As lead coordinator for the web rangers programme, an international digital and media literacy programme in South Africa under Media Monitoring Africa’s children’s unit, a key component of Phakamile Khumalo’s work is providing South African youth with critical digital and media literacy skills. This is so that young people, aged between 12 and 17, are empowered to become online safety ambassadors who promote responsible internet usage among their peers and to ensure that the trained youth have a platform to engage in national discussions around issues of online safety, policy regulation, freedom of speech, access and internet governance.
In 2014, she worked with leadership placement non-governmental organisation enke Make Your Mark, where she was a coordinator of their flagship trailblazer programme, a nine-month social action program for pupils in grade 10 and 11 that trained, inspired and supported them in implementing projects that address social issues in their communities.
“I strive to ensure that the young people I work with live in a world where information, knowledge, accessibility to resources, opportunities and support are accessible. These play a key role in enabling young people to fully participate in creating a world they want to be part of,” she says.
She notes that working with youth and internet governance gives her the opportunity to constantly discover new ways to support young people in bringing about positive change in their communities. Being a newbie in the internet governance space, she has been invited to speak and participate in platforms such as the 2017 forum for internet freedom in Africa. In addition in 2018, she attended the Europe, Middle East, Africa Child Safety Summit presented by Google and Facebook, and she was awarded a full bursary to attend the 2018 African school of internet governance.
She’s also mother to a three-year-old daughter, and she ardently believes that her work will go a long way in creating a society in which her child can freely – and safely – participate as a citizen of this country. —Welcome Lishivha