Home country: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Activities: Writing, reading, travel, community service, tennis
Fueled by her passion for writing, Mbali hopes to pursue a career in journalism to challenge and change peoples’ perceptions.
I come from the HIV/AIDS capital of the world. I grew up in a humble little town in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Since I was a little girl I have always had a queer interest in people’s personal lives. This unusual interest of mine landed me in trouble many a times as I would always ask taboo questions and being a young girl child living in a male orientated and controlled society I was rebuked for my inquisitive nature. However, I also inherited a stubborn nature so despite many warnings I never stopped questioning and challenging. Growing up, I became more and more weary of the stories in my living circle and I sought out to find true stories through visits to an old age home and many orphanages. That is where I found my first real African stories and that is when I changed my career path from being a conventional doctor to being a journalist.
My journey brought me to African Leadership Academy where I could not get enough of my peers’ stories of all they had been through as young Africans. Even though many of the stories involved wars, famines, poverty and unspeakable hardships I was surprised to discover that in between all the darkness shone a bright glimmering light of perseverance, resilience, power, intelligence, visions and hope. Being at African Leadership Academy I have seen a side to Africa that so many journalists and news reporters repeatedly fail to endorse. I believe our media has slipped into a coma and we seem to be rebroadcasting the safe old news of doom and failure to a world that is full of people with purpose and drive. This is causing a massive barrier in society as a whole and it is a colossal injustice to Africa.
My name is Mbali Zondi and I grew up in the HIV/AIDS capital of the world and yet my story has very little to do with that. My story is about a teenage girl who sees something the human race is doing wrong and that together they could so easily fix. My story is of questioning, listening, recording and presenting the real stories that so many people are dying to hear and that so many are dying to tell.