H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC)
H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma has a long history of political activism and leadership in her own South Africa and across the continent. After the 1994 elections, Dr Dlamini Zuma was appointed as Minister of Health in the cabinet of then President Nelson Mandela. During her tenure, she de-segregated the health system and championed the radical health reforms which introduced access to free basic healthcare. In 1999, then President Thabo Mbeki appointed Dr Dlamini Zuma as Minister of Foreign Affairs. In this role, she actively championed South Africa’s foreign policy which centered on the promotion of human rights, stability, peace, collective development and advancement of this continent. It was during her tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs that peace and stability was achieved in Burundi and the DRC for example, and it was during her time that the African Union was launched in 2002. In 2009, she was appointed Minister of Home Affairs and brought about radical change in the department, which subsequently achieved a clean audit for the first time in many years in 2011. In July 2012, H.E Dr Dlamini Zuma was elected Chairperson of the African Union Commission by the Heads of State in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She is the first woman to lead the continental organization, including its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity. This was a major achievement in the sense that for the first time since the formation of the Organisation for African Unity, which became the African Union, a woman and indeed a candidate of the southern region was successfully elected to this high post.