gray Fellow’s Winning Idea

No Water Added – Allan Gray Fellow’s Winning Idea

When Ludwick Marishane was 18, he and a friend were sunbathing in rural Limpopo in Marishane’s native South Africa. By the time the pair were ready to leave, Marishane hit the showers but his companion didn’t feel like cleaning up.

That gave Marishane, now 21 and a student at Capetown University, the idea that forms the core of his business, HeadBoy Industries. Marishane’s notion that day was to create a simple, antibacterial cleanser that could be used in lieu of gallons of water to bathe. On Friday, that idea and the business it influenced led Marishane to become the first sub-Saharan African to win the Global Student Entrepreneur Award.

“Who would have known a lazy friend not wanting to bathe would lead to this,” he told me Friday night after being named the winner of a competition that included more than 2,000 contestants, and ended with an intense day of 30 student entrepreneurs occupying the New York Stock Exchange and pitching their businesses to panels of veteran entrepreneurs and others. The contest was run by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and was sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the NYSE.

Marishane and four other finalists spent the afternoon explaining their businesses and visions to a group of panelists that included such luminaries as Redbox cofounder Mike DeLazzer and Shark Tank regular Kevin Harrington. I was the only media representative on the judging panel. The students were competing for $150,000 in cash and services and a year of mentorship from DeLazzer.

Marishane’s invention, DryBath, and the business he’s built around it, replaces use of polluted water for regular bathing in areas of the world where the water is so dirty that people catch diseases from taking a bath. The potential market includes more than 2 billion people.

DryBath also has commercial uses. It could be used by hotels looking to conserve water and by airlines trying to provide a refreshing dose of cleanliness to customers on long-haul flights. In fact, Marishane, who expects to do $162,000 in revenue this year and $1 million in 2012, is already working with British Airways and the Accor hotel group on test deals. He’s also established partnerships with Oxfam and WaterAid to provide his product to victims of disasters worldwide.

Marishane told the judges that his product could become, “a poor man’s necessity and a rich man’s convenience.”

“Participating in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards was a game-changing experience for my personal and professional growth, and winning is proof that crazy high-school dreams can go on to bring about real change in the world, ” Marishane said of his experience with the event.

As for the students who Marishane beat:

Garrett Gee, a Brigham Young University student whose company, Scan, developed one of the most-used apps for QR Code scanning on mobile devices.
Jake Jorgovan, a Belmont University student whose company, Rabbit Hole Creative, is built around creating three-dimensional lighting effects. He has worked with such artists as Dolly Parton, Cee Lo Green, and Lady Gaga.
Kevin Gelfand of San Diego State University, whose company, ShakeSmart, provides healthy protein shakes near college fitness facilities. So far, he has established an outlet at San Diego State, but plans to expand to other colleges and hopes to hit the fitness-club market.
Dinesh Wadhwani of Babson College, whose company, ThinkLite, aims to provide savings on energy-efficient lighting to consumers and businesses. Among ThinkLite’s clients are AT&T and Kodak.
“This year’s GSEA competition really symbolizes how young entrepreneurs are making their mark: creating employment, changing the world, and, in Ludwick’s case, saving lives,” said Kevin Langley, global chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization.