About Pontsho Pilane

Photo: Demelza Bush
From Moruleng, 60 km away from Rustenburg in the North West Province, Pontsho is mostly known for her work as a journalist. Her passion for women, young people is evident in the work she’s been involved in through the years.  She was a TEDx Johannesburg 1830 Fellow, one of 20 young South Africans (between the ages of 18 and 30) that were identified to have “ideas worth sharing”.

She is currently a health reporter at Bhekisisa, the Mail and Guardian's centre for health journalism. Before joining Bhekisisa, Pilane was a news reporter at the M&G. She debuted as a journalist at The Daily Vox, where she primarily wrote about gender and race, and how they intersect. She was one of the leading journalists covering the #FeesMustFall student protests in 2015. 


At The Daily Vox, Pontsho was the project leader of an anti-street harassment campaign called #sexistSA that aimed to increase awareness about street harassment is South Africa. 


She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree and honours in Media Studies at Wits University. Her honours research focused on the representation of black women in South African magazines and was later published in Communicare, the journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa. She is currently reading for her master's degree in Journalism and Media Studies - also at Wits.  


In 2014, she put forward a policy proposal to Parliament for the provision of free sanitary pads to disadvantaged people who menstruate. She presented it in Parliament in November 2016 and continues to advocate for menstrual health issues.


Pontsho is also a founding member of Feminist Stokvel, a group of eight women who came together with the aim of addressing the many social issues that uniquely face black women in South Africa. 


She is a one of the leading voices on race and gender in a South Africa that is re-defining itself in the aftermath of the 'Rainbow Nation'. She sits on the Board of Advisors for the Centre of Applied Legal Studies and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the South Africa Media Innovation Program.  



Awards

  • 2016 Vodacom Journalism Awards: National Young Journalist of the Year
  • 2016 Vodacom Journalism Awards: Young Journalist of the Year - Northern Region
  • 2017 Winner of impactAFRICA's gender and health competition

Publications

Miss-represented: A critical analysis of the visibility of Black women in South African Glamour magazine https://journals.co.za/content/comcare/35/1/EJC195353