The Treatment Action Campaign's Vuyokazi 'Vovo' Gonyela sat down with Maverick Citizen to discuss how she got into the world of health activism, her outlook on civil society and what it takes to be an activist.
There is a quiet intensity that envelops Treatment Action Campaign Deputy General Secretary Vuyokazi Gonyela. It immediately draws you in, making you viscerally aware that this is someone of significance. She is from a village called Diphala, in Whittlesea nestled on the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape, but currently resides in Johannesburg.
She comes from a family of healthcare workers and at an early age the principles of healthcare were instilled in her by her mother and aunt, both community healthcare workers. She credits them for nurturing the health activist in her which, she says, needs to emanate from a place of love of helping people.
Gonyela remembers returning from university in 2003 and being told by her sister, who was in high school then, about a group of people who wanted to form an organisation called TAC that advocated for access to HIV treatment. She decided to become a member so that she could learn more.
She was soon appointed as one...