Child genius turned convicted

Child genius turned convicted criminal uses his story to change lives

Sihle Tshabalala was declared a child genius at the age of 16. By 19, he was a convicted criminal.

Child genius turned convicted

After spending 11 years behind bars, Tshabalala, now 35, spends his days speaking to youths whose lives appear to be heading in the same direction as his was.

He uses his time now to teach high school dropouts, teenage parents, unemployed youth members, ex-offenders and convicts about entrepreneurship and he equips them with the skills they need to market themselves and their endeavours.

In 2013 Tshabalala was released from prison, and in the past four years, he has dedicated his life to helping other young people avoid making the same mistakes he made in his life.

He co-founded Brothers For All, and is now an international motivational speaker and 2016 TEDx Fellow and wants to commit his life to helping change the trajectory of people’s lives, thus lessening the grip poverty and crime have on local communities.

Tshabalala has launched his NGO as Quirky30 and focuses on creating equal opportunities for women and girls who wish to pursue a career in the ICT sector. By empowering people with new digital and entrepreneurial skills, he believes he is challenging the status quo and providing a positive alternative to prevailing norms.

Tshabalala says, “In the township where I grew up, we had too few positive role models. Our definition of success was mostly linked to the criminals who lived expensive lifestyles. I hope to change that through the work we do by empowering people to become entrepreneurs and coders.”

To help spread the word, Tshabalala was invited as a guest to appear on the Blue Couch Sessions, a new web series that celebrates remarkable South Africans who come from all walks of life. In the interview, he shares how his own downfall has made him a stronger perosn, and someone who feels that after escaping death twice, can make a difference in people’s lives.

Watch the video, courtesy of wiGroup’s Blue Couch Sessions. A video series that details personal stories about remarkable South Africans.