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Equality activist Pregs Govender on 21 Icons

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21 ICONS recently put the spotlight on the twelfth icon of its second season: Pregs Govender, human rights and gender activist who is respected as an individual deeply committed to the development of South Africa as a fair democracy.

In an intimate conversation with Adrian Steirn, Govender talks about her 30-year career devoted to:

  • Women’s emancipation

  • Equality

  • The human rights of the poverty-stricken

  • Fighting racism, the ills of capitalism, prejudice and gender inequality


At the inception of South Africa’s democracy in 1994, she served as an African National Congress Member in the National Assembly.

Here she convened the gender and economic group of the finance committee and chaired Parliament’s committee on women.

Govender is respected for her role in advancing gender responsive budgets.

She resigned in 2002 and on leaving the ANC, Govender reflects that there was too silence on the grave issues of HIV and AIDS and the party was losing the heart of what it embodied.

She comments, “You need to recognise when you can’t make a difference in the space you’re in and to find another space where you can do that, to continue to contribute.”

She believes that South Africa has a bright future ahead.

“I think that there are many organisations and people in our country who are connecting all the dots.”

She concludes, “Being South African to me means understanding our shared humanity as a part of the whole world.”

For more information, visit www.21Icons.com.

- By 21 Icons. Edited by Carla Bernardo



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