When Rebone Masemola noticed a sharp increase in incidents of gender, gender-based violence and senseless killings of minorities she chose the road less travelled – and became a formidable activist in South Africa where homophobia, bigotry and misogyny are rampant.

Today Masemola is a beacon of hope for many as she has created judgement-free platforms that grant a voice and support to the vilified and ostracised of society. Armed with a Masters’ degree in Anthropology from Wits University, she has created an online platform called Woke Project that showcases the stories and lived experiences of women and LGBTQI communities in South Africa.

“It’s still a challenge to broadly create spaces in society where young women can fully and completely be themselves without worrying about their safety,” says Masemola.

The thought leader also plans, markets, facilitates and hosts an offline initiative, #WokeSaturdays, that brings together and showcases the work of young emerging thinkers, Activists and Creatives who address a diversity of social issues using their diverse platforms.

An active social commentator, Masemole hosts leadership discussions and appears frequently on multiple national and community media platforms to ensure these issues find prominent expression in mainstream discourse.

Infographic by TYI

Masemola recently joined BET Africa as a Digital Media Manager to oversee the channel’s digital media presence and digital media production efforts. Her previous position as Cultural and Brand Strategist with Kantar Consulting saw Masemola working on various iconic projects, including digital and mapping the latest trends and tools for business. 

“Even though we live in a constitutional democracy that is meant to protect all citizens despite their race, gender, sexuality and identity, South Africa is still institutionally conservative and patriarchal,” Masemola says. “I want young women in the world to fight for what they believe and stand their ground in a world that seeks to police their bodies, movements and voices. I want them to know they are not alone in their experience and encourage them to always find ways to create safe spaces for themselves and other women around them.”