Name: Mosa Moerane

Age: 24

Life quote: changes frequently. Right now it’s: Re nyele.

What does it mean to be a woman (in this day and age) and what is the most important thing to you as a woman? For me it means war. Being in constant political and social warfare for my recognition as a human being and my humanity. The constant battle of negotiating my existence to be fully dependent on me. The most important thing to me is choice. The choice to do whatever I want with my time, talents and body. All these things are constantly being dictated to me by external factors but for me, it is really important to me that I make choices that best serve me.

What is self-hate to you? And have you been a victim of it? Self-hate is knowing what you want and need, but going against that in order to fulfill (succumb to) societal expectations of you. In the end, you are only playing (betraying) yourself. To me self-betrayal is the ultimate self-hate. Yes.

Do you still have issues with self-esteem? And what helps you snap out of it? It’s near impossible to not struggle with self-esteem issues when the society you exist within is constantly teaching you that everything that you is ugly, unsophisticated, unhealthy, unprofessional etc. I’m a black woman. Everyday. That means every day, in every moment someone is policing my aesthetic (body and image), my movement (where I go and how I get there) and my choices (any and every decision I make). Constantly. So you are constantly second-guessing yourself. Wondering if your thighs are fat and whether what you are wearing will get you harassed by BOTH men and women. What people will say when you arrive at that event in your boyfriend’s car. If it’s too nice you are a sugar-baby. If it’s too “basic” your standards are low. Then there is work. Wow! Your ideas are only worth hearing only in as far as a man will back them. Especially a white man. Because, aren’t they (even in their failures or mediocrity) the standard of excellence?

 When did you learn to start loving the woman you are? I didn’t “start loving” her because that would mean there was a time when I hated her. I only started affirming myself. Affirming my beauty. Affirming my worth. Affirming my opinion. I can’t pin-point where it happened but I used to really be hard on myself for not being smaller. When I was a size 34 I wanted to be 32, when I was 36 I wanted to be 34 etc. Then in 2014 I went on a wellness programme and before I started, by coincidence, I went to Camps Bay in Cape Town. Me with my natural hair, thick thighs and black skin; went to the most Eurocentric beach in SA and wore a swimsuit. I was very conscious of myself and my body in that environment but then I snapped out of it. I consciously took pictures of myself in nothing but my swimming costume because I told myself that I wanted to remember that day and remember LOVING my body. Whether I got thin or not, I wanted to look at that picture and have feelings of love and contentment. Not of self-loathing and disgust. My body carries me everywhere I want to go and hating it is self-defeating. How dare I hate this instrument that has taken me to all these places I’ve been to, carried me through a degree, sees me dancing for long hours in the club coz I love music… How can I hate that?

What do you think has influenced your confidence? Twitter and Instagram have had a great influence on my confidence. I only follow women who have filled themselves up with so much self-love and knowledge it spills over to other women. They are constantly affirming others and self-affirming. Also what has helped my confidence is reminding myself that I deserve the same kindness and mercy that I try to give and show others. To not be so hard on myself. I’m doing the best I can. And if ke baeza, I need my own forgiveness the most.

What are your passions and inspirations? I’m passionate about travel, Africa and the emancipation of black women. Those 3 things are also my greatest inspiration.

Do you have any fashion/beauty icons, if so who are they? I don’t know what fashion/beauty icons are meant to do or be. But I enjoy a lot of people’s style: Lerato Tshabalala (former True Love editor), Anele Mdoda on her talk show, Rihanna (when we get the land back we should outsource her services as consultant. She has to come teach us how to be free), Masechaba Ndlovu, Luthando Shosha and Palesa Mahlaba.

If you could meet your younger self, what would you say to her? Depends on which age. I’d love to meet me at 13. It was my first year at a SA school and it was a lonely and traumatic experience. I would hug me and reassure me that I’m doing OK and that I’m still bright and important.

If you had to tell one thing to every little girl in the world, what would it be? I’d tell every little girl in the world “live and let live.” You are important enough to base your life-choices on yourself. As long as it does not harm other living creatures and does not cause your own harm. Believe in the validity of your humanity.

Where can we find you on social media? I prefer not to be found on social media.

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