Warning: Undefined array key "unsplash-media-selector" in /usr/www/users/quotewhkcd/wp-content/themes/Divi/includes/builder/feature/JQueryBody.php on line 249

A queer consciousness blogger, a disabled writer/sex worker advocate, a rural climate activist who champions the needs of people living with disabilities, and a PhD candidate working to disrupt faith-based narratives around gender and sexualities: these are just some of the experts that Quote This Woman+ has recognised through its first Voices of the Year awards, aimed to recognise women+ who go the extra mile to ensure that the voices that are the  most marginalised are given a chance to be amplified through media platforms.

Evidence from multiple sources shows that women’s voices are only a quarter of all those carried in South African media. Quote This Woman+ is a feminist media non-profit that curates a database of over 700 women experts, activists, thought-leaders and trail-blazers that journalists can access to interview and quote in order to increase the diversity of their sources. As well as women, this database includes experts who are marginalised for other reasons – like sexual orientation, or gender identity, or rural location, or poverty, or living with disability.

Award contestants were drawn from current database members, as well as from new voices that journalists were starting to use who had not yet joined the database. “We do not need to be given a voice, we have it already, we just need to use it no matter who is in the room or in the audience,” explains Phinah Kodisang, winner of the special Gender Based Violence expert category. Health category winner Rene Sparks adds, “I have been published [previously] but always felt like I am in my own little corner. The QW+ [Voices of the 2022] Awards allow my voice, and the voices of those I support, to be heard loudly across multiple platforms. Our collective voices are capable of an avalanche of transformation.”

The category winners are:

  • Gender Based Violence: Phinah Kodisang, Soul City CEO and feminist health activist.
  • Environment: Thandile Chinyavanhu, an intersectional environmental activist highlighting the links between education, GBV and climate degradation in poor areas in South Africa on international platforms.
  • STEM: Kolisa Sinyanya, an ocean scientist advocating for social injustice, curriculum change, and black women in STEM and geoscience.
  • Politics & Law: Vayda Megannon, a ground-breaking advocate for SA’s Social Relief of Distress grant. 
  • Economics: Vusi Vokwana, a businesswoman with a unique insight into the needs and perspective of the Kasi economy.
  • Health: Rene Sparks, advocate for public health focusing on transgender needs and sustainable menstrual hygiene products, and podcaster.
  • Social Development & Communications: Dr Zakeera Docrat, SA’s first PhD graduate specialising in Forensic Linguistics and challenging the status quo of using only English in the South African legal system.
  • Disability I: Nosintu Kwepile, a polio survivor, is the Founder of Abanebhongo Persons with Disabilities in Nqamakwe, Eastern Cape. She is also a Climate Crisis activist and uses her NPO to create vegetable gardens for at-risk families in her community to sustain themselves. She also secured the drilling of a borehole for her community to ensure clean drinking water for everyone.
  • Disability II: Makgosi Letimile (Joint winner) a writer and a sex toy reviewer aimed at disabilities and pleasure. She has become synonymous with a reclaiming of sexuality for people of all abilities, orientations and backgrounds. She also advocates for disabled Motherhood and accessibility (physical, emotional and psychological) through language and space for Black women.
  • LGBTQIA+ I: Dr Lwando Scott is a PhD candidate in Sociology and the voice behind the popular blog Queer Consciousness. His effortless interchange between accessible content and deeply meaningful intervention has elevated his views on gender, social development, transformative constitutionalism and transformation to an audience beyond academia.
  • LGBTQIA+ II: Tracey Sibisi (Joint Winner) is a PhD candidate and programme manager at Uthingo Network; as well as being the co-owner of ADIC (Alcohol and Drug Intervention Centre). She works with traditional and faith leaders and healers to disrupt ideologies and traditional perceptions of personhood, gender and sexuality and encourage complex identities for gay, gender-nonconforming, queer, trans and asexual people. 
  • Rural Women: Dr Lorato Mokwena is a Linguistics academic and founder of the “Dis ‘n Noord-Kaap Ding” colloquium. Her work in the Northern Cape has been nationally recognised and her ability to synthesize the expressions and practice of artists, academics, performers, community activists, traditional craftspeople and students to create a celebration of culture has led to a resurgence of pride and interest in her province. It has led to her term “extraordinary gaze” being adopted in describing how we view communities like hers.

Dr Zakeera Docrat, winner of the Social Development & Communications category believes that the QW+ Voices of the Year Awards  are important in amplifying marginalised voices on the male-dominated national stage and have motivated her by reflecting the value of her work; because too often people like her “contribute immensely to the growth of their discipline, often without equal recognition”.

Nosintu Kwepile, joint winner of the Disability category urges other women+ to amplify their own voices because “those who can’t be seen and speak for themselves need you.” This is echoed by Makgosi Letimile who shares the award and maintains “Accessibility is everybody’s business… [women+] hold up half the sky and we deserve to be heard.“

Winner of the STEM category, and soon to be awarded her PhD, Kolisa Sinyanya recognises the power of representation in the media because, “When the voices of women+ are silenced, even one of our voices becoming audible holds power.”    

LGBTQIA+ category joint winner Dr Lwando Scott sees passing the mic as a moral responsibility, especially for those who are most heard, “to amplify the voices, which is often the suffering, of others.” They go on to say that, “those who can speak do not have the luxury of silence.”   

“Accessibility is everybody’s business… [women+] hold up half the sky and we deserve to be heard.“

Makgosi Letimile

About Quote This Woman+

Less than 20% of expert sources quoted in popular media are women: the Quote This Woman+ online database of over 700 woman+ experts for journalists is working to change that.

Quote This Woman+ (QW+) is a South African based non-profit working to bridge the gender gap in the media landscape, by increasing the number of women+ used as expert sources by  well over 1000 journalists from across the globe. Through this online database, the non-profit links journalists with brilliant experts on an array of trending topics, from a green economy, politics, finance, to human rights law and medicine. This works to shift the statistic of only one woman used as a news expert for every four times a man is, which recent research has shown. 

Quote This Woman+ campaigns, advocates and lobbies for the voices of women+ experts. The organisation also provide media training for women+ experts through an unashamedly feminist lens: the “Women own the spotlight” training programme goes beyond basic media training and helps unravel the many psycho-social barriers to women owning their voices in public spaces. 

There is a plus in QW+ because this database is open to any marginalised experts who believe that they should be included on the database – perhaps because of a disability, or sexual and gender orientation, or anything else. Quote This Woman+ believes in level playing fields: it does not charge journalists to access the database, and it does not charge experts to sign up for it.

Here are links for access to our database or to sign up for our media alerts: www.quotethiswoman.org.za. For more queries contact: Kathleen Magrobi, Quote This Woman+ 0846888980