Pontsho Pilane is a Media Honours student who writes for The Daily Vox. An unapologetic feminist, Pilane describes herself as a “force to be reckoned with”.
You’re a student, and also juggling your journalist career at The Daily Vox. How has that experience been for you?
Working at The Daily Vox has been one of the most fulfilling endeavours of my life. I’ve met so many people and my mind has been stretched. I am constantly put in a position where I have to acknowledge how privileged I am all the time.
Your thoughts on female empowerment or feminism?
In a society where women, especially black women, have been marginalised how can I not be a feminist? Feminism is not just about equality, but justice and reformation. A woman should not be afraid to wear whatever she wants out of fear for being harassed. A boy should not be afraid to take up cooking because of his gender. And that’s why I am a feminist.
Your interests stems from gender, class and social identity. Why?
To be a woman and black is to be forced into activism. The fact that one cannot walk in Braam or to Bree without constantly being cat-called or groped is a problem. How many girls and women use public transport daily? Too many, and to think that this is my and their reality keeps me talking about these issues.
Who is the one person you consider yourself to look up to?
I look up to my mother, she was the first feminist I knew. As far as I can remember, in our house there was no such thing as girl chores or boy chores. Everyone cleaned and helped with the garden work. She broke a lot of gender norms.
Tell us more about #sexistSA.
It’s a campaign we started at The Daily Vox. I was in Marikana covering the community’s reaction at the end of the gruelling five-month long strike when a man flashed me. On my way to the police station to report him, I got cat-called by a policemen. This is everyday life for many women. We felt the need to raise awareness about this issue because street harassment is so normalised in our society.