Slice of life: I was inspired to be an activist

Tshezi Soxujwa. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

Tshezi Soxujwa. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

I wanted to be an activist since I was 11. That’s when I started attending community meetings. The first community meeting was about this water crisis here in Grahamstown.
They said they were going to fix this water crisis but you can count the days from then until today and nothing was done.

My father is an activist. He’s got a car and when people had no water, he would tell me: “Go collect the containers of the neighbours, because we are going for water.” I would knock on every house and say: “We need your containers because we are going to fetch water.” My father would put the containers in his car and he would drive to the spring on the other side of town. He brought the water back for the people. He did it voluntarily.

He’s been doing that since there was no water. It’s a long time now that the water just goes off. Sometimes we don’t even have water for two days. Even today, the water is off. I don’t know if it’s back on.

It was very educative for me to watch him doing that for the community. It inspired me to become an activist. I realised that we live under a bad situation and, when I realised that, I also came to know that the people in power don’t have the ideas to run this town and the people with the ideas to run this town don’t have power.

I started to collect my friends to discuss the political issues that affect us here in Grahamstown and the economic issues and the water crisis. We came up with solutions just to be united as the youth of my home area in Joza township and to fight against the system.

Here in Joza we are treated as children of a lesser god. I won’t leave because if I leave who is going to take care of the youth? The people who do corruption will take chances in my absence. — Tshezi Soxujwa (21), a young activist living in Joza, Makhanda (Grahamstown), as told to Ra’eesa Pather

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra’eesa Pather is a general news journalist with the Mail & Guardian’s online team. She cut her teeth at The Daily Vox in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg and joining the M&G. She's written about memory, race and gender in columns and features, and has dabbled in photography. Read more from Ra'eesa Pather

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