Making lists is easy: scratch your head, Google around for
a few hours, ask your friends, confirm your prejudices.
Making a credible, compelling selection of people aged 35
and under who are truly helping to set a new agenda for South
Africa is a different story — especially when you are trying not
to repeat yourself.
Nine out of 10 people profiled in the Mail & Guardian's 2011
line-up of 200 Young South Africans are new to the list, which
is the product of the combined talents of our in-house research
team and an avid bunch of social-media contributors, who
weighed in on our website, along with Facebook and Twitter.
In the end we chose them for their impact, their creativity
and the resonance of their values with the project of building
the South Africa that we all want to live in: vibrant, prosperous,
equitable, diverse and hungry for the challenges of growth
I think that excitement is reflected better than ever this
year in the writing, design and photography that showcases
all 200. Crucially too, we have greatly sharpened up the 200
Young South Africans website (YSA2011.mg.co.za), providing
enhanced tools for them to stay in touch with each other, and
We are a young democracy, that is to say, an incomplete
one. We have a demographic youth bulge of unemployed and
poorly educated people. The youth of South Africa are often
cast in baldly negative terms, alternatively they are celebrated
with uncomplicated enthusiasm.
The M&G 200 cuts through the clichés to find our most
thrilling potential precisely where it emerges from a context
full of challenge, bewilderment and opportunity.
It is not an easy project, but it may be the one we enjoy