Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, MD

WomenStrong International Board Member

Physician; Co-Founder of South Africa’s Black Consciousness Movement; lifelong community activist; Former World Bank Director; renowned author & scholar

Dr. Mamphela Aletta Ramphele MD, born in the Northern Transvaal region of South Africa, is a medical doctor and lifelong community activist, as a student, anti-apartheid leader, community health practitioner and a reformist political leader. Following the 1976 Soweto uprising, she was detained without trial for five months and subsequently served with an apartheid banning order. One of the founders of the Black Consciousness Movement, with Steve Biko and Barney Pityana and others, she recently founded and led the reform Agang SA political party, in South Africa’s most recent parliamentary elections. Dr. Ramphele has served as one of four Directors, the first South African to hold this position, at the World Bank, where, among other things, she oversaw operations of the World Bank Institute, and as Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cape Town (the first black woman to hold this position), having served there previously as a research fellow and as Deputy-Vice-Chancellor.

This globally recognized public servant is now active in both the public and private sectors. Founder of the Open Society Foundation for South Africa and the Citizens Movement, Dr. Ramphele has served as Director of the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for South Africa and is a trustee of both the Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko Foundations and of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. She has also served as Chairperson of Gold Fields, Circle Capital Ventures (Pty) Limited, Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and as a director or board member of multiple well-known firms. The author of several books and publications on socio-economic issues in South Africa and a visiting scholar in 1994 at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Dr. Mamphele has received numerous national and international awards acknowledging her scholarship and leading role in spearheading projects for the disadvantaged in South Africa and beyond.

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