Mawethu Nkosana

Founder, The Black Love Association

A queer black thinker whose work as an artist and social commentator has been featured on various platforms, Mawethu Nkosana is adamant about carving out a space for queerness in the mainstream. As a performance artist he continues to contribute to the national art landscape — Mawethu teaches spoken word and literature to marginalised communities and has done immense work with TBWA’s Room 13 project.

He is the founder of The Black Love Association, a social dialogue and events platform aimed at “popularising intersectional politics and implementing the ‘safe space’ ideal through photography, poetry, music, screenings and dialogues,” he explains. He has previously worked as a copywriter and BlackBerry ambassador.

Nkosana is an Auwal Socio-Economic Research Institute (ASRI) Future Leader 2016 fellow, part of The SA Human Rights Defender Network, A COP17 2011 Youth delegate, and former member of WASO. He is now the research and communications officer at the Human Rights Institute of South Africa.

He was recently invited to the NGO Forum and 60th session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in Niger where among other activities he presented the state of South African human rights. He has a passion for the advancement of women’s and girls’ rights and works with various organisations to campaign and make policy changes to ensure gender-based violence and the feminisation of poverty is combated and that the Maputo Protocol on women’s rights is fully adopted by all states that ratified it.

In the continued effort to create a better South Africa through dialogue with the various constituencies in society, Nkosana is also part of the working group on the establishment of a South African youth nongovernmental organisation coalition with multiple civil society members. He holds a BA in psychology and political science from the University of the Witwatersrand. His dedication to human rights has made him a key commentator on these issues.

— Sifiso Buthelezi

Twitter: @Mawethu_