MEET THE NEW DIRECTOR: LGBTI AND OTHERS IN THE OFFICE OF THE GAUTENG PREMIER 

Meet the new Director: LGBTI and others in the Office of the Gauteng Premier 

 

ROCHE KESTER

Born and bred a Captonian. Roche Kester relocated to Gauteng in 2019. She holds a Bachelors in Arts from the University of the Western Cape in English, Psychology and Sociology. An avid arts lover and huge foodie. 

Daily Motivation

Equity motivates me. There are so many imbalances of access in our society that marginalizes minorities or previously disadvantaged groups, and any effort or change I can bring to ensure greater access eases me somewhat. 

Employment history

I have worked in predominantly two sectors- media and advocacy. 

I worked for publishing companies LAPA Uitgewers in the Marketing department and at NB Publishers (Media 24) as an Account Manager. Thereafter I made a move to Parliament where I worked as the Media Liaison for The Congress of the People. 

I then moved to Gauteng to join OUT LGBT Well-being as the Hat Crime Manager, and thereafter Triangle Project as the Political Advocacy Co-ordinator. 

Whilst at Parliament I was privileged to be front and center working on the Civil Union Amendment Bill, the Private members Bill by COPE member of Parliament Deidre Carter. This job entailed constant engagement with LGBTIQA+ communities. 

I also volunteered as a radio host for community radio station Bush Radio where I co-hosted and LGBTI radio show for three years that snagged an EVH Media Award. This experience gave me huge insights to the nuances and lived realities of queer people from all walks of life. 

Previous job

I spent two months as the Political Advocacy Co-ordinator at Triangle Project. Prior to that I was the Hate Crime Manager at OUT LGBT Well-being for almost 3 years. I managed their advocacy program called Love Not Hate. The role was to monitor, assist and escalate hate crimes with the aim of justice for the victims of survivors. I was also part of various working groups that aimed to bring about policy and legislation reform for LGBTI persons, I co-ordinated the LBQ safe spaces at the organization and ensured visibility through community engagement and media campaigns. LGBTI sensitization training also formed part of my responsibilities. 

Why The Move

The opportunity to serve in my current position was too hard to pass by. 

Current job

My title is – Director: LGBTI and others in the Office of the Gauteng Premier 

Responsibilities in the current job

The duties of my current job are as follows: 

 

Establishment of a LGBTQIA+ Desk  •Manage the Institutionalisation of LGBTQIA+ issues in the provincial Departments ‘Manage the intergovernmental coordination structures by establishing the LGBTQIA Provincial Forum to promote the rights of the sector  •Development of policies and strategies from the human right perspective  • Establish Partnership between state and civil society • Development of Interventions programmes •Manage financial and supply chain management and good governance  •Promote mainstreaming of services to the LGBTQIA+ sector  • Review and analyse acts, policies and frameworks which promote the rights of LGBTQIA+ sector  • Implement new programmes to assist targeted groups to access socio-economic opportunities  •Support the Premier and the province in championing the campaign against hate crimes.
 

Characteristics of someone who would succeed in this new role 

I think it helps to understand governmental structures and how they operate. It helps to know how to advocate for LGBTI rights and to pinpoint the needs of the community. Staying steadfast to ensure that there isn’t a compromise on what access and safety means for LGBTI persons and being strategic in advocating for those human rights. 

Challenges in the job compared to your previous job

My concern is around buy-in and commitment and implementation of various government departments. In essence this role involves the oversight of programmatic planning by various departments. Another concern is around budget and costing plans that will be beneficial to LGBTI persons. 

What do you like best about your new job?

The opportunity to change the system from the inside out. A lot of contestation happens in relation to government and service delivery and the LGBTI community. My hope is that having a queer voice at this level of government will lead to better inclusion and access to LGBTI persons. 

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