Thokozile Budaza

Gender Activist

Thokozile Budaza uses her courage as a rape survivor to empower women and children in need. But she doesn't describe herself as a victim or a survivor. The 25-year-old youth, gender and HIV/Aids activist calls herself a victor. Budaza has dedicated her life to changing and improving the lives of women and children in South Africa. During her studies she signed up as a HIV/Aids peer educator and a member of the Men as Partners Network. She became involved in actively battling gender-based violence and HIV/Aids in 2003 while studying towards her BSc degree at theUniversity of the Western Cape. Currently, Budaza works for the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, serves on the board of Sonke Gender Justice and is a consultant to EngenderHealth on the implementation of the Men as Partners Network. She also works with groups such as the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, Civicus and Action Aid. Her courage and dedication to the cause have not gone unnoticed: Budaza received a White Ribbon Award from the Women Demand Dignity lobbying group in Cape Town. � Yolandi Groenewald

Lunch spot: Ocean Basket, Vincent, East London