An agent for progressive change, and an advocate for transformation and social justice who aspires to inspire is how 26-year-old Nokuthula Sithole describes herself. Seen as an inspiration to many young women in her community, she is a researcher in the Office of the Chief Whip in Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, one of the two most rural metropolitan municipalities in South Africa.
A youth and student activist during her years studying economics, Sithole recognises the role education plays in youth development, and is involved in various programmes encouraging and facilitating the upskilling of young people. She actively participates in several networks that advocate for transformation and social justice, and is the provincial convener of the Anti-Racism Network in South Africa in the Free State, an organisation formed as a collaboration between the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.
She is also on the task team of the Anti- Racism Network in Higher Education, which focuses on the challenges of racism, providing a space for critical dialogue between academics, higher education administrators, students and staff in higher education institutions in South Africa.
Sithole finds her greatest challenge is working with people across the social inequality divides in our society. “As an employed graduate researcher engaging with people who are unemployed, I find it takes a while for people to let their guard down and allow me into what we term a ‘safe space’ for critical dialogue, where I get to listen and learn what they need in terms of service delivery,” she says.
“Being a thought leader with a greater vision for our developmental state pushes me to do my best in every task I’m given, because I believe that the youth are the future and no one can stop us.”
— Linda Doke
LinkedIn: https://www. linkedin.com/in/nokuthulasithole- 35a671a1/