Sisonke Msimang

Governance | South Africa

2014 New Voices Fellow


Msimang’s early career focused on helping international organizations such as UNAIDS forge HIV/AIDS policies that responded to the specific needs of African women and girls swept up in the global pandemic. She eventually rose to become executive director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, supporting initiatives on human rights, good governance and democracy building across the region. Msimang, who grew up as the child of South African political exiles, says the question of leadership and building sustainable institutions will be central to Africa’s future development – a future she calls “unapologetically modern and thoroughly African.” Msimang is now director of advocacy and accountability at Sonke Gender Justice and writes a column in South Africa’s “Daily Maverick” online newspaper.