Fellows are selected from the pool of young activists who are working in South Africa and who have leadership experience at NGOs, as well as from recent graduates who have demonstrated a strong interest in social justice work. Candidates need to be committed to using their skills and knowledge in the service of social justice at a local and global level.
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Jonathan is from Durban and relocated to Cape Town in March 2011, where he took up the position of Logistics Officer at the Social Justice Coalition. He has always been interested in civil society and activism, but began to gain a deeper understanding of social justice after working on a daily basis in Khayelitsha. The Fellowship programme will expand on these experiences and has so far begun giving him a broader understanding of justice and how to approach it. He is particularly interested in local government and service delivery, LGBTI rights, environmental justice and Israel-Palestine. He has read for a Masters in Development Media and Communication with a focus on the role of film and video in development education programmes. He really enjoys politics, philosophy, reading and writing and travelling to remote areas in South Africa.
Mary is a Coptic Egyptian who grew up in Namibia. She moved to South Africa to study at UCT and completed her degree in Politics and Economics. She started learning of the role that civil society can play in a democracy and then the Arab Spring showed her the role it can play in a non-democracy. Therefore after studies she really hoped to become part of an NGO which promoted different aspects of social welfare that the government was lacking in. She hopes to develop skills she did not pick up at university, such as the practical aspect of the material she had been studying, to gain some insight into how an NGO works, to gain a deeper perspective into South African history and the political culture, and to understand law a little better. Even though she is still formulating opinions on political and social matters, she also aims to work on her self-confidence in order to be able to voice her thoughts and to become more assertive when it is necessary. She hopes that through this experience she may learn how to help others find their voice too. She hopes to feel that she is adding something of benefit to the place she is living in and start to feel part of the social community in Cape Town even though she is not a South African.
Zukiswa lives in Delft with her mother and younger sister. She completed matric in 2008 at a school in Khayelitsha. While at school she volunteered at Equal Education, an organization that strives to improve the quality and inequalities within the education system through analysis and activism work. In 2011 she was the head of the grade 9 youth group in Khayelitsha, leading young people and teaching them about their rights and to exercise them as the leaders and learners of South Africa. She writes, “One of my long-term goals is to be able to give back to the fellowship which would help to facilitate different topics; I want to be able to hold different seminars and cover international topics so that I can share my knowledge with the new coming fellows as a way of giving back to the organization. At the end of this year, I want to be able to say I have gained enough knowledge and I am ready to pursue my career in law and political history.”
Andiswa was born in Johannesburg but grew up in the Harare township in Khayelitsha. She lives with her mother and child, who is three years old. She is a hard worker who loves working with other people and also going to unprivileged communities and doing workshops and education on challenges of the community. She joined the Fellowship is to improve her leadership, communication, writing, public speaking, presentation and research skills. She also wants to gain knowledge of politics, history, law and current affairs, and go to her community and organisation and share what she has gained throughout the Fellowship. She wants to have more experience talking to people who have more experience in law, politics and history of South Africa, and to know how they use their leadership skills in their society or in South Africa as a whole. She wants to understand the politics of today and the politics of the 20th century, and be able to identify the difference. In her own words, “I want to be politically active, to raise my voice in a way that government will hear what I have to say about the things that affect our community and country as a whole. I want to get youth involved in politics so that they can raise their voices in a way that government cannot ignore what they have to say.”
Nkosikhona was born in Khayelitsha to a single parent in a family of 9, although his mother died while he was in primary school. He is a purpose-driven person and knows that success demands hard work, dedication and passion. In high school he was chosen to be the captain of the debating team, a Peer Educator, and Football Captain. Recently he was a Secretary of SJC (Social Justice Coalition) at branch level. The Ndifuna Ukwazi Fellowship Programme was exactly what he wanted to do as he is also an active citizen who’s trying to make a change. His goals this year are to basically inject and suck all the information that this Programme offers and also to equip himself with as much information as he can get so that he may be a resourceful person in his community and equip as many people as he can get in order to have an active society at large.
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Sifiso lives in the Green Point township in Khayelitsha with two brothers and two sisters. Before joining the programme he volunteered at the Social Justice Coalition, an organisation that fights for human rights. He believes that being part of the fellowship program will be the opportunity of a lifetime; as a volunteer at the SJC he hopes that the programme will help him to be a good leader one day. His goals are to learn about South Africa’s history and politics, law and current affairs; this will boost his ability to think critically and make good decisions, but mostly make him a better citizen of South Africa. At end of the year he hopes to go back to school at a tertiary institution.