Dr Julie Reid is the president of the South African Communications Association (Sacomm), a respected researcher in the academic field of media studies and communications and a vocal activist.
She heads up the Media Policy and Democracy Project, has edited a book on visual studies and is an active member of the Right2Know Campaign.
At 34 she has been an academic since 21 and a committed activist since she was 30.
“I’m usually inspired by senior colleagues and comrades who have dedicated a great deal of their lives to the struggle for social justice – either through their research, writing or activism – and who have made a positive contribution to making the world a slightly better place,” says Reid.
“My boss at Unisa taught me my mantra: We Can Change The World.”
Reid believes that while she has made bad and irresponsible life choices, life is far more interesting that way and her family, friends, coffee and Tori Amos are what keep her going. She is also passionate about supporting women.
“A male colleague once asked me, ‘In the interest of the equality of the sexes, if we celebrate Women’s Day, why don’t we observe a Men’s Day?’, and I answered, ‘Sure, we can do that once men have been objectified, maltreated, oppressed, abused and dominated by women for a few millennia’.”
She is committed to never giving up on her research or activism and is planning on continuing with participatory action research that aims to address the real world problems faced by the most vulnerable in society by involving people on the ground in the research and decisions that affect their lives.
“I don’t plan on becoming an ivory tower academic,” she says. “The struggle continues.” — Tamsin Oxford