Tsakane Mahlaule

21 May 2020
Tsakane Mahlaule, Communication Officer, APRM Continental Secretariat
Tsakane Mahlaule, Communication Officer, APRM Continental Secretariat

Tsakane Mahlaule is a committed patriotic South African womxn and a practicing feminist. Her life mission is to contribute positively to continental progress and finding Afrika’s place in the sun with other global players.

Tsakane is of the view that there is indeed a place in the global space for African-based epistemologies and ontologies. “Such knowledge and thought should be created by Afrikans ourselves as we seek African solutions for African challenges, however we should be willing to walk the talk” says Tsakane. She is very optimistic about South Africa and the African continent, hence she believes it is not too late to invest in Afrika’s destiny and to find alternative ways towards progress.

Ms Mahlaule graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa with a BA in Political Studies and International Relations in 2015. She received Humanities awards for Best Political Studies Student and Best International Relations respectively as well as overall Best Political Studies Student for the year 2015. Tsakane obtained a BA Joint Honours in Political Studies and Development Studies with same institution in 2016 and was awarded a post-graduate merit awards among other grants. She was also Wits SWOP-Hidden Voices intern for 2017.

During her Honours year Tsakane grappled with developmental concepts as part of her coursework where she gained in-depth understanding of the realities that have confronted her throughout her life and their correlation with society-wide struggles. Her Honours dissertation titled “Black/African Women’s relationship with Hair Texture and Skin Tone in post-Apartheid South Africa” offered insights that could assist Black women in affirming their selfidentity and motivate them to work towards reclaiming their blackness by embracing their ‘being-in-the-world as Africans’. The paper also examined self-directed agency and how gender contributes to identity formulation. It engaged with Black Consciousness and how it could be utilised to self-empower women to overcome self-identity challenges.

Ms Mahlaule graduated with MA in Political Studies by Coursework and Research Report at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her MA thesis examined how womxn in rural communities confront issues of inheritance in a dual legal system in traditional authority-led contexts. She argued that historically the VaTsonga communities are not inherently patriarchal and claimed that colonialism and apartheid policies invented traditions that forced these communities to be patriarchaly structured for practical reasons. The study examined the various ways this was achieved including, land dispossession, codification of African customs into formal customary laws, migrant labour, destruction of the African family structure, and so on. Tsakane received a 3-year NRF scholarship for PhD studies and her immediate preoccupation is her PhD thesis proposal with Wits University’s School of Governance. A pan-Africanist in orientation, Ms Mahlaule is a socio-political activist who has led in various ANCYL structures including the Provincial Executive Committee in Gauteng Province. She participated in the #FMF movement of 2015 and 2016 and was post-graduate representative of the School of Political Studies at Wits University.

Currently working at APRM Continental Secretariat as Communication Officer, Ms Mahlaule also spent some years working for the African National Congress at its Chief Albert Luthuli House headquarters in Johannesburg. Prior to undertaking fulltime studies, she worked in the South African government in various ministries including The Presidency and voluntarily exited the public service in 2012. She also worked in the behavioural change sector with various NGOs as well as consulting for various SOEs in corporate governance, quality assurance, organizational systems and workflow design.

Tsakane is a well-sought after speech writer for various politicians on youth and gender issues, and contributes regularly to articles and papers for the mass democratic movement publications. Her long-term goal is to contribute towards the generation of decolonized knowledge through thought leadership, teaching, research and advocacy.

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