Kagiso A. Maphalle has been recently appointed as the General Manager of the National Heritage Council (NHC) of South Africa. She is the youngest, and the first woman to have ever occupied the position in the history of the institution’s existence. She will be responsible for the core business and executive functioning of the NHC nationally, reporting directly to the CEO. This means that she now forms part of the 7 percent of Female Executive Directors in the country of South Africa. She is also the youngest General Manager of a national institution in the country.
How is that for black female excellence?
It was on Heritage Day in South Africa, the 24th of September 2018 when she announced the news on her Facebook platform. When asked about her new role at NHC, she responded by saying that;
“I am working towards changing the narrative and content of Customary Law in South Africa. I want to build a South Africa that is proud of its heritage, cultures, and traditions. I want to promote Heritage Legacies that are pro-women empowerment, gender equality and are artistically creative. I am for rural economic development and diversity that is sustainable.”
She further said that “This new journey of working for the National Heritage Council is important for me because it confirms for me that hard work, consistency, and determination pay off in the end. I serve as an example that young people can make successful careers out of heritage, culture, and tradition and that our youth is necessary to bridge the gap between tradition and modernity and to bring fresh and innovative ways of developing our cultures and traditions to make them relatable to the younger generation. My appointment is also important because it shows that as a young woman; you can be a feminist and still be rooted in the teachings and values of customs and traditions, you can be “woke” and still uphold culture. Many of South Africa’s young people are lost because they are living lives that are not linked to their identity. Identity is important in every person’s life because it cements your belonging within a family, tribe, culture and wider community.”
Kagiso A. Maphalle is the General Manager of the National Heritage Council of South Africa. She is an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa and a legal and cultural anthropologist. She has worked for the Commission for Gender Equality, NRF Chair in Customary Law, Indigenous Values and Human Rights, Centre for Law and Society, University of the Western Cape, University of Cape Town and the Parliamentary Monitoring Group. She holds an LLB degree from the University of Venda, an MPhil with Specialisation in African Customary Law and Women’s Rights and a Doctor of Philosophy in African Customary Law and Children’s Rights from the University of Cape Town. She is a Research Consultant for Customary Law Projects in the SADC region. She is also the founder of the Kagiso Maphalle Foundation which empowers rural communities through educational workshops on human rights and customary law. She is a member of the International Commission on Legal Pluralism, Social Scientist Research Network, Rutgers Institute of Women’s Studies, International Society for Third-Sector Research, African Law and Society, African Studies Association of Africa, the Human Development and Capability Association, and the African Studies Association. She has a blog called Life of a Researcher where she writes about her experiences in the field of customary law. She is also a Nelson Mandela Washington Fellow 2018, and her research interests are in customary law, legal pluralism, gender law, succession and inheritance rights, women’s rights, child rights, human rights, and development.