timeline

born 1993

Nompumelelo "Mpumi" Nobiva's first name means "success" in Zulu. It's a name that she has lived up to ~ by beating the odds.

When she was only 9 years old, Mpumi lost her mother to HIV/AIDS. But, her mom left behind a powerful parting gift ~ the expectation that her daughter would always do her best + live up to her promise in spite of tough circumstances. Mpumi did just that. Growing up orphaned and in poverty didn't keep her from excelling at school. At 13, she earned a spot at the newly opened Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, an opportunity that opened the door to a world of possibilities. Including, a full-ride scholarship to Johnson C. Smith University.

Today, the college grad is headed for a career of giving back. She's bravely sharing her story through talks, campaigns + nonprofit partnerships. Mpumi's mission? Spreading courage + inspiring people to believe in themselves, so that everyone knows ~ "they are more than their circumstances."

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Mpumi Nobiva (9)

"The best way to honor a blessing is to be a blessing."

Beyond Revealed TV Show | november 2013

"I want to inspire people by how I handle my imperfections."

Beyond Revealed TV Show | november 2013

"The choice is yours, no matter where you come from. No matter what the situation was, right now is what matters."

APS Color of Leadership Conference | december 2014

"Read something every day, even if it’s a candy wrapper."

Everyday Peoples Stories | august 2015

"I have committed to use my voice to speak for those who have none, to never be ashamed of being an AIDS orphan but serve in a profession that will uplift orphans of the world, to never use my past as an excuse for failure but to always use it as a charge to fuel my dream further and to never stop giving back."

Everyday Peoples Stories | august 2015

"I share my story with hope to inspire people across the world, to know that they are more than their circumstances. My story is that HIV took my mother but not my spirit."

Education Transformed My Life | october 2015

"You can create the life of your dreams with the energy of your intention."

Wannamaker Lecture | december 2015

"There is nothing in this world that you cannot do, but it is always important to take the people with you."

Wannamaker Lecture | december 2015

"The reason I made it through is because I refuse to forget where I come from."

Wannamaker Lecture | december 2015
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curated with care by Alicia Williamson