RARE  RISINGSTARS 2013 The UK’s Top 10 Black Students
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No. 3


Andile Justice Mkonto

BBA International Business Administration
Hult International Business School
Business and Social Enterprise
Andile Justice Mkonto

In the impoverished surroundings of a South African township, Andile often went to bed with one eye open, expecting to be awoken by gunshots or burglars.

Andile’s difficult start in life was made even worse when, at the age of 13, he lost his mother to HIV. With an absent father, Andile was forced to drop out of school, selling vegetables and relying on neighbours to help him support his younger brother. A year later, Andile fell in with a bad crowd and it seemed inevitable that this particular story would not have a happy ending.

Andile’s salvation came from Ubuntu Education Fund, a charity that realised Andile’s potential and supported him in his successful application to the African Leadership Academy, a highly competitive pan‑African boarding school. Andile was one of only ten South Africans who gained a place in the 2009‑10 academic year and used this experience as a springboard to launch into a number of successful businesses and social enterprises.

“Never fear failure. More than that, never define failure as the absence of success, for even in the greatest of failures lies an even greater success. One just has to realise it.”

His primary enterprise is as co‑founder and director of ‘Get Active Construction and Projects’, a South African based construction business that hires and trains people from disadvantaged backgrounds to deliver the government’s housing rollout scheme. Andile’s company has successfully tendered for four government contracts, meaning that they will build at least 1540 new houses throughout the country.

Andile is also a co-founder of Tumbuka Ignite, an organisation that conducts academic enrichment and career development programmes for students in disadvantaged rural schools. Tumbuka Ignite currently has 34 volunteers and eight people on the core management team.

“Tumbuka was started to break the mould and to ignite the potential of disadvantaged South African youth. We have helped students to realise that a lack of a chance to go to University, does not, and should never be, a limiter to what they can achieve.”

Andile regularly volunteers for Ubuntu Education Fund as a teacher and advisor for scholars in South Africa and London. Andile says that he owes everything to Ubuntu for financing his education in South Africa and for the continued support they have offered him throughout his time in London.

It seems that fairy tales do happen after all!

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