Sibongile Teffo on her journey to become a social justice activist
I am a 21 year old woman in a rural settlement in Limpopo. I was taught how to live in a rural settlement. We were never exposed to the other side of the world. We never thought that we can voice out our opinions on the services we are provided with. In 2014 equal education was introduced in my school, Firstly I did not understand their work but I was interested to join them. At the time I was 16 doing grade 10. After spending time with them and attending their weekly activities I have learned and unlearned a lot of things. Their views, values and mission made me want to know more. Equal education gave me a home to express my political views. Equal education is a movement of learners, parents, teachers and community members working together to improve the quality of education in South Africa for all. We are particularly concerned with the challenges of the learners in poor and working class communities especially in rural settings where it feels like our schools have been forgotten.
We meet regularly with learners (who we call equalizers) at their schools after hours to engage on a variety of topics or issues which includes education, social justice, human rights and youth issues. We conduct our activities by creating an open, participatory learning environment. Our discussions often focus on how to advance the right of basic education. After my matric I wanted to continue working as an activist. I got involved with the survey that was done in 2017 after the Limpopo Department of Education gave a report that says the is no school without water and sanitation. We went to 18 schools and found that 4 schools have no access to water and no reliable sanitation. Then we conducted a campaign for water and sanitation. The experience from 2014 untill now has taught me to express my voice no matter how hard it can be.