“No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.” — Lupita Nyong’o

Botlhale Boikanyo


Arts & Entertainment

Organisation / Company

Botlhale Boikanyo Foundation


Award-winning poet, actress, speaker and presenter Botlhale Boikanyo came into the limelight at the age of 11, when she became the first poet and youngest winner of SA’s Got Talent in 2012. But she says nothing could have prepared her for the price of fame, which included being trolled and bullied on social media: it took family grounding and much self-reflection to survive. Botlhale likes to combine her art with activism:  she was a lead actress in the film The Deal, which examines the issues associated with gender-based violence and the effects of poverty. She believes that the arts elevate our thinking and how we engage with each other, and help us to make sense of difficult subjects such as trauma and politics, as well as joy and ritual. To this end she founded the Botlhale Boikanyo Foundation, focusing on youth development and arts education. She was proud of being part of The Legacy of Hope Foundation, which raises funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. She performed her tribute to Madiba in New York and was named as an ambassador of the foundation. The experience taught her that being of service to others is her calling, as an artist, a civic leader and a changemaker.


BA (Motion Picture), AFDA


In my time as a professional artist and social activist, I have been honoured to be a part of incredible projects and have founded certain projects that have been both effective and inspirational and also ones that have challenged me in numerous ways. One specific project that I was honoured to be a part of was The Legacy of Hope Foundation, an initiative to support and raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. This was done through various funding initiatives such as benefit concerts both locally and internationally, and contributing ones art and voice for social change. 

Additionally, I joined an honoured collection of committee members such as the late Dr Maya Angelou, Whoopi Goldberg, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Charlize Theron, among others. One of the key lessons I carry from this initiative and one I still practise is serving: being of service to others, giving back and being part of the change that I want to see in my community and society. This concept is derived from our African customs of Ubuntu and “motho ke motho ka batho” (I am because you are). This initiative inspired me to continue to be a civic leader and changemaker and use my art and creativity to empower others.


I have had numerous role models who have inspired both my career and my personal journey.  A few leaders who have inspired me in my servant leadership journey include the late President Nelson Mandela and Dr Martin Luther King Jr. 

Some great poets who have influenced my journey include Lebo Mashile, Dr Maya Angelou and Keorapetse Kgositsile.  

As a filmmaker and actress, I have studied the works and methods of Konstantin Stanislavsky, Tyler Perry, Viola Davis and Thuso Mbedu, among others.