International prize for human rights activist

Vuyiseka Dubula-Majola

Vuyiseka Dubula-Majola, director of the Africa Centre for HIV/Aids Management at Stellenbosch University (SU), is one of 15 recipients worldwide of the 2018 Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law.

The foreign ministers of Germany and France, made the announcement on Wednesday November 21.

This is the third year in which France and Germany are awarding the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law to coincide with International Human Rights Day on December 10.

In their announcement, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas of Germany and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of France stated: “In this 70th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Germany and France have chosen to honour 15 individuals who have campaigned courageously to protect human rights.

“They also stand proxy for the many other human rights defenders whose efforts remain unrecognised and who are often subjected to great inequities in their fight for justice. Our gratitude, recognition and respect goes to them for putting the Declaration’s words into actions.”

“It is always humbling as an activist to get recognition. This award is a collective gratitude to those who speak truth to power,” Ms Dubula-Majola said. 

Having completed two of her postgraduate qualifications at SU, Ms Dubula-Majola became a lecturer at the Africa Centre for HIV/Aids Management and later its director. She was diagnosed with HIV/Aids in 2001.

In congratulating Ms Dubula-Majola, the dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Professor Ingrid Woolard, said she was delighted to see her work recognised in this way.

“Vuyiseka is an exceptional role model to all of us – she is brave, passionate, dedicated, focused and yet humble. We congratulate her on this international recognition of her unwavering commitment to improving the lives of people living with HIV/Aids and working towards interventions that will reduce transmission.”

Ms Dubula-Majola has also been included in the book A to Z of Amazing South African women, a publication that honours the contribution of women to South Africa’s past, present and future. Other names in the book include Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Fatima Meer, Caster Semenya, Natalie du Toit and Thuli Madonsela.

In the book they refer to Ms Dubula-Majola as a “heroine for our times” – someone who has beaten all the odds and is still working actively to improve the situation.

“I welcome challenges. That is how we grow,” she said.