Just one by one…! Then two…
Lebo is the CEO of Soul City and a fierce fighter for women’s and children’s rights, who is leading the process of transforming of one of Africa’s leading women’s and children’s NGO’s. Her inimical style, compassion and forthrightness has established her as a highly respected thought leader and woman of action. With a penchant for clear language and uncluttered ideas, Lebo is a sought after public speaker across the world, including a high-level panel at the UN recently. Lebo also personally hosts one of Soul City’s flagship radio programmes. targeted at young women. In addition to the outreach and advocacy programmes, she draws inspiration from the power of storytelling, and believes there are many ways for Soul City to address sensitive topics. Her first priority is to ensure that women on the ground have the opportunity to tell their own story in their own words.
Lebo’s meriotic rise to the top position came after she graduated with a Master in Public Administration at the prestigious Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government (HKS)in 2010. She was concurrently enrolled in the Edward S. Mason programme which is drawn from top tier candidate students from developmental states. Lebo achieved this as a single mother of a young son and daughter, who accompanied her to Boston. Lebo says she could not have completed her programme without the help of her daughter, and observes that it is still far harder for a female professional — especially single mothers — to succeed in what remains a predominately men’s world. Acknowledging the role of her own parents in her life (her father was a taxi company owner), they sadly did not live to see her graduate. While at Harvard, Lebo enrolled in and then served as the Teaching Assistant (TA) for one of the Kennedy School’s most famous classes, Leadership on the Line led by Professor Dean Williams.
This life-changing experience in adaptive leadership and change was brought to bear when, under Lebo’s leadership, the Soul City Institute was relaunched as a Social Justice organisation in 2016 focusing on young women and girls and the communities they live in. She has used her policy skills to contextualise this within South Africa’s fluid socio-economic and political environment, which means that the organisation is destined to play an even bigger role in the life of the nation.
Lebo acknowledges that South Africa enjoys one of the world’s most progressive Constitution’s and an impressive array of equality laws. However, she is quick to point out there is a wide chasm between our codified human rights and the daily reality for millions of women on the ground. SA remains a deeply divided society with entrenched patriarchal attitudes; one in which women, especially black women, are still oppressed. They face a triple lock of race, gender and class discrimination. Lebo is determined to help shatter every hard glass ceiling that holds back girls and women in South Africa in this generation.
Simply put, Lebo believes in action now, not hope deferred until tomorrow.
Betsy Klein is a reporter covering the first family, the White House, and Capitol Hill for CNN.
She was a 2016 campaign embed, covering every Republican and Democratic presidential candidate across Iowa through the caucuses, and then tracking the presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz and later, the vice-presidential campaign of Sen. Tim Kaine.
Klein first joined CNN’s political team in August 2014 as an assignment editor in the Washington bureau, and she’s also covered the gun control debate, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other breaking news while at CNN. She previously wore many hats at ABC News’ Washington bureau, where she worked for all platforms and won an Emmy as part of the Good Morning America team.
A North Carolina native, Klein is a proud Duke University alumna.