Judge Edwin Cameron
Edwin Cameron is one of the world’s leading HIV/Aids activists.
He studied law at Stellenbosch University, the University of Oxford and the University of South Africa, winning the top academic honours at all three universities. He joined the Johannesburg Bar Society of Advocates in 1983, and from 1986 practised as a human rights lawyer at the University of the Witwatersrand's Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), where in 1989 he was awarded a personal professorship in law. While at CALS, he co-drafted the Charter of Rights on Aids and HIV, co-founded the Aids Consortium and became the first director of the Aids Law Project.
In 1994, President Mandela appointed him an Acting Judge of the High Court to chair a commission into illegal arms deals. He was appointed permanently to the High Court in 1995. He served for a year as an Acting Justice in the Constitutional Court, in 1999/2000, before being appointed permanently to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
From 1998 to 2008, he chaired the Council of the University of the Witwatersrand.
Cameron has received many awards and distinctions, such as the Honorary Fellowships from Keble College, at the University of Oxford, and the Society for Advanced Legal Studies, London; the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights (2000) and the San Francisco Aids Foundation's Excellence in Leadership Award (2003). In 2002, the Bar of England and Wales honoured him with a Special Award for his contribution to international jurisprudence and the protection of human rights.
In 2005, Cameron published his book Witness to AIDS, which in 2006 was jointly awarded South Africa's most prestigious literary award for non-fiction, the Sunday Times/Alan Paton prize.
Dr John Kani
Dr John Kani is known as the grandfather of South African theatre.
For his first play The Island, co-written with Athol Fugard and Winston Ntshona and which focused life in Robben Island's prison, John Kani received one of the world’s most prestigious theatre prizes – the Tony Award.
John Kani is known as one of the leading activists in the struggle against apartheid. He caused a scandal in 1982 when he kissed a white woman on stage in Miss Julie. His performance was followed by death threats and violations.
Nothing but the Truth (2002) was his debut as sole playwright and was first performed in the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. It tells the story of his younger brother, who was shot dead by the police in 1985, while reciting a poem at the funeral of a nine-year-old girl, who was killed during riots. It won the 2003 Fleur du Cap Award for best actor and best new South African play. In the same year, he was also awarded a special Obie award for his extraordinary contribution to theatre in the USA. Kani is the executive trustee of the Market Theatre Foundation, founder and director of the Market Theatre Laboratory and chairman of the National Arts Council of SA. He currently plays the role of Mkhuseli Mthetho in the telenovela Inkaba which he also created.
Dr Sibongile Khumalo
Sibongile Khumalo is regarded by many as South Africa’s first lady of song.
She was born in Orlando West, in the heart of Soweto. Her father, Khabi Mngoma, who was a music professor and historian, introduced her to various genres of music – from the ubiquitous choral indigenous music to western classical genres.
Sibongile earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from the University of Zululand and continued her studies with an Honours Degree in the History of Music from the University of the Witwatersrand.
Khumalo has sung in major venues across the globe and has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and the Barbican Centre in the United Kingdom. She also performed at the Kennedy Centre, Washington DC, as well as at Ronnie Scott’s in London.
Her first CD Ancient Evenings was published in 1996 and is an exploration of the African indigenous music. For her first album, she was awarded two South African Music Awards: Best Female Vocal Performance and Best Adult Contemporary Performance as well as Song of the Year for composer Motsumi Makhene's song Untold Story.
In 2006, she was appointed chairperson of the Festival Committee of the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, a post she still holds.
In the past few years, Sibongile Khumalo has spent a great deal of her schedule honing her skills as a producer and ensuring a legacy for future young singers.
Dr Pieter-Dirk Uys
Pieter-Dirk Uys has written and performed plays, revues and one-man shows since the mid-1960s. His alter-ego – Evita Bezuidenhout – has received the Living Legacy 2000 Award in San Diego, USA and has become his most famous creation. Since his satirical work was censored during apartheid, his growing audience got to know the artist through video tapes that were circulated among his multiracial fans and many members of parliament have attested to seeing his videos while in exile and in prison.
Pieter-Dirk Uys still works on satirical plays and shows and feels delighted to still have a government that on a daily basis helps him write his best material. He also travels around the country to visit schools, prisons and reformatories with his free Aids awareness show For Fact's Sake!
Pieter-Dirk Uys has a close relationship with Drama for Life and Wits University and has recently been appointed the 2012 Wits Carnegie Resident Scholar for the Drama for Life Programme. The Carnegie Residency aims to facilitate dialogue on transformation and introduce the university community to a range of diverse perspectives on topics of institutional and national concern. Academics and students nominate outstanding individuals who contribute in innovative ways to the process of knowledge formation at Wits University.