AS Zimbabwe, this week, celebrated Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day, a recurring theme on social media was that the youths lacked opportunities to progress and build a bright future.
One could not help but pity the current crop of youths who wait for the Government to spoon-feed them.
Arm them with a smartphone, most will snap pictures, upload on Instagram, live a lie and struggle to buy the next mobile data bundle to continue living the lie they would have created on social media platforms.
Talk of smartphones and dumb people.
Trending new media platform TikTok is awash with teens, young adults and socialites joining dance challenges, doing jokes and basically fooling around.
While these new platforms have turned some early adopters into millionaires around the globe, locally, just a handful in the ilk of BusStop TV, Mai Titi and Madam Boss are earning a decent living from careers launched from social media at a time when the bulk of the laggards are struggling to leave a footprint.
However, Neddy Tanga, a spirited 24-year-old lady, seems to be on a mission to transform the fortunes of many youths by utilising different social media platforms to prop up the lives of youths — and she seems destined to succeed.
But many would ask: Who is Neddy Tanga?
If you fall into the pitfall of judging a book by its cover, Neddy is just another ‘slay queen’ in town as she has a YouTube channel dedicated to make-up, particularly eyebrow grooming tutorials — epic misconception!
Neddy is the founder of Connecting With Mentors, an organisation geared towards helping young people from the age of 13 to connect with mentors and choose career paths after making informed decisions. The organisation owes its presence to social media platforms, particularly Facebook, where Neddy hosts a talkshow called Transformational Talks With Neddy Tanga.
She now has a podcast under her belt, recently launched a weekly Twitter show and has spread her tentacles to an extent it is hard to miss her posts on Instagram as well as other popular channels when talking about mentorship, life-coaching, career-guidance as well as a host of other life-enhancing attributes.
A product of mentorship herself, Neddy has taken to social media to inspire and prop up fellow youth struggling to advance in their chosen career paths.
A burning passion to empower the girl-child has seen Neddy rising to becoming the vice-president of Membership at Global Youth Toastmasters.
She has hogged the limelight with her philanthropy and is a volunteer for Christ Ministries Children’s Home where she has equipped orphans with skills that can help them sustain themselves once they leave the children’s home.
But it hasn’t always been a bed of roses for the seemingly successful young lady.
In an interview, Neddy bared her soul on what propelled her to embark on such a promising trajectory and the hurdles straddling her path.
“The fact that I suffered depression while doing my fourth year at Harare Institute of Technology where I pursued a degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Technology was a wake-up call,” said Neddy.
“Growing up, I had always exhibited leadership qualities and was a head girl at Marist Brothers Secondary School, Dete, when I was in Form 4, breaking the age-old tradition that the school head should belong to the Roman Catholic denomination.
“At ‘A’-Level, I was appointed vice-head girl at Kwekwe High School, just a few months after joining the school, again defying a long-held school tradition.”
In addition, at university, she rose through the ranks and was appointed the secretary for equity on the Student Representative Board as well as on the Student Representative Council in 2017.
Her path to success seemed set, but due to the mountain of responsibilities and failure to care for her mental health, her world literally came crashing down when she suffered depression while doing her fourth year at HIT.
She says her undoing was not being able to turn down anyone, even if asked for an arm and a leg.
Listening to a session by South African motivational speaker Vusi Thembakwayo changed her mind.
He mentioned that winners also quit.
Well, she quit.
Neddy let go and slipped into depression. But because she had built the image of a super-woman, no-one realised that something was amiss until it was too late.
She has since used Transformational Talks With Neddy Tanga to address the root causes of depression, how to deal with it and has since roped in experts who feature on the show offering free advice on this pertinent issue that is often swept under the carpet until it degenerates into clinical depression.
Neddy also mentioned that she struggled to choose a career path when she had finished her ‘A’-Levels because she used to easily get lured into venturing into professions of people she admired, but didn’t have a burning passion to advance in that particular profession.
“I honestly had no idea what I wanted to study at university as, all along, I had been fixated on getting good grades,” she said.
“Fortunately, I was given a semester to decide if I wanted to pursue a career in engineering and, while sampling, I fell in love with engineering and have never regretted that decision.”
She said her personal journey to finding herself made her reflect on the plight of disadvantaged children who had no exposure and obviously didn’t have the luxury of enrolling for a programme at university while figuring out if they wanted to pursue that career.
That option was simply not on the table.
That realisation birthed her philanthropic acts and she has mobilised resources worth thousands of dollars in the form of stationery and clothing as well as hosted birthday parties and sponsored education for orphans at Christ Ministries Children’s Home.
Said Neddy: “I realised that though I am 24, I still rely on my family big time.
“What of the orphans who do not have such a support structure?
“I took it upon myself to provide career guidance, provide resources and do my part in transforming the lives of others just in the same way as many doors have been opened for me due to interaction with influential and powerful people in society.”
Hard work is often rewarded and, as such, Neddy is not new to the spotlight.
In the next instalment, we shall focus on the influencers behind this influencer, as well as the accolades she has bagged while on her journey.