19-year-old award-winning social entrepreneur and speaker, Tshepiso Malema is a multifaceted, multi-talented young man from Ivory Park Township in Midrand. He has recently been nominated as one of Mail & Guardian 200 Most Influential Young South Africans.
Tshepiso is passionate about making change and serving the community, which inspired him to launch the Tshepiso Malema Speaks Initiative, which serves as a vessel to help young people to discover their purpose and aims to bridge the gap between high schools and ‘life after matric’, while instilling entrepreneurship skills.
Through his love and exposure to technology, he then founded Gamer’s Territory – a technological facility which mainly focuses on digital gaming, which aims to expose young people from the townships and rural areas to technology through gaming.
Through his work in the social entrepreneurship space, he has been selected by the US Department of State to participate in the Study of the U.S. 2022 programme for Civic Leadership hosted by the University of Washington.
About Gamer’s Territory
From a young age Tshepiso loved video games, but he did not have the privilege of owning a computer, let alone a gaming console. He relied on visits to his cousins in the suburbs to be able to play games. This led him to realise that a major gap existed – as technology evolved, young people from the townships were being left behind because they were not exposed to the kind of technology evolving around the world. That was when he founded Gamer’s Territory in 2017 when he was just in Grade 10. “Part of being an entrepreneur is identifying or experiencing a problem, and then coming up with a solution,” says Tshepiso.
Fast forward to today and Gamer’s Territory runs full time in a small garage equipped with entry-level gaming equipment. One of the aims for Gamer’s Territory is to bring the 4th Industrial Revolution to the townships by providing coding and computer literacy to young people. “We aim to develop and nurture young talent in the townships through eSports and
And a big part of the inspiration is selling the experience while teaching tech and exposing the youth to virtual entities,” says Tshepiso. “This changes the narrative of the type of entertainment that is offered to the youth in the townships. Currently, it’s clubs and taverns – we want to change that and bring fun while learning into the equation; a safe place to inspire and change the narrative of entertainment,” he says.
About the Tshepiso Malema Speaks Initiative
The Tshepiso Malema Speaks Initiative is an NPO established in October 2019 when Tshepiso was in Grade 11. He realised that most of his peers were not motivated nor driven enough to pursue the lives they desire. He launched a motivation blog where he impacted a lot of young people through his blog posts.
Today, the Tshepiso Malema Speaks initiative focuses on fostering leadership by helping young people to find their purpose and potential at a young age through regular blog updates and hosting motivational sessions.
“We are bridging the gap between high school and life after matric, providing vocational guidance and also instilling entrepreneurial skills,” says Tshepiso. To-date, the initiative has impacted over 5 000 matriculants in the community of Ivory Park and Peddie, Eastern Cape.
Amongst Tshepiso’s many achievements is being awarded the GIBS Festival of Ideas Overall Winner in 2021. He was amongst the Nka’Thuto Eduproppeller: Top 30 Technopreneurs in South Africa in 2019, and the SAGE: Teen Entrepreneur of the year in 2020. He then represented South Africa in 2020 for SAGE Global Teen Awards, was awarded the YCL Dragons Den: Best Business 2021. Also in 2021, he was an EDHE Student Entrepreneur Intervarsity Finalist. In 2022, he was nominated for the Most Promising Founder of The Year 2022 (FOYA), which FOYA recognises and appreciates young founders who are contributing to the development of the African continent.
With the firm belief that anyone can become a successful entrepreneur, no matter what age you are and no matter what educational qualification you have, Tshepiso is determined that the youth in South Africa’s townships are not left behind. As the world surges into the fourth industrial revolution, Gamer’s Territory will continue to provide coding and robotics classes to children in disadvantaged areas, exposing them to technology and providing them with a free-flowing entrepreneurial spirit.