President Obama is the first US president to assemble a group of young African leaders in Washington DC to celebrate their work and match them with mentors in the United States. Since taking office, the Obama has met with 2 cohorts of young African leaders and First Lady Obama has met with one cohort of African women leaders.
Recently, iLL Holiday Dot Com had the opportunity to sit and chat with a young leader who has been included in both initiatives.
Refiloe Seseane is known throughout South Africa for her work on the soap opera Generations, her co-hosting role on the African game show Out of The Box, as well as her CNBC experience as a financial analyst. With all of her accomplishments, she allows nothing to overshadow her passion for young high school girls. She mentors and provides financial support to young ladies that aspire to attend college but are prevented by the high price of local universities.
Seseane started a small non profit in 2008 at the height of the global recession. Since then she has grown 18Twenty8 to become an award-winning NGO with international recognition. Twice she has been recognized by the White House as an emerging African Leader that should not be ignored. Her work has even caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey.
In our conversation with Seseane, we dove into her experience of “Coming to America”. “Americans are very condescending when speaking to Africans,” she shares. “Young African leaders were invited by President because we are the crème de la crème of our respective fields,” Seseane adds.
Although, some Americans did quite know what to make of Seseane and the other 61 young African leaders, she also speaks about how the experience has been one she is deeply grateful for.
Overall, Seseane is not wasting time worrying about the staggering number of stereotypes that Americans hold against, nor the challenges that kill most NGO’s before they get started. She is focused on expanding her programming to far reaches of South Africa and maybe even internationally, while writing history in the process!