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With the youth unemployment rate in South Africa currently sitting at 55.2% Stat SA, it’s vital for young South African’s to find other means to earn an income. Uber has been at the forefront of empowering the youth with the economic opportunity that have allowed them the flexibility to grow their own businesses and provided extra time to focus on other opportunities.

 As Youth Day (16 June) approaches, Uber takes the opportunity to celebrate the youth in the industry that are breaking boundaries, moving mountains and proving that the youth really are a force to be reckoned with.

Meet Menzi, The Opera singing driver who uses Uber to grow

27-year-old aspiring Musicology graduate, Menzi Mngoma, who aspires to become a renowned superstar recently became an overnight sensation when he was serenading one of his riders with an Opera classic. Of his new found fame, Menzi says, ”Without being a driver-partner for Uber, I probably would have never met Kim Davies and received the exposure that I have now. Kim gave me hope to believe in my talent and I can’t wait for the day that I’ll finally be able to do what I love, which is making my own music and living out my dream as a musician. Menzi further adds, “Driving for Uber has provided me with a good living which has allowed me to get my own place and to be able to afford a lot of things that I couldn’t afford before.”

Growing up with three siblings, music has always been an integral part of his family life as every single member of his family is musically inclined. Although Menzi has been singing since his early childhood, he was only exposed to Opera when he was in High school. Encouragement from one of his teachers to join the high school choir, led to him signing up for singing solos instead. In doing so, he was introduced to a number of other Opera singing students which sparked his interest and thus his Opera singing journey began.

Menzi now lives in Kwa-Mashu in Durban and has been driving for Uber for over a year now.

Meet Lindelani, Uber’s young driver from uMhlabuyalingana who wants to be a business mogul

Lindelani, a 29 year old driver-partner has always dreamt of owning his own business. The Joburg based driver left his hometown of uMhlabuyalingana in pursuit of a better life in the city of gold. Before joining Uber, Lindelani was one of the unemployed young people in the country who did not have the means of starting his own business and was reluctant to join the corporate world. He wanted a different career path compared to his peers.

According to Lindelani, “I joined Uber to fulfill my long term dream of being an entrepreneur, since my early days, I have always wanted to become my own boss and leave a legacy for my family. I am currently pursuing another business adventure of owning a petrol filling station, I am happy because Uber allows me flexible hours which will ensure that I can focus on multiple business avenues.” Through Uber, Lindelani has found a full time earning opportunity.

Besides ensuring that riders move from point A to B, the father of a six-year-old spends most of his quality time with family and one of the most important people in his life, his daughter. “I enjoy being with my daughter and spend as much time as I can with her, juggling a family while being a driver is much easier than what most people think.”

In his spare time, Lindelani likes to play soccer in his community and read books that  focus on business. His ambition is to be as successful as other prominent business mogul such as Patrice Motsepe.

Meet Amulat, Female-driver partner with a taste for fashion

Amulat, a female driver-partner from Cape Town joined Uber three years ago. Seeking an opportunity to spend more time with her children and starting her  own business, the 29-year old mother of two children left her full time job as a nanny and joined Uber. Amulat has not only been able to start her own business through Uber but she has managed to create a second business, in the clothing industry.  She spends time researching the latest trends in the fashion industry and buying clothing items and selling them to her clients. Her clothing business is currently catering to the Cape Town market and she looks further into expanding her clientele to other cities in the country.

Through Uber she has managed to purchase her first vehicle which she is very proud of, Amulat mentions that she never thought that she could buy her very first car by being a driver-partner.

Amulat starts her day with taking the children to school and immediately starts accepting trips. During the day, she makes time to run her errands and drop off any clothing items clients have purchased. She encourages other young females to join Uber as an extra means of income.

Meet Mbali, Uber’s female DJ driver

From music to running her own business, 34-year-old Mbali is not your typical Uber driver. The radio DJ from one of South Africa’s biggest radio stations has always had a passion for music from a tender age.

Growing up in the town of Umgungundlovu, Mbali was surrounded by family who loved music which inspired her to pursue her career in music. She loves different genres of music with a strong focus on Afro-Pop, Kwaito and House Music as genres that resonates the most with South Africans.

Mbali’s tenacity and aspiration to be a business woman led her to join Uber. She has always wanted to own a business and continue with her full time job of being a DJ and Uber has given her the flexibility to pursue both. “Music is my calling and being able to do what I love and earning an income is what I enjoy the most about Uber.”

Mbali looks forward not only to being a driver but to be able to offer economic opportunities to young people through Uber as she works towards adding another vehicle so she can assist young people that are unemployed. As an Uber driver, she has met various people that want to pursue their career in music and has connected them to the right people. “I would like not only to assist young people in music but through opportunities that will allow them to assist their livelihoods.”

As South African’s celebrate Youth Day, Uber continues to uplift young people with economic opportunities that will empower them and their lives.