About the author
Born in 1964 in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Reinhild Niebuhr is a social entrepreneur at heart. A descendant of German Lutheran missionaries, Reinhild has worked to develop innovative approaches to youth leadership and entrepreneurship development. She started her first business, JUNK MAIL Publishing, as a student in 1990, and has worked in the publishing and communications industry since that time. Joining the Gauteng Legislature in 1995 as its first Head: Communication paved the way for Reinhild’s interest in policy. Then, joining the Office of the Auditor-General in 1997 as Centre Manager for Communications and Publishing, she gained a keen understanding of government finances. In 1998 she decided to start her own strategic communications consulting agency, in order to have more free time to work with unemployed youth on a voluntary basis. She wrote ‘Young Africa – Policy Blueprint For A Continent of Youth’ in 2002 and at the launch she committed the next decade of her life to working with disadvantaged youth in Africa. In 2003 she accepted a nomination to serve as a trustee of a deep rural, educational non-profit organisation, the Themba Trust, in Dirkiesdorp, Mpumalanga. For the next 10 years Reinhild dedicated her live to serving the Themba Trust. Her husband, Nico den Oudsten, resigned from his position as a senior government official in the National Department of Health to also serve the Themba Trust. During her time living at Themba Trust Reinhild was able to pilot and test her approaches to youth leadership and entrepreneurship development, through the support of a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. “I thought that if I could help youth from one of the most marginalised and disadvantaged areas in South Africa to see the world with different eyes and learn to use what they have to get what they want, I would have a model which could be helpful to youth anywhere in the world,” says Reinhild.
At the end of 2013 the couple moved back to Pretoria. Reinhild started placing her focus on developing an enterprise development support system. In 2015 she piloted a cloud-based software platform, working with a group of entrepreneurs in Pretoria. In 2016 she founded a number of ‘Young Africa’ instruments, through partnering with various businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals, in order to create a comprehensive support system aimed at supporting 200 million youth across Africa to fulfill their potential. Currently, Reinhild is working to mobilize investment into the various instruments aimed at implementing the ‘Young Africa VISION’.
The book ‘Young Africa – Policy Blueprint For A Continent Of Youth’ remains relevant after all these years, and serves as the foundation of the overall ‘Young Africa VISION’. Click here to learn more about the Young Africa initiative.