Noni Hlophe

One Young World Profile profiles

Nondumiso (Noni) Hlophe

Rhodes University

I am passionate about

I am most passionate about education and gender equality because I believe that they are key to shaping the world that we want, in the Twenty-First century. I believe that education is the gateway towards a better society because it empowers people and build nations, into the best versions of themselves. I see education an important pathway for girls to build better and more independent futures for themselves and their respective families, as educating girls has proven to have a greater and more positive impact on their communities.
As an African woman, empowering our rising continent is particularly important because we are the largest growing demographic and future citizens of tomorrow. We must be most prepared to lead in several sectors and engaged on pertinent issues, such as sustainable development and leadership in political affairs. As a freelance consultant and writer, I am able to engage my passions because I want to be a part of actively changing the world, both professionally and privately.
I recently completed my tenure as an African Union-European Union Youth Plug-In Initiative (AUEUYPII) Fellow, in the Education and Skills cluster, where I served as part of a group that championed lifelong learning, gender equality and the need to standardise technical and vocational skills. Our mission was to write policies and propose actionable project in the Youth Agenda, which was presented at the 5th AU-EU Heads of States Summit last November, for both continental bodies’ member states to implement.
In 2015, I was named an inaugural Queen’s Young Leader, an honour bestowed upon me by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of my volunteerism history and impact as a youth leader from the Commonwealth region. Last year (2017), I was elected to the Global Shapers Community’s Advisory Council (under its Events and Partnerships portfolio) and was also named one of Africa’s Brightest Young Minds by my peers. I also currently serve as a RCS Associate Fellow.


I have helped to create positive change, by leading by example in all the communities that I have called ‘home’ by challenging the status quo. I previously served the executive body of Amnesty International South Africa in 2009, where I yearned to do more, beyond driving bureaucratic change. Being OYW Ambassador since 2011 gave me the platform to do more. I have actively addressed my passions (education, gender equality and youth empowerment) through numerous impactful initiatives. These include: running Swaziland’s “Wake Up Call” initiative to our Ministry of Education and Training (2012); leading the e-campaign in honour of World Day for Cultural Development (2013); and running the “Dreams2Reality” series with my fellow Swazi OYW ambassadors (2014).
I founded an organisation in my home country, the Mbabane Hub of the Global Shapers Community – a World Economic Forum initiative – in 2012, specifically to be youth-led and give youth a space to participate in ways that were uncommon for us to do so, in Swaziland. Through the Mbabane Hub (a registered Non-Profit Organisation since 2015), we have had significant impact in creating platforms for youth to engage on topical matters, such as education, the environment and leadership. The most impactful project to date has been “Fundza [‘Read’/‘Learn’ in SiSwati] Friday”, a gratis bilingual project launched in 2013 in partnership with the Swaziland National Library which I co-manage. This initiative promotes reading and comprehension in English and SiSwati for school-aged children and champions original story-writing and publishing in our country.
Our most recent impact projects have addressed sexual reproductive health (SRH), through #IAmPositive (addressing stigma of HIV/AIDS) and “My Health, My Value” (addressing SRH Rights), initiatives that utilise peer education and workshops on difficult issues for youth in Swaziland.These advocacy efforts have been acknowledged by our Ministry of Health's Technical Working Group.