SuperSHEro – Raelene Rorke
Raelene Rorke is one of Africa’s emerging young leaders, an accomplished ambassador for South African youth and a tenacious businesswoman.
Born on the 24th July 1986 in Mthatha, this is the same lady who first caught the attention of the world at age 13 in Los Angeles participating in The World Championships of the performing Arts, where she represented South Africa in modelling and public speaking. Despite winning the international modelling competition, she had to pull out as mommy insisted on education first. Afterwards, aged 14, Raelene moved to Johannesburg to not admire the Nelson Mandela Bridge but to pursue her modelling career. She had a very fruitful couple of years, appearing in some of South Africa’s leading publications, catalogues and billboards for Love Life.
Pic: Emil Wessels
She shone yet again at age 15 when she entered Miss SA Teen and emerged 2nd princess despite being the youngest contestant that year. Fast-forward to 2004, Rorke took home the crown and sash in the same beauty contest attesting to be the most beautiful teenager with substance on the land. The former Sandown High School head girl, used the platform to address matters close to her heart and challenges affecting the youth. Hence, she teamed up with SANCA (South African National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependency) where she ran a campaign called: “Value Yourself and Make a Healthy Choice”. She embarked on national talks on the dangers of drugs and alcohol-speaking at up to 10 schools a week. Raelene shortly became the ambassador for the ARA (Association of Responsible Alcohol use)-taking the message to over 10 000 young people of South Africa and across the borders.
In 2006, Raelene registered for a BCOM Industrial Psychology degree and had an internship at UTI-international Logistics Company. Six months into her internership, off she went to Germany with the team that received the handover for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, spending the rest of the year traveling Europe.
She ended 2006 with a bang as she was crowned Miss City Press and with the help of City Press she launched the very successful City Press Book Campaign. Raelene then progressed to presenting PSL TV on Super Sport in 2007, the same year she was a Miss South Africa finalist and made it as far as the top 5.
Eager to explore other fields and prove that her happy hunting grounds extend far beyond the beauty pageantry scope, she changed the lane and focussed on her studies. Life would have been grey without some exciting projects in the mix, thus, while completing her Industrial Psychology and Organisational Development degree she started working for Footprint, raising funding from corporate South Africa to roll-out basic training and development workshops, such as basic financial literacy, for mostly rural South Africa. She is currently still in this role.
The year 2009 kicked off with a praiseworthy ambassadorial role. Raelene was part of the South African marketing delegation in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, where she represented the thoughts and energy felt by the youth of SA. She was given the opportunity to speak to some of the top business, political and social leaders about the amount of possibilities there are in South Africa. On her return, Raelene completed a development programme for the Macdonald’s Fandancers who were featured at the Confederations Cup 2009, she served on the judging panel as well elected as the head groomer and motivational speaker for the ladies that were chosen, from every host city. The programme continued in 2010, where Raelene ran a 6 month life-skills and grooming programme for young ladies chosen to dance at the FIFA World Cup at half time. January 2010 saw Raelene return from her 2nd World Economic Forum participation in Davos where South Africa had the chance to vehicle investment and tourism opportunities.
Still in 2010, Raelene became an ambassador for the following campaigns and NGO’s:
- Fair Play for Africa, a pan African campaign that aims to make a strong push for universal access to quality health services for African citizens especially women, children and people living with HIV and AIDS through a strengthened, coordinated civil society campaign supported by active and empowered citizen base in at least ten focus countries in the continent.
- Dance For Life, a campaign dedicated to youth od South Africa, is in 25 countries and through its programmes, involves young people to strengthens their voice and empowers them to take action themselves to push back the spread of HIV and AIDS. We aim to create a global youth movement of 1 million agents4change by 2014.
In 2011, she co-founded SpringAGE, an organisation dedicated to the leadership of young South Africans and their role in building South Africa, with the specific task of creating employment opportunities. SpringAGE creates thinking spaces, called SpringBREAKS, where youth, government and commercial co-create in innovative scalable projects. Projects born out of SpringBREAKS, span across the energy, tourism and agriculture sector. www.springage.co.za SpringAGE is a global movement with co-creation at the heart of it. Partners include BrandSA, National Agriculture Marketing Council of South Africa and has been part of other initiatives such as Gordon Institute of Business’ (GIBS) flagship youth programme, Spirit of Youth (SoY).
By Hastings Moeng