Many still remember former Deputy Health Minister Nozizwe Madlala- Routledge's exposure of horrific conditions in an Eastern Cape hospital, which rocked the ANC boat and led to her unceremonious exit from politics. Yet she's lost none of her candour and courage
During her political career, Madlala Routledge also served as Chairperson of the ANC Parliamentary Caucus, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Deputy Minister of Defence. She's now playing a bigger role in the social sector and recently became Executive Director of Inyathelo, the South African Institute for Advancement. She shares her vision for the organisation and the broader civil sector.
Democracy needs strong leadership, both inside and outside formal political structures. Civil society has a crucial role to play in mobilising active and direct participation by the people in the formulation and implementation of policies and holding elected leaders to account.
I left active formal politics after 15 wonderful years during which I was on a very steep learning curve. That gave me a rounded experience of leadership at national and international levels.
I bring this experience to my position at Inyathelo, as well as my years of campaigning for human rights, and starting and supporting civil society organisations that deepen and advance democratic participation. These include African Women's Peace Table, a partnership forum for integrating women's perspectives on issues of peace and security in Africa. With my husband, Jeremy, I also formed Embrace Dignity, a women's human rights organisation and Democracy From Below, a grassroots movement to strengthen participation in our democracy.
In the spirit of active citizenship, we all have a role to play in building our society and raising our individual and collective voices against the abuse of power at all levels.
As we enter the third decade of our democratic transition, civil society faces new challenges of insecure funding from international donors, decreased support from government and a continuous drain in the leadership pool.
I look forward to building on the )1 solid foundation laid over the past 13 years in which Inyathelo pioneered and . developed the fields of advancement (the practice of building, maintaining and improving support, skills and funds for organisations or institutions) and philanthropy in SA.
The organisation's considered to be a leader in these areas, providing -1 valuable resources, publications, 1 advice, training and support on how to give and use funds effectively for the greatest social impact. It's supported by a team of highly skilled and committed professionals, as well as an engaged board of trustees.
Our vision is to build a strong, independent and well-resourced civil society sector, which is a key component of a healthy democracy. We also want to build the capacity of higher education and raise private resources to ensure that the intellectual heart of the country continues beating.
The most significant highlight I've experienced since joining Inyathelo was the launch of the Inyathelo Civil Society Sustainability Centre, through which we're providing valuable advancement and sustainability resources, training, advice and support to non-profit organisations and higher education institutions as part of our mission to deepen and strengthen our democracy. In my personal capacity, I've dedicated both time and money to building community-based organisations that give people a voice. This includes setting up and supporting a Senior Citizens' Club in the village where I was raised.