Refiloe Seseane has the face for television, the voice for radio and the brains for economics, and she knows how to use them to the advantage of others. By 28, Seseane had obtained an honours degree in economics, played a lead role in Generations and worked as a business analyst for a major bank, but she wanted to do more. So she started 18twenty8 — a non-profit organisation that supports and exposes high-potential young women, aged 18 to 28, to opportunities their socioeconomic constraints might never allow.
I would like to think that, in its own small way, 18twenty8 is closing the skills, gender and race differentials in South Africa
At the heart of the programme is the 18twenty8 Big Sister Network, which matches young girls to professional women for added support, exposure and growth.
“I would like to think that, in its own small way, 18twenty8 is closing the skills, gender and race differentials in South Africa by equipping previously disadvantaged young women with the tools that will bring their latent capabilities to the fore,” she says. Seseane and her team also run workshops for Grade 11 and 12 girls at disadvantaged schools and assist their “little sisters” when applying for bursaries and jobs.
When not fundraising or presenting awards, Seseane is mapping out sustainable business models and trying to balance the growing demand for mentors with the limited supply afforded by her Gauteng-based operation. It’s easy to see why Seseane was honoured with the 2010 Inyathelo Youth in Philanthropy Award.
— Cat Pritchard