Keeping abreast of current affairs

2008-07-04 00:00

WHAT is your connection with The Witness and to Pietermaritzburg?

I was raised as a non-discriminatory South African. This is partly why I read The Witness every day: media without a gate-keeping filter is indispensable.

Where were you born, where did you grow up and what’s your educational background?

I was born in Pietermaritzburg and grew up in Scottsville. As a result of my

parents’ vision, I went to Longmarket Girls’ School as one of the first non-white pupils. I then went to Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High where I experienced the benefits of living in a cosmopolitan environment. It being a

single-sex school meant learning project management and the power of feminism.

After completing a cum laude undergraduate degree majoring in history and political science at the local university and an honours degree, as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar, at the University of Cape Town, I returned to the University of KwaZulu-Natal campus where I am completing an M.Phil which explores the dynamics of dialogue between citizens and state.

How do you spend your days?

Being a full-time masters student, aiming to complete my thesis by November has consumed nearly 100% of my time but as a result of having learnt at high school the value of leading a holistic lifestyle, I immerse myself in community projects as well as student journalism,

lecturing, mentoring, political analysis and other formal

academic writing.

Do you write letters to other newspapers? Why do you choose The Witness?

I write only to The Witness because I appreciate its strong community culture and it is a quality medium to have an

association with.

How do you receive your news about current South Africa and why do you follow it?

Being in an university environment affords me the opportunity of being at the cutting-edge of current affairs and, because of the experts who surround me, I find that I hear of political happenings before they even materialise.

Do you have other passions or interests?

Having been identified at primary school and groomed at high school in the art of speech, I progressed at university as a professional debating coach at St Charles College and a UCT Radio news anchor.

I am now a professional speech writer. I enjoy the liberal arts, theatre, scuba diving, sampling fine cuisine with my younger brother and I am also privileged to enjoy extensive travel.

What do you think is the value of letter writing? What inspires you to write letters?

Letter writing translates into a display of social conscience and in a society plagued by moral degeneration, it is imperative to be vigilant and take ownership of one’s world. And I think it is invaluable to voice

difference.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing South Africa today?

Marginalisation as an important player in the international arena, operating in a hierarchical, exploitative global system, ethnic and social parochialism and gender-based violations.

What is your age and marital status?

I am 22 years old, without the burden of children or a husband.

What do you believe has been your best letter?

Our deputy-president’s trip overseas where I claimed this to be a gender issue. This letter has not been understood and came under criticism which is a reflection of society’s inability to understand the extent of gender construction. I urge readers to read Professor Jenny Clarence-Fincham’s work on feminine discourse to comprehend how indoctrinated our thought-processes on gender as opposed to sex really are.

Do you get any feedback as a result of your letters?

People whom I meet for the first time often say it is good to put a name to a face and sometimes I am challenged in class by students who feel my opinion given does not reflect what I said in a letter.

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