South Africa: Dr Ellen Kornegay – a Tireless Champion of Women’s Rights and Gender Justice


South African Women in Dialogue and its many partners, including the Women’s Development Foundation and UN Women, deeply mourn the passing of Dr Ellen Kornegay, a powerful academic, researcher, gender expert and gender activist who worked tirelessly in seen and unseen ways, and whose ceaseless dedication to the work of women is visible in many of the documents that underpin the gender policy framework of South Africa.

Dr Ellen Kornegay was a formidable, indefatigable, but extremely kind public service professional, who not only had a deep understanding of bureaucratic management, as well as social protection and gender and female empowerment, but was also a champion and mentor to many young professionals whom she invested in, professionally and personally, over many years. She worked in government from 1997 to June 2014, when she retired.

Her expertise in public policy and governance, and her ability to draft public policy to change the details of people’s lives, was built over 43 years of professional work, 23 years of which she was extensively involved in establishing new structures and organisations.

Dr Ellen Selelo Nelly Kornegay was born on 17 January 1946 in Buffelshoek, Ga-Maleboho, to Albert George “Mokotupi” Whitehead and Thapelo Mary (Mohodu) Whitehead….



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