Gender and human rights

Pregs Govender

Gender Activist

Tel: +27 21 531 3483

Pregs Govender has dedicated her 30-year career to women’s emancipation and equality. Today, Govender builds women’s leadership in politics through a project called Women’s Lip. At the inception of democracy, she led the Women’s National Coalition, which mobilised about two million women to influence the drafting of the Constitution.
As an African National Congress member of Parliament from 1994, she convened the gender and economic group of the finance committee and chaired Parliament’s committee on women. In Parliament’s 1994 debates she initiated the South Africa’s Women’s Budget. Govender resigned in 2002, after being the only member of Parliament to register her opposition to the arms deal in the Budget vote, and after asserting that her party had to address the horrific impact of HIV/Aids on women and girls.

She established South Africa’s first Workers’ College at the University of the Western Cape before being employed by the Women’s National Coalition to manage its Women’s Charter campaign.

Fatima Hassan


Aids Law Project

Tel: +27 21 422 1490

Fatima Hassan is an attorney and former deputy head of the Aids Law Project (ALP). During her student years she was an active member of a number of student organisations aimed at political change. She graduated from Wits University in 1994 with an LLB and completed her articles at the Wits University Community Law Clinic. In 1996, she joined the Aids Law Project (ALP) where she conducted public interest litigation, education, training and legal reform in the area of HIV/Aids and non-discrimination. Hassan is a former board member of the Council for Medical Schemes. In 2000, Hassan joined the Constitutional Court of South Africa for a year to complete a research clerkship with Justice Kate O’Regan. She was awarded the Franklin Thomas Fellowship by the Constitutional Court to pursue an LLM at Duke University which she completed in 2002. She is coordinating the ALP and Treatment Action Campaign’s (TAC) monitoring of the ARV treatment programme. In 2004, she was selected by the Mail & Guardian as one of the top 20 under 40-year-olds to influence the country in the next 10 years.

Kaamilah Joseph

Gender Coordinator

Project administrator

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

Tel: +27 11 341 0271

Kaamilah Joseph has worked at Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, a not-for-profit organisation committed to the values of social democracy, for the past six years. She took on the role of gender coordinator in August 2004. The foundation supports the work of democratically elected parliaments and helps to establish a functioning multiparty system to ensure democratic development and socially just economic growth. In her role as gender coordinator, Joseph works towards the foundation’s objectives of women’s empowerment, with the ultimate aim being to improve the general socio-political conditions of all women (and men) to allow them to participate equally in the economic, political and social developments of their countries.

Rhoda Kadalie

Executive Director

Impumelelo Innovations and Awards Trust

Tel: +27 21 461 3783

Rhoda Kadalie’s work in human rights and social development is well respected in South Africa. She is currently the executive director of Impumelelo Innovations and Awards Trust, which rewards projects that improve poverty in partnership with the public sector.

The former commissioner on the Human Rights Commission cut her political teeth at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in the 1980s as an anti-apartheid protester. She also directed the then District Six land claims unit for the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights, a suburb where she lived as a small girl. Kadalie is a columnist for Business Day and was a lecturer in anthropology and founder of the gender equity unit at the University of the Western Cape. She holds an MA degree from the Institute for Social Studies in The Netherlands. In 1999, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Uppsala in Sweden.

Patricia Kumalo

Executive Director

The Sexual Harassment Education Project

Tel: +27 11 403 0541

Patricia Kumalo is the executive director of the Sexual Harassment Education Project, based in Johannesburg. Her responsibility is to raise awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace and trade unions. A former trade unionist, she was instrumental in the development and enactment in 1998 of the Code of Good Practice for handling sexual harassment cases in the workplace. She also successfully lobbied for the incorporation of a sexual harassment clause in the Labour Relations Act. She was instrumental in the establishment of the African Regional Network Against Sexual Harassment, which is currently being duplicated in the Americas and Asia. Kumalo has authored and co-authored several articles on sexual harassment for various accredited publications.

Alice Kwaramba-Kanengoni

Gender Programme Adviser

Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa

Tel: +27 11 403 3414/5/6

Alice Kwaramba-Kanengoni has worked with regional human rights organisations her entire working life. Her focus has been on gender and women’s rights issues, through research, writing and editing. She began her career as a senior researcher, and later deputised for the head of the gender programme at the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre in Harare, where she edited the series Beyond Inequalities: Women in Southern Africa.

She then joined Gender Links in Johannesburg as a senior researcher, coordinating the region-wide Gender and Media Baseline Study. She then joined the Johannesburg-based Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa as assistant programme manager in the human rights and democracy building unit, before taking on her current responsibility as gender programme adviser and communications manager. She is the editor of the society’s quarterly publication, OpenSpace, which provides space for dialogue on key governance and development issues in the region. Kwaramba-Kanengoni holds a master’s in media and communications and a bachelor of arts in literature.

Jackie Loffell

Independent Consultant Advocacy Coordinator

Johannesburg Child Welfare Society

Tel: +27 11 298 8500

Jackie Loffell works as an independent consultant and is employed part-time as the advocacy coordinator for the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society. Her key responsibility is the coordination of the organisation’s efforts to influence legislation and social policy relevant to children and families. She has served as a social worker in the field of child and family welfare for more than 30 years. She obtained her PhD from Wits University in 1997, with her thesis on Social Work Intervention in Child Sexual Abuse. She was a member of the South African Law Commission’s project committee on the review of the Child Care Act, which entailed five years of research, consultation and writing in the preparation of a comprehensive draft children’s Bill.

Colleen Lowe Morna

Executive Director

Gender Links

Tel +27 11 622 2877

Colleen Lowe Morna is executive director of Gender Links, an NGO that promotes gender equality in and through the media, and chairperson of Gender and Media Southern Africa Network. Lowe Morna serves on the presidential task team on women and is a member of the United Nations Expert Group on Gender and the Media. Among other positions she has held are coordinator of the Africa office of Inter Press Service in Harare; correspondent for South magazine and Africa editor of the New Delhi-based Women’s Feature Service. She joined the Commonwealth Secretariat as a senior researcher on the Africa desk in 1991. After the 1994 election, she became an adviser on gender and institutional development to the Commonwealth’s special programme of assistance to South Africa. She subsequently served as founding CEO of the South African Commission on Gender Equality. Lowe Morna is author of several publications on gender and the media. She is also editor of Ringing up the Changes: Gender in Southern African Politics, the first comprehensive study of the impact of women in politics in this sub-region.

Evangelina Shirley Mabusela

Child Rights Activist

Tel: +27 11 838 2204

Evangelina Shirley Mabusela is an independent consultant working in the field of child rights. In her early career, Mabusela was a probation officer and social worker. She held management positions at the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society and was deputy director when she left to join the Children’s Foundation. She has been commissioned by the government, the United Nations and organs of civil society to participate in various programmes. In the early 1990s, Mabusela was the national executive director of National Children’s Rights, where she managed the process that saw child rights included in the Constitution. She also led the development of the National Programme of Action for Children. In 1995, she served on the South African Human Rights Commission, as deputy chairperson and chairperson. She holds a BA in social work from the University of the North, a post-graduate diploma in advanced social work practice from Wits University, and a management diploma.

Nomkhosi Sylvia Mdluli

Training Director

National Peace Accord Trust

Tel: +27 11 606 2850

Nomkhosi Sylvia Mdluli has put her 30 years of nursing experience to good use as training director for the National Peace Accord Trust (Npat). Her role has been training director focusing on empowerment and healing programmes. Mdluli will be retiring from Npat but her passion and commitment in promoting lobbying programmes for care givers will continue. Npat aims to break the cycles of violence, trauma and despair experienced by many communities across South Africa and to restore functional and stable community life. It does this by identifying leaders as potential development workers within these communities and provides them with on-the-job training as community workers. It also provides specialist skills training such as trauma management, trauma awareness and resource management. Mdluli has a BA in community nursing and administration.

Sheila Meintjes


Political Studies, University of the Witwatersrand

Tel: + 27 11 717 4363­politicals.htm

Professor Sheila Meintjes has lectured in political studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, since 1989. She has a BA honours degree from Rhodes University, an MA in African studies from the University of Sussex, and a PhD in African history from the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University. She teaches African politics, political theory and feminist theory and politics. She was a full-time commissioner in the Commission on Gender Equality between May 2001 and March 2004, where she led the commission’s governance programme and was responsible for the commission in Gauteng. Meintjes has been involved in feminist and women’s politics in South Africa since the early 1970s—as a member of the United Women’s Organisation in the Western Cape and the Natal Organisation of Women, and was on the research supervisory group of the Women’s National Coalition. She is the chairperson of the boards of Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre to end Violence against Women and of Women’s Net.

Shereen Mills

Attorney and Researcher

Centre for Applied Legal Studies

Tel: +27 11 717 8600

Shereen Mills is an attorney and researcher based the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) at the University of the Witwatersrand. She worked as a supervising attorney and senior tutor at the Wits Law Clinic, specialising in labour law and women’s rights. In 1998 she was the recipient of the Maria Pia Gratton Award, a fellowship to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States. In 1999, she returned to South Africa to work at the Cals gender research programme, where she is still employed. She has worked in the areas of race and gender equality, participating in the drafting of key legislation. In 2003, she completed an LLM at Wits. Her current work involves research, advocacy, and strategic litigation on violence against women and children, gender equality, poverty and women’s access to justice. She has published papers and research reports on various aspects of gender and the law, and has made submissions to government on legislation. She currently sits on the board of the Gender Equity and Training Network in Cape Town, and also acts as trustee of a number of NGOs.

Janine Moolman

Media and Information Manager


Tel: +27 11 429 0000

Janine Moolman is a feminist editor, writer and activist with extensive experience in the South African women’s rights sector. She is a former editor of Agenda, South Africa’s longest surviving feminist journal, has contributed to a number of publications dealing with women and gender issues and was a columnist for the Mercury newspaper in KwaZulu-Natal. She was formerly the editor and assistant director at Gender Links, an NGO that promotes gender equality in and through the media. Moolman is currently the media and information manager at Women’sNet, which promotes the strategic use of ICTs to help women and marginalised groups to develop their own knowledge and perspectives and make sure these are adequately reflected on the web, and in media more broadly.

Siphokazi (Sipho) Mthathi

General Secretary

Treatment Action Campaign

Tel: +27 54 300 7007

Sipho Mthathi is the general secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). She started her BA degree at the University of the Western Cape, and later did her honours and pursued education studies at Rhodes University. Since 1999, she has emerged as one of the TAC’s key women leaders, building the organisation into a mass-based movement of people living with HIV and all the marginalised of society, irrespective of their HIV status. Sipho was a TAC member for three years—building branches in Guguletu, Nyanga and Khayelitsha—before she joined the organisation as a staff member, running its national treatment literacy programme. In 2002, she was elected as the TAC’s national deputy chairperson and has led the organisation alongside Zackie Achmat, Vuyiseka Dubula, Nonkosi Khumalo, Mandla Majola and others. She is now the organisation’s general secretary.

Marcella Naidoo

National Director

The Black Sash

Tel: +27 21 461 7804

Marcella Naidoo’s experience in grassroots organising began in 1982 when she founded the Advice Office for the Lotus River & Grassy Park Resident’s Association. This year the Black Sash celebrated its 50th year and the many changes it has undergone in its long history. The Black Sash provides free paralegal services, in seven advice offices across the country, to upwards of 16 000 people a year, on matters ranging from child support to debt counseling and citizenship applications. Prior to joining the Black Sash in 2002, Naidoo was regional coordinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She holds a BSocSci from the University of Cape Town.

Farai Samhungu

Africa Regional Director

Inter Press Service

Tel: +27 11 325 2675

Farai Samhungu has worked for several years in the area of media and development communications. She is currently based in Johannesburg as the Africa Regional Director for Inter Press Service (IPS). Her responsibilities include managing the agency’s Africa-wide activities and contributing to the overall international strategy of the group and she sits on the IPS international board of directors. Samhungu has experience in gender mainstreaming in the media and worked on spearheading training and development of training tools for journalists in Africa. Prior to joining IPS, she was the advocacy adviser with the United Nations Population Fund in Zimbabwe. She also spent 10 years with Intermediate Technology Development Group, an international technology development organisation, as the head of information and communications. Samhungu holds an MA in mass communications from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom and several other qualifications in media and management.

Delphine Serumaga

Executive Director

People Opposing Women Abuse (Powa)

Tel: +27 11 642 4345

Delphine Serumaga is the executive director of People Opposing Women Abuse (Powa). She drives the strategy and vision of Powa to meet the needs of the Gender Based Violence sector. Additionally she sets out to influence change in women’s lives through her committee work: She is the chairperson of the Social Cluster of the Presidential Working Group for Women, a member of the Steering committee of the Civil Society Advocacy Programme and the Victim Empowerment Programme Steering Committee of the European Commission Programme. Having grown up in Uganda, Delphine developed her interest in women in developing countries and started her career and education in Canada. This is where her career in women’s rights started in 1991. She continues to have great passion for the development of the standard of living for women in Africa.

Tammy Shefer

Director / Associate Professor

University of Western Cape

+27 21 959 3360

Tammy Shefer is a leading authority on gender issues in South Africa. The professor from the University of the Western Cape is currently the director of Women and Gender Studies Programme at her institution, having taught in the psychology department of the same university for the past six years. Her experience includes working as an adult educator, particularly in the areas of gender training. Her research has focused on the themes of violence against women and eating disorders. She has also focused on gender and sexuality, with a specific focus on the negotiation of safe sex practices, gender and sexual identities, as well sexually transmitted diseases. Her current interests include sexuality, gender and relationships and masculinities. She has written a host of articles on gender issues in South Africa.

Carrie Shelver

Training and Public Awareness Manager

People Opposing Women Abuse (Powa)

Tel: +27 11 642 4345

Carrie Shelver is training and public awareness manager for People Opposing Women Abuse (Powa). She is a feminist and gender activist who has worked in the violence against women and human rights sector. Shelver was prominent during Powa’s protests outside the court during the Jacob Zuma trial. She has been actively involved in the One in Nine Campaign—which was launched in March this year—to give support and solidarity to survivors of sexual violence. Prior to working in the women’s sector, Shelver worked within the lesbian and gay sector. Her academic background is in adult education, politics and applied linguistics. She is committed to the transformation of society, which will result in the realisation of constitutional rights and guarantees.

Natalie Simons


St Andrew’s Anglican Church

Church of the Province of Southern Africa

Tel: +27 21 701 2302

At age 29, Natalie Simons is the youngest female priest in the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, which is spread over six Southern African countries. She serves in the St Andrews Anglican Church in Newlands, Cape Town. Simons has a master’s degree in theology from Stellenbosch, where she specialised in pastoral care and counselling. Her particular passion is for inter-faith dialogue and, as well as participating in an inter-faith group with Jews and Muslims, she coordinates a programme responsible for sending 12 young South Africans on a two-week inter-faith camp in New York once a year.

In Cape Town she helps run meetings of up to 50 senior school children at a time, the purpose of which is to help them “learn to live together with difference”. She also helps to run Hope Africa, the developmental arm of the Cape Town diocese that exists to alleviate poverty, to educate and train and to help create self-sustaining communities.

Elinor Sisulu


Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

Tel: +27 12 361 4869

Elinor Sisulu is the coordinator of the Johannesburg office of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. Currently, she is advising on projects on democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe. She was instrumental in setting up a children’s literature network under the Centre for the Book. She is the author of award-winning children’s book The Day Gogo Went to Vote (1996) and the biography of her parents-in-law, Walter and Albertina Sisulu: In Our Lifetime (2003), which won the NOMA award, Africa’s most prestigious literary prize. In 2003, she helped plan and organise the symposium on Civil Society and Justice in Zimbabwe, which was held in Johannesburg. Born in Harare, she was educated in Zimbabwe, Senegal and The Netherlands. She undertakes training in history, English literature, development studies and feminist theory. In the 1980s she worked for the Ministry of Labour in Zimbabwe and the International Labour Organisation’s Lusaka office.

Joan van Niekerk

National Coordinator

Childline South Africa

Tel: +27 31 563 5718

As the national coordinator of Childline South Africa, Joan van Niekerk is tasked with the development of child protection services. She is also involved with monitoring, development, lobbying and advocacy around legislation and policy affecting children’s rights and child protection. Van Niekerk plays an important role as a trainer for those involved in child protection, including training on the management of child and adult sexual offenders. Van Niekerk maintains her clinical social work practice with adult and adolescent clients. Van Niekerk has sat on a number of committees and boards, which, internationally, include the Expert Facility of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, and the Child Helpline International Management Board; and, locally, include the editorial board of child rights journal Children First, the Sexual Offences Bill advocacy committee, and the KwaZulu-Natal crisis care funding applications committee.

Lisa Vetten

Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst

Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre

Tel: +2711 403 8230/4267

Lisa Vetten is a senior researcher and policy analyst at Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre. Prior to this, Vetten worked in the area of violence against women since 1991 and managed the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation’s gender programme. She has written for a number of newspapers and academic publications. Vetten was a member of the executive committee of the Gauteng Network on Violence Against Women, and is a member of the Steering Committee of the South African Gender-Based Violence and Health Initiative, as well as a member of the Management Committee of the Reproductive Rights Alliance. Vetten has played a key role in raising public and legal awareness around the circumstances in which women kill their abusive partners. She has also been an expert witness for both the prosecution and defence in matters involving rape, domestic violence and men’s killing of their intimate female partners. In 2000, she was a finalist in the Shoprite/Checkers Woman of the Year awards.

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