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Women's Month: Phumzile van Damme

As we celebrate Women's month - join JacaNews in saluting the movers, shakers, trendsetters and game changers in our society.

Five questions to DA MP Phumzile Van Damme:

Phumzile van Damme_jacanews
File photo: Sibahle Motha

1.  Why did you choose politics? 

I'm a very shy person, I am very introverted I don't enjoy a lot of attention. But the thing that gets me going, that gets me passionate and gets me excited is the people of South Africa. It's on behalf of the people of South Africa  that I am involved in politics, that I do what I do and they are the reason I get up in the morning -  to make sure that every single person can make a success of their life. 


2.  Was being a politician always at the top of your to-do list?

I studied political science and law, and initially I wanted to become a lawyer but that didn't quite work out. Politics appealed to me a bit more. After university I worked as a researcher for the DA in parliament and I did that for six years and worked in different roles. I also did a small stint as the spokesperson for the Western Cape MEC for Finance. My last job as a staffer was the head of media for the DA in parliament. In 2014, I applied to be a Member of Parliament and here I am.

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3.  What do you love most about your job?

My job is high pressured and demanding. I try very hard to express myself so that people know who I am. Sometimes the personal criticism and personal attacks get a bit too much, but I know why I am doing this. I am doing this for the people of South Africa, to build a better South Africa, that is what keeps me going. You need to remember the "why". Why are doing something, why you are doing the specific job. It's not even a job, it's a calling. It's more than just a job. 


4.  What is your message to your younger self?

When I was a teenager I was very insecure and not sure about myself.  At university I made a lot of mistakes. What I would tell myself is to relax because everything works out. I would also tell myself to be a little more confident in myself. I would work more on my confidence. 


5.  What is your message to other women this Women's month?

We need to be loud and stand up for our rights. We need to push and make sure that we are given the same opportunities that men are given. If there is any discrimination we must challenge it and we must not be quiet.

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