South African politician, anti-apartheid campaigner and former President of the ANC Women’s League, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has been chosen to participate in the second season of MTV Base Meets…with MTN. Sponsored by Africa’s leading mobile company, the motivational youth empowerment initiative and multimedia campaign aims to stimulate dialogue between ‘thought leaders’ and young African entrepreneurs.

Ms Madikizela-Mandela joins previously announced ‘influencers’, Senegalese-American R&B and Hip Hop artist Akon, Hip-Hop pioneer and entrepreneur, Russell Simmons, South Sudanese supermodel Alek Wek, His Excellency Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, and Togolese international soccer star and Manchester City striker, Emmanuel Adebayor.

MTV Base Meets Winnie Madikizela-Mandela with MTN was recorded on Monday 16 July at her home in Soweto, with MTV Base VJ Sizwe Dhlomo and a panel of young people from across the continent. The episode featuring Ms Madikizela-Mandela will premiere to 50 countries across Africa on Wednesday 5 September 2012.

The news of Ms Madikizela-Mandela’s involvement comes as MTV Base prepares to screen the first episode of the new series of MTV Base Meets…with MTN on 1 August 2012 on MTV Base (DStv Channel 322). The special “Best of” episode pinpoints the best highlights from Season 1, which featured leading figures from the realms of entertainment, politics, fashion and sport, including Nobel Prize laureate and President of Liberia, Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, Grammy-winning R&B artist Alicia Keys, controversial South African politician Julius Malema and legendary musician and activist Hugh Masekela.

First initiated in 2011, MTV Base Meets…with MTN connects African youth with the thought leaders, opinion formers, decision makers and role models who shape their world. Season 2 of MTV Base Meets…with MTN will air across Africa on MTV Base (DSTV Channel 322) and on terrestrial stations across the continent, including STV (Nigeria), Spectrum TV (Cameroon), Viasat (Ghana), Rwanda TV (Rwanda), Swazi TV (Swaziland), Muvi TV (Zambia) and NTV and WBS (Uganda).

In each episode of MTV Base Meets…with MTN, ambitious young Africans from all walks of life pose hard questions to high-profile “thought leaders” about issues close to their hearts – in an intimate and informal environment, with no questions off-limits. Topics on the agenda include entrepreneurship, education, youth culture, politics, sport, racism, gender issues and the African Renaissance. To date, youth panellists asking the questions have included students, journalists, bloggers, models, comedians, actors, musicians, humanitarian campaigners and poets.

The series has inspired young entrepreneurs from around the African continent to change their lives after meeting with their heroes:

·* South African event organiser Sizie Modise was one of a group of young people who met with Ben Murray-Bruce of the Silverbird Group. She made such an impression on Murray-Bruce during the interview that the media mogul offered her a job.

·* Liberian-born singer Jerrilyn Mulbah was inspired by Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote to echo his 18-hour a day work ethic. Subsequently, Jerrilyn saw her career take off, with three successful singles getting great traction on radio in Nigeria and Liberia, and a new music video due for release at the end of June. Jerrilyn’s first album release follows soon, and her first national tour of Nigeria is due to be announced in the coming months.

·* Ghanaian Arnold Sarfo-Kantanka met with British entrepreneur and humanitarian Sir Richard Branson as part of the series and afterwards decided to concentrate full-time on helping young Ghanaians achieve their full potential through his role as the Operations Director of youth outreach project, WAM Campaign, and fashion line, Ma FIRI Ghana.

As part of the initiative, MTV Base and MTN are running a pan-African competition offering viewers the chance to appear in the final episode of MTV Base Meets…with MTN. Eight young people will win an all-expenses paid trip to meet with Akon in the USA in September 2012.

Speaking on behalf of MTV Base, Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Viacom International Media Networks Africa, commented, “In today’s competitive business and economic environment, it is vitally important to provide strong role models, heroes and mentors to help young people achieve their goals. MTV Base Meets…with MTN aims to inspire and motivate young Africans to understand that they are key drivers in ensuring a brighter future for our continent.”

Commented Jennifer Roberti, Executive for Group Marketing, MTN, "MTN got involved with this initiative last year at a time when there was a real need to bring youth and leaders together in open dialogue and debate. We still believe in the transformative power of giving young people on the continent this kind of forum. As the leaders of tomorrow, it's not always about finding agreement. Sometimes questioning and challenging can be just as educational and inspiring. As MTN, we believe that when we connect people and ideas, we are creating platforms for better understanding and a common ground."

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