Ashoka Southern Africa Fellows

Ashoka Fellows are leading social entrepreneurs who we recognize to have innovative solutions to social problems and the potential to change patterns across society. They demonstrate unrivaled commitment to bold new ideas and prove that compassion, creativity, and collaboration are tremendous forces for change. Ashoka Fellows work in over 70 countries around the globe in every area of human need.

Country: South Africa
Field of Work: Health

Zackie Achmat is spearheading a grassroots social initiative to provide affordable AIDS medicines to the public in a way that will not only staunch the epidemic's growth but also transform the public health system and enable communities to counter the host of other social challenges they are facing.

Country: South Africa
Field of Work: Learning/Education

Flick Asvat is teaching young people in South African townships to help themselves and each other become proactive in their own education and to rise above the lack of opportunities presented to them.

Country: Zambia
Field of Work: Economic Development

Sylvia Banda is working to combat the low demand for locally-produced, traditional food in Zambia by creating entrepreneurial hubs that guarantee markets for these goods and by fostering an appreciation for local food in both rural and urban areas. In this way, Sylvia is tackling the high levels of poverty in rural Zambia and facilitating the economic and social...

Country: South Africa
Field of Work: Human Rights

Through an approach called restorative justice, former probation officer Mike Batley is shifting the focus of the South African justice system from punishment and onto addressing harm and the root causes of crime.

Country: South Africa
Field of Work: Civic Engagement

Lane Benjamin has started a volunteer-led program to counsel victims of trauma and to reduce violence in the urban townships of South Africa, where youth violence is an epidemic.

Country: South Africa
Field of Work: Human Rights

Through 1to1 – Agency of Engagement’s holistic model, Jhono is guiding the creation of a movement that aims to facilitate spatial designers in addressing the systemic issues that cause the socio-spatially unequal residential areas in South Africa. He believes that this model should be led by the  development of an additional mode of spatial design practice that...

Country: South Africa
Field of Work: Health

Mitch Besser has developed a groundbreaking program to support programs that prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV by encouraging mothers living with HIV to become peer educators and provide support to similarly affected pregnant women and new mothers.

Country: Mozambique
Field of Work: Economic Development

Dorien Beurskens has developed an affordable way to provide vocational education and training to young people in Southern Africa. She has established training centers that are both learning spaces for students and business hubs for entrepreneurs in the community. Dorien has developed a creative model in which the centers’ spaces, equipment and the Young Africa brand...

Country: South Africa
Field of Work: Human Rights

William Bird is transforming the way children and children’s issues are portrayed in the media through media monitoring efforts involving both journalists and children. He trains journalists on ‘child friendly’ journalism and enables children to become ‘media watchdogs’ to monitor press coverage of children, paying particular attention to children’s rights of privacy...

Country: South Africa
Field of Work: Learning/Education

A pioneer of the free higher education movement in South Africa, Taddy Blecher created a university model that enables poor students to acquire a free, high-quality, professional education, while also employed by the university to gain practical experience and earn an income.