Mo Senne, 2019 Activator, Gauteng.

Head of Communications: Not In My Name SA

On being a woman… I think everyone has their own idea of what being a woman means. For some, it appears to advocate for the same systems that have put us where we are right now, and here I’m talking about patriarchal systems where a woman is subjected to being othered. To me, being a woman just means being a person and I don’t think there should be any kind of defining factor except what has been biologically given to us.

Being an activist means… being the voice of the voiceless and being able to uplift or save or empower or protect people from any form of social injustice, especially where they feel that they were violated or that their rights were infringed upon. It’s imperative for me to note that I’m not just advocating for women and children. I like to think of myself as a human rights activist, because I generally feel that in trying to help women, we have also overcompensated and neglected the boy child. You’ll find this in situations where there’s been a murder or rape or anything that is out of the ordinary and the man would say that it’s because these women have too many rights or men are not recognised – that there is this form of anger within them. I’m not saying that it justifies any of their behavior but, in essence, it’s sort of like a reaction from their side.

I am driving change by…advocating for victim’s rights, empowering people and making sure that people have the platform and support needed to report and carry on with their case. There are psycho-educational programs involved that are meant to alter dysfunctional behavior, to enlighten perpetrators and potential future perpetrators with the intention of changing mindsets and altering negative behavior.

I believe networks are crucial to advocacy…because if you want to go fast, then go alone, but if you want to go far then go together. Violence is a social ill, it is a social problem and I don’t think that one organisation can drive change everywhere.

Collective action looks like…disruption. In a sense, it becomes a catalyst for change in human behavior, driven by consensus. If you can get people to believe that something is for the common good, they’re likely to act in support of that.

People can help by…being active agents in the change they want to see. People have a lot to say on social media platforms. When a story goes live, everyone wants to be relevant but when push comes to shove, only a few people will stand by what they were saying. We can help by being an active agent in whatever form: donate to whichever charity of your choice, volunteer, just do something.

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