November 27, 2020

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Young South African activist urges Joe Biden to address Afrophobia

3 min read

The schoolgirl and Pan-African activist took her hopes to an international stage by expressing a need for Biden, as future US president, to address Afrophobia when he comes into power.

In an interview with CNN’s David Mckenzie on 10 November, Khahliso appeared as a South African representative among three African students who spoke about what the Democrat’s recent election win meant to young Africans.

The South African interviewed Khahliso to find out more about her activism and her need to challenge what many perceive as a growing anti-African sentiment in the US.

WHO IS KHAHLISO MYATAZA?

Hailing from Soweto, the African Leadership Academy student works for the Youth Policy Committee within the South African Institute of International Affairs, from which she engages other young people in her activism.

“Challenging Afrophobic systems that exist in our society is something I have dedicated my youth to, ” Khahliso said.

TEENAGER’S JOURNEY IN ACTIVISM

Khahliso speaks of being moved by an ideology of a united Africa as a driving force to becoming a Pan-African activist.

Having joined the Conscious Campaign, a space for open discussion on social issues, Khahliso uses this platform to speak out about challenges facing the African continent.

“I started speaking up about the erasure of African history through an organisation that I am now the co-chair of.

“The people who led it at the start, helped me voice my grievances,” Khahliso said.

Her activism saw her earn a seat as a panelist in the UN’s youth dialogue, where she engaged with the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Health, Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng.

“I spoke with Dr Tlaleng about the importance of decolonisation within the UN’s efforts to help African countries be on track with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ” she said.

Khahliso wants Biden to rekindle African relations

Khahliso spoke passionately about her Pan-African ideologies with CNN and highlighted a need for Biden to rekindle relations with the African continent.

“As an intersectional activist and as a Pan-African, I must fight against any injustice that affects African people,” Myataza told The South African.

The recent US political climate also fuelled racial tension in South Africa, she said.

“We failed to remember and recognise the influence that the US has. It has exacerbated the overt racism in South Africa.” 

ACTIVIST ALSO PASSIONATE ABOUT CLIMATE

Khahliso’s determination to see positive change also extends to her engagement with youth climate movements. 

Noting that Biden recognises climate change as an important topic, she has more reasons to be hopeful.

“It’s going to be very important for the most influential president to believe in climate change. It will pressure other presidents to meaningfully tackle climate change.”

YOUNG CHANGE DRIVER’S FUTURE HOPE

As she continues to promote her Pan-African agenda, Khahliso’s dreams of studying in the US have been reignited.

She sees herself spending time in the US for the duration of her tertiary studies, but that isn’t her only choice.

“I have been taught to keep my options open for potential universities.”

Khahliso added she was also open to studying African literature and political science in South Africa, Ghana or Rwanda.