Written by Bambanani Gwedla
Growing up, I always had a passion and desire for helping others and using my knowledge to be of service to others. Enrolling and completing a BA degree in Social sciences at the University of Johannesburg fueled this long childhood dream of mine. More than that, it opened my eyes to different ways of understanding the challenges that our society faces and different ways of relating to people.
From early on in my university career, I would get particularly excited whenever I attended a module with a gender component. I felt particularly strongly affiliated with topics discussed in these lectures. Within the social sciences, I soon found my area of interest: gender and feminist studies.
During my Honours degree in Industrial Sociology, I delved deeper into gender and feminist studies in my honours research project. In this project, I looked at the attitudes that students have towards family planning, and by the time I had completed my research project, I was more than convinced that gender was the area I wanted to focus on! My research interest in gender continues in my Master’s research dissertation, where I will explore another area of gender. I will be looking at gender within spaces and how gender and space work together. More specifically I am interested in gender norms and gender dynamics and whether these have changed or have been impacted by the move to the virtual learning space as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In short, being part of the fruSTRAIGHTingthenorm team was an opportunity I could not miss! The project both aligned with my career aspirations as well as my ambition to help improve the world. The fruSTRAIGHTingthenorm project is one way in which I challenge the issues that our society faces and have made a norm regarding gender, sexuality and sex. I also see it as a learning opportunity for myself as I gain knowledge from experts in the field of heteronormativity, gender and sexuality and work towards fruSTRAIGHTingthenorms regarding heteronormativity in South Africa.