Melene Rossouw has been blowing up all over the place after having garnered a string of accolades for her work with empowering women and young girls.
The 36 year old lawyer has been listed as one of the “100 Most Influential Young South Africans”, an accolade she shares with previous awardees such as Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya.
The ‘Most Influential Young South Africans initiative’ aims to identify young people with an outstanding record of contributing to the growth of South Africa and inspiring (or influencing) other young people to do the same.
Melene was recognized for the work she did through her ‘Women Lead Movement’ which she started in 2017 at the age of 32.
It aims to empower women and girls through mentorships and human rights programmes.
The movement has thus far helped thousands of women and young people, has been recognized by local and international human rights agencies, expanded internationally, and also runs projects to teach boys and young men about the rights of women so that they can become better adults.
This accolade is just one of many for her work with the movement.
Melene has already been selected as an Inaugural Obama Leader in Africa, a Future Africa Forum Leader, a Mandela Washington Fellow, a JCI 2020 ‘Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World, a JCI ‘Ten Outstanding Young Persons of South Africa’, an African ‘100 Most Influential Women’ and a Brand Ambassador for Brand South Africa.
She was also selected by the International Advocacy Organisation, ONE Global Campaign, to feature in three of their global campaigns and she has had the honour of meeting former President Barrack as well as having written and spoken extensively on Democracy and Governance in Africa and generally sought after to speak at international conferences (the latest being at the ‘Young African Initiative’ conference held in Ethiopia).
Melene completed a degree in Law at the University of the Western Cape where she was also elected to and served on the Student Representative Council.
She worked as a Candidate Attorney, a legal researcher at the Constitutional Court of South Africa in the office of Constitutional Court Judge, Albie Sachs), National Cabinet Committee Secretary responsible for Justice, Crime Prevention and Security as well as Governance and Administration (in the office of the presidency), Special Advisor to the Minister of Sports and Recreation and Media Liaison for the Minister of Tourism.
She also graduated with a Masters degree in Public and Constitutional Law as well as Diplomas in Media Studies (Institute for Journalism South Africa).
Through the prestigious Mandela Washington fellowship, she completed a course on Governance and Democracy (University of Virginia) and Leadership (William & Mary – Raymond A. Mason School of Business).