My name is Tshepo Jamillah
Moyo, I am a twenty-one year old Motswana writer turned gender activist.
More often than not, this question means ‘what do you do?’ I am a creative
studying to get an undergraduate degree double majoring in Political Science
and Public Administration at the University of Botswana. I have a talent
for words and also dabble in both fiction and non-fiction writing. After
having written for a newspaper since the age of fifteen, supporting the growing
art industry and performing in numerous productions, I have found my home as a
gender activist. I now run a feminist orientated NGO by the name of Higher
Heights for Girls aimed at achieving inclusive gender equality in
Botswana. I have a keen interest in socio-economic development issues and
young people, with a strong focus on Gender Based Violence and Sexual
Reproductive health. When I am not working I take long naps, drink a
lot of coffee, ride a 450cc quad bike and raise a husky by the name of
Assertiveness; because I am
young and a woman people do not expect me to be confident about what I want and
how I want it done. This allows me to push my agenda without being seen
as aggressive or dictatorial. As a woman, pushing your agenda is usually
associated with being aggressive and/or pushy.
Imagination; having
been an only child for eleven years, my imagination is my best friend.
This is great for me as a writer and has also allowed me to think of new ways
to solve old problems.
Learning; it is
impossible for me to say that the fifteen year old and twenty-one year old
versions of myself are the same. This is because I have learned and unlearned a
lot of things, and it is important to me to continue to learn and unlearn
because change is essential for growth. 
Without a doubt, the
women in my family, more especially the women on the maternal side have
been a profound influence. My grandmother was a politician in
the ‘90s. Her sister is now Councillor of the same
District. During her Campaign, her opposition’s main criticism of her was
that she was a divorcee. She got divorced from her then husband when he asked
that she quit her job and relocate to the farm. Divorce was very taboo
then and she showed great courage in making that decision. Marriage is not
a goal where I come from; we live by our own rules simply
because the women in my family are very strong and self-assured. However, in my
career path I would say my mother has been my greatest influence. She
works in public health, specialising in male involvement in sexual
reproductive health rights and responsibilities. This has given me exposure
to issues of socioeconomic development from a young age. 
1. My mother! Alla
Moyo. My mom is definitely the first feminist I know. She is a very principled
woman; what you see is what you get. She works very hard and
her career spans from working for the Ministry of Health to the UN. In
2014, she presented a paper on male involvement to the Annual UN
lWomen’s Conference in New York. Outside of her work professional capacity
she is a great mother and has given up on a lot of her dreams to make sure mine
come true, and it is important to me for her to know that her sacrifices have not
gone unnoticed.
2. Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba.
She is the former Deputy Secretary-General at
Commonwealth Secretariat who this year ran for
Secretary-General. Sometimes you meet your idols and they are
disappointing, I had the pleasure of meeting her earlier this year and she was
the complete package. She is very smart and very involved in women’s
rights and socioeconomic development. Her campaign encountered numerous
obstacles and still she persevered. She taught me to not be scared and that
even if circumstances are unfavourable one should never give up.
3. Rihanna. Simply
because she is unapologetic about the person she is. Her defiance
of respectability politics is something I relate to because I am a
typical 21 year old. People tend to think that because I am a pretty 21
year old girl who likes wearing sneakers and shorts with funny
coloured hair and attending parties that I am not smart or I am not
serious about my line of work. It is quite the opposite, I live for it.
I have a
‘mom-ager’, hence my mom is definitely the person that keeps me
accountable. My five year plan? I think I would make a great lawyer
although I do not intend to practice law as gender activism is my
priority. In the next five years I want an LL.B under my belt and I think
it would work well with fight for gender equality. I would also like
to publish at least three chapbooks in that period. My priority right
now is to have Higher Heights to have a national reach.
I cannot answer for
African women, I can only answer for Batswana women. I think there
is a big problem with the way in which we view Africa. I do not think it
is appropriate for me to answer in an African context considering that I have
only been to three African countries. I think the biggest problem in
Botswana is that we actually believe that we are doing something
about gender issues. We have the Domestic Violence Act, Abolition of
Marital Power Act, Gender Affairs Department, but at the same time we
have approximately five female members of Parliament out of
sixty-three. There is clearly a huge gap in representation which means that
women’s issues are often overlooked. Being a middle class heterosexual young
woman in an urban area I realise that my privilege lets me consider issues such
as marital rape, street harassment, and other gender based violences are
the biggest issues. In my work with young women in different regions of
Botswana I have realised the multiple roles of young women are a huge issue.
The gendered nature of poverty is also really visible in areas outside
Gaborone and the dynamics it creates for young women’s sexual reproductive
health rights and responsibilities with such consequences as the ‘sugar daddy
complex’, high teen pregnancy and HIV/AIDS prevalence. 
I particularly work with
young women through my organisation Higher Heights for Girls taking time
to educate them on GBV and SRHRR. We provide information to help these young
women make better informed choices and keep young men from being perpetrators.
I am sure my team would agree that it is difficult and even heart breaking when
we realise that the information is not enough. These young women know what
to do half the time, but circumstances force them to make bad decisions. 
I enjoy being outdoors and
exploring the landscape. I often ride my quad bike for long distances,
taking in the beauty of nature. I also love spending time with my friends, they
centre my world. I also love it when I get my nephews for the weekend.
Dario genuinely makes me forget how exhausting growing up is. 
When I was younger I
used to write a lot of short stories and they were all about white
women with blue eyes who lived in New York. I have never even been to New
York. I think that just goes to show you the availability of stories of African
women. The reality of colonialism is that we do not know the women before
us. So we do not know the stories of women before us and I think it is
important to document the stories of the women now. African woman are
amazing and I think the fact that they overcome so much and are still so
giving and so successful is something that should be celebrated. Representation
is key and I think it is important for other young women to know there is
someone who experienced what they did and still managed to self-actualise. That
kind of inspiration changes your whole life. 
I recently attended the
ICASA 2015 in Zimbabwe as part of the CAL delegate. Being sponsored by CAL my
attendance was on the basis that I would use the space to interrogate the
position of RALF (radical African lesbian feminists) agenda in the space. Upon
arrival I attended the Key Populations conference where I was surprised to find
that the space was dominated by Gay White men, Black gay men and a handful of
black women. Thinking it was just the effect of it being my first
international conference and not knowing what to expect I did not comment
on how displaced I felt in the space. Despite that HIV/Aids Key populations
include women, young people, women who have sex with women, men who have sex
with men, Transgender populations, People living with HIV/Aids, sex workers and
drug users I spent two days listening to presentations on nothing but MSM, Sex
workers and Transgender issues. Nothing was said about women. I was elated to
find out that my colleagues had noticed the same thing. We all realised that
we had forced ourselves into a male dominated patriarchal space despite the
fact that it was supposed to include women. 
That experience taught me
something about certain spaces. That they are merely created for appeasement,
just so someone can say “but we have a women’s department” when they are
questioned about gender. While I have no doubts that the AU would probably
be great to work in, I think it is really important for women to begin to
create spaces and organizations that are actually fully committed to push their
agenda and stop occupying spaces where they are given a little corner so they
can behave. That being said, it is unlikely that I would take a job with the
AU. I am on the wave length where I want a feminist regional organization
that engages with states to push African Feminist agendas. In the past year I
have learnt you have to create the world you want to live in. 

My advice would be that
there is no good woman. I have noticed that men have this unspoken of boy’s
club thing going on. Where a man seems to show respect to his fellow males over
a woman he knows. It is the reason “I have a boyfriend” is a viable reason to
reject a man. He for some reason gives this boyfriend whom he has never met
more respect than you the woman he is interested in courting. For some
reason women want to be members of this boy’s club. So they dress
appropriately, they play according to the rules, they shame other women’s
choices. So they can sit with the boy’s club. There is no good woman, by virtue
of having a vagina, of considering yourself a woman you are already on the
receiving end of misogyny. It is not just “feminists” or “heathens” or “sluts”
who get battered, or abused, mutilated, or raped. Even the perceived “good
women” get that. As a woman please, never shame another woman for her choices.
Regardless of whether they agree with your politics or not. Rather provide her
with support.