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Kumi Naidoo

Director, African Civil Society Centre

Kumi Naidoo is Honorary President of Civicus: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, which has a membership base of more than 500 organizations and individuals from 97 countries. Naidoo became an activist early but, after having been arrested as a result of his anti-apartheid activities and going underground for one year, he lived in exile in England until 1989. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and earned a Doctorate in Political Sociology. After Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990, Naidoo returned to South Africa to work on the legalization of the African National Congress. During the 1994 democratic elections, he was the official spokesperson of the Independent Electoral Commission and directed the training of all electoral staff in the country. He was also Founding Executive Director of the South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), an umbrella agency for the South African NGO community. He is recognized internationally as a forceful advocate for gender equity and against gender violence.