Catching Up With Shaka Sisulu


Future Leaders is back with a new season and a new mentor. We chat to Shaka Sisulu about the show and his role.


What is Future Leaders about?

It’s really about the depth of leadership talent that we have all across the country, that rarely gets a chance to shine, and be encouraged. It’s about recognizing, and celebrating that.

Please tell us about your role on the show?

As “head mentor” to the fantastic mentors coming out of the One Day Leader stable, I see my role as simply getting the mentors to focus on the Future Leaders, and support them as much as necessary.

How did you get the role of head mentor?

I got a phone call. When responsibilities come knocking, we must answer.

Taking over from Khaya Dlanga as head mentor, is there anything that you’d like to do better than him on the show?

I think of it more as a relay race; we’re both running hard to do amazing things especially with our youth. Khaya passed the baton to me, I’ll do my best, and someday I’ll pass it on to someone else that has something valuable to offer. Khaya’s a good friend and I’m honoured to be following his lead.

All these 5 kids have inspiring stories/backgrounds; do you sometimes get tempted to personally help them out when the cameras are off?

Oh ja, this is reality TV so much of what you see is what is happening, the emotions are real. And the sense that we’re being inspired and wanting to help isn’t just play-play for the cameras.

How is the You Decide campaign linked to the show?

It’s an important benefactor for the show, You Decide encourages youngsters to find different ways of enjoying their life besides reaching for a bottle. I think if we’re looking at better ways to spend our days, whether we’re teens or even older, there is nothing as fulfilling as the kind of initiative that the Future Leaders are taking. It’s a really great to see such gifted role models that have decided not to drink but to serve, and have fun still.

There is clearly a trend with all the 5 contestants, well most of them…a missing father. What do you think that is?

It’s a said reality that fatherlessness is a way of life for many South Africans. We do need to figure out how to fix our country, because the social fabric was torn in the years of Apartheid and Colonial oppression. But again, there is another trend amongst these kids – they’re go-getters, they believe, and they are getting support from their communities, proving that villages still raise great children in Africa.

What can people look out for during the show?

You can look out for a lot of reasons to believe in the future. A lot of “awwww” and a lot of heart. It’s like taking an inspiration pill before going to sleep. Big Dreams will follow.

We hear celebrities like Jessica Nkosi and Khanya Mkangisa also feature at one point in the show. How were the kids when they met them?

Oh excited of course. And surprisingly not shy. This is a really confident bunch this.


What would you like the show to achieve?

I’d like young people all around the country to say “hey if so and so got that project working, and they’re so young, then I can do it too!” I’d like them to know deep down that there is no age for being great, there is no matric for leadership – it’s like friendship it can happen anytime wherever they are.

If you had to swop lives for a day with one of your mentors, who would it be and why?

Laughs, I really like my life right now thank you. I do think all of the mentors have so much going for them, and as much as it would be nice to be them, it’s great just being able to support them.

One Day Leader or Future leaders? Chose one.

Why chose one, when I’m doing both?