Amabali Pod – Kanya Cekeshe On Being Black & “Free” in South Africa

On this episode of AmabaliPod, we are joined by Kanya Cekeshe, a #FeesMustFall Activist, and former prisoner, who talks to us about the last four years of his life and journey. Cekeshe was sentenced to prison in December 2017 for his involvement in the #FeesMustFall student movement, where he is alleged to have set a police van on fire during the protests. Students were demanding a fee free decolonial education as promised to them in the Freedom Charter of 1955 by the African National Congress and its allies. The charter declared that “Education shall be free to all,” and that, “The People Shall Govern!” among other things. We speak to Cekeshe about the protests, his life in prison, mental health and journey to recovery after incarceration.


The Archive: Amabali Wethu is an organisation that aims to cultivate a practice of dialogue that broadens our understanding of GBV and recovery through curatorial and creative archival work. Motivated by the guiding intersectional principle of experiential knowledge, our work is centred around three pillars: Awareness, Navigation and Recovery.

AmabaliPod is a research-driven podcast series on the multi-layered experience of gender-based violence in South Africa. We aim to host discussions with womxn and LGBTQIA+ people with a myriad of perspectives and contributions regarding GBV and relationships, activism, health and safety, consent culture, governance and public policy, working environments and money. Importantly, while attentive to the banal and complex modes of violence that systemic patriarchy inflicts on us, the podcast also seeks to provide a safe, public platform that affirms survivors and the possible non-violent futures that we are working towards.

The podcast also intends to create a space for anonymity where audience members can contribute to the show; can share their personal experiences without the pressure and the fear of exposing their identities. This is important because of the stark reality of re-perpetration and re-victimization as a result of sharing and speaking out about one’s experience with GBV.

Who We Are:

Yolanda Dyantyi is a 22-year-old feminist-activist who is moved by the importance of creating as many platforms as possible to share our stories about the many intersecting experiences of systemic violence. Her work is informed by her own experiences within grassroots activism and the power of civic engagement in amplifying the voices of marginalised communities, particularly those of poor black women. Yolanda believes that our stories are political tools that can push for social, political and economic reform.

Ciko Sidzumo is a black queer feminist-activist who believes in the necessity of creating multi-medium storytelling platforms for the enrichment of the community. She aims to use her skills and interests in creative producing, such as theatre-making, filmmaking and storytelling, to encourage community engagement on critical socio-economic, political and gender issues in South Africa. Ciko is deeply moved by the promotion of community-based solutions for the creation of effective and affective change in society, and these principles inform the work that she aspires to do continuously as an activist and a creative. She is a firm believer in radical love, radical healing and radical happiness.