I am Malala Article By Luphumlo Joka



Leadership demands the strongest sense of dedication and devotion to a cause. Great leaders remain committed even when faced with the possibility of death.

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani education advocate who, at the age of 17, became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize after surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban. Born on July 12, 1997, Yousafzai became an advocate for girls' education when she herself was still a child, which resulted in the Taliban issuing a death threat against her.

On October 9, 2012, when 15-year-old Malala was riding a bus with friends on their way home from school, a masked gunman boarded the bus and demanded to know which girl was Malala. When her friends looked toward Malala, her location was given away. The gunman fired at her, hitting Malala in the left side of her head; the bullet then traveled down her neck. Two other girls were also injured in the attack.

She survived and has continued to speak out on the importance of education. In 2013, published her first book, I Am Malala. Nine months after being shot by the Taliban, Malala Yousafzai gave a speech at the United Nations on her 16th birthday in 2013. Yousafzai highlighted her focus on education and women's rights, urging world leaders to change their policies.

Yousafzai said that following the attack, “the terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.”She also urged action against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism:

“The extremists were, and they are, afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women... Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons.

The story of Malala is one of dedication and commitment, something all authentic leaders should have. There must be a cause or an issue that resonates with you such that you are willing to give your life for its realisation. Martin Luther King gave himself to the Civil rights movement, Mandela gave himself to fighting Apartheid, Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery – the list is endless.

Commitment and dedication to a cause are strong keys to effective generational leadership. Malala is now known globally for her commitment to fighting for women rights and education amongst women. What will you be known for?

On October 10, 2013, in acknowledgement of her work, the European Parliament awarded Yousafzai the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

In April 2017, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Yousafzai as a U.N. Messenger of Peace to promote girls education. The appointment is the highest honor given by the United Nations for an initial period of two years.

Yousafzai was also given honorary Canadian citizenship in April 2017. She is the sixth person and the youngest in the country’s history to receive the honor.

Taken from Luphumlo Joka’s New Book ; The Ultimate Leader-Shift.

Luphumlo is the MD of Global Leadership Consultants.

He is a Speaker, trainer and Author . To get in touch with him email his office on
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 078 848 3003.Visit www.luphumlojoka.com / www.globalleadership.co.za for more details.

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