Newly appointed Special Rapporteur for Health at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng is proof that you don’t have to change who you are to rise to the top.
Known for being outspoken and speaking her mind, Dr. Mofokeng wears many hats. She is a Commissioner at the Commission for Gender Equality in South Africa, a general practitioner, runs a reproductive clinic in Sandton and serves as the vice-chairperson of the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition.
She is also a medical columnist for the Sunday Times Newspaper, a resident doctor at Kaya FM, a facilitator and speaker.
Dr. Mofokeng is the first African woman from South Africa to serve as the UNHCR’s Special Rapporteur for Health.
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the UNHCRA is a body within the United Nations system whose mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world.
The only girl in her family, she grew up in the 1980s with her brothers and mother in QwaQwa, a bantustan (homeland) in the central eastern part of South Africa during the apartheid-era.
Dr. Mofokeng obtained a medical degree from the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2007 and had to rely on student funding to pay for her education.
She established the first youth-friendly clinic in Matatiele in the Eastern Cape as part of her rural community project in 2008.
She is passionate about fighting to end HIV/AIDS and advancing the rights of people with albinism.
Dr. Mofokeng is a 2018 Aspen New Voices Fellow and was a 2017 delegate of the International Sexual and Reproductive Rights Caucus at the UN 50th Commission on Population Development.
In addition to being recognized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as one of 120 Under 40 leaders, Dr. Mofokeng was adviser to the technical committee for the National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Framework Strategy in South Africa.
She has also worked as a senior medical officer at the Gauteng Department of Health and collaborated with the UN on mumerous projects.
I love what she said in quote to She Leads Africa:
“No matter what the world tells you, you are beautiful, you are intelligent and you were born with all the power and are deserving of a good life.”
Dr. Mofokeng is truly an inspiration to women and girls. We wish her well in her new role!
Vimbai E. is a writer, journalist, ghostwriter and the founder of The Weight She Carries. With hundreds of articles publishing online, in print and for broadcast, her love of language and storytelling shines through every piece of writing that bears her name.