I am passionate about
Youth Empowerment has been my biggest passion and main focal point this year, particularly the empowerment of black African youth and more specifically womxn.
Africa has the youngest population in the world with 200 million youth between 15-24, yet less than 50% of the youth are living in economically sustainable living conditions. One of Africa’s greatest challenges is youth empowerment. Our young population places us in both a vulnerable and an empowered position. Africa is vulnerable because if the youth remain disempowered about the future of the continent, then youth apathy will triumph potential innovation and ineffective leadership will continue to be perpetuated. Africa is empowered because a young population if empowered, can tackle Africa’s challenges head first and make tangible changes in our society while leading in an inclusive manner to better society.
World leaders are getting younger. Through my work I am able to reach masses of young people to encourage them not to wait. We cannot still be saying ‘I’ll wait until I’m older’ before we make tangible change in our communities. Our communities need us now.
My specific focus on black womxn in Africa is due to our positionality. As said by Viola Davis, ‘The only thing that separates womxn of colour from anyone else is opportunity’. Black womxn are at the bottom of society, and we are constantly fighting to free ourselves from a global system that has been constructed for us to fail. As a black womxn who has faced many hardships, and also experienced many privileges, I want to empower other black womxn to change the narrative that is placed on us and to maximise our impact and remain resilient. For black womxn to be empowered, we need opportunities and I actively mentor, and share networks and opportunities with black womxn.
As an intersectional African youth activist, I understand now more than ever why youth must be empowered. It is because we must lead now. We cannot wait for tomorrow.
I have managed to make an impact in my community in various ways. From structured leadership positions like Student Parliament Speaker, or Head of the Womxn Empowerment Portfolio for the Stellenbosch University Student Representative Council, to activist roles in #EndRapeCulture and #FeesMustFall, and to leading community organisations like Africa Matters. I will continue to change the community positively, and two lines of work that I am constantly involved in are Youth Empowerment in Africa and Ending Rape Culture.
I have positively changed my community by founding a youth-led organisation, Africa Matters (AMI). AMI empowers young Africans to reject the notion that Africa is poor and corrupt, and to change the narrative by becoming activity citizens, embracing African identity and leading Africa. Since its formation in 2015, AMI has reached out to over 9000 including those in the diaspora. We host workshops on African identity, and African feminism. We have hosted summits and youth empowerment sessions on African leadership and the necessity for African youth to keep on rising. The organisation has had a significant impact by breaking down mental barriers to Africa’s rising narrative, and by empowering young people to speak their voice. Our online media platform provides aspiring writers with an opportunity to share their thought pieces with the rest of the continent. There is power in story-telling.
Being part of the #EndRapeCulture movement also enabled me to contribute to my community positively. By protesting, presenting memorandums and hosting workshops on rape culture I was able to be part of a group of womxn who educated our community about rape culture. We taught many people about the dangers of degradation, and the fear that womxn in South Africa constantly experience. We challenged university structures that are more likely to expel students for plagiarism, than for rape. We made it known across SA that we would no longer remain silent.