Ms. Cebile Nompumelelo Manzini-Henwood

Executive Director
Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse - NGO


In mid-2001, when I applied for the KSAL programme, I had recently completed my BA degree in Social Sciences—majoring in Sociology and Public Administration. I was working as a Youth Empowerment Officer for the Leadership Regional Network for Southern Africa (LeaRN). Although I loved my work, I knew I wanted to accomplish a lot more in my career and academic life. By this time, I had developed a very keen interest in issues related to advocacy for women’s rights. I was just not certain about the next step. The WKKF Scholarship Award opened the door I was looking for. Through the KSAL Programme, my passion for gender justice and advancement of women’s rights was concretized as my knowledge and capacity in this area was strengthened immensely. With Gender and Development, focusing on Feminist Theory as one of my majors, I was provided with a strong academic and intellectual foundation for my passion. Following the completion of my Master’s programme, I worked for the National HIV/AIDS Council in Swaziland (NERCHA) as a National Strategic Planning Coordinator. My specific focus was on coordinating the development of national HIV/AIDS Policy, Strategic Plans, mainstreaming gender and capacity building among diverse sectors in addressing HIV/AIDS through evidence informed, results and human rights based programming. I later became Executive Director of the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse. I have to say, this is where I had always wanted to be, doing the work I was born to do—calling for social change and contributing to positive transformation of the lives of vulnerable women and girls whose dignity and integrity have been violated. Although the sector I work in is very poorly resourced and highly dependent on donor funding, it is very rewarding at a spiritual and intellectual level. In 2009, I was honoured to be a recipient of the Swaziland Women in Leadership Award. KSAL was instrumental in facilitating my transformation at an academic, professional, and personal level. This transformation is ongoing; it is a lifelong process. I continue to learn, to grow, to make mistakes, to fall and to get back evolve. As Executive Director of one of the most well-known NGOs in the country, I have been through many trials and learning experiences which have also contributed immensely to my personal transformation, molding me into a strong, dynamic, resilient, hopeful and faith-filled woman. Today, I not only sit on various national and international Boards but I am very grateful to GOD and proud to be honoured as one of Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government for 2013.