Thato Mabe is ambitious, self-assured and driven, three very valuable attributes for a young politician. “My biggest mistake was in not believing that a young person, from Parys in the Free State, has the power to change the world in which he lives. As a young queer man, I can empower other LGBTQI leaders to fight for their rights and take up leadership positions in politics so that our agenda is heard in all spheres of government.”
He’s proving that any insecurities he had were misplaced, and was chosen in recent years to be a Parliamentary Monitoring Fellow in Research and Policy through the Triangle Project and LGBTQ Victory Fund, and as one of three South Africans to be an African Union Youth Leader at the 2019 Breaking Down Borders Africa Youth Summit.
As a politician, an activist, an organiser and a writer, Mabe has his hands full, but is urged on by a greater goal: “My drive is the possibility of equality in South Africa and Africa at large. To fight to end poverty, gender-based violence, racism, homophobia and transphobia. To see a South Africa that is inclusive and diverse in the fight for economic freedom.
“My goal is to be a minister of justice in the near future. In one of my fellowships I got to spend time at the department of justice and with the deputy minister. That opened my eyes to the potential that office has to change the lives of the poor and marginalised communities in our country.”
His advice for young South Africans looking to find their way is: “Don’t be scared to speak your mind, because your words have incredible power that can change lives. Your superpower is in the words you speak, and in the lives you empower by just your speech.”