Adam Habib

Professor Adam Habib is an academic, an activist, an administrator, and a renowned political media commentator and columnist.

A Professor of Political Science, Habib has more than 30 years of academic, research, institutional and administration expertise. His experience spans five universities and multiple local and international institutions, boards and task teams. His professional involvement in institutions has always been defined by three distinct engagements: the contest of ideas; their translation into actionable initiatives; and the building of institutions.

Professor Habib is the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, a position that he assumed with effect from the 1st of June 2013.

Prior to this, he served as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation, Library and Faculty Coordination at the University of Johannesburg. He also served as the Executive Director at the Human Sciences Research Council and as a Research Director on Governance and Democracy. He has held several academic, research posts at the University of Natal, including serving as a Professor in the School of Development Studies and as Research Director of the Centre for Civil Society.

He was instrumental in transforming the University of Johannesburg following the nationwide mergers of tertiary institutions in 2005 and played a key role in increasing research output at UJ. Professor Habib holds qualifications in Political Science from three universities including the University of Natal and Wits. He earned his masters and doctoral qualifications from the Graduate School of the City University of New York. Transformation, democracy and development are fundamental themes of Professor Habib’s research. He is well-published and renowned as a key leader in higher education and political studies in South Africa and around the world. Indeed, his latest book, South Africa’s Suspended Revolution: Hopes and Prospects, launched in August 2013, has already made huge waves both locally and internationally. The book focuses on the country’s transition into democracy and its prospects for inclusive development.

Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada

Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada (or ‘Kathy’, as he is popularly known) was born on 21 August 1929 in Schweizer-Reneke, a small rural South African town, about 200 miles from Johannesburg. He was introduced to politics as a child in Johannesburg when he joined a non-racial youth club run by the Young Communist League.

At the age of 17 Kathrada participated in the Passive Resistance Campaign of the South African Indian Congress. He was part of 2 000 people who were arrested and imprisoned for defying a law that discriminated against Indians.

In the 1940s Kathrada first met Congress leaders, Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, I C Meer and J N Singh.

In 1951, Kathrada was selected to visit East Berlin to attend a youth festival jointly organized by the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), and the International Union of Students (IUS). From there he visited Poland where the Auschwitz Concentration camp left an indelible impression on him. Back home in 1952, Kathrada was in a group of 20, including Mandela and Sisulu who were sentenced to nine months in prison with hard labour , suspended for two years for organizing a Defiance Campaign against six apartheid laws. The campaign was jointly organized by the ANC and SA Indian Congress.

In 1954, Kathrada was placed under restrictions by the Security Police and was arrested several times for breaking his “banning orders”. In 1956, he was among the 156 Congress activists and leaders charged

for High Treason. The trial continued for four years after which all the accused were acquitted. Kathrada, Mandela and Sisulu were among the last 30 to be acquitted. While they were on trial, in 1960, the ANC and PAC were banned. In 1962, Kathrada was placed under “house arrest”. The following year Kathrada broke his banning orders,

and went “underground”, to continue his political work. In July 1963, the police swooped on Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, a Johannesburg suburb where Kathrada and other “banned” persons had been meeting. This led to the famous ‘Rivonia Trial’, in which eight accused were sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour.

They included Mandela, Sisulu, Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Denis Goldberg, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni. Kathrada spent 26 years and 3 months in prison, 18 of which were on Robben Island. In 1982 Mandela, Sisulu, Kathrada, Mhlaba and Mlangeni were transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town.

While in prison he obtained four university degrees:

BA (in History and Criminology), B Bibliography (in African Politics and Library Science), BA Honours (History), BA Honours (African Politics)

Soon after his release on 15 October 1989, the ANC was unbanned. At its first legal conference in South Africa, Kathrada was elected onto its National Executive Committee. Until 1994 he headed its Public Relations Department. At its Conference in 1997 Kathrada declined nomination to the National Executive Committee. In 1992, Kathrada undertook the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca.

In 1994 Kathrada was elected to Parliament and served as President Mandela’s Parliamentary Counsellor. He was chairperson of the Robben Island Musuem Council until his term expired in 2006.

Grizelda Grootboom

grizelda grootboom - ep 155Grizelda Grootboom is an activist against human trafficking who supports fellow survivors undergoing rehabilitation. She is currently working at Embrace Dignity , an NPO based in Cape Town. It is part of a growing global movement working to restore dignity for all people by advocating for law reform and public education to address commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

Grizelda’s life was dramatically changed when she was gang raped at the age of nine by teenagers in her township. Her story starts there. It is a story about the cycle of poverty, family abandonment, dislocation and survival in the streets of Cape Town. She reveals the seedy and often demonised life of a prostitute; she describes the clubs and beds of the prostitution and drug industry over a twelve-year period.

She moves to Johannesburg at the age of 18 in an attempt to start a new life, but instead she is trafficked on arrival in Yeoville, tied in a room for two weeks and forced to work as a sex slave. What follows is a life of living hand-to-mouth, from one street corner to another, being pimped, being taught how to strip, and acquiring and using a variety of drugs – from buttons, ecstasy and cannabis to cocaine – to sustain herself. She speaks of how her prostitution gains momentum in city strip clubs and the sometimes tragic pregnancies that would follow.

Grizelda’s harrowing tale ends with reconciliation with her family, while raising her six-year-old son. In writing this story she hopes to open a window on the hidden and often misunderstood world of prostitution, thereby raising better awareness and understanding about its harms and the horrors of trafficking and prostitution of women and children, and drug abuse. She hopes to heal and to set an example for others to follow.

Theressa Frantz

Theressa joined World Wide Fund for nature (WWF) South Africa as Head of Environmental Programmes on 1 September 2014. At WWF-SA she is responsible for the conservation work in land and biodiversity stewardship, marine, sustainable agriculture, rhino, freshwater, adaptation to climate change and developing environmental leaders. She started her career as a marine scientist in 1995 with the then Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, where she progressed through the ranks in the branch Marine and Coastal Management and completed her tenure in the organisation as the Director of Offshore and High Seas Fisheries Management. In 2009 she joined the South African National Biodiversity Institute as Director of Research and Monitoring.  During her career she’s had many opportunities to represent South Africa in international fora in fisheries management as well as the management of species more generally. The most notable of these being the Commission for the Conservation of Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), where she led government delegations in the former two instances and co-led the WWF delegation to CITES.

Theressa is passionate about the environment and people.

She holds an MSc degree in Zoology from the University of the Western Cape and an MPhil degree in Marine and Environmental Law from the University of Cape Town, where she is currently completing her PhD in Marine and Environmental Law.

Yolan Friedmann

Yolan-FriedmannYolan Friedmann is currently the CEO of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), one of the largest conservation NGOs in southern Africa. Yolan has a background in Veterinary Nursing (from the Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty, University of Pretoria), a BA in English and Communications, an MSc in Environmental Studies through WITS and an MDP (Programme for Management Development) at the Gordon Institute for Business Science (University of Pretoria). Yolan is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

Career highlights include establishing a regional network of the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (of the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission) in southern Africa and project managing and editing the Red Data Book of the Mammals of South Africa (2004) – the most comprehensive Red Data Book in southern Africa covering all of South Africa’s 295 terrestrial and marine mammals. Yolan was also a co-author of the biodiversity chapter in the climate change book Bending the Curve.

Yolan is involved in many levels of conservation leadership and development and chaired the IUCN South African National Member’s Committee and the Regional Advisory Committee of the IUCN’s Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) for 2 terms. She is currently the first South African to serve as a Regional Councillor on the Council of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) and chairs the IUCN’s Constituency Committee. She is a Board member of the Mazda Wildlife Fund and of Indalu Yethu, the South African Environmental Campaign. Yolan is also a member of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and sits on the IoD Sustainability Forum. She has further been invited to sit on the South African advisory committee of the United Nations Global Compact.

A key focus of Yolan’s career has been leadership development, management and strategy facilitation, and she has participated in programmes such as the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute for Business Science Nexus Development Programme, the Leadership for Conservation in Africa council, the African Leadership Seminar and is a Fellow of the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Yolan has done a lot of strategic planning for NGOs as well as in the corporate sector and has developed key strengths in strategy development and planning facilitation.

Neville Gabriel

neville-gabrielNeville was the founding executive director of the Southern Africa Trust, an independent regional funding agency (Entrepreneurship?) that supports deeper and wider policy engagement between governments and non-state actors to overcome poverty in Southern Africa. He is the chairperson of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), a senior fellow of the Synergos Institute, and a member of the Africa Policy Advisory Board of Bono’s ONE campaign. He was a member of the founding steering committee of the African Grantmakers’ Network (AGN).

Neville previously worked at Oxfam as its southern Africa regional media and advocacy coordinator and at the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), where he was part of the founding team of its Parliamentary Liaison Office, its secretary for economic justice, and later coordinator of its Justice and Peace Department. He co-founded the Jubilee 2000 South Africa coalition for debt cancellation as part of the global Jubilee movement.

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Lebogang George

imageThe start-up story of an inspirational group of South African social entrepreneurs on a mission to empower underprivileged teenage girls through mentoring.

The mission of DreamGirls International is to promote the enrolment and success of young women in institution of higher education, through the empowering of young women by community role models and leaders in society.

The DreamGirls International Outreach and Mentoring Programme in South Africa is a response to the lack of education for young underprivileged girls in the country. Through mentoring and support, DreamGirls International looks to empower these girls to positively impact their personal circumstances and break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy in their communities. What inspired you to start your organisation?

Every child has a right to quality education – education is a powerful tool for change and transformation. Education is a tool necessary to eradicate poverty and many of the social ills we face as a continent. A group of us came together and decided to start this organization as we believed that it was the answer to changing the poor education system in this country. We felt that the time had come for us to stop sitting on the sidelines and blaming government and certain individuals, but instead to be part of the solution and help government. We wanted to start contributing in a positive manner to the education sector. We are where we are today because we stood on the shoulders of giants, we received good quality education, and we have seen and experienced at first hand the impact it can make. We wanted to pay it forward and form a structured mentoring programme that we run like a company, to ensure that every year we work towards producing a generation of powerful future female leaders not just in South Africa, but Africa as well.

Margi Brocklehurst


Margi first became involved with wildlife in SA in 1995 when she released both Spotted Eagle Owls and Barn Owls in her garden in Bryanston.
She quickly became friends with Sue Slotar who went on to establish FreeMe; she was a founder volunteer and board member from inception in 1997 until her resignation in March 2009.
Margi joined the Jane Goodall Institute South Africa as CEO in November 2009 and enjoyed her time there helping raise awareness of the Chimp Eden Sanctuary in Nelspruit and managing the Institute, a highlight was meeting and working with Dr Jane Goodall.
The NPO Friends of Free Wildlife was registered in June 2016 and we have worked hard at establishing our new Centre; our official permit was issued on 15th December 2016 and we have been inundated with birds and animals since then.
Our vision is to rehabilitate and release indigenous wildlife back into a natural habitat, whilst maintaining the highest ethical standards and furthering conservation by playing a role in
the education of wildlife professionals, volunteers, learners and members of the public.