“Feminism is quest for genuine equality for women. It is realizing that women are their own beings, women have means in the world and that women have voices that are a value, and that can add value to the already built society we live in. We are feminists because we need to be seen.” – Swankie Mafoko
Actress Swankie Mafoko, who also refers to herself as an arts activist and feminist, strongly believes in body gestures to portray feminists’ messages to the society. As a feminist, she creates art that speaks back to what she sees in society. Swankie is a young phenomenal woman and one of many South African women who care about the country and “Imbhokodo.” She speaks against oppression and many other social injustices. She fights so bravery and acts as an exemplary to South African women.
Mafoko has appeared on screen including SABC telenovela, Single Galz. She spoke to Blazon and revealed some things that people didn’t know about her. The phenomenal activist has done so much that reflects on the society.
At a very young age she was already looking forward to becoming an actor, talking about her growing up years, she says she already knew that she wanted to become an actor, but she had no idea how it was going to happen or where she would end up. She would tell her mom about her acting desires, she would say “Mama lenna ke tlaba famous ka le leng la matsatsi, I’m going to act and a lot of people are going to know my name”. She later ended up moving to Johannesburg, enrolling at an arts school called International School of Arts to complete her high school year, she later moved to Wits, and found her voice.
“I found my passion. I have always known that I have passion for people, passion for humanity, society and passion for women. Particularly black women. That’s when I started to explore stuff,” she said. In 2014 she begin her journey at Wits, first as a news reporter so that she could harness and grow and build the political side of hers that has always been lingering. She has always been interested in politics that’s when she started working for various publications, including Blazon Magazine. She covered African stories, arts and mostly current affairs particular to Africa. Interestingly, She moved up the ranks, she worked on radio and was nominated best field news reporter alongside many journalists, she was the youngest in the entire nomination list.
“I got involved with a lot of work, I worked with different models. I started educating people about things like HIV, safe sex and understanding the body. That’s when my wakening came for activism, wakening to realize that I can actually use my talent, my art to make a difference in society. If you go to my social media page you notice that I’m constantly advocating for safety for actors in the industry, safety for women, and gender based violence.”
In 2015 the futuristic fiery was part of a team that published a book called fees must fall, she was active since the very first fees must fall. She made a contribution by creating art. She came together with her acquaintance and made art that that spoke back to being a black person in white institution. They gave momentum and were able to write back in a published book that has been sold and read by many. She made art that speaks.
“One of our greatest sayings is that ‘We are not here to save the world.’ A lot of us in art activism create work and believe that work is going to save the world. I don’t think our work on its own is going to save the world and I don’t think art work is going to provide the change that we need, but what art allows people to do, is allow them to separate them from the conversation that’s happening in the world every day. The society as the audience sits back and have a look at what’s going on.”
“I don’t look for change, what I look for is people that are going to come up to me and be like you know, when you said this in this piece you really made me think about this. And if that happens from the art that we create or from the conversations that we start then its enough because it sends readers back home a message.”