Ever wonder what happens when people stop caring about politics? If we don’t actively engage in politics in South Africa, we’re playing with our own futures. This was Redi Tlhabi’s warning when we sat down to chat with her about the role of women in politics in the country. The formidable journalist and acclaimed author joined the Marie Claire team as the guest editor for the Badass Issue. Here’s the galvanising video:



Redi has always been passionate about politics, but above all she strives for justice. Author of one 2017’s most important books Khwezi, she has never backed away from talking about pressing issues in the country. In these volatile and uncertain times, she urges people, especially women, to be more involved in politics.

‘People are starting to win elections based on lies,’ she tells us. ‘Look at the outcome of the US elections. If women are not in politics then nobody is going to speak up for them. Nobody is going to prioritise women’s concerns.’

Today, South Africa still faces some of the greatest gender inequality and gender-based violence issues in the world. Without strong female voices in politics and people backing these figures, change will not happen quickly enough. But this is one of the biggest challenges we face today, as people become more and more disillusioned with politics.

‘All over the world right now we are at a very dangerous place because the best and the brightest are not being drawn to politics because they’re very sick of the lies, sick of the corruption, and sick of a lack of integrity.

‘We can look away and pretend it’s not happening, but that won’t change anything. As a country we’re going to have to take responsibility for what our politicians are up to at every level, because sooner or later it will come back to haunt us.

‘I would say that the people who are looting and stealing and causing wars; when the ramifications of the looting hit us in the face, they’ll be gone. So if you’re going to be the kind of young person who’s disengaged, who’s apathetic, it is your inheritance being wasted. It is your nationhood that is being threatened. So you need to care and keep politicians on their toes.’

Grab your copy of the April edition of Marie Claire. The Badass Issue (guest edited by Redi Tlhabi) is packed full of inspirational stories of fearless South African women. On shelves now – or you can order a copy online and it will be delivered to you.