“Stay away from those people who try to disparage your ambitions. Small minds will always do that, but great minds will give you a feeling that you can become great too.”


Editor's Choice


Beauty of Nature

Siyabonga Stengana, 34, is the founder of Beauty of Nature, a community organisation that converts illegal dumping sites into recreational spaces for the youth and the upcoming generation.

He has successfully established 40 such places in Mbekweni in Paarl, as well as a branch in Langa, Cape Town. Siyabonga started the initiative after he lost his job at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Beauty of Nature cleans, refurbishes, and activates these spaces towards income generating activities, which range from a carwash, a tshisa nyama (outlet selling braaied meat) to “hydro-dipping” art done on sneakers, according to the May Gathering report of the Changemaker Towns Network, which is was convened by the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, In Transformation Initiative, Citeplan/ Restaurare, Democracy Works, Ranyaka and Kagiso Trust.

The income from these activities enables the youth at the Beauty of Nature sites to continue their work, while they rely on donations of paint and brushes.

Siyabonga’s work has been recognised in parliament and by the University of Cape Town. He was also 2023’s Garden Day Ambassador 2023 and a guest at the Green Building Convention of the Green Building Council South Africa, an organisation promoting green building and sustainability in the property and construction sectors.

Level 2

  • Congratulations motion from the National Assembly
  • Congratulations from the University of Cape Town
  • Garden Day Ambassador 2023
  • Guest at the Green Building Convention 2023

I had three siblings with whom I used to play a lot. I remember very fondly the games we used to play, especially in the evenings. We used to go out in the park with our sports equipment. Each day we played different games, for example, football on one day and cricket on the other.

Be kinder to yourself. Always know your worth. The world is bigger than you think it is and your worries aren’t as important as you think they are, just be you. Don’t worry if you look different, or feel you look different, from most other people.

What I would like South Africa to look like in five years would be a united country, crime-free, with social cohesion, economic expansion and a renewed spirit of constitutionalism. Youth getting exposed to a lot of opportunities.

View previous winners from 2018 to 2022

Subcribe to the newsletter