Transgender activist Yaya Mavundla graces the cover of Glamour SA

Yaya Mavundla for Glamour. Picture: Silver Casamero.

Yaya Mavundla for Glamour. Picture: Silver Casamero.

Published Mar 1, 2024


What better way to celebrate International Women’s Month than by honouring transgender women?

For its March digital cover, Glamour South Africa featured transgender woman Yaya Mavundla as the lead.

Not only is the cover iconic but it’s fitting considering that March is International Women’s month and trans-women need the same visibility and recognition as cishet women.

Mavundla, who partnered with condom brand Durex for the cover, feels that, as a LGBTQIA+ activist, it is her duty to spark a conversation about safe sex and inclusivity.

Speaking to the gloss, Mavundla said she never planned to be an activist, it just happened naturally and she couldn’t run from it.

Yaya Mavundla Picture: Thapelo Kekana.

“This was never my plan, it happened organically. People saw me as an inspiration by living my truth. I remember winning my first Feather Award in 2016, and it was because I showed up in spaces that aren’t normally built for women like myself, and I would go there as myself, which created a lot of transgender visibility in the industry and South Africa as a whole,” she told Glamour.

Mavundla has led several campaigns that celebrate transgender people. A favourite was her August 2023 solo exhibition at Constitution Hill, which took place during Women’s Month in South Africa.

Titled “Black, Trans and Bold”, the exhibition spoke a lot about being a black transgender woman, the challenges they face and the boldness it takes to take their power and stand up for themselves in a world that is so against them.

“The exhibition of my paintings stands as a statement against the erasure and marginalization of transgender women’s experiences.

“Through my paintings, I aim to empower transgender women and ensure everyone who has a dream knows it is possible, you can be and do whatever you want as long as you believe in the dream and put in the work,” Mavundla said.

Mavundla is a multifaceted artist known for her impeccable fashion style and excellent modelling skills. She is also a host and lives her life the way she sees fit.