Aliyah Price is a Social Science graduate from the University of Cape Town. She has completed her undergraduate studies while completing the first six months of the ASRI Futures Leaders program. She has since completed an internship at the Mail & Guardian online publication and is dedicated to continuing her journey into the world of media and writing. She has since contributed to millennial publications Boudjie, Halalwatch.org, and Hercampus.com. Aliyah intends to harness the skills learned in both fields of writing and research to inform the wider public about the many layers contributing to socio-economic issues plaguing South African communities. Aliyah is committed to creating a platform that is a collective of both academic studies and practical information which could serve as a source of information and guide for communities battling social and economic issues. The creation of a public platform will focus on removing the barriers of exclusivity from academia and allow communities battling with these issues to learn the phycology and sociology behind certain toxic and often harmful societal norms. Aliyah will continue her journey in the honors program in English literature at the University of the Western Cape in 2022.
I would describe my learning experience overall as one that touched on many different areas of learning and contributed to a more educated and broader perspective of what I believe civic leadership in society entails. Though I had notions of driving socio-economic change, it was difficult to equip myself with the tools and knowledge to drive the agenda and make it possible for a young undergraduate with little to no experience of the real world. I believe that because the program brought together different spheres outside of what I had studied, it made it possible to have a better idea of the different elements that are needed to facilitate social change seamlessly. Learning about governance and understanding government to political philosophy helped me to bridge the gap between sectors that I was previously unaware of. Though I had limited knowledge of economics and development I felt that through being able to grasp the basics through the program I was able to have a better understanding of the bigger picture, and how no drive to achieve social change is isolated to one sector or area.
Since completing the theory as well as the internship, I can attest to the change in personal growth and development as a result. I have become more resilient and more confident in my drive to achieve. I believe that through having a taste of the real world, being exposed to more educated and experienced individuals was ( still is) intimidating, I have learned to be confident in my voice. To take instructions but also ask questions and to fail but receive criticism openly so I may do better. Before the program criticism and correction made me question whether I was allowed to take up space in certain areas. Through being in this program I have learned that the mistakes I have made have motivated me to continue and be better so I feel worthy to take up the space given to me. Though sometimes it has left me demotivated, I have felt proud of myself for pushing through and completing tasks that were sometimes out of my comfort zone.
I have been able to mix and form friendships with my fellow future leaders, being an advocate for social change in one’s communities is sometimes isolating as a young person. It was refreshing and inspiring to be able to connect with other young South Africans who shared the values and had similar visions for South Africa.
The program enabled me to learn from brilliant South Africans who were incredibly educated in their field of studies, an opportunity that is not always available. It also allowed me to experience working at Mail & Guardian and gain life-changing experience and knowledge.
Ultimately, I believe that given me momentum to continue my journey. It has allowed me to draw links between areas that I will use to my advantage to achieve the goals I have set out. I have strengthened my skills in media and writing through my experience and will continue to gain experience in these fields. The program has allowed me to broaden my mind and develop a different perspective for politics and governance beyond what was taught to me academically. It encouraged my critical thinking which I will use to deliver my agenda on social change through my voice that has been molded throughout this program.