Janet Jobson

Portfolio Manager, Leadership for a Winning Nation

Janet Jobson has always felt strongly about trying to create a just society. As a teenager, her mother – an activist – got her involved in the Khulumani Support Group, a membership-based social movement made up of survivors of apartheid-era gross human rights violations, and their family members.

Once, while accompanying them on a march, she saw the police threatening a group of elderly people who had lost everything during the struggle for freedom. It was at that moment that she realised that democracy didn’t necessarily equate to freedom.

Since then she has dived head first into the world of activism. Jobson (29) manages the strategy for the Activate! Change Drivers network, which is made up of more than a thousand young activists from across the country.

“We identify amazing young people in their 20s, who have a track-record of taking action for the public good. These are young people who range from a young black woman in Jan Kempdorp in the Northern Cape through to an ex-gangster in the North West, to a University of Cape Town genetics student. We bring them together for a series of personal development, leadership, innovation, and sociopolitical navigation modules and then support them to act individually and collectively through a range of face-to-face and online tools,” she explains.

Jobson’s role has been to commission the establishment of the programme, manage its funding, oversee and advise on the content, and strategy of the programme, and facilitate components of the programme.

Her vision is for her generation to redefine what is possible and to treat not just the symptoms of an unjust society but to build a new society built on “compassion, empathy and love”.

She’s hoping that this vision will be realised through the work she’s doing at Activate!  “We’re trying to build a critical mass – at least 5 000 Activators in the next five years – who can individually and collectively make this vision a reality. I hope that by walking the journey alongside these extraordinary change drivers, I will have made at least a small contribution to this new way of being.” — Fatima Asmal