Credit: Originally published by Marie Claire | 7 August 2017.

As part of our August Future Shapers series, in partnership with Audi, we’ve scoured the country to find 2017’s hot innovators. Here we meet Lusanda Worsley, Dr Adriana Marais and Ncumisa Lihle Jilata who are all at the top of their game and pushing boundaries in their line of work and hear their tips for success.

1. The founder of EMPIRE advertising agency: Lusanda WorsleyAdopted when she was two years old by a white British family, growing up in apartheid South Africa, Lusanda had a rather unique childhood and a very strange view of the world. Since uttering her first three English words: ‘All Gold Jam’ and religiously reading the TV guide as a child, Lusanda is now the founder of EMPIRE, an innovative advertising agency that is a hub for African creative talent.

Tip for success: ‘Start with the “why?” Why do you want to do what you want to do? How is it going to better yourself? How is it going to better your community? How is it going to change the world?’

2. The theoretical physicist: Dr Adriana Marais

In 2013, she volunteered for the Mars One Project and is currently one of the 100 finalist astronaut candidates. Since the beginning of 2017, Adriana has been working with SAP Africa as Head of Innovation, driving digitisation and innovation towards making people’s lives better in Africa.

Tip for success: ‘Each one of us has a unique contribution, a unique opinion and a unique view. Don’t let anyone tell you your dream is impossible because all of our dreams, in combination, will be how we sustain and create a brighter future for us all.’

3. The neurosurgeon: Ncumisa Lihle Jilata

She’s a recently qualified neurosurgeon and the youngest in Africa at 29. It was the culmination of a five-year dream and lots of hard work, which began with an internship at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Joburg, community service at Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth and registrar time (specialist in training) at the University of Pretoria. She did her undergraduate training at Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha and is now qualified as a neurosurgeon through the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa.

Tip for success: ‘One has to, first and foremost, believe in themselves. There will always be a lot of naysayers in life but the energy that comes from the yaysayers is always bigger than the energy that comes from the naysayers – despite the fact that they might sound louder at the time.’

Picture credit: © Niquita Bento