Profiles in Regeneration: Lusi, 27, South Africa

I dream of schools improving their anti-bullying measures to ensure that students and teachers don’t victimize students who identify as LGBT+.

Young people all around the world are working to build a regenerative future. At 27, Lusi Mahote is one of those people. He wants to create a multimedia campaign to support LGBT+ youth in South African school systems who are under constant discrimination.

Lusi Mahote

Regenerative Futures: How are you feeling right now?

Lusi Mahote: Extremely excited and strangely nervous.

RF: What’s a secret your search history can tell us about you?

LM: I’m not sure if it’s much of a secret, but my search engine would reveal that I’m a massive nerd. Okay, maybe not a nerd and more of an autodidactic polymath.

RF: What are you reading/learning about at the moment?

LM: I’m currently expanding my knowledge of mental-health issues and neuropsychology. Seeking to better understand the human mind and how past trauma can hinder progressive growth.

RF: Who is your favorite human and why?

LM: Cliché as it may seem, my grandmother. Her resilience has been the very thing that has gotten her from being a poor girl growing up, to making sure that her kids and grandchildren have every opportunity she never had in life. Having endured so much throughout her life, she’s still managed to push forward and watch her children achieve feats she couldn’t even dream of. She epitomizes the strength and power I wish to have.

RF: Which key moment inspired you to start your project?

LM: It isn’t a specific memory or moment; it’s an amalgamation of traumatic events which I’ve come to realize weren’t unique to me but are a shared queer experience. In 2018 I discovered an article about how a trans girl was bullied and prohibited from dressing according to her gender identity by school teachers in Limpopo. I almost cried. I couldn’t believe that someone would be so vicious as to dehumanize someone like that. I just couldn’t sit by and watch anymore. I needed to do something, so that no LGBT+ child would experience that again.

Rainbow Brains

RF: In two years’ time, what would success with your project look like?

LM: In two years’ time I hope that Rainbow Youth: The Neglected Ones (the documentary element of the project) will have reached the hearts, ears, and eyes of policymakers — and inspired a desire for change. I dream of schools improving their anti-bullying measures to ensure that students and teachers don’t victimize students who identify as LGBT+. I hope to see a drastic change in the conversations about educating our youth on social injustices. These conversations are important for future leaders to have while they are still growing.

RF: If you could focus a large percentage of government funding on one industry or project for the next five to ten years, which would you choose and why?

LM: Haha, this is a hard one. I’d have to dream up a project which incorporates a mass psychological healing process for those affected by apartheid—to heal the PTSD that has been repressed because we had to move on. There is so much trauma in this country caused by the colonization and oppression of people of color. If we healed that trauma, we’d be able to evolve beyond our wildest dreams.

RF: What is the best and worst thing about the education system in your country?

LM: Do you have all day? Haha! In all honesty, nothing is more infuriating than the corruption in the education department. But the best part would be that education in itself empowers youth. It tells them their dreams are limitless. I guess education is amazing because it can bridge the gap between the dreams in your head and the reality of achieving them.

RF: Do you have a message for anyone your age living in the year 2060?

LM: Only let go of your hurt once you’ve worked through it. Otherwise, it’s still infecting your soul and mind.

RF: What inspires or frightens you most about the future?

LM: I am terrified that Africa won’t do away with the archaic and criminal laws which punish, murder, and dehumanize homosexual and trans individuals. It’s heartbreaking just to think about how countries can dedicate laws to ensuring people can’t live as themselves. Imagine the fear those individuals live under. Ironically, my desire to see this condition change is what motivates me to keep working hard. No queers left behind!

RF: Regeneration is…

LM: Paramount for the development of the next generation.

To learn more about Regenerative List finalist Lusi Mahote, click here.

Regenerative Futures

Regenerative Futures is a Gen Z-designed model for a world built upon the principles of regeneration: equity, inclusivity, fluidity, and the pursuit of circularity and abundance. An Irregular Labs Initiative.

Regenerative Futures

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Regenerative Futures is a Gen Z-designed model for a world built upon the principles of equity, fluidity, and sustainability. An Irregular Labs initiative.

Regenerative Futures

Regenerative Futures is a Gen Z-designed model for a world built upon the principles of regeneration: equity, inclusivity, fluidity, and the pursuit of circularity and abundance. An Irregular Labs Initiative.