Kgomotso Matsuyane: Meet Class 11

Madlen Popignatova 24
March 16th, 2017
Article by: Gemma Roex
Kgomotso Matsuyane: Meet Class 11

The THNK Community got its first taste of Kgomotso Matsuyane during our 2016 FSTVL. “We need to talk about sex!”, and “women are often the biggest patriarchs”, she proclaimed before delving into an honest and and thoughtful conversation that stretched from her experience in broadcasting and TV, sexual health activism, and outspoken views on feminism.

 

It is hard not to be enamoured by this powerhouse of a woman. As a positive sexual health activist based in Cape Town and Johannesburg, we initially connected to her through one of our Corporate Innovation programs for Johnson & Johnson.

 

Earlier this week we caught up with Kgomotso Matsunyane to talk about the Golden Triangle Initiative for Positive Sexual Health, a new project which she will work to develop during our next Amsterdam Creative Leadership Program starting in March.

 

Kgomotso Matsuyane: Meet Class 11 4
Kgomotso Matsunyane talks about the Golden Triangle Initiative for Positive Sexual Health, a new project which she will work to develop during our next Amsterdam Creative Leadership Program Click To Tweet

Can you tell us about the project you will bring to the Creative Leadership Program?

I’m completely focused and driven by the Golden Triangle Initiative for Positive Sexual Health. This is a new project to find an alternative, radical intervention in the fight against the new infections brought on by HIV and AIDS. The aim is to teach young people how to own their bodies by giving them access to the information that will help them to make positive sexual health and lifestyle decisions.

Through videos and interactive public engagements, we will create easy access to non-judgmental, honest and factual, positive sexual health information.

Our intention is to celebrate sexuality, normalize sexual discourse and debunk the myths around sex. Hopefully that will lead to a reduction in the stigma thats around sexuality. Once we get rid of the stigma, I believe we can start addressing the incredibly alarming new infection rates among young women on the continent.

What makes you so passionate about this project?

I always had this idea that South African women are not empowered enough in our own sexuality. That automatially implies that the less in touch we are with our own sexuality, the less agency we have in the bedroom to demand what we really want, including a condom.

Having done so much TV programming in the HIV / AIDS space, I became obsessed with trying to find an intervention, some kind of solution, that would also be an interruption. People have HIV fatigue because we keep hearing the same kind of messages packaged in different forms, but still the same tired messages: which include the ABC’s, Abstain, Be Faithful, Condomise. This is all good and well, except, at the World Aids Conference I found out that the highest number of new infections were young black girls and women between the ages of 14 to 25. It got me to thinking… What kind of sex are these young women having? With whom are they having sex? What would enable them to make different choices?

When young people are introduced to sex and sexuality, they are told what not to do, and part of that is not to acknowledge your sexual feelings, which are naturally precipitated by pure biology and genetics. Instead we are taught to fear and be wary of our desires.

Nobody ever tells you that sex can be this positive, amazing experience or how it will affect your body in a way that gives you pleasure. It only makes sense that the more you are in touch with your sexuality, and the easier access you have to accurate and factual information about the human body, including sex, the better one can take informed decisions and greater responsibility over their sexual health. Most importantly, I want it to be a place where people can feel free to ask and comment honestly about any sexually related issues without fear of judgment. It’s only in normalizing honest conversations about our own personal experiences that we can shed the stigma that is associated with sexuality.

What was it that excited you about THNK?

Visiting the THNK Home in Amsterdam, I felt very much like I had found kindred spirits. You have these brilliant, achieved people that have created really impressive projects and companies. But their business sense came with extreme amounts of heart.

It was overwhelming that these incredibly talented people were thinking a lot more than just about the bottom line. They think about the people they’re talking to as real human beings, and not just as percentages. I had never experienced that in the same way before.

Being introduced to THNK allowed me to start imagining the project as a proper campaign. Thinking about the problems that are making the environment so ripe for young black women to become infected, I was inspired to bring the Golden Triangle Initiative for Positive Sexual Health to THNK and begin to develop content around it.

To find out more about the Executive Leadership Program, or if you are interested in joining Kgomotso as a Class 11 participant, then please download the program brochure or find out if you qualify here.

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