Bonolo Magowe : “As a female human rights activist, I often get sexualized”

Bonolo Magowe is a human rights enthusiast in her early 30s from Botswana. She is one of the few women who have had a keen interest in defending human rights despite the challenges this comes with. She joins other panelists this Thursday December 1, 2022 at the Institute Francaise Camerounaise during the “Getting Involved” edition of Our Future Africa-Europe Dialogues forum to share a talk on the leadership strides African and European youths are making in the face of challenges.

According to Bonolo, her course for defending human rights is not only triggered by her being a Motswana. “I think that we need to look at our responsibility not necessarily from where we come from but from what we can contribute to the countries around us. I do not consider myself just a Motswana, I consider myself to be a human existing in a world, and therefore I think that it should be innate in us and not a novelty for us to want to help those that we can. So I look at the world around me and ask myself what can I do to make it better not just for me but for generations to come.”

Bonolo explains that being a female human rights activist in a society that often sexualizes women is a difficult task. “It gets difficult to be taken seriously when you don’t partner or affiliate with a man as a human rights activist. It is even more difficult having funding for your activities when you are not associated with men. You are often sexualized” She says.

Despite such challenges, Bonolo encourages resilience : “It hasn’t been easy, when Botswana was considered a Middle Income Country, a lot of donors started exiting the country and we hadn’t a lot of projects to work on. I decided to move to South Africa where I worked with Freedom House on ending xenophobia. I learned a lot about humanity during this period. Looking at the weak policies and lack of political will from governments to make things better is what inspires me to stay in this space.”

According to Bonolo, there must be advocacy for strong policies to end the human rights violations especially against women and young persons.

 Sah Terence Animbom with Médias & Democratie (M&D)

This article was produced in collaboration with Media & Democracy (M&D), as part of the Yaoundé Regional Forum « Our Future »
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