Meet our Executive Board
Nadia Davids – PEN SA President
Nadia Davids is a writer, theatre-maker and scholar. Her plays, At Her Feet and Cissie, have garnered various theatre awards and nominations (five Fleur de Cap Theatre Awards, one Noma, one Naledi) and been staged internationally; at the Market Theatre, Baxter Theatre, Southbank Centre, Fracsati Theatre, the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Afrovibes and the London Book Fair. Nadia was a part of the New York Women’s Project Theater’s Playwright’s Lab for 2008-2010 and was a writer in residence at the Ledig House in 2012 and in 2015 and at Hedgebrook in 2016.
Her debut novel An Imperfect Blessing was long-listed for the Sunday Times Fiction Award and shortlisted for the UJ Prize and the Pan-African Etisalat Prize for Literature. She holds a PhD from the University of Cape Town and, as an A.W. Mellon Fellow, has been a visiting scholar/artist at the University of California Berkley and at New York University. She lectures at Queen Mary University of London and is a recipient of a Philip Leverhulme Prize.
Her play, What Remains, about slavery, the haunted city and the now, was recently at the National Art Festival in Grahamstown.
Mandla Langa – Executive Vice-President
Educated at the University of Fort Hare Mandla is Chair of Koketso Holdings, a director of Contemporary African Music and Arts (CAMA), Editor-At-Large of Leadership Magazine, Program Director (Television) for the South African Broadcasting Corporation and Chair of the Multichoice share schemes, Phuthuma Nathi. Previously he held the position of Chairman of the Independent Broadcasting Authority and of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.
Mandla is a published South African poet, short story writer, and novelist. In 1991 he received the Arts Council of Great Britain’s Bursary for Creative Writing. In 2007 he was awarded South Africa’s National Order of Ikhamanga (Silver) for his “excellent contribution to the struggle against apartheid, achievements in the field of literature and journalism and contributing to post-apartheid South Africa through serving in different institutions”. In 2009 he was awarded the Commonwealth Writers Prize in Africa for his novel The Lost Colours of the Chameleon.
Raymond Louw – Vice President
Raymond Louw is a veteran South African journalist (1951 – present) and media freedom activist. In 2010, he was named a World Press Freedom Hero by the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI). The award cited his “commitment to press freedom and his outspoken defence of journalists’ rights”.
He is the Chairperson of the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF), Editor & Publisher of Southern Africa Report. Raymond is a Fellow of the International Press Institute and was a recipient of the Pringle Award for services to Journalism. He is a member of the Executive Board International Press Institute, chairman of the Freedom of Expression Institute, and Executive Committee member of the Freedom of Expression Institute and chairman of the New Era Schools Trust. He is a former editor of the Rand Daily Mail newspaper.
In his more than 60 years in journalism Raymond either instigated or contributed through local SA organisations resolutions and other protests against laws encroaching on press freedom In South Africa. This involved participation in commissions of inquiry, issuing press statements, making representations to parliamentary committees and writing articles for publication in the local media. It also entailed spurring international NGOs to issue protests.
As a member of the International Press Institute Louw helped in composing the annual critical statements and protest resolutions against the apartheid government’s policies and as chairman of the IPI resolutions committee, published protests against inroads on press freedom by the current government.
Raymond’s previous positions include: Chair – Founding Bodies Comm of Press Ombudsman (1999 – 2003), General Manager – South African Associated Newspapers –Johannesburg (1977 – 1982), Chair – SA Morning Newspaper Group (1975 – 1977), Editor – Rand Daily Mail (1966 – 1977), News Editor – Rand Daily Mail (1960 – 1965), News Editor – Sunday Times (1959 – 1960), various positions – Westminster Press Provincial Newspapers – London (1955 – 1956), various positions – North Western Evening Mail – Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria (1953 – 1954), reporter – Worthing Herald – Sussex, (1951 – 1953).
Meet our Board Members
Margie Orford, an award-winning journalist and internationally acclaimed writer, is the author of the Clare Hart series. Her novels have been translated into nine languages. Margie was educated in South Africa (BA Hons, University of Cape Town) and the United States (Masters in Comparative Literature, City University of New York). While at the University of Cape Town she wrote for Varsity and was detained during the State of Emergency in 1985. She wrote her final exams in prison. After travelling widely, she studied under J.M. Coetzee, and worked in publishing in the newly-independent Namibia, where she became involved in training through the African Publishers Network. In 1999 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and while in New York she worked on a groundbreaking archival retrieval project, Women Writing Africa: The Southern Volume published by the Feminist Press at CUNY.
Margie has written for a number of papers including The Guardian, the Observer and The Telegraph; for the Mail & Guardian, The Sunday Times, and The Cape Times in South Africa. She has published children’s books, academic books, school text books and non-fiction, including a book on climate change, on rural development in South Africa, and a history of the anti-apartheid group, The Black Sash. Her publications include: Water Music (Oshun Books, 2013), The Magic Fish (2012), Gallows Hill (Oshun Books, 2011), The Little Red Hen (2011), Daddy’s Girl (Oshun Books, 2009), Like Clockwork (Oshun Books, 2006), Fabulously 40 And Beyond: Coming Into Your Power An Embracing Change (2006), Busi’s Big Idea (2006), Blood Rose (2006), Dancing Queen (2004), Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism: Stories from the Developing World (2004), Rural Voice: The Social Change Assistance Trust, 1984-2004, Working in South Africa (David Philip, 2004).
Margie is the patron of Rape Crisis and of the children’s book charity, the Little Hands Trust.
Adré studied English and French at the Universities of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, Paris (Sorbonne) and Aix-en-Provence, and was awarded a Ph.D. in English Literature at UCT. She was a lecturer in the Department of English at the Universities of Stellenbosch, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, as well as in the Department of French at the University of Port Elizabeth. Now retired from university teaching, she tutors privately and is a freelance translator (French-English).
She is the author of The Turn of the Mind: Constituting Consciousness in Henry James (Associated University Presses, U.S.A., 1998) and has had numerous poems published in local journals. Adré has translated a variety of texts from French into English, including a satirical novella, a Reader’s Digest book on 101 Ways to Improve your Memory (2005), and an anthology of critical texts in Picasso in Africa, the catalogue produced for the Picasso exhibition in Cape Town, ed. Laurence Madeline and Marilyn Martin (2006). She is the representative of PEN South Africa on the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee of PEN International, and has presented papers at this forum on several occasions.
Gabeba Baderoon is a poet and scholar and the author of the poetry collections, The Dream in the Next Body and A Hundred Silences, and the monograph Regarding Muslims: from slavery to post-apartheid. Her short story “The Year of Sleeping Badly” was selected as one of the Best Short Stories of South Africa’s Democracy in 2014. In 2005, Baderoon received the Daimler Chrysler Award for South African Poetry and held the Guest Writer Fellowship at the Nordic Africa Institute. She is a member of the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund, and teaches Women’s Studies and African Studies at Pennsylvania State University. She received a PhD in English from the University of Cape Town, and has published widely on representations of Islam, slavery, race and sexuality. In 2009, she was a Future of Minority Studies/Mellon Fellow in the Summer Institute on Queer Studies in Transnational Contexts at Cornell University and in 2010-2011, she held a Research Fellowship in the “Islam, African Publics and Religious Values” Project at the University of Cape Town. She has also held fellowships at the African Gender Institute and the University of Sheffield and is the recipient of awards from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Sainsbury/Linbury Trust. Her poems and articles have appeared in journals such as Feminist Studies, Social Dynamics, African and Asian Studies, Research in African Literatures, and World Literature Today. With Sa’diyya Shaikh and Nina Hoel, Baderoon is the co-organizer of an international research project on Theorizing Gender, Subjectivity and Islam in Africa. Gabeba is an Extraordinary Professor of English at Stellenbosch University.
Justin is a writer and photographer based in Cape Town. He was a Rhodes Scholar and received a doctorate in English from Oxford University after which he became a research fellow at the University of Cape Town, where he now teaches part time. His articles and photographs have appeared internationally in a number of publications and on a wide range of topics, while his short stories and poems have appeared in various anthologies. He is a two-time Mondi journalism award winner (1999 and 2004).
Justin spent more than a decade working Getaway, travelling the length and breadth of Africa writing and photographing for the magazine. Assignments have seen him crossing the Sahara by camel, exploring the highlands of Ethiopia, sailing the coast of East Africa by dhow and ballooning over the wildebeest migration in Kenya.
His recent books include The Marginal Safari (Umuzi, 2010), Unspotted (Mampoer, 2013) and a debut novel entitled Whoever Fears the Sea (Umuzi, 2014). The Marginal Safari was nominated for the 2011 Alan Paton Award for non-fiction and the 2012 Olive Schreiner Prize for Literature.
Karina Magdalena Szczurek
Karina Magdalena Szczurek is a writer, editor, translator and literary critic. Her doctoral thesis which was awarded the Dr Maria Schaumayer Foundation Prize and was published as Truer than Fiction: Nadine Gordimer Writing Post-Apartheid South Africa (2008). She is the editor of Touch: Stories of Contact (2009), Encounters with André Brink (2010), Contrary: Critical Responses to the Novels of André Brink (with Willie Burger, 2013), and the 2015 SSDA anthology, Water: New Short Fiction from Africa (with Nick Mulgrew). Her play for young adults A Change of Mind won the MML Literature Award in the Category English Drama in 2012. She is the author of Invisible Others (2014), a novel. She has also published short stories, articles, essays, poetry, and book reviews (for, among others, the Sunday Independent, LitNet, Cape Times and ITCH). Her memoir The Fifth Mrs Brink and her next novel Fake Lives will be published in 2017.
Mark Heywood is the Executive Director of SECTION27 (which incorporated the AIDS Law Project in 2010). He joined the AIDS Law Project (ALP) in 1994 and in 1998 he was one of the founders of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). He has continued to participate on the TAC Secretariat, National Council and Board of Directors. Mark was elected and served as the deputy chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) in 2007 until 2012. In 2009, he was also appointed as a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on National Health Insurance. Mark has written extensively on HIV, human rights and the law and has been part of the legal teams of the ALP, TAC and SECTION27 that have been involved in major litigation around HIV and other human rights issues in South Africa. In 2015 he published a book of poetry, I Write What I Fight. In 2017 a memoir of his 35 years involvement in human rights campaigns will be published by Tafelberg.
Nooshin Erfani-Ghadimi is the representative of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in the United States, providing strategic direction and operational advancement for fundraising and development activities in the United States, on behalf of the University.
Nooshin has been a Wits staff member since 2012, running the successful Wits Justice Project (which uses advocacy, education, law and journalism to help improve the South African criminal justice system). until early 2016 when she moved to the United States. She is also a graduate of Wits, having completed her MA in Journalism and Media Studies, and passing with distinction.
Before that, Nooshin was the Humanitarian Diplomacy Senior Officer of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies – the world’s largest humanitarian network. In this post, she was part of the strategic conceptualization and planning for the African Humanitarian Diplomacy Unit and helped establish and coordinate a continental team that included staff in communications, resource mobilization, planning and monitoring and evaluation, based in regional and country offices throughout Africa. Nooshin has also worked in the corporate and consultancy sectors, living and working in three continents, and brings these experiences to her work in advocating for the most vulnerable.
(co-opted on to the committee until the next AGM)
Yewande Omotoso was born in Barbados, she grew up in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and Cape Town, South Africa and currently lives in Johannesburg. An architect, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town. Her debut novel Bomboy (Modjaji Books) was shortlisted for the 2012 Sunday Times Fiction Prize, the MNet Film Award and the 2013 Etisalat Prize for Literature. It won the South African Literary Award First Time Author Prize. Her short stories include “How About The Children” in Kalahari Review, “Things Are Hard” in the 2012 Caine Prize Anthology, “Fish” published in The Moth Literary Journal and “The Leftovers” in One World Two.
Yewande was a 2013 Norman Mailer Fellow and a 2014 Etisalat Fellow. In 2015 she was a Miles Morland Scholar. Yewande’s second novel The Woman Next Door (Chatto and Windus) was published in May 2016. It was long listed for the Bailey’s Women’s Fiction Prize and shortlisted for the Aidoo-Snyder Prize and the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize.
(Photo credits: Margie Orford – PEN International, Mandla Langa – Franschhoek Literary Festival, Raymond Louw, SANEF, Gabeba Baderoon – Victor Dlamini, Mark Heywood – Ground Up, Nadia Davids – John Gutierrez)