The Inaugural 2018 Prudence Mabele Prize in Gender Justice and Equity (multi year endowment by The Open Society Foundations and Ford Foundations in partnership with the Positive Women’s Network of South Africa).

To ensure a more sustainable, equitable and just response to HIV/AIDS, it is imperative that gender justice and health equity are always included as part of our global response.

Today, in a special panel discussion with policy makers, funders, activists and programmers, including the President of the Open Society Foundations at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam the International AIDS Society and the global community of HIV/AIDS and gender rights activists honoured the memory and legacy of Prudence Mabele (1971- 2017). Prudence was a well-known global activist for the rights of women and girls and all people living with HIV/AIDS, she was fearless and challenged those in power, from governments to pharmaceutical companies and leaders in positions of power.

The inaugural presentation of the multi-year special endowment by the Open Society and Ford Foundations representing a small but important tribute to her life and work, the Prudence Mabele Prize recognises women who embodies the values of Prudence. The winner has been selected from global public nominations and the Prize will ensure that her legacy lives on and that the new generation of champions of gender justice and health equity are recognised and celebrated.

In 1992, Prudence Mabele was one of the first black women in South Africa to publicly reveal her HIV-positive status at a time when there were high levels of stigma and discrimination.

With others she helped to build the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) one of the first post-apartheid mass based social movements in SA that focused on resistance and struggle to advance the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, including challenging state denialism in the fight for access to medicines. Prudence was also an active member of the TAC. She also co-founded and built with others Positive Women’s Network and supported countless young women in their activism for human rights. Until her death she fearlessly continued to work on struggles challenging state corruption and gender based violence.

The Prize, endowed in her honour, therefore recognises and celebrates those who follow her exemplary lead.

About the winner:

The 2018 Prudence Mabele Prize of $ 25 000 is awarded to Duduzile (Dudu) Dlamini, a sex worker, mother, grand mother and rights activist. Dudu is a well known global champion of sex worker rights and is leading the struggle in SA to recognise sex work as work, and for its full decriminalisation.

President of OSF Patrick Gaspard and Dudu Dlamini, SWEAT. Amsterdam.

Dudu currently works at SWEAT a long-standing grantee of the Open Society Foundations and is one of the founders of Mothers for the Future (M4F) which focuses on mothers who are sex workers and is an ambassador for the Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS.

For more information, see the AIDS Conference press statement on Dudu.