Onelela Jijana

Country representing

South Africa




  • University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
  • BA Degree (International Relations and Politics)

Current organisation

Businesswomen's Association Student Chapter (Wits

Current role


Skills and Expertise

International relations
Social entrepreneurship
Social media

Areas of interest

Peace and Conflict
Youth Unemployment

Website & Social Links

I am passionate about

During women's month in South Africa (August), I launched an online store/movement centered around creating a space for young creative minds to come together to collaborate and create their own future. 'What the Denim' offers artists the platform to sell their work and ideas as opposed to relying on companies to communicate their vacant positions. I am most passionate about youth unemployment, I am passionate about the youth redefining their own narrative hence I started this company with two other phenomenal women. Additionally the development of young women remains at the center of my heart. This is because of the disadvantaged position women are birthed into, and the subordinate position in society that they assimilate into as a result of customary lessons that are drilled into them. In society women are taught to be so dependent on a male figure that they de-campaign themselves from acquiring great skills out of a fear of intimidating the men in which they 'should be submitting to.' Thus the development of youth skills, especially that of young women, need to be taken with great agency particularly in developing countries like South Africa where traditions and cultures dictate that women be kept at subordinate positions to men and the youth is not considered with confidence for leading positions in governance. I am an International Relations student who is concerned with global inequality and hopes to curb and narrow the gap between developing and developed countries in the world through creating more pragmatic policies, that will enforce the exchange of knowledge and skill development between international actors.


I mentor first year/ first time university students, helping them with the transition from high school to university, the social and financial change that comes with this. I find that this transition is one that is often undermined and downplayed with the "if you made it through high school, you'll make it in university.' However this is not the case, and evidence of this is found in the ever increasing drop out rates in South Africa. I find that this is owing to the lack of guidance that is offered at a tertiary level, especially for students from underprivileged and rural homes. I offer my mentees academic guidance, emotional and social support. This lessens the chances of dropouts as students now find it easier to navigate around the institution and all that it has to offer and avoid being overwhelmed.