2003• Human Rights Award

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Rhoda Kadalie is Executive Director of the Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust.

The Trust aims to reward innovative government and civil society initiatives that improve social service delivery in the eradication of poverty.

Impumelelo makes awards totalling R1 million annually to about 15-20 public sector projects that directly improve the quality of life of the poor. Of Impumelelo, she says: “Impumelelo provides satisfaction for my activist side. It is part of an international scheme run by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and financed by the Ford Foundation.
The awards recognise front-line public officials – people who get around red tape, take risks and inspire others. They show what can be done.”

Rhoda also publishes an annual magazine that showcases the best poverty-reduction projects that improve the quality of life of the poor.

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 and founder of the Gender Equity Unit at the University of the Western Cape. 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.

South African Women for Women is pleased to present Rhoda the Human Rights Award in recognition of her tireless struggle for human rights and gender equality.