Sabelo Mnukwa & Paul Mason
Paul Mason (29) and Sabelo Mnukwa (24) prefer not to use fancy titles such as director and CEO to describe themselves. Instead they want to be known as campaigners.
This is because their initiative amandla.mobi is a non-hierarchical civic enterprise that aims to give all South Africans a say on issues they feel strongly about.
Amandla.mobi is a democracy building tool that runs social justice campaigns in multiple languages on mobile phones.
“This means no matter where you live, what language you speak, or what issue you care about, you can take action with hundreds of others and together reach the ears of decision makers in numbers that drive accountability,” explains Mason.
Mason, Mnukwa and their co-founder Koketso Moeti embarked on the initiative because they felt that most activism tools were accessible to middle/upper-class, educated, English-speaking activists and citizens, instead of those most affected by poverty, corruption and violence.
“So we set up a mobile campaign platform so that those most affected by injustice, poor and working class black women, could build their collective power,” says Mnukwa.
Their first campaign focused on youth unemployment and launched on June 16.
It mobilised 250 people and they are now planning to meet with representatives of the Ekurhuleni Municipality to hold them to account in implementing the national youth policy, which includes funding “youth desks” where young people can access information about jobs, bursaries and learnerships.
They’ve also launched an ongoing campaign calling for Johannesburg Metro Police to volunteer at soup kitchens instead of confiscating blankets from the homeless.
Amandla.mobi is currently run on a shoestring budget, but Mnukwa and Mason are determined to build a people-funded movement in which all South African voices can be heard every day and not just during election periods. — Fatima Asmal