Women of color to watch

Women’s month is still underway, and this week we’re highlighting four extraordinary women who are changing the game in their fields! We’ve chosen four categories; environmental activism, social justice and empowerment, sexual and reproductive health and lastly sustainable and low impact living. These women are incredible forces who are actively making a difference with what they do and how they live!

Environmental activism:

Gugu Nonjinge

Gugu is an entrepreneur and the co-founder of Asana Beauty a high-end natural hair salon, and Le Brunch SA  which hosts a series of events for women that encourages empowerment and professional advancement. Gugu is also an advocate for intersectional environmentalism and climate justice, focusing on the relationship between gender and environmental issues. She has been recognised by the British High Commission in South Africa as a woman leading climate change activism. She’s also been recognised as a MaSisulu Woman of Fortitude by the Department of Energy for her work on gender injustice.

 

Social justice and empowerment:

Traci Kwaai

Traci is a Cape Town-based artist, activist, storyteller and founder of Aweh Kaapstad where she hosts walking tours or “anti-tours” in Kalk Bay. Kalk Bay is a renowned fishing community with immense history, culture and tradition. It served as a port for years and was home to a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. Throughout its history the fishing community has consisted of people of colour who have suffered through continued systemic oppression. Most of them haven’t had the opportunity to have their stories told, and if they did it was by white people. Kalk Bay illustrates the politics of land and sea in South Africa and the consistent whitewashing thereof. With her tours and movement, Traci is promoting social justice for the generations past and present of Kalk Bay. She’s giving people the dignity and representation they’ve been denied for generations.

Watch our Instagram live with Traci here.

 

Sexual and reproductive health:

Makgosi Letimile

Photo by Ashraf Hendriks via GroundUp

 

Makgosi is a sex columnist and reviewer who runs the Instagram page Wheels ‘n Toys where she reviews sex toys. She contracted TB meningitis in 2016 which impacted her reproductive organs and spine. This resulted in her needing to use a wheelchair and not being able to control her bladder. Makgosi discovered that orgasms can assist her healing journey and helped heal the incontinence by strengthening her pelvic floor muscles. Through her work, Makgosi is removing the stigma around sex toys, pleasure for women and people with disabilities.

 

Sustainability and low impact living:

Elle Cooper

Elle is a website designer, branding guru and the founder of Conscious Lifestyle Collective a South African eco-marketplace which focuses on beauty, fashion, home and lifestyle. Conscious Lifestyle Collective is more than just an online marketplace but also serves as an invaluable resource for those who are trying to learn more about living consciously, sustainably and going zero-waste. Elle has cultivated a space that’s centred around community, inclusion and education.