“I am a normal South African who happens to be extremely pissed off at you.”
These words appear in one of Kavisha Pillay’s frequent missives addressed to President Jacob Zuma.
But, as much as she insists she is, Pillay is not normal. Unlike most young citizens, the 24-year-old spends her time confronting “head on” what she considers to be the greatest threat to democracy in South Africa: corruption.
A digital communities manager and activist at the Corruption Watch nongovernmental organisation based in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, Pillay admits to being “plagued” by the numerous corruption scandals surrounding Zuma and his government.
“Nkandlagate, Guptagate; it just doesn’t end. My job is to keep people informed about what’s happening around corruption in this country. Right now, there’s unfortunately a lot to say,” she says.
In 2012, the Lenasia-bred Pillay (“I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth,” is another of her frequent quips) graduated from the University of Johannesburg with a journalism degree.
She says she’s part of a generation of young South Africans who are angry at the state’s failure to fight corruption; instead it has “created a platform” for it.
“As a result of Zuma’s actions, we are going backwards as a country. Because of how he has acted, he has plunged a promising country into a deep moral crisis,” Pillay maintains.
Her stance, and blogs critical of Zuma and other senior government officials, often draw the ire of her targets.
“I’ve never received any response from Zuma,” she says, laughing. “But high-ranking ANC members have contacted Corruption Watch to tell them they should pay more attention to the kind of people they employ.”
Pillay acknowledges she’s unlikely to ever be on “good terms” with the present government.
“As long as the ANC allows Zuma to be at the helm, things look bleak. We need a change of leadership. On the optimistic side, I meet so many young leaders out there who I believe can make major contributions towards turning South Africa around.”
Maybe she’s one of them?
“I’m just normal,” she replies. And still pissed off.