An activist that pushes “against all odds” is looking to change the narrative of women’s health. 

A Wits PhD candidate who believes womens sexual and reproductive health is a human right, is fighting for women who “have to fight” harder than anyone else through her NPO, Women’s Health Ekklēsia. 

Lucy Khofi (28) did her master’s in medical anthropology with her research focusing on ‘menstrual hygiene and management’. While conducting her research, Khofi was faced with the shocking realities of how women in informal settlements could not access basic sanitary products. In Zam’impilo in Johannesburg, Khofi found it “heart breaking” that women had to find alternatives to basic products that she believes should be available to everyone.  

Lucy Khofi in a photoshoot for Lil-Lets “Be You. Period” campaign. Photo: Basetsana Maluleka

When coming face-to-face with these realities, Khofi realised the need for people to be educated about women’s reproductive health which inspired her to start Women’s Health Ekklēsia. Through the NPO she donates sanitary products to those in need and raises awareness. “It is important to have healthy conversations” so that everyone including the “boy-child” gets educated about women’s reproductive health, she said.  

It was Khofi’s advocacy for women’s sexual and reproductive health that inspired legal attorney, Nozipho Ncuka, to partner with her. “When I started, I did not think about advocating for human rights… my perspective changed and now I do a lot of community work because of her,” Ncuka said.   

Khofi is currently working on her PhD at the Wits school of public health. She is part of a fellowship of the South Africa-Netherlands Cooperation research programme. The research focus is “water-energy-food (Wef) nexus”, which looks into how water, energy, and food can be used sustainably in rural areas.  

In addition, Khofi also has another NPO called Imfundo Enhle Education Trust that was formerly a mentorship programme for students during the pandemic. It was an effort to help “underprepared” students in their studies as it was something she lacked in her undergraduate degree.   

Linda Ndlela, who often works closely with Khofi and her organisation in distributing sanitary products, told Wits Vuvuzela that “Lucy will not wait for funding, but she uses what she has and makes sure it works… Working with Lucy inspires you to push against all odds.” 

Khofi strongly believes in making sure everyone, everywhere has free access to the most basic services and hopes that through her work she will move the needle closer to that reality.  

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits PhD candidate, Lucy Khofi, standing outside Wits Great Hall. Photo: Supplied by Lucy Khofi