Black Thighs Rising: Andisiwe Sehoma
I am Andisiwe Candice Sehoma, I am mother to a bouncy 15 months old girl, A daughter , A big sister and partner. I was born and raised in Alexandra township in the Northern suburbs of Johannesburg.
My experience growing up can be understood through my “juxtaposed” toilet experience of having the luxury of flushing a toilet at school, yet at home I had to take on a different identity, where I’d have to queue on the side of the road for my chance to use the stale smelling bucket toilets. This “Bipolaric”, unreconciled reality forced me into looking at myself through the eyes of others which for the longest time messed up my self-esteem. However my experience agitated my activism and work to better the lives of those marginalised voices in their varied ways.
I currently work for Doctors Without Borders as the Access Campaign Advocacy Officer. My line of work seeks to break systemic barriers which prevent marginalized communities and governments from accessing the medicine they need . My work seeks to ensure that medicine, vaccines and diagnostics are affordable, accessible and available and this is done through influencing policy and law reform, lobbying pharmaceuticals to reduce drug prices and fighting monopolistic practices that ensure that drugs are unreachable for those who need them the most. This work is rooted in the belief that “what we need is change, not charity” .
I take pride in the work I do because it seeks to bring permanent and sustainable change which is what we need more than we do charity . I started of at MSF as a health Policy and Access advocacy intern before this current role. The process of my becoming was not always straightforward, it was messy with feelings of inadequacy, not feeling smart enough and all that trope women often enter the room with, I felt what I felt but leaned into the discomfort and pushed through despite all of that.
I fell pregnant during my internship, which was unexpected for most people but quite a defining experience for me, mainly because of the “no f***s given” attitude to the noise at the time , I was so determined in making it a memorable experience for myself