At the age of 23 Western Cape, Kayamandi, born Lungelwa Mambesi Goje is making strides as a young political leader, poet, activist and accountant. She chats to us about her achievements and her passion for South Africa.
By Ayanda Sitole
In 2016 she was invited to take part in the Top 30 South African Institute of Chartered Accountants Student Leadership Summit. In 2017 she chosen as a South African delegate at the G(irls)20 Summit which was held in Germany. And she recently returned from Lithuania where she was one of 21 exceptional women from around the world who were invited to attend the Women Political Leader’s Summit.
Currently she is doing her 3rd Year in BCom Accounting studies at the University of the Western Cape and is the founder of a non-governmental programme called Sakha Iimbokodo, which is teaching 35 Grade 9 high school learners at Kayamandi High School (where she attended as a student) English and Mathematics.
I want to empower young women with financial literacy. I’m passionate about girl and women empowerment. Travelling abroad and representing women in SA is something that I am passionate about, and in the future. I want to support the girls that I’m teaching right up until they complete university and become leaders in all sectors of society. I want to see them taking on careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or even seated in parliament. Next semester, I will be teaching them basic financial literacy, for example we will look at the financial implications of having a baby.
When I was in Grade 12 I was a leader in the Representative Council of Learners at my school. I lead a protest against the fact that we didn’t have a fence and electricity because of theft. Someone in our community had been electrocuted by exposed cables and we wanted to protect our learners. We presented our concerns to the mayor, we had a sit in at the Department of Education and nothing happened. I wrote a letter to television news channel eTV and a journalist came to interview us about what was happening at our school, suddenly a gate was placed and electricity restored and to this day our school is safe. That’s when I realised that I had power in my voice and the power to change circumstances.
At the 2017 G(irls)20 Summit held in Germany, I was there to represent South African women. The summit is about women empowerment and increasing female labor participation by the year 2025. As young women at the summit, we put forward that the G20 should create 100 million new jobs for women. One of my achievements at the summit is that the President of South Africa and the Minister of Finance will look at the communique I had put out to raise these issues. It’s important to have this kind of summit because women have voices in SA but we never gather as leaders.
I recently came back from the Women Political Leaders Global Forum in Lithuania which was about getting young women to become active in politics. We were introduced to female political leaders from around the world. It’s a networking event, we learn history about women leaders and would have parliamentary sessions to debate and discuss politics with a special focus on women and how certain things affect women. I think in SA we have a high representation of women in Parliament, I was shocked to see first world countries having fewer women than us in parliament.
My journey as an activist began in high school, I did not label myself as an activist, I was just fighting to be heard. I started writing poetry and performing to express myself and the things that I think are wrong in our society. When I started out as a poet some people thought I was an angry feminist or that I only focus on the bad that happens in our society, but other people connect with what I say and support the issues that I talk about.