- Program Year
- Country of Current Residence
- South Africa
- City/Town of Current Residence
- Cape Town
- Current Position
- Director of Programmes
- The DG Murray Trust
Researcher, Youth advocate, Social Dynamics Manager
- Civic Engagement, Leadership
- English, Afrikaans
- Professor Claudia Mitchell, McGill University
- Interest(s) / Expertise
- early childhood development, education, mobile communications policy, storytelling, youth activism
Janet is the Director of Programmes at The DG Murray Trust in Cape Town. Previously, she worked as the Social Dynamics Manager and Portfolio Manager for the Trust’s Leadership for a Winning Nation portfolio. Janet has focused on understanding the complexities and power dynamics between people, institutions and policies across a number of fields including early childhood development and parenting, education, mobile communications policy, and youth activism.
She spearheaded the establishment of, and continues to advise, the Activate! Leadership for Public Innovation programme – a national network of young leaders drawn from across the poles of South African society. She also works with the Cape Town Embrace program focused on building a social movement to support parents and caregivers of children in the first 1000 days of life. Janet’s work with the South African Girl Child Alliance led to her inclusion in South African delegations to meetings such as the UN Beijing+5 Review (2000) and the United Nations Special Session on Children (2002) as well as leading the South African youth delegation to the launch of the Girls Education Movement in Africa (2001).
Janet’s work as the Amnesty International National Youth Coordinator and involvement in global networks of young women activists led to an increased passion for supporting young people to actively contribute to their communities, countries and at global decision-making levels. As Chairperson of her university debating society in South Africa, Janet organized the 2005 National Schools Debating Championship, bringing together 200 young debaters from across South Africa’s racial and socio-economic divides. Janet collaborated with members of the Khulumani Support Group for survivors of Apartheid-related gross human rights violations to author two plays – Mamelodi: The Forgotten and The Bones are Still Calling. Directing The Vagina Monologues and authoring the plays with the Khulumani Support Group, has enabled Janet to combine her passion for theatre and social justice.
Janet completed a BA (Hons) degree in History at Rhodes University. Her academic work then took her to Oxford University, where she completed an MPhil in Development Studies. Her thesis examined the mechanisms of including young people in global civil society.
Janet explored issues of youth participation in decision-making, social enterprise and reconciliation in divided societies. She also spent time working on the establishment of intergenerational dialogues around shaping critical policy and practical interventions in major issues facing South Africa and the broader African continent. Her time as a Sauve Fellow informed a large part of her subsequent work in the youth activism space in South Africa. Janet’s mentor, Professor Claudia Mitchell of McGill’s Centre for developing area studies, shares her deep interests in Southern Africa and contributed her knowledge of youth culture, visual and arts-based research methodologies to Janet’s projects.