Takunda Ushe is a young changemaker from Zimbabwe. He is the founder of a changemaker initiative called ‘Circle of Influence: Project Society’. Read, in Takunda’s own words, why he thinks the ‘Everyone a changemaker’ movement carries urgency and significance for all of us.
It is no one else’s responsibility to identify me as a “changemaker” before I do so for myself. Now, I boldly call myself a changemaker because of several reasons. Not only do I feed off the inspiration of other changemakers who have come before me, like Les Brown and Martin Luther King Junior, but I make the daily conscious decision to be part of the solution and not to bemoan the past and join those who are part of the problem.
If you were to ask me what some of the common traits I share with other changemakers, you would not hear me say that it is the accolades or accomplishments of success that changemakers get along their journey. You will most likely hear me say that I think all true changemakers are not interested, but rather frustrated, with being average.
I would also add that they swim against the current of mediocrity on a daily basis and before long, they master those strokes of stepping out of the comfort zone and attempting the extraordinary very well. I have been prompted to desire a lifestyle of changemaking through a simple world view — I believe that that the opportunity to live is a gift from the world, and how I live out my life will be my gift to the world.
I have encountered a series of events growing up which drive me towards wanting to make a difference in the world around me. I grew up in Zimbabwe with my two brothers as my sole guardians with both my parents working in a small South African mining town called Emalahleni to make ends meet. When I was 12 years old, I suffered a personal loss to HIV/AIDS. It was during my early encounters in high school that felt a desire to do more than getting high grades and remaining in good conduct with the school. I was going to one of the top schools in the country on scholarship, yet my parents never got to finish high school education.
My parents have afforded my brothers and me a life they never had. For them, their personal sacrifice for their children’s future was their portion of changemaking. For me, it is to inspire my peers and age mates across Southern Africa to actively involve themselves in issues of social impact with a head-on approach. That is why I co-founded Circle of Influence Projects Society (CIPS) — a youth-led organisation which brings together high school students who desire to leave a lasting impact in their communities through self-initiated small-scale projects.
I believe that change does not happen over time; change only happens when people take deliberate action. Unless there is a critical group of dedicated young people who embrace the privilege to transform this world for the better, the future will remain coincidental.
I do not want to be reading the headlines of a newspaper 20 years from now with a headline that reads, “African Countries in a State of Irreversible Turmoil”, and know that when I was still in my youth I denied myself the duty of positioning myself to influence the trajectory of leadership on the continent.
Changemaking is important because it defeats this danger of living life with an unrealized potential.
Takunda is a prospective representative of Ashoka Youth Venture’s ‘GlobalYouth Advisory Council’. Today, through his own organization, ‘Circle of Influence’, he is training his team of young changemakers to build spaces of empathy and innovation across schools in his community.