Faiza Lok was born in South Africa but raised in Hong Kong. As a mixed-race kid in a country that showed very little diversity, she was left feeling like she didn’t belong. When she returned to South Africa at the age of 15, she found her home, the place where everything made sense. A country where everyone struggles to belong in a vibrant melting pot of complex identities.
“My identity is what gave birth to my activism.”
At 25 Faiza decided to start The voice of the people’s movement. The idea was to solve local problems through design thinking, a human-centered process through which innovative solutions are created by consulting with those affected to understand their needs, feelings and behaviours.
Working in Thembisa town, Faiza went to schools, parks and the streets to find volunteers interested in joining her on the journey, and to train them in the skills needed to be part of the movement. These included workshops on practicing empathy, flexible mindsets, and letting go of unconscious bias.
They then embarked on a week-long door-to-door campaign, engaging residents to truly understand their needs. Through this research, they have put together an ongoing series of awareness activities focusing on clean-ups, skills training and community upliftment around Thembisa.
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Voice of the People paved the way for its next bold step. Faiza is now the volunteer coordinator for south riceSouth Africa’s newest political party, taking its ideas of empowerment and change to a whole new level.
An activity often starts with one person, but there comes a point when they need to find a team of like-minded people with whom they can patiently move forward, laying the groundwork for sustainable change. Faiza Lok may have started on her own but now she has found her people and is ready for a change. DM
Action Launched in early 2023 by photographer Thom Pierce. It consists of on-the-ground problem solvers, community activists, climate activists and human rights advocates who not only speak out but take direct action. the people you can go to when you don’t know where to turn; Who will not stop working for the change they want to see in the world. The Actionists is also a growing community of people who care about the future of South Africa.
Through a series of comics, Pierce profiles a wide range of people across the country who provide vital services, intuitive solutions, and relentless activism. And through the website, discussion forum, and social media, the goal is to provide concrete ways for people to get involved. The goal is to inspire and inform, to challenge the idea of doing nothing, to create a network of Actionists and bring people who need help together with people who can provide a solution.
Daily Maverick The Actionist profile will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next year. Get in touch, nominate Actionists in your constituency at www.theactionists.co.za or email [email protected]