Global Citizen’s Action Taker of the Week: Zandisile Fila from Cape Town

Author: Lerato Mogoatlhe

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Global Citizen action takers like Zandisile Fila are vital in our mission to end extreme poverty by 2030. Each of you has the power to raise your voice and demand change from your political leaders, from businesses and the private sector, from philanthropists, and more. Change isn’t going to happen unless we shout for it loud enough. Join the movement by taking action here to help end extreme poverty

Global Citizen campaigns on the 17 United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which work together to help end extreme poverty by 2030. Our work, and indeed vision, are driven by the actions taken by Global Citizens. 

By raising your voices — through taking actions like sending tweets and emails, signing petitions, calling up your political representatives — you’re reminding world leaders that creating a world that’s fair and equal is one of our generation’s biggest priorities.

Since 2009, Global Citizens have taken over 24.2 million actions, resulting in commitments worth $48.4 billion. That’s already impacted 880 million lives globally to date.

Zandisile Fila, from Cape Town in South Africa, is one such action taker. He is passionate about social justice, and wants to be part of the global movement for change. We asked Fila why he joined the Global Citizen movement, and what being a Global Citizen means to him.

What inspired you to become a Global Citizen?

I was introduced to Global Citizen in 2018. News circulated about the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 concert in South Africa, and I got intrigued and followed the news. 

I went further into the Global Citizen website and learned of the great work that has been done by the organisation, and how I could get involved. I immediately signed up and became a Global Citizen and started taking actions. I also became a Global Citizen because I want to be part of [the movement for] global change. After all, I’m part of the global community. I needed to do something.

Do you remember the first Global Citizen action you took? What was it and why did you take it?

It was sending an email to the Presidency of South Africa to provide sanitary pads to every school girl in the country. This [action] hit home for me because I come from a small town of Uitenhage, in the Eastern Cape. The majority of the population earn below the minimum wage and depend on social grants and casual jobs for an income. 

Girls usually don't go to school because they do not have sanitary pads, or if they do go to school they constantly face the dread of being mocked and shamed for not being “clean”.

I have always believed that, if we can give free condoms at schools, clinics, public bathrooms, and so on, then sanitary pads should be just as [freely and widely available]. No girl child should miss school because they're on their period. It's inhumane. It should be illegal.

Why do you think we should all be Global Citizens? 

Well, we are all residents of this planet. Every single person has the power to make a difference, no matter how small, in someone else's life. Change doesn't have to have a monetary value, and even a simple gesture of kindness is enough.

Which issues that Global Citizen campaigns on are the most important to you?

Gender equality and the rights of LGBTQI+ citizens. No person deserves to be marginalised because of their gender or sexual orientation. We all need equal rights, equal pay, equal opportunities, and the right to be heard equally. We are all human and every being needs to be treated as such. 

How has your action-taking with Global Citizen inspired you in your day-to-day life?

I am more aware of my surroundings and take further steps to help the needy when and where I can. I feel more empowered to call out any wrongdoings against anyone regardless of their gender, race, or nationality. With the help of social media, I’m able to make my voice heard in the highest of places that my little siblings can't, so I can fight for them and their rights. 

I’m [also] inspired to further take actions to change the lives of everyone around the globe because I’m not just a South African citizen, I am a Global Citizen.

"Action Taker of the Week" is a Global Citizen series that focuses on the everyday Global Citizens taking action around the world. We’ll be featuring a Q&A with a new action taker every week.

You can join the Global Citizen movement and take action with us here to help achieve the UN's Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030. You can also join us in taking meaningful action against the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus through our Together At Home campaign.