YOBA 2022

From a pool of 480 nominations, Elevate Africa was selected through a rigorous vetting process as the Top Education brand at the inaugural Top 16 Youth Owned Brands Awards. The main aim of the YOBAs is to recognise the excellence, innovation and hard work of South African youth-owned brands across 16 categories. Inspired by the Youth of 1976, Pat on Brands believes in investing and acknowledging the economic contributions of young people in our country. The honors were revealed and celebrated on 15 June 2022 under the theme ‘Real Recognises Real’ at The Capital On the Park in Sandton.This is the first initiative of its kind in the country and the response from the masses was astounding. “As much as we celebrate young people’s brands, I would like for you to recognize the fact that young people are not sitting folding their hands, they are actually knocking on doors and creating amazing brands that help our economy grow” says Pat Mahlangu – Founder of Pat on Brands/ Lerato Agency.

A panel of judges consisting of industry award-winners, marketers, thought leaders, and academics, carefully reviewed each entry and evaluated them based on a measurable result to determine the strongest front runner of each category. The nominees were further evaluated by a leading black-owned chartered accountants firm called Khumalo & Mabuya attorneys. Elevate Africa was contesting in the education category. After making it through the first 2 rounds, we found ourselves neck to neck with other inspiring innovative brands. Through the immeasurable support of the Elevate Africa family, the word was spread, the votes were placed and we brought it home.

We and all the other winners had the honor of walking away with a trophy designed and produced by the only known and established black South African glassblowing artist, Kgotso Pat. The trophy is a true epitome of youth empowerment and development. The list of winners can only be described as “The Gold Standard of Excellence”. Pat on Brands believes in the power, impact and potential the youth has to change the world. In a world with a high rate of unemployment and lack of opportunities ,it is imperative for the youth to continuously upskill and possibly open their own businesses to create jobs and generate wealth for generations to come.

More than 500 entrepreneurs, marketers, academics and celebrities gathered at The Capital On the Park hotel in Sandton to celebrate and support South African youth-owned brands. These awards sparked so much conversation across different media platforms and people across different industries. Thebe Ikalafeng – Founder and Chairman of Brand Africa, stated during his keynote address “We need to support local brands because brands build companies and companies hire people and people pay tax and tax builds a country. As an advocate for a brand-led African renaissance he spoke passionately on how purchasing from local brands is a direct investment into our community.

Our Founder and CEO, accompanied by the team, accepted the award on behalf of the organization. Her acceptance speech left a resounding echo as she said “Our deepest fear is not that we’re inadequate, but that we’re powerful beyond measure, Elevate Africa believes that the solutions to Africa’s problems are within Africans. We just need to go out and speak them with confidence, make our leaders and the world listen to us.” She went on to say that “This is not the last you will hear of Elevate Africa, we are only just getting started. We are in Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, France, DRC, the USA and we plan on elevating Africa in its entirety.” We are grateful to Pat on Brands and the YOBA team for seeing our work and believing in our vision. Having only been in operation for a year this award was a stamp of affirmation that we are exactly where we need to be and doing exactly what we are destined to be doing.