Ms. Hlengiwe Mkhize is the deputy minister of correctional services for South Africa, and was formerly South Africa’s new Ambassador to the Netherlands beginning in August 2005. Ms. Mkhize studied at the University of Zululand and the University of Natal, where she obtained a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology in 1981. From 1983 to 1993, Ms. Mkhize was employed by the University of Zululand and also later contracted by the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) as a senior lecturer. She used her profession and academic background to intensify campaigns against apartheid, racism and state orchestrated violence. Her activism gave her the opportunity to pursue similar campaigns at the University of Illinois in Chicago in 1986, and the University of Mississippi in 1989. In the early 1990s she initiated a project on the impact of political violence on children and families and in the run-up to South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, Ms. Mkhize worked tirelessly in the townships, minimizing the impact of violence on young freedom fighters. She served as the first Director of Mental Health in the Department of Health of the new democratic government. From 1996 to 2001, Ms. Mkhize served as a Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). She acted as special advisor to the President’s Fund till her appointment as South Africa’s Ambassador to the Netherlands in The Hague. Besides government – linked appointments, Ms. Mkhize has continued to strengthen links with civil society structures inter alia, the following: She is the trustee and founding member of the National And Violence Trust; the chairperson of the Peace Commission of the South African Women in Dialogue, affectionately known as SAWID; Ms. Mkhize is also chairperson of the Council of the University of Zululand, and the chairperson of the Anti – Racism Forum – an organisation formed by civil society, following the United Nations World Conference Against Racism and Xenophobia.
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