Hussain Manawer, qualified quantity surveyor, entertainer, campaigner, vblogger, public speaker and soon to be astronaut. “So what’s next Hussain”? Hussain “Movie star”.
At only 24, Hussain’s got a lot of passions. School wasn’t one of them. Hussain, however, does credit a supply teacher as his first inspiration to a life in entertainment. On return to school from a disciplinary interlude, a supply teacher had taken the place of his in-situ teacher. He noticed the “bars” (lines of rap poetry) written at the back of Hussain’s copy book, the supply teacher’s encouragement was Hussain’s first realisation a career in music could be an option.
Hussain’s entertaining ability is the reason he is flying to space in 2018. It was the prize for winning the Kruger Cowne Rising Star competition, a worldwide competition searching 90 countries for future global leaders.
Hussain made it to the final because of his campaign work, mostly on mental health issues, but credits his entertaining ability and passion as the reason he won. “The final was in Thailand, so I knew a lot of the audience wouldn’t understand English. If I rapped it the audience could hear my passion without understanding the words.”
If I rapped it the audience could hear my passion without understanding the words
Hussain wants to encourage people to talk about mental health openly without fear of reprove of society. He feels there’s not enough from Government or the NHS to support depression, anxiety and other mental health sufferers.
Hussain says we need to remove the stigma from mental health, to show other mental health sufferers there is support in their communities. Last year he stood on Oxford Circus blindfolded with a sign offering hugs to show that support. After 20mins too much demand forced Hussain to stop. Maybe he has a point.
Hussain, along with friends, has already raised over £20,000 for charities including climbing Kilimanjaro. But in order to make more of a difference, Hussain saw flying to space as a bigger platform from which to share his message. “To hold weight in an argument today, you need to do something remarkable otherwise you’re just someone else with an opinion.”
Space flight seems to bother Hussain as much as a walk to his local park, what’s important is the height of the platform (pun intended!) from where he can share his message. “I’m not a selfish person. If you’re on a platform, then it’s not about you anymore. You’ve got your recognition just by being there already, there’s millions of people that got voices that never get heard”
On 3rd March 2016, Hussain is off to the Macedonia to spend some time supporting refugees at a refugee camp. “We’re fortunate to be born where we are, they didn’t ask for that, there because of a few people in suits”
There’s not much that escapes Hussain’s warmth. A recent twitter post had a respondent ask if he was a feminist “If you’re passionate about something why do you need to be labelled as something”. Bravery to be yourself is a trait in others than inspires him. Hussain’s bravery stands out, sharing his own suffering to support others. “I want to make change and I’m not scared to do it”
Of all the work Hussain does, the time he enjoys most is spent visiting schools speaking to kids. A student came up to him recently and told Hussain how what he said inspired that kid to be a better student “That’s when it hit, it makes it real”. Wow, that’s when I released I’ve got an important job to do”
So what happened to Quantity Surveying? The day qualified he told his mum he was going to make videos and write poetry, she was baffled. His YouTube channel, Hussain’s House, with 10,000 subscribers isn’t getting much of a look in either. Hussain has been too busy campaigning, winning space competitions and talking at Tedx.
But there’s big plans for the future. More mental health campaigning particularly helping young people. Hussain wants to publish a “poetry book, been writing for years and really looking forward to that.”
More speaking gigs, as a recent Tedx audience will testify his spoken word and passion connects with audiences “it’s good because people take it in”
But on meeting Hussain you know his ambitions are not selfish, whatever gains come from his entertaining skills they will be shared. Hussain wants to “be a credible advocate speaking on behalf of the people. I like to see myself as a man of the people, a people’s person”
“One thing that you can’t cheat in life is the passion. Once you connect with someone you go to their heart rather than their head”
If leaders are men and women of principle, of the people, and caring for people then it looks like the competition might just have picked the right winner.