S2 Ep12: Imposed Identities

Nov 29, 2018
In our final episode supported by the Ford Foundation, Jillian talks with Mbongiseni Buthelezi. Mbongiseni is the Executive Director of PARI, the Public Affairs Research Institute, a Johannesburg-based non-profit organisation that studies the effectiveness of state institutions in service delivery and infrastructure to better support South African citizens. An academic through and through, Mbongiseni is interested in how the state interfaces with citizens in areas that include land restitution, the role of traditional leaders in governance, heritage and public archives. In this interview, Mbongiseni explores the roots of Zulu identity, and the extent to which one of the most storied cultures in South Africa was a story told to him - but not about him. Mbongiseni’s story is shaped by violence. The acute violence of a childhood spent in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as the so-called slow violence of modern day South Africa - and, indeed, much of the world. In exploring the construct of Zulu identity, Mbongiseni illuminates a much wider issue: what’s at stake for the powerful when they construct stories of the past and impose them on people in the present.

S2 Ep11: I Dream Of A World

Nov 15, 2018
In our 11th episode supported by the Ford Foundation, Jillian talks with Nomzamo Zondo, the director of litigation at SERI, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa. SERI is a non-profit human rights organisation that works with communities, social movements, and others to challenge inequality and realise socio-economic rights. In this sobering and moving conversation, Nomzamo offers a clear-eyed take on the state of South Africa today, offering global insights on injustice and inequality, and the importance of living thoughtfully, with intention and empathy. Hers is a deeply human take – one that weaves together her experiences as a daughter, mother, pastor and lawyer. Amidst the disappointments of surviving a system that rejects people on a daily basis, Nomzamo finds hope. Hope that we will one day be able to see and hear each other for the full breadth of our humanity.

S2 Ep10: Tipping the Table Over

Oct 09, 2018
We are nearing the end of an amazing season supported by the Ford Foundation, and after interviewing these remarkable activists who have so courageously shared their stories, we decided to interview the funder supporting them – and specifically Nicolette Naylor, the women behind the scenes at Ford Foundation’s Southern Africa office. In our 10th episode supported by the Ford Foundation, Jillian speaks with Nicolette Naylor, Regional Director for the Ford Foundation in Southern Africa where she focuses the organisation’s grant making on human rights and governance, with particular emphasis on advancing the human and socio-economic rights of poor and vulnerable populations. She is passionate about dismantling prejudice, inequality and patriarchy, and supporting transformational organisations and social justice leaders, including those we’ve been privileged to interview on this podcast. Beyond all this, Nicolette is a powerful black woman who grew up in apartheid South Africa, a driven overachiever who speaks candidly about the personal cost of finally getting a seat at the table. We met Nicolette in her office in Johannesburg, surrounded by photographs of her with the likes of Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. It was a setting that made this conversation about her journey from growing up in one of Cape Town’s townships all the more striking.

S2 Ep9: An Uncommon Privilege

Sep 02, 2018
In our 9th episode supported by the Ford Foundation, Jillian speaks with Ricki Kgositau, the Executive Director of Accountability International, a think tank that uses accountability to improve human rights and social justice for marginalised people. Herself a young, African trans woman, Ricki is devoted to engaging with youth, women, girls, sex workers, LGBTIQ persons, and survivours of crime in Africa. Ricki's focus is on what she calls the "intersectionalities of struggles," grappling with human rights, gender identity, spirituality and socio economics. And for her, this is deeply personal work. She brings her own experience and stories into every aspect of our conversation. Ricki completed her graduate studies in International Relations, with a specialty in International Human Rights Law and Diplomacy. She was also a 2016 Mandela-Washington Fellow of the US State Department's Young African Leaders Initiative. Beyond being a human rights advocate, Ricki is a fashion designer, an organisational leader, a wife, sister and daughter, and a deeply spiritual person. She is, in her own words, privileged. And this interview Ricki causes us to consider what true privilege really is.

S2 Ep8: Our Journeys Are Not The Same

Jul 18, 2018
In our 8th episode supported by the Ford Foundation, Jillian talks with Mandisa Shandu. Mandisa is the Co-Director and an Attorney at the activist organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi - Xhosa for Dare to Know. A graduate of the University of Cape Town law school, she heads Ndifuna Ukwazi’s law clinic. Through her work, Mandisa seeks to advance urban land justice in the city of Cape Town by providing legal support and advocacy to communities and social movements. From a middle class family, Mandisa had every opportunity to ride the wave of the New South Africa towards corporate success. But she felt a different calling: she dared to know - and to act. Mandisa has made a career of stepping out of her comfort zone to fight for the dignity of her fellow South Africans. In our conversation, Mandisa takes us through her fight for equal access to housing, education and employment opportunities for all. Here is a driven social activist, with a clear sense of place in South Africa’s struggle for social justice – a struggle that Mandisa vividly describes as far from over.

S2 Ep7: We Are All Migrants

May 27, 2018
In our 7th episode supported by the Ford Foundation, Jillian interviews Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh. Kaajal is a human rights lawyer and executive director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre. She operates on the frontline of courtrooms and refugee detention centres across Southern Africa, bringing justice and empathy to people whom most of us understand only through news headlines. At a time when many of us are retreating to our geographic corners and comfortable identities, Kaajal is navigating the middle ground. A space between “us and them”. A restorer of dignity and a voice for the voiceless, Kaajal works through the courts to help chart a principled path through increasingly difficult issues of identity and belonging.

S2 Ep6: Changing the Course of Inevitability

May 04, 2018
In our sixth episode supported by the Ford Foundation, Jillian speaks with Melissa Fourie, the Executive Director of the Centre for Environmental Rights. The Centre’s mission is to advance environmental rights in South Africa – a country with stark social and economic inequalities. Environmental and human rights are tightly intertwined here, around issues like access to clean water and sanitation, freedom from pollution, and social justice campaigns against fracking and corporate waste. In this conversation, Melissa explores how – on the surface - her work protecting South Africa’s environment is actually advancing the rights of its people.

S2 Ep5: Putting Discomfort at the Heart of Comfort

Feb 23, 2018
In our fifth episode supported by the Ford Foundation, Jillian speaks with Axolile Notywala and Mandisa Dyantyi, the Co-Directors of the Social Justice Coalition. SJC is a Cape Town-based organisation that works to advance the constitutional rights to life, dignity, equality, freedom and safety for all South Africans - but particularly those living in townships and informal settlements. Ax and Mandisa are passionate activists and leaders addressing issues of inequality in Cape Town, South Africa, and the world. They call themselves “The Terrible Two” but there’s nothing terrible about them: young, black, educated and driven by a deep sense of righteous purpose - they are South Africa’s greatest hope and representative of its most profound dilemma. How do you escape poverty and discrimination? And what happens when you return home and try to help others do the same?

S2 Ep4: Disrupt the Corrupt

Jan 23, 2018
In our fourth episode supported by the Ford Foundation, Jillian speaks with David Lewis, the executive director of Corruption Watch, who’s mission in their own words is to “Disrupt the Corrupt.” Corruption Watch believes that “it is our right and duty to hold our leaders to account.” An interesting role at a time when in South Africa, around the world, power holders are under intense scrutiny. David is a product of South Africa’s struggle for liberation. A union leader with a fundamental belief in the power of the collective. Today, David is a leader in a very different kind of struggle – engaging citizens to examine and rewrite our relationship to power and privilege.


S2 Ep3: Pulling People Towards Your Truth

Dec 27, 2017
In our third interview supported by the Ford Foundation, Jillian speaks with Rehad Desai, a documentary filmmaker and producer and the CEO of Uhuru Productions. Rehad has produced over 20 films to date, including Born into Struggle, Miners Shot Down and the Giant is Falling. Born into Struggle - which received international acclaim at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival - is his most personal film. The film follows the life of Rehad’s father, ANC activist Barney Desai, and the impact that South Africa’s struggle against apartheid had on Rehad’s childhood and who he has become today. Miners Shot Down - Rehad’s most well-known film and a 2015 International Emmy award winner - tells the tragic story of the 2012 police massacre of 34 miners in Marikana, South Africa, who were fighting for higher wages and a better life. Rehad’s stories are at once intimate and universal, and through them he seeks to not only prompt reflection, but also forge a new kind of human connection.

S2 Ep2: We Dare Not Be Simple

Nov 25, 2017
In our second interview supported by the Ford Foundation, Jillian speaks with Bonita Meyersfeld, the Director of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies and an associate professor at the School of Law, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Bonita is a gender-based violence expert trained in South Africa and the US, with a background as an advisor to the House of Lords of the United Kingdom. She is the founding member of the organisation Lawyers Against Abuse and the author of the book "Domestic Violence and International Law". Against a backdrop of increasing public discourse and awareness of sexual and gender-based violence, Jillian and Bonita explore the complex moral realities of violence, the concept of human progress, and our systemic causes of and responses to harm.

S2 Ep1 Riff: Kene Esom on Masculinity

Oct 11, 2017
In today's excerpt, Jillian speaks with Kene Esom about the changing nature of masculinity and the role of male identity, which was part of our larger conversation with Kene on queer inclusion and intersectionalities. Until very recently, Kene Esom was the Director of AMSHeR, African Men for Sexual Health and Rights. He is a Barrister-at-Law advocating for marginalised communities including unaccompanied/separated children, refugees and asylum seekers, survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, and sexual minorities on the African continent. In the full interview, Jillian and Kene discuss the concepts of othering and being "queer", intersectionalities and privilege, and the roles of religion, culture and social justice towards a more equitable and empathetic world. Listen at http://soundpage.fm/courageousconversations/7137.

S2 Ep1: Queer Nation with Kene Esom

Oct 11, 2017
Our first in a series of interviews supported by the Ford Foundation, Jillian speaks with Kene Esom who until very recently was the Director of AMSHeR, African Men for Sexual Health and Rights. Kene is a Barrister-at-Law advocating for marginalised communities including unaccompanied/separated children, refugees and asylum seekers, survivours of sexual and gender-based violence, and sexual minorities on the African continent. Jillian and Kene discuss the concepts of othering and being "queer", intersectionalities and privilege, and the roles of religion, culture and social justice towards a more equitable and empathetic world.

S1 Ep6: On Beauty

Jul 31, 2017
In our first episode of Season 2, Jillian interviews Tamburai Chirume, an up and coming fashion designer and entrepreneur in Cape Town - and half of the mother and daughter label ONEOFEACH - about creating beauty and the more personal side of troublemaking. From Zimbabwe to South Africa to the British Museum, growing up in a society fraught with racism and inequality has had a profound effect on Tamburai. Join us as she talks about juggling her feelings of insider-outsider, anxiety and well-being, finding beauty in the every day and making her own way in the world.


S1 Ep5: Farming for Radical Empathy

Dec 04, 2016
In our final episode for 2016, Jillian and Jenn talk with Rehann Calitz and Howard Drakes of Farm This City, about radical empathy and how with a single seed, a farmer and a sprinkle of empathy, we can re-imagine our cities as living ecosystems that sustain life and "farm a solution" for us all. Learn more about Farm This City: www.farmthiscity.co.za

S1 Ep4: The Good Wife

Nov 08, 2016
In episode four, Jillian Reilly interviews Melanie Burke, a powerhouse in the Cape Town development community who while has always been a troublemaker in the professional sense, decided to dig a little deeper in the courageous conversations that she was having at home. Here, Melanie talks about her journey to becoming a "courageous wife" and finding the balance between her work and personal life.

S1 Ep3: Braveheart

Nov 08, 2016
In episode three, Jillian interviews Kayin Scholtz from the South African Education Project (SAEP) about the concepts of courage, bravery and masculinity. Upon first meeting one might consider Kayin an unconventional troublemaker, but through this conversation you'll get a glimpse of how he approaches conversations in his daily life with reflection and deep listening.

S1 Ep2: Showing Up

Nov 03, 2016
In episode two, a continuation of Jillian and Jenn's first conversation, they discuss what it means to "show up" in our professional and personal relationships - and how to overcome the fears and insecurities that may get in the way of our efforts to live courageously.

S1 Ep1: The Conversations I Never Had

Nov 03, 2016
Courageous Conversations is a series exploring the art of showing up authentically in our everyday spaces. Created by Jillian Reilly and Jenn Warren, the podcast challenges us to live bravely and with compassion during this critical time in history, in an effort to become more effective changemakers. In the first episode, Jillian and Jenn discuss Jillian's book "Shame: Confessions of an Aid Worker in Africa" and explore some of her missed conversations and opportunities to live more courageously.