At the age of 26, Kgosi Reuben Masie took over as Kgosi “chief” from his father for Taung village (Gamalete), in Southeast District. This challenging role then became a team effort, “I can’t manage to lead my people without my wife,” says Masie, who is now 36, “She has always encouraged me to work closely with my entire community, but especially the youth, which need our extra attention.” Kgosi Masie convenes workshops and meetings which teach Taung’s young people how to fully benefit from youth programs and social services, covering everything from applying to tertiary and vocational schools and accessing business loans, to receiving substance abuse counselling, family planning, and HIV prevention services. He states, “education is the best gift I can give my people, because it is a lifelong gift.
We cannot live without education.” Kgosi Masie also guided the creation of a youth committee which continues to inform him of the community’s challenges and dreams, which he has posted, along with achievements, in front of his Kgotla to guide and affirm the community’s progress in reducing crime, substance abuse, and unemployment; and fostering better health and parent-child communication. He has played a central role in the success of the CATCH Project, a National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA) initiative to equip local leaders to engage in community health, which demonstrates the progressive impact even small initiatives can have with the right leadership.