“I grew up in a religious home where sex was a taboo subject,” she says. “Our teachers were uncomfortable to even speak about menstruation. Having worked in the civil society space and in schools I realised that a number of children in disadvantaged schools are still following the same trajectory as I did and have to rely on their peers for sexual and reproductive health information. We have a lot of progressive policies and access to multiple interventions for a number of sexual and reproductive health matters that our people on the ground are unaware of.

My personal experiences are what shape my motivation and passion for the work that I do. We live in a world where young people are dying of HIV, becoming very young mothers and sexual violence being normalised because people especially the young, do not know their rights on sexual and reproductive health.”

Researcher and activist Thuthukile Mbatha is focussed on the advancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights in South Africa; ensuring access to information and education.