INSPIRATIONAL LGBT+ WOMEN – MAMOKGETHI MOLOPYANE
In 2017 I started the “Inspirational Women Series” where I feature women that I find inspirational just for living their authentic life.
This year we’re focusing on inspirational LGBT+ South African Women. A Q&A where Mamokgethi shares a facet of her authentic life as an individual and wife. Mamokgethi Molopyane is a Mining and Labour analyst. She’s also the founder of Creative Voodoo Consulting who has worked in the Biofuel, Forestry, Mining, Energy and Space industries.
Thank you Mamokgethi for your time and sharing your story.
If you, the reader, know of any other inspirational LGBT+ individuals or your own story we could feature contact us.
1) TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOU AND YOUR JOURNEY AS A GAY PERSON LIVING IN SOUTH AFRICA?
I am a black lesbian woman, I live in Joburg, I love my city for what it enables any person to do. Be it in reinventing your career or living more freely as a gay person.
I do freelance work in the mining industry and that has enabled me to consult now and again on key policy issues that affect most South Africans.
I’m proud of this because I believe in our country (that has a history of privileging). One must do(if possible) work that positively impacts others and improves their lives. Policies may not be visible, but their lasting effects are. Whichever way my work can contribute towards improving lives, that is what makes me happy and leaves me feeling fulfilled.
2) HAS YOUR FAMILY EMBRACED YOUR LIFESTYLE?
I never really had to come out to my family, a privilege I don’t take lightly. I know many people who have had to hide their authentic selves, from their families, out of fear of being disowned, attacked and even ostracised. My father’s twin embraced my wife(then partner) when I took her to my rural village in the North West of South Africa.
3) HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO BALANCE WORK AND FAMILY LIFE?
I work from home, while my wife holds a regular 9-5 job. I’m a bit obsessive about work and used to push myself too hard. Four years ago I burnt out because working for yourself means you constantly have to pitch, be out there in order to earn an income. Only after I burnt out, did I learn to slow down, and as a result, I don’t work on weekends or after hours anymore.
I have an office at home that I go to in the mornings and lock it in the afternoon when my day is done. I’ve also reduced the number of TV interviews I do because they can be demanding, like driving to a studio at ungodly hours, it gets to you. I now ascribe to – rest, rest, rest because you’ll be more productive after.
4) AS A BLACK LESBIAN LIVING IN SOUTH AFRICA, HOW HAS YOUR LIFE BEEN AFFECTED AND WHAT HOPES, ASPIRATIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE YOUNGER GENERATION OF GAY WOMEN?
Being a black lesbian woman in a violent country is terrifying!
Perhaps more than any other group, we are at risk of being attacked, killed and raped by strangers or even those we know. This reality is jarring when I realise the privilege of being a black woman who lives in the burbs. The younger generation today doesn’t have the comforts or illusion of security I appear to have. I hope our law enforcement and justice system becomes advances enough to protect the younger generation of black lesbian women.
Your readers may not relate or might sigh with exasperation because I use race so much, I do so to illustrate that while many in our LGBT community live in a bubble of privilege, others don’t. Therefore, be more open in your circle, embrace those who don’t share your background and where possible always, always give young black gay people access to opportunities.
5) TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOUR PASSIONS, INTERESTS, YOUR CIRCLE OF FRIENDS?
My passions are well known among my friends and some on twitter 🙂 these include jazz, whisky, poetry, and a love for my city Joburg.
I’m not very social, but now and again I make the effort to attend events in the art scene.
6) IS THERE A QUOTE YOU LIVE BY?
They change over time, however, for the past 3 years, it has been “To a child learning her letters each word stands for something. What do you stand for?” ~ Jessica Fischer (from her poetry collection entitled “Inmost”)