Young and Able was founded in 2003 by Buhle Dlamini, a young entrepreneur with a background in youth development when he was only 23. The origin of Young and Able is closely interlinked with a story of authentic intercultural amalgamation that dates back to a period in South Africa’s history that is marked by social anxiety, cultural uncertainty and lingering racial tensions.
It is a narrative that demonstrates the possibility for individuals and society to change by vividly representing the challenges that once beset and still confront South Africa, and exemplifies how a group of young people overcame these challenges to reach a place of true understanding, acceptance and cooperation.
Before we ever conceived the idea of building a business, we were already living the stories we now share with our audiences. And, because of this, we are able to communicate powerfully on several themes in a way that is self-inclusive and is based on personal experience. We are also able to serve, time and time again, as catalysts for genuine, lasting change in the lives of both individuals and organisations.
A Close Encounter of Another Kind
The Young and Able story begins at the dawn of democracy when the founding members of Young and Able first met at a campsite in the Magaliesburg mountain range under the banner of Youth For Christ. It was a time when South Africa was still reeling from the after-pains of its newly born democracy and, for many of these young people, the first encounter with people from different races and cultures.
The Beginning of Catalytic Conversations
In this intimate setting, genuine connections were formed at a personal level, beyond racial and cultural differences. The common thread of humanity became visible to all and a seed was sown for the development of enduring relationships and, eventually, for the formation of an organisation that would share the experiences and knowledge uncovered by this group of young people.
In the years preceding the establishment of Young and Able, the friendships, experiences and knowledge that came to form the foundation of the organisation found opportunity for consolidation through a series of defining moments that took place over a number of years. These moments were marked by deep realisations of truths that have since been expounded to form learning modules and keynote presentations.
Many of these moments, that now comprise the anecdotal content of our presentations, came through novel and sometimes awkward cross-cultural experiences such as intimate visits to the homes of people of other races and cultures. Thanks to this fortunate fusion of encounters, we were able to nurture the new perspectives and approaches that we now share with others.
It is because of our rich historical background that is steeped in real human experiences that Young and Able has come to be recognised as an organisation that is distinctly human and realistic in its approach to activating, motivating and accelerating the potential in people from all backgrounds, cultures and creeds.