Lebohang Masango is a Master’s candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa and a newly appointed UNICEF South Africa Volunteers Advocate. She is the author of children’s book, Mpumi’s Magic Beads (David Philip Publishers, 2018), which is available in 9 of South Africa’s official languages. She is currently one of the 25 young women from Southern Africa selected to be part of the inaugural Zanele Mbeki Fellowship in feminist leadership. She has also been identified by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a #Goalkeeper, one of the young people working to realise the United nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She is a poet and a writer working in service of her feminist politics. As an Anthropologist, she has lectured first years at North West University and she recently co-managed the Well Sexuality pilot study; a group of scholars and artists investigating notions of sexuality among the youth of Johannesburg. She regularly hosts storytelling sessions for children in schools, bookshops and community libraries. She currently hosts the Word N Sound Poetry League, a monthly open mic challenge aimed at developing young poets in Johannesburg. Lebohang has been published in Mike Alfred’s Twelve + One (Botsotso, 2014) a poetry anthology of Johannesburg poets and To Breathe Into Another Voice (Real African Publishers, 2017), a Jazz poetry anthology edited by Myesha Jenkins. She has read her poetry in South Africa, Zimbabwe and the UK. Lebohang regularly writes for Rookie, an American website for teen girls, and has been commissioned by various publications to write about issues regarding literacy and feminism. A range of media platforms including news publications, magazines, television shows and radio programmes have covered her literary and academic work.
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Lebohang Masango is a Master’s candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. She is also a children’s book author, feminist, poet, freelance writer and social commentator.
Her research interests include gender, popular culture, representations and new digital media. Her Honours’ ethnography, Of Hair and Brown Girls: Beauty and Femininity in Pretoria, explores race and femininity through hairstyling practices, self-imaging, whiteness and regulations for African girls in a Tshwane primary school. Lebohang is the recipient of the “From Digital to Sexual Revolution: Youth and Mobile Phones in India and South Africa” award for 2017, granted by the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS). Her current MA research focuses on young, digitally–connected African women in Johannesburg who subvert patriarchy through “sugar daddy” tropes in curating their experiences of love, intimacy and sex.
Lebohang has self-published her debut children’s story Mpumi’s Magic Beads (Thank You Books, 2017) about friendship, self-esteem, discovery and beautiful hair in Joburg city. This particular journey began when she was chosen as one of the influencers for Standard Bank’s #Today campaign in which she organised a storytelling event for children in April 2017.
Lebohang was the ambassador for the Zazi, Know Your Strength campaign, the sexual health programme across all higher education institutions in South Africa. It advocated positive messaging regarding contraceptives, HIV and AIDS and the importance of self-determination for young women and girls. Her duties included hosting informative roadshows on campuses around the country, attending AIDS conferences and co-composing and starring in the “Zazi” theme song and video which features her poetry alongside singer, Zonke Dikana. In 2014, she was the country’s youth representative at the UNAIDS consultations in Geneva, Switzerland to address sexual health programming concerns with global stakeholders. She was also a member of the Feminist Stokvel, a group of women who hosted public conversations regarding natural hair.
Lebohang’s poetry has been the subject of academic inquiry with Raphael d’Abdon’s “Raising Consciousness Art in Post-Apartheid South Africa: An Exploration of Selected “Subversive” Texts by Young South African Spoken Word Artists and Songwriters” (2014) in Muziki: Journal of Music Research in Africa (Volume 11, Issue 1) and Ragi Bashonga’s “Out Loud: Poetry, Youth Voices and Social Change” (2016) in the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) Review (Volume 14, Issue 2). In 2016, Bashonga also presented a paper on Lebohang’s poetry at the Black Portraitures Conference in Johannesburg. Lebohang performed the opening poems for the Sunday Times Literary Awards and the inaugural NIHSS Book, Creative and Digital Collections Awards in 2016. She has been published in Mike Alfred’s Twelve + One (2014), a book of poetry and interviews with some of Johannesburg’s notable poets and in Myesha Jenkins’ To Breathe Into Another Voice (2017). Her poetry features on Hip Hop musician, Reason’s song “Endurance” alongside Hip Hop Pantsula in 2014. She also wrote and co-produced the Nelson Mandela tribute for the 2014 Metro FM Awards.
Lebohang writes for Rookie, an American website for teenage girls, and she used to be a features writer for Essays of Africa magazine. She features in Jet store’s 2016 – 2017 #JetLoveYourself Valentine’s lingerie campaign about body positivity and self-love. She is also in MTV’s “The People vs the Rainbow Nation” (2016) and “The People vs Patriarchy” (2017), a series of documentaries that cover the student protests, race and gender-based violence in post-Apartheid South Africa.