Simamkele Dlakavu

Simamkele Dlakavu

Board Member

Simamkele is an African Feminist activist, researcher, writer, and a communications and sustainability professional currently working as a Social Projects Specialist for the Aurora Tech Awards. An initiative that supports women founded startups in the technology field. She has extensive work experience within the South African development sector. Having worked and consulted for well-established development and donor organisations such as Oxfam South Africa, the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), the Soul City Institute for Social Justice and One Young World.

Simamkele is a graduate of the University of Witwatersrand and holds a BA in International Relations and Political Studies, BA Honours in Political Studies, and an MA in African Literature (with distinction). She is currently registered for a PhD in Political Science at the University of Stellenbosch.  Her thesis titled ‘Fighting Against Erasure: The One in Nine Campaign and Feminist Movement Building against Sexual Violence’ is supervised by Professor Amanda Gouws- the SARChI Chair in Gender Politics. Her doctoral studies are funded through an NRF doctoral scholarship and by the Canon Collins Sol Plaatje PhD Scholarship Programme.

For the past three years Simamkele has been rooted in the South African academy having taught Gender Studies at the University of Cape Town and the University of Pretoria, as well as Political and International Studies at Rhodes University. Her area of focus is social movements, feminist development economics, citizenship, and the ways in which African Feminist activists make claims towards the state and organise politically.

Simamkele has published extensively for a young scholar-activist – you can find her writing in Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity and in Imbiza: Journal for African Writing.  She has written two book chapters, one published in Rioting and Writing: Dairies of Wits Fallists (Society, Work, and Development Research Institute, 2017). As well as the edited book Feminist Institutionalism in South Africa: Designing for Gender Equality (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022). She has also contributed a number of opinion articles in media platforms such as City Press.  She is a member of the South African Association for Political Studies and the African Feminist Initiative.  Simamkele is well-known as an African Feminist activist, most distinguished for the stand she took in 2016 with three other young women in the #RememberKhwezi silent protest when former president Jacob Zuma was delivering his live speech at Election Centre.

Simamkele is an African Women’s Development and Communications Network (FEMNET), African Feminist Macroeconomic Academy (AFMA) Fellow. Through this fellowship, she has received training on feminist economics and its intersection with tax justice, trade, and public service financing and delivery in Africa. The training she received took place in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Senegal, and Malawi. Simamkele is a widely sought out speaker and moderator, having been invited to speak at events hosted by United Nations bodies in South Africa, the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, Equal Education, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and many others. She has also appeared in news platforms such as SABC, Al Jazeera, BBC World News, eNCA, and Newzroom Africa. At this point in her career, Simamkele has transitioned into the corporate philanthropy, sustainability, and development sector in order to make a tangible difference in South Africa.

Lastly, Simamkele enjoys traveling within the African continent, hiking and urban walks around her home in Johannesburg.