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Rhoda Kadalie


Rhoda Kadalie

TOPIC: We just don’t do that

Rhoda Kadalie is Executive Director of the Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre set up in 1999 to reward social innovations (including government and civil society initiatives) that improve the quality of life of the poor. Every second year Impumelelo raises an amount of R1 million to award about 15-20 public projects that directly transform poor communities. She publishes an annual magazine that features the success stories of the award winners and this is distributed far and wide to promote the dissemination of best practice. Under her auspices 150 case studies have been published in sectors ranging from HIV/AIDS, Sanitation and Waste Management, Food Security, Education, Skills Development, the Environment, Rural Development and many more. The awards programme has become the fulcrum around which five other programmes revolve: a case studies research programme; a master class training programme; a media and advocacy programme; and a student internship programme.

Prior to that she was a Human Rights Commissioner for three years, appointed by President Mandela in 1995, responsible for the Western and Northern Cape. As Human Rights Commissioner, she conducted investigations into human rights violations in the prisons in the Western and Northern Cape, the poverty conditions of farm workers in the Northern Cape, and children’s places of safety in Cape Town. Many of her investigations received wide media coverage and brought to the attention of government violations occurring in the state sector that was supposed to uphold the Constitution and the human rights of citizens.

From 1976-1995 she was an academic teaching social anthropology, and founder of the Gender Equity Unit at UWC. Kadalie has travelled extensively internationally, presenting lectures and papers on human rights and gender politics in South Africa. In 1999 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in the Liberal Arts from the University of Uppsala, Sweden. In 2008, she received an Honorary Doctorate from her alma mater, the University of the Western Cape; and in 2010 the University of Stellenbosch bestowed a Doctor of Philosophy Honoris Causa on her.

She received a Human Rights Award in Toronto Canada on the 10th August 2003 in honour of SA National Women’s Day. In 2010 she received the Rapport/City Press Prestige Award for column writing. Kadalie has been featured in numerous magazines, newspaper articles and many books and has written many articles and chapters in books about gender politics, liberalism, foreign policy, reproductive rights, and some biographical essays. Her book, In Your Face: Passionate Conversations about People and Politics, was published by Tafelberg in 2009. Her second booklet, The Politics of Pregnancy, also published by Tafelberg, is part of a series called, Kort en Kragtig, To the Point, 2012.

Kadalie has been a guest columnist for the Business Day, a national newspaper daily in South Africa, for many years. Currently she writes for Die Burger, Beeld, Politicsweb and The Citizen. She has taught for seven weeks on the Semester at Sea Ship (University of Virginia) during 2011, sailing from Ghana to Cape Town.

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