Catherine Constantinides is one of the Mail & Guardian's 2014 Top 200 Young South Africans. The former Miss Earth South Africa is now the pageant's executive director, and uses her platform to raise awareness around how sustainable development can improve Africa's prosperity.
Homesick, yet forbidden to return home, Nat Nakasa died alone in New York. He was just 29 years old. Forty-nine years later his remains are returning to be reburied near his hometown, and South Africa remembers his transcendental writing, his successful bid to have black voices heard, and his dark, pathos-laden humour.
Nontsikelelo Qwelane forgets her aching knees when she takes up her chalk at the beginning of a school day. At age 94, after 73 years in front of a classroom, this lifelong teacher insists she is not tired. She remains devoted to her vocation, and her pupils.
Sir Stuart Ntlathi developed a microwave-griller combo from recycled appliances when he was just 13 years old. Today he runs the Stuart Ntlathi Science, Engineering & Technology Institute, aiming to put the fun back in science to inspire South African children to follow science-based careers.
Watching planes take off and land at Port Elizabeth International Airport inspired a passion for flying in Oyama Matomela; today she is one of South Africa's youngest pilots at just 23, and was the first woman to qualify as a pilot through an Eastern Cape bursary scheme.
Change will come to Africa if it educates its girls. Educated girls become women who earn more and have fewer, healthier children. They are able to raise themselves and their families out of poverty. Crucial to this education, is giving universal access to family planning and contraception.