Sisonke Msimang is the Senior Programmes Director for Sonke Gender Justice Network. Msimang works on human rights, good governance and transparency issues in Africa. She has global, regional and national experience, having worked for the United Nations as well as within the civil society sector and in private philanthropy. Until November 2012, she led George Soros’ philanthropic efforts based in Johannesburg as the Executive Director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA). She now directs the Rights and Democracy programme at the Sonke Gender Justice Network, which has been a leading advocate of working with men and boys in promoting gender equality.
Young, African, Female, Educated, Liberated.
Daughter. Sister. Wife. Mother. Career woman.
Labels?… Highly suited for a strong-headed woman who agreed to sit in with the ladies of Mbewu Movement for their second mentor-mentee session. The idea behind the meet was to have a “formal-informal” conversation. “Formal” in the sense that the ladies of Mbewu had prepared questions that would guide the conversation and “informal” in the sense that folding your arms, putting your legs up and dancing were completely allowed. Sisonke made the session light and fun as she responded to serious and not-so-serious life and career questions.
She shared tales about her travels, gender, leadership and about her experiences when all those social constructs are played out in various social settings, i.e. the home, the work place, and society at large. She reminded us that “your existence, your success will not always be accepted nor welcome by others but continue being the best you and never move your foot off the accelerator/gas pedal.”
Family life – Sisonke was frank about the fact that women who pursue success had to have a strong a support system; a husband and a nanny who are involved and present with the children when she is not.
Sisonke has written for a variety of well-known newspapers in South Africa- City Press, Mail and Guardian and (currently) the Daily Maverick.