My name is Yasmine Luhandjula, and I am the Chief Editor for She Evolves World. My role is to plan, manage and produce quality, engaging and informative content for our readers. My goal is to elevate our content to capture the essence, authenticity and inspiration found within the stories and experiences shared on our online magazine and social media platforms. Since taking on this role, I have gained the courage to actively pursue my purpose and to unapologetically take a seat at the table. I hope to use my role as Chief Editor to ignite that same courage for African women worldwide.
Before taking on this role, I was fortunate to act as the Campaigns Coordinator for the African Branch of the Climate Reality Project. This international non-governmental organization focuses on climate action through climate literacy in all social spheres. Prior to that, after completing my Bachelors of Law degree, I served a 2-year mandate as a Candidate Attorney, where I developed a proficiency as a legal professional and then qualified as an Attorney (Legal Practitioner) of the High Court of South Africa. Thereafter, I pursued a Masters of Law degree in Human Rights Law and Climate Change Law. I am currently under a scholarship pursuing a Doctors of Law degree. I consider myself a human rights defender who believes that African voices should play a fundamental role in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) and climate change.
I was introduced to She Evolves in 2014 when it was called GirlZtalk under the umbrella of Seed Community. Although I was not formally part of the team, I have contributed to the organization in various capacities for at least five years. In 2020, when She Evolves was officially launched, I was part of the masterminds in the brainstorming process together with the founder Christina Vestey and co-founder Phindile Sithole-Spong. I have since been working as a writer and Facebook manager. My writing is mostly inspired by the healthcare knowledge I obtained in my undergraduate studies as a pharmacy student and my experience as a cancer survivor. Amongst many other writing genres, like book reviews, storytelling, sharing tips and tricks from tried experiences, I highly advocate for women’s health and well-being.
The passion for writing, or rather to be recognized and heard, arose as early as I was 11 years young. When I finally got the opportunity and platform to write with the help of none other than Christina Vestey, Phindile Sithole-Spong, and Dorah Marema, it was a dream come true. All the support from the amazing team made the experience worthwhile.
I am a lover of simple things, although I value quality and cleanliness. My inspiration in life comes from my upbringing, which was not close to sweet nor easy. With each moment that I find myself still breathing, I am grateful. Grateful to know and be certain that I still have a chance to change the narrative of my life’s story however way it fits.
I am a firm believer in God, and I find comfort in knowing that there is a higher power, something bigger than myself, bigger than everything perceived by all human senses.
Before working at She Evolves, I was a student at Rhodes University, where I conferred my bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical studies (B.Pharm) in the year 2019. In between my studies, I also gained some working experience from a retail pharmacy in my hometown Thohoyandou.
Having been with She Evolves since its early days when it was called GirlZtalk. Over the years I have held several roles and was part of the brainstorming team for the She Evolves that exists today.
Prior to working with She Evolves, I ran a successful HIV and sexual health consultancy company that put me in touch with women from all walks of life. This experience made me realize that African women are the most vulnerable to a number of social issues. But also that they are the most willing to change, grow and evolve, which is what She Evolves is about. It is also why have stayed with She Evolves as I see it not only as a driver for change and growth within myself but also for the women who form a part of our greater community.
One of my biggest drivers is knowing that we are not just working to share and amplify the voices of African women. But also to encourage them to stand tall in who they are. This reminds me of a South African saying that goes ‘Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo’ which translated means, ‘You Strike a woman, You Strike a Rock’. It is this resilience that inspires me to continue to honour women and share knowledge that can help them better fortify themselves against a world that is often intent on destroying them. This is also why I truly believe that to see true and long-lasting change, we need to ensure that African women have the space to share their stories, and to truly be heard and seen.
It is also why I love being a part of the She Evolves team. Because the space that we have created is one of true friendship and sisterhood, where we each can share parts of ourselves and are encouraged to stand in our truth, no matter what it is. I truly hope that as we continue to grow and evolve that we can be of service to African women everywhere and continue to share stories that help us all feel seen, heard, understood and also help us heal.
I am the founder of SheEvolves, chairman and founder of SEED Community which is the parent organisation of SheEvolves.
I was raised in Australia by extraordinary women, namely my mother and four older sisters. I have two daughters who, in many ways, have raised me too and they continue to be my greatest teachers. I have been surrounded by women of all ages from different countries whose life stories have informed and shaped my own.
At SheEvolves, I see my role as the coordinator and responsible for creating an environment where we can realise our vision as a collective. My passion for creating spaces where Black and Brown African women can share their voices has grown more fervent. In communities across Africa, women are often the drivers of change, the solution givers, the nurturers of life, the wisdom keepers and the fabric that holds communities together. The most vulnerable to the ever-present social, economic, and environmental challenges, constantly rising with resilience, grace, and hope. And yet, as we witness the increasing blatant injustices against women, Black and Brown African women too often remain without a platform. SheEvolves is our way of lifting the veil, engaging, and amplifying women’s voices across the continent through storytelling. Whilst our life experiences may vastly differ, our shared humanity binds us all. The stories we share reflect the African word ‘ubuntu‘, which means, ‘I am because you are‘.
I had no experience with online platforms before I set up GirlZtalk, which has evolved into SheEvolves. Yet, it was the solution I arrived at when listening to the needs of young women. When something speaks to me deeply, I don’t fear the unfamiliarity of the path or the high risk of failure. On the contrary, I fear the consequences of not even trying. As a team, we have been able to push forward, climb mountains, and overcome innumerable hurdles to continue to expand, to hold our dreams close of bringing together and sharing the incredible voices and stories of Black and Brown African women.
The journey to SheEvolves began with a road trip to Venda, north of South Africa, with 20 female university students in a quest to discover the challenges of being a girl growing up in South Africa today. Over ten days, we connected with hundreds of young women, all with a story to tell. Their stories were bound to silence, entwined with so many of society’s taboos. For most, it was the first time they felt safe sharing their story. We documented our journey in an award-winning film called GirlZtalk.
Witnessing girls speak up for the first time about their life experiences and feeling safe to share their stories left an indelible mark. I knew we needed to create a safe space for young African women to connect, share their challenges, and access information to make informed choices. Soon after, I established GirlZtalk as an online platform. With Dorah Marema (SEED Director) and later Phindile Sithole Spong, GirlZtalk became a movement with online and offline platforms. Six years later, with Phindile, we rebranded GirlZtalk to SheEvolves. As our lives evolved and led us into new stages, we wanted to embrace this with our community, embarking on a new journey.