ROAD TO 2024 ELECTIONS
Meet the leaders behind Rise Mzansi – with eyes set on reviving the spirit of 1994
‘Nearly three decades into democracy, millions of South Africans are not yet free. The gains that we have made since 1994 are being reversed at an alarming rate.’ So says Rise Mzansi.
The new kid on the politics block, Rise Mzansi, officially launched as a political party last week and positioned itself as a credible alternative that would significantly change the current South African political landscape to be similar to the one of 1994.
At the party’s launch in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, the collective leadership said that after consultations with communities across South Africa, it sought to organise citizens to come together and “collectively drive us to rise as a nation”.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Rise Mzansi launches, but mixed views on the mushrooming of political parties ahead of 2024 polls
The party vowed to hit the ground running to grow its support base. While it hoped to attract South Africans from different walks of life, it also hoped to attract young people who in previous elections had resorted to not voting, contributing to an all-time low voter turnout in the 2021 local government elections.
Rise Mzansi’s leaders
Songezo Zibi — national leader — is a former associate editor of the Financial Mail and former editor of Business Day. He has served in various corporate positions, including as head of communications at Absa Bank and on the boards of non-profit organisations. He co-founded the think tank Rivonia Circle last year.
Vuyiswa Ramokgopa — national chairperson — is an entrepreneur and business leader with more than 15 years of experience in industries including retail and marketing. Last month, she resigned as CEO of the SA Institute of Black Property Professionals to further her academic studies and pursue business interests;
Makashule Gana — national organiser — is a former youth leader of the DA. He represented the party in the National Assembly from 2014-2016 and in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature from 2016 until 2022. He has worked at Absa and FNB as a business and test analyst.
Esther Padi — national coordinator — is a former African Content Movement (ACM) member and deputy secretary. She is a civil society leader currently serving as chairperson of the Innovating Kasi Organisation.
Tebogo Moalusi — national spokesperson — is a social activist and business professional. He has worked in leading investment banking, management consulting, private equity, ICT and insurance companies. He founded the Young Professionals Association, an entity focused on youth development;
Mandla Isaacs — head of policy — is a government adviser and public policy professional. He has worked as head of research and speech writing in the ministries of home affairs and finance, where he worked on immigration economic policy;
Cilna Steyn — legal head — is an entrepreneur and attorney with extensive experience in property law. She is also the founder of Property Law Alliance, a group of specialist attorneys dedicated to providing real solutions to landlords and rental agents;
Irfaan Mangera — civic alliances coordinator — is an activist and community builder. He previously worked as the youth activism programme manager at the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation;
Faeeza Lok — community coordinator — is a social entrepreneur and a leading expert in policy and social innovation committed to addressing inequalities in her community. She is the founder of the Voice of the People movement;
Axolile Notywala — Western Cape convenor — is an activist and community organiser. He has deep roots in the community’s fight for housing and against gender-based violence. He is a lifelong fellow with the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity and a board member at the Philippi Village Project in Cape Town; and
Nonkululeko Hlongwane-Mhlongo — KwaZulu-Natal convenor — is a community engagement strategist and learning development manager. She is a lead content producer at Inkululeko Leadership Academy. She serves on a number of organisations locally and internationally, including US consulate programmes. DM