Centre for Sexuality and Gender researcher, Dikeledi Mokoena, 29, who was last year shortlisted in the Award for Academic as well as Public Servant of the Year categories at the annual African Youth Awards has been honoured for being one of the most influential young people in the southern Africa region.
Dikeledi, who has a passion for working with young people and doing community development work among communities in Pretoria and Sedibeng in South Africa, says she is determined to keep pushing for gender norms transformation among the young people she works with.
“My advice to the young people and young girls in particular is: Be unapologetically fierce. Young girls are taught many things as they grow up, and we need to break some of these negative cultural norms. Young girls need to be bold and believe in themselves. They must have a sense of entitlement to leadership and success, and it has to come with hard work,” she said.
Dikeledi, who was a participant in the Best Practice Documentation training workshop hosted by SAfAIDS in Harare recently, is recognised as one of 100 most influential young people who were honoured at the African Youth Awards, announced in January 2018. She says being selected among thousands of other influential young Africans is a great honour and a clear indication that other young girls in various communities in the region and beyond can reach the same heights too.
As part of her passion, she also engages communities, particularly pupils and parents, on the challenges of xenophobia, teenage pregnancies and child marriages.