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Phumi Mtetwa

Southern Africa Regional Director
South Africa

Phumi Mtetwa is an activist dedicated to understanding and organising for liberation and freedom; linking economic history, violence, discrimination and exclusion as an important part of reimagination. With extensive experience working in international and regional contexts, particularly in Southern Africa and Latin America, Phumi has been part of many change processes. Her journey began in 1985, organising rent boycotts to resist apartheid.

A prominent figure in the fight for equal rights, dignity, and freedom, Phumi played a pivotal role in embedding these principles in the South African Constitution. Her impactful tenure as the former Co-Secretary General of the International Lesbian and Gay Association saw her amplifying the voices of the global South within the organization. She spearheaded initiatives like the LGBT South-South Dialogue, significantly influencing LGBTI perspectives in the World Social Forum. Phumi was also actively involved in mobilisations against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas as the century turned.

Throughout her career, Phumi has held leadership positions in various organizations, including the AIDS Law Project (SA), FEDAEPS (Ecuador), and the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project (SA). She is a co-founding member of the Masithandane End-Hate Collective and has actively contributed to movements against violence.

Recognized as a Social Change Initiative Fellow for her campaigning and political activism, Phumi is also a member of the Global Black Victory Lab, working towards fostering solidarity and unity among Black people worldwide. She has co-edited a book Globalisation: LGBT Alternatives, and has published various articles and reflections on racism, economic exclusion, and organising, among others. She is a recipient of various awards including the Feathers’ Awards and Kopano Living Legends and from the US coalition the Rising Majority.

Currently serving as the Regional Director for JASS Southern Africa, Phumi remains committed to centring Feminist Popular Education and connecting struggles across borders. Her dedication to developing crucial change strategies underscores her unwavering commitment to creating a more just and equitable world.

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