With a new norm upon us as a result of the Corona Virus, it’s become increasingly difficult to try be positive while being met with the realities of job losses, salary cuts and many more opportunities which have been put on pause.
But on the flip side, there’s Melody Miya, who has chosen to use his influence to help keep people positive and feeling hopeful despite the many setbacks that people are faced with. As the Founder of ConquerMIH, he has become one of the most influential South Africans to look out for this year, and it’s no surprise why.
Who is Melody Miya and what is he all about?
I’m a 28-year-old born in Katlehong. I spent half of my years in Durban before coming back to Johannesburg. I’m a bubbly, energetic and forward-thinking individual whose life story has been based on a vision to positively impact the world, to serve greatness and leave a great legacy. I’m a TV and radio personality at 947 and SABC 1’s Daily Thetha, a social entrepreneur, a master of ceremonies and creative mind.
Tell us about the journey of building ConquerMIH to where it is today.
I’ve always wanted to help people but was constantly reminded that I also need to pay my day-to-day bills. I started doing research on how I can help people and one thing I realised, was the influence I had which I could utilise in helping others. My love for motivational talks and work as an MC and Speaker, drove me to creating ConquerMIH. The money I made from the work I did, helped me start charity events for young kids. I particularly chose to focus on the children who difficulties reading and vowed to myself that I’d help them because I knew how far one’s knowledge, as a result of learning, can get them. Growing up, I had experienced the same challenges and had my father to assist me. And I wanted to do the same for other children as well.
The multiple projects we run as the ConquerMIH Foundation are there to bring solutions to those less fortunate than us. The relationships I have built over the years with multiple brands, have enabled me to help them be socially responsible and drive behaviour that looks into helping others or those less fortunate than themselves. As the ConquerMIH Foundation, we have the access to communities who need any form of assistance, and are able to join the two parties through a fruitful relationship of long term social sustainability.
What is your definition of purpose?
Purpose means living a life that lives to serve through ability. Playing your part in a team or someone life showcases you serving your purpose but also allowing your skills and abilities being a form relief to others alleviating strain, pain or discomfort.
What do you see as the cornerstone of your purpose?
My purpose is driven by opportunity – each opportunity experienced has granted me a chance to grow, learn, listen and showcase. In order for my purpose to be seen I need an opportunity or need to create one but vice versa, the opportunity always gives us something. I would love to see more young people being given an opportunity to be great, to experience, to evolve through the lessons. Encouraging kids to reach amplifies opportunities to be functional and have full opportunity in this world.
Who inspires you every day? And why?
My father, Mr Luckyboy Miya, who granted me an opportunity that wasn’t owed to me but he always went out of his way to help me become the best I can be. My dad has been unemployed for over 20 years, but his mentorship and guidance granted me an opportunity to attend great institutions of learning and to change my circumstances.
What has been your biggest achievement through your initiative?
The initiatives we run, namely, the Read-A-Sat and Conquer Games, are some of my greatest achievements. Through these, we were able to continuously impact the lives of young people since the organisation’s inception in 2015. Conquer MIH has also brought on opportunities for unemployed youth to get recruited for remunerated work. Despite it being seasonal, we’re always happy to see lives being transformed as a result of the amazing partnerships we have.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve experienced and how can people help fix them?
There have been multiple challenges faced throughout the years and most notably being consistent funding to run the initiatives. Funding that would be allocated to books, dictionaries, stipends, food, IT infrastructure and general event needs. People may help us by providing consistent assistance to bring each event to fruition and through long term sponsorship, to keep the programs running at the highest quality possible.
With the Corona Virus pandemic, how have you helped young people stay motivated and hopeful during this time?
At ConquerMIH Foundation, we have created online content to help the youth deal with mental health issues. We came up with the following platforms:
BhodlaTV; An Instagram hangout session where 100+ young people share their struggles and how they have survived, and bring experts to guide and advise every Friday and Saturday.
Bhodla TV Church; We created a Christian platform as a Christian to be encouraged as a young Christian by other believers which speaks largely to those who feel displaced and discouraged at this time.
HomeCell Groups, Every Monday evening, we have Zoom sessions with those who need mentorship and guidance in an intimate space.
What motivational words do you have for someone following in your footsteps?
Invest in yourself with everything you have. Your greatness will always start from within and never let temporary failure or delay, distract you from your goal. Let your opportunities find you ready and always have a teachable spirit because no man is an island. Most importantly, believe in yourself. Self doubt is a thief, don’t let it.
For more on Melody’s work, follow him on Twitter @MelodyMiyaVibe
Interview hosted by Nombulelo Fox for The Change Collective Africa.