Conference Chairperson: Dr Yogan Pillay

Dr Yogan Pillay is appointed as the Deputy Director-General responsible for HIV/AIDS, TB and MCWH at the National Department of Health since September 2008, where he is responsible for the development of national policies, guidelines, norms and standards and targets to decrease the burden of disease related to the HIV and tuberculosis epidemic;  to minimize maternal and child mortality and morbidity;  to optimize good health for children, adolescents and women; support the implementation of national policies, guidelines and norms and standards; and monitor and evaluate the outcomes and impact of these.

Conference Co-chair: Miss Andile Mthombeni

Andile J Mthombeni (BA, Honors in Sociology) is a Masters student in Research Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is part of an advocacy action-research organization African Gender Institute (AGI) that aims to empower young women’s leadership skills through researching Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights (SRHR) with previous research focus on sexual harassment within institutions of higher learning. Further to that, her areas of research interests and focus lie in South African black fatherhood and absent fathers, Young Women, LGBTIQA, HIV/AIDS as well as knowledge Production. In thread to her interests in SRHR she is also serving as a research committee member of the SRJC network. She has attended and presented at national and international Conferences, and co-authored research article. She has put together a successfully published Special Issue journal on Father Connections in South Africa, and is currently part of the editorial team for the upcoming special issues for the SAJHE and PINS. Presently she works as a Research Assistant/Co-coordinator at the Department of Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand. Outside her interests in research she is also serving as a Post Graduate Associate Rep, with a portfolio on Research, and when she is not assisting post-grad students she is also participating in the FMF decolonization projects. She has multiple achievements, some of which includes being nominated to serve at the PHASA Gauteng Committee branch, serving as the secretary. She also has been appointed as a student representative in the Ministerial Technical Task Team for SGBV in Institutions of Higher Learning.

Track 1: Emerging Good Practices among the Youth: Peer Education Programmes, and Community Engagement. What works and what doesn’t.

Mr Bafana Khumalo – Track Chair

Bafana Khumalo is a Senior Strategic Advisor at Sonke Gender Justice and one of the organisations’ co-founders. He served as co-director of the organisation from 2006-2010. 
Bafana has a long and accomplished track record in the NGO sector. He was senior gender technical advisory for Engender Health South Africa between 2012 -2013. 
From 2001-2008 Bafana served as a Commissioner at the National Commission for Gender Equality from 2001-2006 and 2007-2010. At the CGE he was instrumental in assisting National and Provincial Departments of Government to plan and coordinate many activities related to men, gender and HIV/AIDS.
Bafana has spoken at many national and international conferences on men, gender and HIV/AIDS, including the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2007, 2008 and 2010, and at the International AIDS Society conference held in Mexico in 2008.
Together with Sonke Co-Director Dean Peacock, he was awarded Men’s Health Magazine “Best Man” Award in 2007. Recipient of the Vital Voices’ Voices of Solidarity Award 2014.
Currently, he chairs the SANAC National Men’s sector which is one of the components of the South African National AIDS Council responsible to provide oversight on the implementation of the National Strategic Plan on HIV, STI’s and TB.
He holds a Bachelor of Theology (Hon) and Masters in Theology from the University of Natal – Pietermaritzburg.

Dr Ednah Ruth – Track Co-chair

Dr Edna Rooth has a PhD in Life Orientation (Life skills). She is a consultant for the Higher Education and Training HIV/AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) for the Life Orientation TVET Project, which is based on strengthening HIV and AIDS education in the college sector.
Edna is originally from Thohoyandou in Limpopo, where she lectured Educational Psychology at the University of Venda. She has lectured and developed courses in Life Orientation and Life skills at the Universities of Cape Town and the Western Cape. She has also offered teacher-training courses and facilitator workshops in Life skills in Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Track 2: Integrating HIV in the Post Schooling Curriculum

Prof Lesley Wood – Track Chair

Lesley Wood, DEd, MA, BA, BASS, PGCHE is a Research Professor, Faculty of Education Sciences, North-West University, South Africa. Previously a social worker, Lesley is committed to helping educational stakeholders address the social disadvantages they face within contexts of poverty and specifically with reference to HIV and AIDS.  Lesley has more than 50 accredited publications and is rated by the National Research Foundation (NRF). She is an Editor of the journal, Educational Research for Social Change ( and currently holds an NRF community engagement grant to conduct research on how tertiary researchers can better work with communities to generate knowledge that is mutually beneficial and will lead to contextualised and relevant social change.

Prof Relebohile Moletsane – Track Co-chair


Relebohile Moletsane is Professor and the John Langalibalele Dube Chair in Rural Education in the School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. Areas of research include curriculum studies, rural education, gender and education, sexual and reproductive health education (including HIV prevention) and girlhood studies. She is the co-author (with Claudia Mitchell, Ann Smith and Linda Chisholm) of the book: Methodologies for Mapping a Southern African Girlhood in Age of Aids. Rotterdam/New York/Taipei: Sense Publishers; and co-editor with Barbana Pini (lead) and Martin Mills of the 2016 book: Education and the Global Rural: Feminist perspectives. London and New York: Routledge. She was a 2014 Echidna Global Scholar at Brookings Institutions’ Centre for Universal Education, where she completed a research report: The Need for Quality Sexual and Reproductive Health Education to Address Barriers to Girls’ Educational Outcomes in South Africa. Washington, DC: Centre for Universal Education, The Brookings Institution.

Track 3: Social, Structural and Health Systems to address drivers of HIV, STIs, TB among the youth population.

Dr Rachel Jewkes – Track Chair

Rachel Jewkes is the Director of the South African Medical Research Council’s Gender and Health Research Unit, a former Vice-President of the SAMRC and an Honorary Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is the Secretary of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative and the Director of the DFID-funded What Works to Prevent Violence Global Programme, working to advance knowledge in 14 countries.

Ms Lebogang Fataha – Track Co-Chair

Studied a BA in Child and Family Psychology, Post Grad in trauma Counselling, I have been involved in the HIV field for a few years, starting out as a counsellor, then doing Life skills at the school and now, I am currently working at the NDoH as the HIV Testing Services (HTS) Project manager, coordinating HTS campaigns nationally

Track 4: Ethics, Marginalization and the Protection of Human Rights

Ms Steve Letsike – Track Chair

Steve is an activist, feminist, leader, mentor, vibrant human rights advocate with global and international high-level advocacy and policy experiences at in gender equality, human rights and accountable governance framework particularly focusing on LGBTI issues and women’s rights, violence against women, HIV and youth leadership for more than 14 years. She is the current South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Co- Chairperson, a portfolio currently co-chairing with the H.E Cyril Ramaphosa Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, she is a leader and chairperson of SANAC National Civil Society Forum. She is the Co-Chair of the National Task Team established by the Department of Justice to address Hate Crimes and GBV. Steve serves as a member of the Commonwealth Equality Network, UN Women -Civil Society Advisory Group, Global Fund 4 Women Steering Committee and many other national, regional and international structures. Founding Director of Access Chapter 2 (AC2), a human Rights organization that focuses on LGBTI people, women in their diversity and Civil Society’s participation on public policy development process. She previously has worked with: Anova Health Institute, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), OUT LGBT Well-Being and for Government- Department of Social Development.

Dr Anthony Brown – Track Co-Chair

Anthony Brown is an academic in the field of Inclusive Education and Life Orientation. He is currently employed at the University of Johannesburg as a Senior Lecturer. He has a particular interest in social justice education and safe and enabling learning environments for all learners regardless of background and/or conditions.  His research is largely located in Namibia where he is investigating inclusive environments for learners with or perceived same sex identities.  He recently explored how parents of learners with same-sex identities are supported to embrace the identities of their children. He also serves as study leader for Masters and Doctoral students in the area of gender and sexual diversity

Track 5: Emerging Good Practices: Communications, Social Media, and Community Engagement for Social and Behaviour Change and improved health outcomes.

Mr Richard Delate – Track Chair

Richard Delate, works at UNFPA ESARO. He is a social and behavioural communication specialist working in the area of HIV for over 20 years. He spearheaded innovative programmes such as Brothers for Life, Scrutinize, ZAZI and Intersexions. He has a masters degree in Cultural and Media Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. 

Mr Stanley Namakhota – Track Co-chair

I am Namakhota Godfrey Stanley, a Bolobedu born young man from a village called Sekhiming just outside Giyani at Limpopo. I am a graduate in Bachelor of Arts (Health Science and Social Service) in Welfare Science (obtained in Cum Laude) from University of South Africa (UNISA) and i am currently studying my Honours degree in Social behavioural studies (HIV/AIDS) also with University of South Africa (UNISA). I am the Tshwane Regional Media and Communication Officer of South African Student Congress Organisation (SASCO), the current Branch Secretary of the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA).I am the Secretary of Gays ans Lesbian of University of South Africa (GLOUSA) and I served as the UNISA Tshwane Regional SRC Sports and Cultural Officer and the Chairperson of the Sports Committee for a period from 06 March 2014 to 31 August 2016 respectively. I am now serving as the Gender and Sexual Diversity Assistant Project Coordinator for Tirisano Centre from UNISA Sociology Department. I am highly motivated by constructive engagements that bring about change and transformation to our society that is why i am a member of the Wits Collaboration team that advocate for the rights of the sexual minority groups (LGBTI) with University of Venda, UCT, University of Malawi, University of Namibia, NMMU and UJ.

Track 6: Epidemiology, Prevention and Biomedical Interventions

Dr Esther Muia – Track Chair


Dr. Esther Muia a national of Kenya assumed the post of UNFPA Representative in South Africa in April 2014.
Served as UNFPA Representative in Lao PDR from 2011 to 2014 .
She joined UNFPA in March 2003 as an HIV Adviser, on the Country Support Team in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and provided technical assistance to counties in Africa as well as capacity building at the regional level on HIV and Reproductive Health issues.
2007 to 2011 She was the Deputy Representative in UNFPA Tanzania Country Office and provided leadership in programme implementation in the context of Delivering as One UN as part of UN reforms. She was also trained by the UNSSC as a UN wide resource person and facilitator for UNDAF and UN reform processes as well as change management and has supported several countries since 2004. In addition she has undergone Leadership skills Training in the School of Management at the Cranefield University in the UK.
Prior to joining UNFPA, Dr. Muia worked as a medical practitioner in various hospitals in Kenya. Was on the School of Medicine faculty at the University of Nairobi, and worked as Programme Associate at the Population Council, Regional Office for East and Southern Africa.
Dr. Muia holds Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBchB) and a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from the University of Nairobi, as well as a Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, USA.

Ms Yashodani Pillay – Track Co-chair

Miss Pillay holds a BSc in Biomedical Sciences and a B Med Sci Honours from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her interests pertain to molecular sciences, disease manifestation and counteractive methods, public health, health equity and education. She has worked in scientific research, tertiary education, the NGO sector and is currently pursuing a PhD in Medical Biochemistry at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.