Queen Elizabeth honours two exceptional South Africans

Her Majesty The Queen to honour young people from South Africa with prestigious Award for improving the lives of others

Her Majesty The Queen will present Siposetu Sethu Mbuli and Thamsanqa Hoza from South Africa with a Queen’s Young Leaders Award at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London, on Tuesday 26th June. The Awards recognise the work that young people from across the Commonwealth are doing to transform lives in their community and beyond.

Siposetu from Stellenbosch will receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award for the work she is doing to develop new ways to end the stigma of albinism in South Africa. Growing up with albinism herself, and mindful of the misconceptions that still exist around it, Siposetu co-founded Love, This Skin which supports young people with albinism and their families.

Thamsanqa from Welkom will receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award for the work he is doing to help young entrepreneurs and innovators to achieve their goals, including co-founding HN Innovate, an organisation which seeks to encourage and inspire young people to explore entrepreneurship.

Siposetu and Thamsanqa were selected following a competitive process involving thousands of applicants across the Commonwealth. Together they join a network of 240 powerful young leaders, from 53 Commonwealth countries, who are driving change to make the world a better place.

The 2018 Queen’s Young Leaders are finding solutions to global issues such as climate change, food scarcity, gender-based violence, mental health, and access to education.

Siposetu Sethu Mbuli, 24, said: “Receiving this recognition from the Queen’s Young Leaders team has been incredible on its own, but I’m even more grateful for the opportunity to network with fellow Queen’s Young Leaders and gain more insights during the Residential Programme, which we can use to improve on the work we do.”

Thamsanqa Hoza, 19, said: “I am very excited to be heading off to London in the next few days where I will meet with Her Majesty The Queen as well as meet my fellow young leaders from across the Commonwealth. For me, I believe it will be an experience to grow as well an opportunity to recognize and celebrate amazing work which young people are doing, particularly, amazing work being done by young Africans in changing the innovation and entrepreneurial landscape in Africa which is something very close to my heart.”

The Queen’s Young Leaders Award winners take part in a year-long leadership course run by the University of Cambridge and receive bespoke mentoring. They will visit the UK for a programme of high-profile networking opportunities, meetings and training designed to help them develop as leaders and work with ever greater impact.

Later this month, during their time in the UK, Siposetu and Thamsanqa will visit 10 Downing Street, take part in masterclasses at the BBC World Service and the UK Headquarters of Facebook. Award winners will then meet with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and High Commissioners from across the Commonwealth, before receiving their Award from Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace. They will also attend workshops at the University of Cambridge and visit projects that are changing the lives of vulnerable people in the UK.

Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said:

“Through selfless determination, the Queen’s Young Leaders of 2018 are dedicating their lives to bring positive change to those around them. Their visit to the UK this June provides them with a unique opportunity to connect with each other and gain valuable lessons from experts and leaders from all walks of life which we hope will help transform the reach of their endeavours for many years to come. I am delighted that the work they are undertaking is being recognised by Her Majesty The Queen and I look forward to meeting this year’s winners and celebrating the remarkable difference that they have already made all over the Commonwealth. Now that we are in the fourth and final year of this special programme, we look proudly on the network that is the Queen’s Young Leaders and feel confident that the future will be driven by their courage and commitment towards making the world a better place.”

The Queen’s Young Leaders programme was established in 2014 by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in partnership with Comic Relief, The Royal Commonwealth Society and the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, in recognition of The Queen’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

To see a full list of Award winners and highly commended runners up, and to learn more about their stories, please visit www.queensyoungleaders.com