I am a black South African woman. I was born and currently live on the Cape Flats, which is in the Western Cape. Cape Flats is made up predominantly of black South Africans, a throwback to Apartheid planning. I am passionate about justice, equity and transformation of society that will allow every South African to live in dignity. I have always been active in Social Movements and I am currently an active member of the Water Crisis Coalition. I am learning to claim my space as an Angry Black Woman.
Kenneth M Alexander
I was born in a single motor garage in Athlone, Cape Town. I always joke that I did not have nappy changes, but oil changes instead. I think I came out okay, with my “gutter education”. I just could not dump the garage mentality though. Maybe all my plugs were not tightened properly. After all, what can come out of a garage on the sandy Cape Flats, but a crock little red tjorrie? A retired Architect, now Artist and Author of four books perhaps? My life is a painting of a South African Coloured on a stretched canvass. A speckled person of mixed background, many backgrounds to be exact. An Artist palette of “mixed masala” without limitations.
+27 (0) 836437887
I am a dedicated wife and mother and one part entrepreneur, one part community activist, fighting for our ownership of our Land, fighting for development and sometimes forgetting I am a woman who needs to claim and stand for her own identity in Life. I am passionate about adding value to the lives of women, youth and community development projects, adding a positive role to our community’s economic upliftment. I am an experienced, resourceful and effective project coordinator of a Mushroom production cooperative, with proven proficiency in all aspects of project coordinating. Coordinating and negotiating techniques which regularly exceed all expectations by building on-going quality relationships. I am the owner of a beautiful Gift Shop. Hopefully, one day, the owner of planting seeds of restoration, seeds of self-love and most of all the Seed of Life.
Gertrude Gaynor Bosman
I am a 35-year old woman born in Worcester, Western Cape. I encourage fighting for what you desire and believe in. I have a National Diploma in Clothing and Textile Technology and graduated in 2007 from CPUT Bellville campus and worked in the textile industry. I have also received my Bachelors in Social Work from The University of the Western Cape in 2016. I am a licensed social worker, registered with the council SACSSP I am also a trained HTS counsellor. Being a social worker is sometimes very challenging, but yet rewarding. I am the intervention co-ordinator of the GBV project at Trauma centre and also a HTS counsellor. I chose social work to become a voice to those vulnerable people who feel that they do not have a voice.
I am an actively engaging, full time, enthusiastic volunteer and social entrepreneur for youth, children and the aged who find themselves at risk, with a particular focus on women and the girl child. My best memories are from moments where I worked closely with communities, to better understand ourselves as individuals and our lived experiences, be it spiritually, socially or economically. A 50year old female, born and raised in gorgeous Cape Town, I am an eternal optimist about the journey for a better life for all.
Born and bred in Cape Town; I finished high school at Belhar Secondary and went on to ‘study’ at the University of the Western Cape, where more time was spent in the cafeterias than in lecture halls, just saying. It is at these two institutions that my desire for social justice and a better life for the masses in South Africa was ignited. An empath by nature – and nurture – helping and empowering the marginalised and voiceless, is tantamount to my existence and comes as naturally as breathing. I serve on the board of an NGO called Khusela Ikhaya, whose mandate it is to prevent fires in informal dwellings, and I am a fervent supporter of empowering women of colour and giving them a much-needed voice. I am a child of the earth, and so it is in nature surrounded by bird song, in quiet contemplation with God, that I am most fulfilled.
I think sometimes I should be called Earnest. I am a messy, complicated, contradictory mother of two young children who gets really busy but ponders a lot of stuff whilst moving from place to place. These days I really wish I was a tree (I know I am not the first one). I am grateful for so much, and try to cultivate it as a habit, I seek and create joy, and I am always grieving, though most days I am in denial. I am also coming to realise over again and again and again that knowing makes no difference, and knowledge is power and everything.
I am (Gogo Masechaba), integrative healing practitioner, initiated sangoma, Personal Growth Specialist, Facilitator, researcher and translator, closet poet and writer. I do community healing and create safe spaces for people to tell their stories. I hold a Bachelors degree in Public Administration, Politics and Human Resources from the University of the Western Cape. Growing up in Kwa Thema, Gauteng, activism has always been a part of my life, from student/youth politics to currently creating safe spaces for people to tell their stories in order to heal. I have worked for over 12 years with people from a variety of backgrounds across racial, linguistic and cultural lines in the region and abroad. My work has spanned sectors including political activism, community healing, youth & sex worker empowerment, youth development and public health. Using a heart centred approach, I draw on a variety of practices to create spaces for learning, dialogue and transformation.
When my parents divorced during my teenage years, I became involved with gangsters. In prison I became a leader of the 27s and committed many acts of violence. When I was released from prison people lived in fear and locked their doors when I was in the area. They knew me by my feared name ‘Tamatie’. I am now a member of a church and have a full-time job as a flooring specialist. I only preach peace now.
I grew up between Mitchells Plain and Hanover Park. I had parents who being denied education, always stressed the importance of education. After completing high school, I pursued a degree in film and media studies. I then completed a second undergraduate degree in theology and then finished an honours degree in sociology. My varied background has allowed me to work in a variety of fields including, social justice and reconciliation, higher education, facilitation and community engagement. Currently I am completing an MSc degree based in the Department of Medicine at the UCT. I work in trans-disciplinary contexts with a focus on contributing to creating a more just world.
Joshua Michael Henkeman
When I dropped out of university for the second time, my parents sat me down and asked me what I would like to be. I said that I wanted to be happy. I relate well to people of all ages and orientations and thus the social media company that I started with a friend, suits my personality and skills. I value the privilege of living my life outside of the rat race and conspicuous consumerism. I seek to live only at peace with everyone, and to keep the peace in a very violent society.
I was born into a black working-class family in Cape Town. I was part of the South African liberation struggle from an early age and was arrested twice under apartheid. I continued as a grassroots activist focussed on children, youth, education and gender. Recent work focus areas are feminist education for young urban women, and care for care workers dealing with HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence in Southern Africa. I am a facilitator, researcher, writer, photographer and lifelong learner. I am currently completing an MPhil in Human Rights Law. I am President of Convocation at the University of Cape Town.
I work in education management. I am a native of Cape Town and completed my high school education in Athlone (during the 80s) and graduated from the University of Cape Town. I have travelled to different parts of the globe working on different education projects before recently returning home, indefinitely, after nearly 18 years abroad. These days, apart from waking up angry every day at the injustices and inequalities so clearly visible in the Western Cape, I manage an educational operation and my current interests include LGBTI+ and the plight faced by black students of colour in the South African higher education landscape.
I first encountered anti-racism politics as a student in the late 80s and after a couple of decades in the corporate world; I am now working as a cultural activist in Cape Town. The personal became political when working through the challenges of being part of a mixed family and friendships that cut across class and race. I am always grateful to those who have welcomed me warmly into their spaces and allowed me to learn. ‘Sometimes the best way to give people a voice is just to pass the mic and sit down.’
I am a veteran radio announcer, my career in public, private, and retail radio having spanned more than three decades. I am currently a lecturer in language and communication at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Bellville. I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Linguistics at the University of the Western Cape, and also an Associate Fellow at the Centre for Multilingualism and Diversities Research (UWC). My research interests include multilingualism, sociolinguistics, linguistic citizenship, space, place, linguistic landscapes, and the semiotics of protest.
I am an MPhil in Justice and Transformation candidate at the University of Cape Town. My research work is that of action research that seeks to amplify the lived realities and quests of civil society for socio-economic, land, and agrarian rights, human dignity, reparations, and identity politics. Residing on the Cape Flats, I developed a growing interest in the understanding of my “Mixed Mense” identity and the eradication of diverse intergenerational socio-economic-agrarian inequalities. My contribution to South African society is my life commitment to Grassroots Activism for the attainment of a global intersectional transformative system of socio-economic-agrarian justice. Currently, I am active as an organiser and researcher of the Water Crisis Coalition. The Water crisis Coalition is a non-funded and non-party political coalition of over 70 organisations, and civil society from all walks of life. Key to the Water crisis Coalition is the rejection of Privatisation of Water in Cape Town and the rest of South Africa.
Dr Irvin Kinnes
I have been an activist for many years and was a founding member of Proudly Manenberg amongst other community activities. I have a strong interest in crime prevention strategies, mediation of community conflicts, and gang violence. I was a member of the Independent Committee of Inquiry into the Underlying Conditions for the Instability and Violence in the Minibus Taxi Industry. I was Chief Director for Policy and Research at the Civilian Secretariat for Police, and currently hold the position of Content Adviser for the Portfolio Committee on Police in Parliament.
I am a feminist, educationist and peace-builder who has discovered, in Rumi’s words and from life that “the wound is where the light enters”. I contribute to change in society by facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogues and implementing development initiatives that utilize a gender analysis and are human rights based. I mediate and facilitate for creative competence with people in organisations. My approach to work is that it needs to be “inspirited” and that means putting imagination, intuition and spiritual intelligence to work! I am grateful for all the joy that comes with motherhood and being a grandmother.
Robert La Vita
I am a post-graduate student currently completing a Master’s degree at the University of the Western Cape working there as a tutor in the Humanities, helping prepare the next generation of educators. I believe that injustice and inequality must be brought to light and spoken of in open discussion to allow the wounds of the present and of the past to heal. In my research I work with African film where I engage with works by authors like Ousmane Sembéne on an intimate level as he tries to bring to light an African artist still unsung. I am a recipient of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and am a fellow of Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape.
I am a French teacher and translator who also works with words in my passions: faith, gender and peace-building. I have lived half of my life in South Africa as a member of the Congolese diaspora. I published The Widening of the Womb and Other Stories in 2015 – a collection of short stories giving a contemporary voice to women in the old testament – a feminist voice!
I wear many hats in my life journey as a cancer survivor, activist and lifelong learner. I am a self-publishing writer who has co-authored a board game and co-written Grades 11 and 12 textbooks. I am a born-again Christian who believes in living a purpose-driven life. I am a doctoral candidate at a University located in South Africa. Currently, I am writing my autobiography.
Dr Sarah Malotane Henkeman
If I were to distil the reason why I was born at this time and in this place, then it is to make links between the facts of the daily lives of oppressed people; and the invisible mechanisms that produce those facts. And, in the process of learning about those connections, to help render it visible by co-producing knowledge with those who share a vision of a more humane society and world. I am completely dedicated to this task, and I marshal everything I am, and everything I own to this end. This includes accumulated knowledge of living under oppression; and more than two decades of conflict resolution and social justice practice in South Africa, in several countries on the African Continent, and in Norway. I have five tertiary qualifications in cognate disciplines: Psychology; Education; Criminology; International Conflict Analysis; and Conflict Resolution & Peace Studies. This trans-disciplinary orientation assists me to make micro-macro; past/present and cross-cutting analyses of social phenomena like violence.
*M D Manson
My maternal and paternal families were from District Six moved to Claremont and again forcibly removed and settled in Wynberg and the Cape Flats. The trauma of this dispossession and displacement plagued both families. My lifelong search for belonging and identity is set against this backdrop. I spent my career in training and development formally while pursuing a deep love for soul work through applied Jungian practices.
I have just turned 70 and since I started the Academy of Life Coaching, where we train people to be life coaches, ten years ago, I am actually living. You see our education taught us what to think and not how to think. So all the ignorant mistakes this bitter black bitch made before learning the techniques and methods of emotional intelligence, leadership and applying this knowledge, I suffered. So with all the harshness of colonialism, apartheid, dysfunctional family life, divorce, being a single mom, Christianity, community gave me a first-hand experience of second hand life including a second hand citizenship, clothes, love and the denial of our present day South Africans to comprehend and have compassion for our experiences.
Abdul Karriem Matthews
I am an ex Apla operative. My personal belief is that the struggle for land and dignity was betrayed by the negotiated settlement and today the African body continues to pay the price for their betrayal.SA officially is the most unequal society in the world. The vast majority of the black population remains unemployed while millions subsist on grants. We have no food security as many people go to bed hungry. My work in the development sector is aimed at addressing this reality. My poetry is my attempt at telling my story, a story of pain. Telling my story I hoped would be cathartic. Alas it has only made me even angrier. Hopefully I use this anger now to begin a process of healing. Thank you for affording me the opportunity to narrate my story.
I am the quintessential rural/township girl who has learned to navigate urban spaces due to necessity. I was born a feminist and remain strongly passionate and invested about issues relating to and affecting women. A woman of multiple hats, I am a social justice warrior, wellness practitioner, facilitator, communications specialist and lover of Ballroom & Latin dancing. I am a Bertha Fellow and am pursuing an MPhil in Inclusive Innovation through UCT Graduate School of Business.
I am a South African applied theatre facilitator, published poet and PhD candidate at the University of Cape Town. I am currently a drama lecturer at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal. I enjoy Jazz and watching various live performances and am enchanted by travelling to various countries and the Durban dance move called i-Vosho.
Dr Lucille Yvonne Meyer
Rumi asked the question: And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself? I like to believe that I am a 56 year old Global citizen on a journey into myself and thereby assisting to seed the new South Africa. I was born in the heart of District Six and wear many hats, which means, I am definitely more than one thing! An Activist, mother, wife, friend, sister, Yoga therapy teacher, Sannyasin and my favourite; an emerging researcher and writer. I am named Lucille by my parents and Yogakirtee by my spiritual teacher. I am currently the CEO of the Chrysalis Academy, one of the leading youth development academies in the Republic of South Africa. I am passionate about holistic development and disrupting patterns of oppression, trauma and inequality. I previously worked as CEO of CapeNature and Deputy Director- General in The Presidency of Former President T. M. Mbeki.
I was born in Woodstock in the Western Cape and was living with my grandfather and my step-grandmother, when we were forcibly removed to Bonteheuwel on the Cape Flats in April 1964. Money was extremely tight. Although I never attended any university, in my long career I have studied many topics and advanced to holding a variety of senior positions in a couple of major corporations. They say that I have the ability to harness the energy of teams of people and lead them to solve complex problems. I’m ‘officially retired’ from the corporate rat race and I’m currently an independent Business Improvement Consultant – Assisting Business Leaders to improve business outcomes.
I was born in Gleemore, Athlone on the Cape Flats in the early 1960s into a warm and loving extended family – An eastern blend which included an ancient, proud history of Islamic scholarship. I came from a designated “box”. Always, the other, whether as a first year UCT student in 1980 under permit, lucky enough to make it there from the Cape Flats. Having straddled, for over 30 years, from various angles, the world of extremes of the haves and have-nots, has given me 360° perspective. Based on my life’s experience of being constantly ‘othered’, I developed immense compassion which drives my passion for contributing to building social justice. I facilitate knowledge processes through research and capacity building programmes. I currently drive and coordinate activities of the Social Law Project (SLP), Law Faculty, University of the Western Cape, focusing on labour law and workplace and social justice.
I live in Cape Town. I am currently a completing a Master’s degree in Global Affairs at University of Notre Dame. Prior to that I was an Intern at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and a Junior Researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). While studying at the University of Cape Town I was the Editor In Chief of Varsity Newspaper (UCT)
I am a dancer, healer, priestess, activist & mother. Born in Durban during apartheid, a descendant of indentured labourers from a line of traditional Indian spiritualists, seers, diviners, musicians, artists & healers, who had to settle for mediocrity, I was born a rebel. These unorthodox and often unaccepted mix of talents are in my bones and laid the foundation for my resistance and non-conformist views to conventional colonised education. My passion for wanting to know more about anything & everything non prescriptive, enriches my soul daily as does living in the Helderberg basin, with its picturesque mountains & the ocean.
My words and productions have appeared on pages and stages all over South Africa, in Austria, Uganda, USA, UK, Holland, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Ethiopia, India and the Philippines. As a poet, playwright, performer and arts project manager, my contribution to the promotion African poetry and literature, via numerous writing groups, workshops and festivals spans over 20 years. Between 2007 and 2010 I was project manager, then guest curator/podcast presenter of the Africa Centre’s Badilisha Poetry X-Change, contributing to its evolution from a live international festival into BadilishaPoetry.com, the first ever Africa – focused poetry podcasting platform. I was a founder-member of Cape Town-based women writers’ collective WEAVE between 1998 and 2004, and co-editor of their trailblazing multi-genre anthology WEAVE’s Ink @ Boiling Point: A selection of 21st Century Black Women’s writing from the Southern Tip of Africa. In 2004, I initiated And The Word Was Woman Ensemble. In 2011, I mentored many young poets in arts activism way beyond the artistic or aesthetic value this art form provides. My poetry collections include Born in Africa But (1999) Womb to World: A Labour of Love (2001), Truth is both Spirit and Flesh (2008), Invisible Earthquake: a Woman’s Journal through Stillbirth (2009) and two published plays A Coloured Place (1998) and Sister Breyani (2010), CLOSE (2017).
I am a 30-something woman from middle-class Cape Flats. Due to a trick of genetics, I am the yellow-bone of my family. After schooling on a scholarship at a private girls’ school, I had to unlearn the desire to hide my coloured origins and allow people to assume I’m white. I am now more truly myself, and people can assume what they want to assume. I am a storyteller and a youth development trainer. I try and help young people to be comfortable being their true selves, make good decisions, and reach for the fulfilment of their potential. I am currently living in the Netherlands but I long to be back home in SA.
Born in 1967, Cape Town South Africa during Apartheid. Classification ‘coloured’ female, more specifically ‘Cape Malay’ to denote religious affiliation. But I am more than the circumstance of my birth; more than a racial classification, gender and religion. I am so much more. A woman, an African woman deeply committed to justice and peace. I draw on my faith to sustain and guide me as I journey multiple realities, actively seeking to rise above limitations and recover my humanity.
I grew up in a rural village of eNgqushwa (Peddie) in Eastern Cape. After school and over weekends means doing errands for other families where there were elders and no children. Living in rural communities shaped me to appreciate every human being, to treat every human being with respect and care. I worked among rural communities doing community development work. To date, my passion still lies there. I strongly believe that communities have inherent solutions for their challenges. What is expected of us as professionals is to appreciate their wisdom and work with them to shape their destiny. During apartheid Non-Governmental organizations leadership played a critical role to shape communities. I believe during our new democracy, the communities have tended to rely on government to do things on their behalf and community leadership has been diluted to play this critical role. How I wish that leaders from communities can take their power back to them and instead of relying to government. I am still working in this space on local government but the remoteness of community leadership in community development work saddens me.
Nehanda Nyakasikana is my spiritual name. I belong here, everywhere and nowhere. Being born a Zimbabwean Black woman, who later became a spirit medium, thrust me into struggles I knew nothing about. White settler rule set up conditions for these struggles. In a different time, I was co-opted into the colonial socio-economic system. That system crumbled after Black majority rule. With an education as the new spear, I thought I was armed to confront the world. In the mass exodus of the 21st Century, which I joined, old and new struggles merge and become entrenched – nationality, race, gender, religion and sexuality. In the context of emerging contestations I reflect on the education system: Is it relevant? Can it be transformed? But then, am I entitled to speak? Do I know anything? Where do I belong? I write about some of these issues. When they beheaded me in 1898, was it because I was a revolutionary leader who challenged the system? As I predicted, my bones keep rising. I will stand on the shoulders of those great warriors who came before me.
Dr. Lawrence Oliver
I was born in Cape Town, South Africa under the system of Apartheid or legalised racial segregation and participated in the community organising and civic campaigns that resulted in the early people’s victories that culminated in the founding of the UDF and ushered in the presidency of Nelson Mandela. My expertise is in Education (PhD) and Technology (20+ years of software engineering) and my passion is for Social Justice. I teach a range of courses in class such as Mass Movements contrasting the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-Apartheid Struggle. My research interests include rating technology proficiency and learner empowerment (Paulo Freire’s consciousness-raising). My technology writings address technology in regard to exponential learning since technology advances at an exponential rate according to Moore’s law. My social justice writings address racism and social justice from the perspective of scientific problem-solving using third world and indigenous concepts where western science and philosophy have not yet produced adequate answers. My mediation and reconciliation training and ability informs me how computing can serve community and how community can embrace technology to produce positive outcomes.
I am an activist who lives in Manenberg, Cape Town. I was a Trauma Support Worker at Democracy from below Western Cape a Project Manager/Field Supervisor at Manenberg People’s Centre and former Regional Organiser at Democracy From Below. My activism includes involvement in the Manenberg Safety Forum and Right2Know.
I grew up on the sandy wastes of the Cape Flats, Cape Town with thousands of displaced people; I experienced the evils of Apartheid first-hand. Living this harsh reality, I chose to become an educator. I also became a facilitator, facilitating others’ experiences through storytelling in workshops. Now capturing it in writing for myself, contributes to my own healing even more. Having seen the inequality of our school system as an educator in both former white and black schools has been heart wrenching. Co-authoring textbooks and Teachers manuals has enabled me to make a difference in a real way. Founding Young Authors’ Club (Y.A.C) provides me with an opportunity to promote Literacy. Sharing stories, ideas and together producing knowledge has been an interactive and an invaluable journey, individually and collectively.
I am married, a mother of 1 daughter and grandmother of 2 grandchildren. I am a community activist, spiritual worker and life skills facilitator working in Pollsmoor and other prisons for over 20 years, most of which has been as a volunteer. I graduated from the University of Cape Town and Eastern Illinois University, and continue to pursue learning mainly in the fields of Restorative Justice, Peace-building, Trauma and Transformation. Some of my work has been covered in documentaries produced by the BBC. BBC named them “Killers don’t cry” and “Killers come Home”. Our brothers in Pollsmoor were upset by the titles and said the documentaries cannot be screened locally under those names. They gave the names “Cage of Dreams” and “A Cage Unlocked” which was used in SA. The documentaries were screened in 66 countries. One day, long before the documentaries were screened, a gang leader in one of the classes reflected, “we are going around the world.” This was in response to the visits by delegations from Africa and further abroad.
I am an ordinary person residing in South Africa having been exposed to some forms of visible and invisible violence. I have much to learn about the resilience of people on my continent. I have a vested interest in trauma and torture recovery processes in our context. The opportunity to contribute and participate in this experiential learning via our writing process has been invaluable.
I am a peace ambassador. During 1978 I was a law student at the University of the Western Cape. I was washing my face at a tap after being teargassed on campus one day, and was arrested along with other students. We were detained without trial and I later became a leader of the 28s gang. Many years later, I decided to attend workshops held by Joanna Flanders Thomas, Michelene Dianne Benson from the Centre for Conflict Resolution. I changed my life completely and now work to build peace in our communities which include food gardening. I assisted Jonny Steinberg with his book ‘The Number,’ which is also a film.
My name is Patrice X. I live in South Africa and I’m currently studying at the University of Cape Town. I’d say I am a person of mainly two ideas: meaning and purpose. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always questioned the meaning of existence, and whether everything has a purpose. Over time, I came to find a nuance, and perhaps a meaningful distinction, between meaning and purpose. These two main ideas have been the main guidelines in my life thus far; shaping how I see myself and view the world. Explicitly though, purpose as I’ve committed to it is the pursuit of social justice, advancing social change and the betterment of humanity. Even if there is no meaning to anything, ultimately, if I can contribute towards making society a better place – regardless of the “grand scheme of things” – I would have lived a life worth living.
*These contributors have chosen pseudonyms.