Young Women Speak Out

In the South African context, there are many people who feel that their voices are unheard or deliberately silenced.

Ubumbano Voice is a tool developed by ACT Ubumbano to raise the voice of people who are fighting for their dignity, for justice. It is a platform for community activists to share stories, resources and information, and to support local communities and organisations in their struggle for change.

Young women’s voices are particularly silenced. This is a group that is very vulnerable to poverty, unemployment, HIV and gender-based violence. Ubumbano Voice, with the support of activists, provides the opportunity for young women to share their stories. In a series of interviews, young women were specifically asked what challenges they face as young women in their communities. This booklet is the result of these interviews, and of extracts from stories posted by women on the App.

The lived experiences and challenges these young women face can be stark and even overwhelming. It is important that we remember that this publication is about young women talking about their own lives, but it is not the complete story of their lives.

Why then is it important that these stories of challenges are published and find a wider audience?

It shows that people, in this case young women, can tell their own stories – they don’t need others to speak on their behalf, to claim to be “a voice for the voiceless.”

Telling your own story is often the first powerful action step towards change. Naming the issues can provide the opportunity to learn from it and see new opportunities. Voice is more than just theory, it is action.

For these reasons, this publication does not attempt to analyse or find solutions – it simply creates an opportunity for unheard voices to be heard.