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4 South African Women Using Their Voice For Social Justice

Feb 20, 2021 08:00AM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho

For the last twelve years, February 20th has been the United Nations’s World Day of Social Justice. The day allows for focus on the plight of social injustice throughout the world and adds pressure on the necessity for improvements and solutions. On this World Day of Social Justice, we are celebrating four South African women who are using their voices and platforms to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion, healthcare, employment, gender equity, access to social well-being, and justice for all.

1. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka


Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. Mlambo-Ngcuka has worked in government, civil society, and with the private sector. She was actively involved in the struggle to end apartheid. She served as Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008, the first woman to hold the position. Under Mlambo-Ngcuka's leadership, UN Women worked on launching the HeForShe campaign. She is the founder of the Umlambo Foundation, which supports leadership and education, and is affiliated with several organizations devoted to education, women’s empowerment, and gender equality.

2. Siviwe Gwarube


Siviwe Gwarube has served as the National Spokesperson of the Democratic Alliance since November 2020. She has been Shadow Minister of Health since June 2019 and a Member of the National Assembly of South Africa since May 2019. Her special interest in the health portfolio is access to reproductive health rights for rural women and the National Health Insurance Bill (NHI) that is before the South African parliament. “We need a massive systemic health overhaul. We don’t just need a simple funding model. We need to improve the health system in general, in its entirety,” said Gwarube in an interview. “I’ve said to the minister personally, and he can attest to this, I’m prepared to work with him to make sure that whatever comes out is something that will improve the lives of South Africans.”

3. Thuli Madonsela


Thulisile Nomkhosi "Thuli" Madonsela is a South African advocate. She serves as the law trust chair in social justice and as a law professor at the University of Stellenbosch, where she conducts and coordinates social justice research and teaches constitutional and administrative law. She served as the Public Protector of South Africa from 2009 to 2016. For her role as Public Prosecutor, Madonsela received international praise for her efficiency and professionalism, including recognition by the Daily Maverick, Time, Glamour, ANN7, Transparency International, and the BBC. An advocate for gender equality and the advancement of women, Madonsela is a member of the South African Women Lawyers Association and the Business Women’s Association of South Africa.

4. Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe


Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe is a leading businesswoman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She worked as a doctor in South African public hospitals and as a general practitioner for 20 years, which contributed to her interest in social issues, particularly access to healthcare for women. In 1993, Moloi-Motsepe one of Johannesburg’s first women’s health clinics. Dr. Moloi-Motsepe anchored development initiatives in the fashion sector, promoting entrepreneurship to combat unemployment and ensuring designers are capable of running successful businesses. Through her efforts, several African designers have been launched in New York, Paris, and London, including David Tlale, Thula Sindi, and Rich Mnisi. Moloi-Motsepe has also ensured that her concern for welfare overlapped with mobilizing the power of fashion through projects such as the Design for Life Breast Cancer Campaign. 


South African Government

Daily Maverick


 Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies.  

She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content.