Change the world

Alumnus inspires with a vision for education and development
In the vibrant city of Gqeberha, a young dreamer named Jackson Tshabalala emerged from a family that lived by a powerful mantra: "You can be anything you work and pray for." With an older brother making waves in the entertainment world and a younger sister already an incredible public speaker, Jackson's journey was shaped by a family that encouraged them to paint their own picture of success, even if it involved figuring out if stick figures counted.
From a young age, Jackson assumed leadership roles, from head boy in primary school to being captain of the soccer first team and house captain in high school. Despite financial challenges during high school, the family's unity proved unbreakable. Jackson graduated from Nelson Mandela University in 2017 with a BA degree and continued their educational journey at Henley Business School, currently pursuing an MBA. The path involved exploring youth entrepreneurship, facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, and working in stakeholder relations-based roles.
Jackson's success is attributed to meaningful conversations with industry leaders, mentors, and close associates. Conversations with figures like Brenton Goldman, Carestone Louw, Evans Zemba, Luxolo Mlatsha, and mentors like Cwayita Mdledle, Christelle Neveling, Eugene Bester, and Rob Southern accelerated their development. Notably, approaching Ryan le Roux, the CEO of Leva Foundation, with an innovative idea on 4IR education for underserved communities led to a pivotal role in the organization.
As the Engagement Manager at Leva Foundation, Jackson focuses on the Tangible Africa project in partnership with Nelson Mandela University. Responsibilities include fostering relationships with stakeholders, media and public speaking engagements, leading the HQ team, and supporting the global expansion of the Tangible Africa project.
Working for a non-profit organization, Jackson is directly involved in projects serving underserved communities. Engagements with young people on the future world of work and participation in leadership talks, along with involvement in an After School Symposium steering committee, showcase their commitment to making education more accessible.
Jackson's natural inclination towards training and development fuels aspirations for the next five years. They envision sharing insights on the development of people in underserved communities, bridging gaps in employment and entrepreneurship. Completing the MBA, Jackson aims to head a management consulting firm connecting businesses to the right talent.
Life, for Jackson, is a gift meant to be explored to the fullest. Driven by the belief that each person has a purpose on earth, they are motivated not to miss out on incredible opportunities. Jackson understands that wherever they stop becomes a new starting place for someone else.
Among their cherished memories is the honour of sharing a written piece at a celebration of Beyers Naude's life at Mandela University. The experience not only changed their perspective on lecturers but emphasized the value of establishing rapport with educators. Fond memories of carefree afternoons with friends at the kraal serve as a reminder to students that building relationships with lecturers can lead to valuable insights.
Jackson's words of wisdom resonate with being present in the moment. Acknowledging the importance of learning from the past and preparing for the future, Jackson emphasizes that living in the present is a gift. They encourage others to recognize that whatever is needed is likely already within reach - or there's an app for that.