Achmat Dangor is representative for the foundation in Southern Africa and has overseen all grant making in the region from our office in Johannesburg. The regional work, in South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, has focused on issues of inclusion and civic engagement, human rights, HIV/AIDS discrimination, economic and cultural rights, higher education, and sexuality and reproductive health.
A globally renowned leader for social justice, Achmat has lent a strong voice to the cause of freedom. Over many decades of activism, he has worked side by side with some of the leading figures in South Africa's historic journey from apartheid to democracy. Prior to joining the foundation in 2013, he served as CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, extending Mandela’s vision and legacy through the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and its focus on dialogues for justice. An early advocate for the need to address the emerging HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa, he served as director of advocacy, communications, and leadership at UNAIDS. Previously, Achmat was interim director of the World AIDS Campaign and chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. As founding executive director of Kagiso Trust, he worked alongside church leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and with political leaders to establish the largest black-led foundation in South Africa.
Achmat is also the celebrated author of seven works of fiction and poetry, among them Kafka’s Curse and Bitter Fruit, which was short-listed for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction. His latest collection of stories, Strange Pilgrimages, was released in May 2013 and widely praised. He holds a bachelor’s degree in literature from Rhodes University in South Africa.