07/09/2017 11:41 BST | Updated 12/09/2017 13:00 BST

Transgender People Should Be Able To Use The Bathroom Of Their Choice, Says Trans Activist Yaya Mavundla

She also spoke about Home Affairs and healthcare access for trans people in SA.


Celebrity publicist Yaya Mavundla was born in rural Kranskop, in KwaZulu-Natal. It's an area she calls "very dry, with no water or electricity" but one she loves very much.

At 16, while in high school, Mavundla thought she was gay. Until she came to Johannesburg a few years later. "That's when I actually discovered that I was transgender."

The part-time DJ sat down with HuffPost SA to discuss her life as a trans woman in South Africa in 2017 -- and her views on bathroom use, healthcare access and why she does not see the need to have sex reassignment surgery.

A post shared by Yaya Mavundla (@yayarsa) on

On pronouns

The 29-year-old says she has been to a number of events where people know she is a trans woman, yet "find a reason to introduce her as gay or refer to me as a he."

She made an example of the passing away of her friend, Iko Mash, earlier this year. "Iko had a lot of friends and journalists who knew she was a she, yet they constantly referred to her as a he. It's unfortunate that even people who are so close to you who do that."

"A person you were dating for so long when you fight they refer to you as a he, to just kill your spirit."

On bathrooms

"There's no way I'd use male bathrooms because I'm a woman."

Mavundla believes people should go to a bathroom they feel comfortable to use. She emphasises, however, that this depends on the "space you are in."

"I remember this one time, I was going to a club, I got there, and the bouncer is like can I search you and I was like no but I'm female and he asked for my ID, then gave me this look..."

On sex reassignment surgery

On Home Affairs

On Healthcare