Maverick Citizen

THE ACTIONISTS

Selokela ‘Slu’ Molamodi is a young community leader talking her way to a better SA

Selokela ‘Slu’ Molamodi is a young community leader talking her way to a better SA
Actionist Selokela ‘Slu' Molamodi is a self-professed conversationalist. (Photo: Thom Pierce)

In 2020, Slu joined Generation G, a coalition between ActionAid, Activate and Sonke Gender Justice, mobilising young people to build a GBV-free society. 

Selokela “Slu” Molamodi is a self-professed conversationalist. She is the host of online radio show Hope Alive Breakfast, a writer, a natural leader and a passionate advocate for a society free of gender-based violence.

A prefect in both primary and high school, she now uses her influence to uplift and empower communities to speak up, find their voice and get involved. 

As a policy champion at Activate, Slu works as part of a group of young people who host nationwide voter registration workshops.

Together they teach communities how government structures work and how they can get involved, with emphasis on the importance of voting and participating in the Integrated Development Plan process. 

She does this as part of their change-drivers youth network, bringing young leaders together from across the country through leadership training and providing access to different opportunities. 

In 2020, Slu joined Generation G, a coalition between ActionAid, Activate and Sonke Gender Justice, mobilising young people to build a GBV-free society. 

Through research, they found that many young people are not interested in the development of their communities because they feel excluded.

“We needed to get young people involved in fighting GBV in our communities. I was one of the champions based in Tembisa. I was chosen because, at the time, Generation G was focusing on the hotspots and Tembisa was one of them in South Africa.

‘Corrective rape, homophobic killings and other forms of GBV were common.”

Being a champion meant that Slu became the leader of conversations in Tembisa around stakeholder relations. She had to rally and mobilise community-based organisations that were working towards the same goals as Generation G.

She facilitated community dialogues and learnt that it was not only GBV organisations that should be in the conversations. It became clear that economic power is also an important issue to address, so local businesses had to be brought into the conversations as well.

“As a champion, you are not going into the communities with a solution. I would create a safe space, invite community members and ask them to bring others to the dialogue. 

“Statistically, women are the victims or survivors so mostly it was women who turned up. But after the dialogues, we would just send them home to the same situation. We needed a new approach. 

“We needed to speak to young men in the community and ask them to invite their male friends. The conversations were not about bashing men, but about understanding each other and working towards a common goal.

“Even issues as small as pronouns are a difficult thing for township communities to understand. They are having to learn a new language. My job was always to step in and remind people that this is a safe space. 

“The conversation around respect and compassion, where inclusivity is concerned, is one that arose when we were doing GBV workshops.”

Being a facilitator is one of Slu’s most important roles. And one that demands understanding and patience.

“When you are dealing with a diverse group of people, you have to understand that a single conversation is not going to make a difference. Sometimes you need to extend grace to the people you lead and serve. But more importantly, you need to learn to see them and take a moment to understand them. That kind of approach has helped me in my advocacy work in adulthood.”

Slu is currently in her second year of journalism studies at Rosebank College in Braamfontein, driven by an ambition to be the most influential talk radio host in the country.

In that position, she says, she will be able to keep the conversation about GBV alive and play a pivotal role in the evolution of the conversation in pursuit of a safer society for everyone.

In addition to all of this, Slu is a facilitator and school outreach manager at Qrate, an organisation that aims to spread “period positivity” through menstrual workshops across the country.

At 24 years old, Slu is already mindful of her role in changing the landscape of South Africa for future generations.

The endless energy she brings to this pursuit is desperately needed, not only in this election year, but for many years of hard work to come. DM

Read more in Daily Maverick: The Actionists.

The Actionists was launched in early 2023 by photographer Thom Pierce. It consists of on-the-ground problem solvers, community activists, climate campaigners and human rights defenders who engage in direct action. They are people anyone can turn to in difficult circumstances: a growing community of people who care about the future of South Africa. Through a series of photographic stories, Pierce profiles these people. Through a website, discussion forum and social media, the aim is to provide ways for people to get involved.

Nominate Actionists in your circle at www.theactionists.co.za or email [email protected]

This story is one of a series of articles produced by The Actionists to highlight the incredible work of organisations and activists across South Africa in their pursuit of justice and equal rights for all.

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.

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