My name is Lebohang Masango but, you can call me Nova. I am an Anthropology Master’s Candidate at Wits University, a poet, writer and activist who lives and loves in Johannesburg, South Africa. I’m currently working on a bomb thesis about the economy of love and sex in young women’s romantic relationships. (I am proud to say that I refuse to explore love and sex in the lives of African women on the premise of disease or poverty – I’m looking forward to smashing the single story!) I’m also a tattooed brown babe and a feminist badass, depending on who you ask. This space is an extension of my many selves and interests, cultivated from my dreaming and doing life. In my favourite ghazal, Patricia Smith says: “Say a prayer and start slinging”. I do.
You’re welcome to commission me for writing/ speaking/ theorising/ performing/ work. Contact me on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below, I’ve even included my more serious bio, if you’re about that life:
Lebohang Masango is a Master’s candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. She is also a feminist, poet, freelance writer and social commentator. Her research interests include gender, popular culture, representations and new digital media. Her Honours’ ethnography, Of Hair and Brown Girls: Beauty and Femininity in Pretoria, explores race and femininity through hairstyling practices, self-imaging, whiteness and regulations for African girls in a Tshwane primary school. Lebohang is the recipient of the “From Digital to Sexual Revolution: Youth and Mobile Phones in India and South Africa” award for 2017, granted by the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS). Therefore, her current MA research focuses on young, digitally–connected African women in Johannesburg who challenge patriarchy by subverting “sugar daddy” tropes to curate their experiences of love, intimacy and sex. She was recently one of the influencers in Standard Bank’s #Today campaign in which she organised a storytelling event for her original children’s story titled, Mpumi’s Magic Beads in Johannesburg.
Lebohang was the ambassador for the Zazi, Know Your Strength campaign, the sexual health programme across all higher education institutions in South Africa. It advocated positive messaging regarding contraceptives, HIV and AIDS and the importance of self-determination for young women and girls. Her duties included hosting informative roadshows on campuses around the country, attending AIDS conferences and co-composing and starring in the “Zazi” theme song and video which features her poetry alongside singer, Zonke Dikana. In 2014, she was the country’s youth representative at the UNAIDS consultations in Geneva, Switzerland to address sexual health programming concerns with global stakeholders. She was also a member of the Feminist Stokvel, a group of women who hosted public conversations regarding natural hair.
Lebohang’s poetry has been the subject of academic inquiry with Raphael d’Abdon’s “Raising Consciousness Art in Post-Apartheid South Africa: An Exploration of Selected “Subversive” Texts by Young South African Spoken Word Artists and Songwriters” (2014) in Muziki: Journal of Music Research in Africa (Volume 11, Issue 1) and Ragi Bashonga’s “Out Loud: Poetry, Youth Voices and Social Change” (2016) in the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) Review (Volume 14, Issue 2). In 2016, Bashonga also presented a paper on Lebohang’s poetry at the Black Portraitures Conference in Johannesburg. Lebohang performed the opening poems for the Sunday Times Literary Awards and the inaugural NIHSS Book, Creative and Digital Collections Awards in 2016. She has been published in Mike Alfred’s Twelve + One (2014), a book of poetry and interviews with some of Johannesburg’s notable poets. Her poetry features on Hip Hop musician, Reason’s song “Endurance” alongside Hip Hop Pantsula in 2014. She also wrote and co-produced the Nelson Mandela tribute for the 2014 Metro FM Awards.
Lebohang writes for Rookie, an American website for teenage girls, and she used to be a features writer for Essays of Africa magazine. She features in Jet store’s 2016 – 2017 #JetLoveYourself Valentine’s lingerie campaign about body positivity and self-love. She is also in MTV’s “The People vs the Rainbow Nation”, a documentary about student protests, race and gender in post-Apartheid South Africa. She has is regularly invited onto radio stations such as Power FM, Radio 702, Kaya FM and television programmes such as eNCA’s “Live Debate” and SABC 1’s “Shift” to provide social commentary on varying topics including Feminism, identity politics and youth culture. Lebohang was named as one of Elle magazine’s “Women to Watch” in 2014 and as one of ‘Cosmopolitan magazine’s “Awesome Women” in 2016.