“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Growing up in Eswatini, I was familiar with helplessness. The pleas of my mother as she endured my father's abuse were a haunting soundtrack to a childhood. In a country where life expectancy was 42 when I was 11, the sense of dread was crushing. Yet, I found refuge in an unlikely place: video games. My sanctuary was a realm where I could defy circumstance, write my own narrative, and one day give voice to stories that my countrymen could not.

Gaming planted a seed of idealism within me—a belief that even in the face of adversity, I controlled my destiny. My love for gaming was more than a pastime; it was a trusted teacher, imparting lessons of creativity, exploration, and resilience. In the worlds of God of War, Far Cry, and Uncharted, I internalized a simple truth: the power to affect change comes from imagination and the courage to act upon it.

Now, I’m driven by a singular purpose: to let the world play. Armed with gaming’s lessons, I hope to inspire others to dream, to explore, and to press the right buttons—believing, as I do, that even a child from an ‘irrelevant’ nation can change the world.

— Wabantu Hlophe