Meet our Executive Board
Nadia Davids – 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 is a recipient of a Philip Leverhulme Prize and lectured at Queen Mary University of London between 2009 and 2016. Nadia lives in Cape Town.
Her play, What Remains, about slavery, the haunted city and the now, was recently at the National Art Festival in Grahamstown.
Yewande Omotoso – Executive Vice-President
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.
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.
Meet our Board Members
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sisonke Msimang is a writer and columnist with the Daily Maverick in South Africa. She has held fellowships at Yale University, the Aspen Institute and the University of Witswatersrand in Johannesburg. She was born in Swaziland to parents who were political exiles, and raised in Zambia, Kenya and Canada, before going to the US as an undergraduate. Her family returned to South Africa after the release of Nelson Mandela and the unbanning of liberation movements in the early 1990s. She currently lives on planes, navigating the distance between South Africa and Australia.
Pierre de Vos
Professor Pierre De Vos is the Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance and teaches in the area of Constitution al Law. He has a B Comm (Law), LLB and LLM (cum laude) from the University of Stellenbosch, an LLM from Columbia University in NewYork, and an LLD from the University of Western Cape. In addition to his new position at PEN SA, Prof de Vos is the chairperson of the Board of the Aids Legal Network and is a board member of Triangle Project. He writes a Blog on social and political issues from a constitutional law perspective, which is widely read and quoted.
(Photo credits: Nadia Davids – John Gutierrez, Gabeba Baderoon – Victor Dlamini, Mark Heywood – Ground Up, Margie Orford – PEN International, Sisonke Msimang – Victor Dlamini via The JRB; Pierre de Vos – UCT.)