Youth Day: Advice for and from millennials

The age range of millennials is the generation reaching young adulthood in the 21st century following Generation X (born 1965 to 1976). Researchers characterise millennials as anyone born from 1977 to as early 2000s.

This group is known as the tech savvy generation that has a more liberal approach to politics and society depending on their region and socio-economic circumstances. They’re also known as the generation of renters or still living with their parents, changing jobs frequently and multi-taskers who spend ridiculous amounts of money on technology.

Millennials are also known to be risk takers carving their own path in uncharted territories. Many who belong to this generation work jobs that never existed decades ago. To celebrate Youth Day, here are some wise words from influential millennials.

Vusi Thembekwayo

“Start small while thinking big. Africans need to change the narrative of entrepreneurship.”

Ranked the first in Africa for motivational speaking at the age of 17, Vusi Thembekwayo is one of South Africa’s most prolific entrepreneurs and motivational speakers. Here’s what he had to say about being young and running a business.

Stop thinking SMALL. You can start small, but don't think small. What are your thoughts? VT

A post shared by Vusi Thembekwayo (@vusithembekwayo) on

Nkosi Johnson

“Care for us and accept us – we are all human beings. We are normal. We have hands. We have feet. We can walk, we talk, we have needs like everyone else – don’t be afraid of us – we are all the same.”

Even though he was one of the youngest South African Aids activists, the late Nkosi Johnson’s words packed an impactful punch at a time it was most needed. Even though he was referring to the HIV/Aids pandemic in his speech, the sentiment transcends to all aspects of our society. Johnson died at age 12 and was the longest-surviving child born with HIV in the country.

Bonang Matheba

“Once you find that one thing that you love and that makes you unique, find someone to pay you to do it”

Top Billing presenter, brand ambassador and media personality Bonang Matheba calls herself the Queen B. She is one of South Africa’s most famous TV personalities and has worked with brands like retailer, Woolworths, Ciroc Vodka, and the global beauty brand, Revlon.

Emma Watson

“Gender equality is your issue too.”

British actress and UN Women ambassador Emma Watson, who is famously known for her role as Hermione in Harry Potter, gave a speech for the HeForShe campaign in 2014 where she said: “We want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality. And we don’t just want to talk about it, but make sure it is tangible.”


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