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Broadcaster Najma Khota - a trailblazer for women’s rights

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Last week Wednesday SACRED (South African Centre for Religious Equality and Diversity) hosted Najma Khota, a broadcast journalist, radio and TV presenter, who is also a therapist and trauma counsellor.
by OWN CORRESPONDENT | Apr 06, 2016

In contemporary South Africa, the promotion of equal rights for women has created conflicts with those who argue that such rights violate religious beliefs and cultural traditions. Potential tensions between religion and culture present multiple daily dilemmas for women. 

SACRED said in a media release that Khota discussed questions such as: Is it possible for women to hold together their identities in a liberating way? Can women be true to their ethnic racial identity, or faith and tradition without confusion?

She started her journey 20 years ago as a radio presenter. Against all odds she founded a community radio station and later co-founded two others. All were unique to the country at the time.

Khota was told that according to Islamic teachings women were not allowed to be heard “on air". She did her own research into this “male-dominated assumption” and gained support from the community - proving that there was no basis for what some claimed as an Islamic rule.

She became a voice for women through her platform on radio and television, a household name locally, and a “go-to person” in her community for many women seeking advice on all fronts.

Khota pursued her career as a counselling therapist concurrently with being a radio talk show host and television presenter. She is also the director of "Forever Blooming", a stress and trauma centre which offers counselling services from disadvantaged backgrounds.

She lives by the adage: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us,” quoting R W Emerson. 

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