Name: Rutendo Racheal Chilengi
Organization: African Youth Union Commission (AYUC)
Role: SADC Deputy Secretary General
• CEO of Chitenge & Wine Afro-Art events.
• Alumni to African Union’s young professionals program.
• Fellow of the Nasser Leadership Fellowship.
• Fellow to the African Presidential Leadership Programme.
• Masters in Public Policy for Governance.
The day everything almost fell apart:
It is often said that, “it’s not about how many times you fall that matters, but your ability to get back up after every setback”.
After losing both iconic pillars of support and leadership in my life, in a period of one year; my Father to a terminal illness only discovered in its last stage, and my brother/ business partner to suicide resulting from chronic depression [sadly a trend affecting a large percentage of young African youth in our communities today].
I was faced with a new challenge of leadership in the family arena of my life, which in most case is over looked in socio-economic measures, but, just like how “Charity begins at home”, so does good leadership skills.
In the midst of all these fundamental life shifts, I found my strength and birthed my leadership aspiration by not giving up on my aspirations, but rather like nature teaches us in the case of a young giraffe learning to walk ‘with every setback to the ground, there is an additional strengthening of the legs to stand tall, run further and reach for the sky.
My experience taught me the value of having a healthy social network, made up of friends, and work mates with whom I share a likeminded vision of growth, mentorship, and emotional support and, a source of a health self believe towards my ability to overcome any challenge faced in a sector of my leadership growth.
Today, I share my story with other Women and youth across communities as a point of motivation to uplift them with inspiration and mentorship. Also, to build leadership and courage them to face and overcome their different challenges and setbacks.
Never giving up on their passions, projects and purpose but, hold on to the assurance that with every “kick down they can bounce back” like I did and like other’s around. All this is assurance to us that we are not alone.