Roché Kester (top row, third to the left) poses with her group during the mock campaign exercise at South Africa’s political training.
Congress of the People (COPE), one of South Africa’s more progressive opposition parties, has hired Victory Institute trainee, Roché Kester, to join the communications department in their parliamentary office in Cape Town. Roché participated in our political leadership training in South Africa from February 2017 -August 2017.
Kester recalls the opportunity arising through COPE’s visit to the final training module in August 2017. Their deputy secretary general, Deidre Carter, approached one of Kester’s fellow trainees, Jabu Tugwana, who referred Roché to the opportunity to work as a communications and media correspondent due to the high-level skills that she displayed as the communications director of the training module’s “mock campaign”. Kester applied in December 2017, went through a grueling interview in February 2018, and was offered the job the following week.
Roché hopes to streamline the communications of the party, create more visibility, and create positive publicity for COPE. She wants the members of the party to be aware of events and media opportunities and the public to be aware of the positions of the party. She also aims to capitalize on opportunities that speak to the party’s stances and create personalized responses to constituents and enquiries.
Roché cites skills obtained via training with Victory Institute and Triangle Project as helping her succeed in her career. The training’s insight into the details of the political landscape and focus on the government’s operation familiarized Kester with political jargon and party organization. As there are specific ways in which politics is publicized, the training also helped her to strategize for a political party. The skills she acquired equipped her to think about messaging, personalization, and visibility that otherwise she says she would have had to pick up on the job.
Openly LGBTQ people in visible, public non-elected positions paves the way for more to follow in their footsteps, and for out people to run for office and win elections. In South Africa, where the legalization of same-sex marriage passed in 2006 and support for equality continues to rise, it is important for out people to participate in their democracies to maintain the momentum and make their voices heard. South Africa’s progressive views are also of particular importance within the continent of Africa which tends to trend more conservatively.