Joyce Piliso-Seroke

JoyceJoyce Piliso-Seroke has contributed immensely to freedom, development, reconstruction and the struggle for gender equality in South Africa. Born in Crown Mines, Johannesburg, Joyce got her education in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Wales. Joyce has a BA degree and University Education Diploma from Fort Hare University, she went on to teach for a period of 12 months after which she left the profession to pursue a career in social work as she could not tolerate the hideous conditions of Bantu education. She was then offered a scholarship to do a post graduate degree in Social Policy and Administration in Swansea University, South Wales. On her return to South Africa, she worked for the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in KwaZulu-Natal. The YWCA developed programmes for women empowerment as well as community development. This is where her interest in women’s issues really began. Mrs Seroke soon became national secretary, and was appointed to the Executive Committee of the World YWCA in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1976, she was detained during the students’ boycotts and was incarcerated along with Winnie Mandela, Fatima Meer and others. Mrs. Seroke served on the Transvaal Board of the National Co-Ordinating Council for Returnees, on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and was Chairperson of the Commission on Gender Equality from 1999 to 2007. Mrs. Seroke served on the board of READ Educational Trust and of the Women’s Development Foundation which spearheaded the establishment of a ‘Memorial’ next to the Apartheid Women’s Jail, at the Constitution Hill commemorating the first Women Parliamentarians in 1994. In 2006 she was presented with the Trevor Huddleston’s ‘’Naught for Your Comfort” Award, in 2008 was presented the National Order of the Baobab by President Thabo Mbeki. Joyce was admitted to the Order of Simon of Cyrene, the highest award given by the Anglican Church of Southern Africa to laity for distinguished service in 2014.