Catherine ConstantinidesCatherine Constantinides

South Africa


Occupational Information

Job Title: National Director and Founder of the Miss Earth South Africa LEAD SA Executive.

Professional History

Catherine is an international climate activist, human rights defender, trailblazer, and agent of change.

A 2013 Archbishop Tutu African Oxford Fellow and 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, Catherine’s commitment and passion for social change takes her to the smallest of communities in South Africa, as well as global platforms including the UN, where she currently works as a human rights defender actively engaging in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Council for the world’s most marginalized and vulnerable.

Catherine’s recent work on the issue of the self-determination for the people of Western Sahara has seen her engaged on the ground in the refugee camps in North Africa as well as with political leaders across the continent and around the world to highlight the conflict and lack of political will to address, one of the longest outstanding issues on the UN Security Council agenda.

She travels extensively across the continent, and to all corners of the world to speak about citizenship, social justice, active citizens, people & planet, and the role of leadership, with a special focus on the empowerment of women and children. In November 2017 she was an invited panelist at the inaugural Obama Summit hosted by former President Barack Obama, in Chicago. Just a few months ago she was the guest of President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi when she was invited to give the closing keynote address to the World Youth Forum to a convention center of more than 5000 young people and a nationwide broadcast to more than 100Million people across Egypt.

While she is relentless in pursuing justice for forgotten and downtrodden people, Catherine has always used inspiration and positive motivation as a means to create change. Her own social media platforms as well as her speaking appointments and media work always reflect a proactive approach and a desire to spark others to change or to become drivers of change by embedding ‘hope’ like a golden thread of action.

She understands the power of media – both traditional and new platforms to spread important messages, and is regularly featured on TV, radio, and in print, in South Africa, and across the continent

She has been the resident judge and mentor on the highly acclaimed reality TV series; ‘One Day Leader’, a show aimed at empowering South African youth, challenging their critical thinking skills, and harnessing their ability as leaders in their communities. She has been featured in numerous publications and on TV and radio shows as a thought leader, and also contributes to Huffington Post, Daily Maverick, and other platforms.

In 2015 she was named one of South Africa’s 21 Icons for a campaign highlighting remarkable young South Africans who will move the country forward. In 2016 the South African Government and Department of International Relations (DIRCO) honored her with an UBUNTU Award, celebrating South Africans who play a part in portraying a positive image of South Africa, internationally and who are committed to building the continent through diplomacy. She has been celebrated for excellence in the fields of entrepreneurship and business, and in 2018 was ranked as one of the top 100 Most Influential Young Africans, and placed Top 10 in her category of Social Entrepreneur and Philanthropy. In 2018 as the world celebrates the iconic former Statesman, Nelson Mandela, Catherine has been dubbed as one of the 100 Young Mandela’s of the Future.

Amid all of her commitments, Catherine remains active in Generation Earth, a UN Environment endorsed a platform that she co-founded at the beginning of her career. Generation Earth targets the youth of Southern Africa and uses issues of environmental impact, climate change, water, and waste as key focus areas to drive sustainable change. Under her leadership, this initiative has thrived and evolved into a multifaceted development network that empowers the youth to become drivers for change in their own lives and spheres of influence. She remains a dynamic environmental warrior and the theme of sustainable development and her commitment to the SDGs comes through in her advocacy work around the world.

Catherine’s passion and drive have touched hundreds of thousands of individuals, whether through inspiration, practical interventions, workshops, advice, or through the impact of her advocacy work on the ground at a grassroots level.


2013 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow

 Additional Tags: Social Entrepreneur, Humanitarian, Environmental Health, Global Activist, Leadership

Featured News

Jackie Chimhanzi
20 April 2022

The African Leadership Institute is pleased to announce the Associates who have been selected for the 2022 Class of the Tutu Fellowship programme. As has been the case with previous cohorts, the people selected are exceptional emerging African leaders. AFLI received more than 330 nominations of outstanding quality from across Africa, from which the cohort was selected. They are from the following countries: Cameroon, Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. 

A few candidates are included this year who were selected in 2020 but who could not attend that cohort due to COVID restrictions. The selected candidates demonstrate the incredible wealth and breadth of leadership talent that exists in Africa’s young people, which bodes well for Africa’s future.

Norman Smit
30 March 2022

2018 Tutu Fellow Adebola Williams has been appointed a Patron for Malaria No More, the UK-based charity organisation.  In a recent announcement, Malaria No More officially welcomed Adebola to its family of global spokespeople. 

In the role, he joins founding patrons Simon Fuller, Peter Chernin, and Ray Chambers, as well as Global Leadership Council members David Beckham, Andy Murray, and Eliud Kipchoge. Malaria No More has as its goal a world in which no one dies from a mosquito bite.

Norman Smit
21 March 2022

The organisation started by 2014 Tutu Fellow Linda Kasonde, Chapter One Foundation, has obtained a consent judgement against ZICTA - the Zambia Information and Communication Authority - over an illegal interruption of Zambia's internet service that occurred during Zambia's elections. At the time, President Edgar Lungu was trailing opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema.  Chapter One filed an urgent application to require the restoration of services.

Linda Kasonde, the Executive Director of Chapter One, said that it is the first case of its kind in Zambia and an enormous victory for internet freedom and freedom of expression in the country.

Norman Smit
17 February 2022

In her TED talk, 2018 Tutu Fellow Zoë Karl-Waithaka explains that marketing impacts the livelihoods of farmers in ways that are unexpected.  She takes a look at campaigns promoting agricultural products like milk and avocados. Perhaps 'Got Millet' - to borrow from the campaign promoting milk - can help farmers by creating a greater market for the product.

She says marketing campaigns like "Got milk?" to "avocados from Mexico," influence what people eat more than one might realize. But despite the known power of food marketing, Zoe says farmers in Africa are more likely to receive funding for seed and fertilizer than they are for advertising geniuses.


Tutu Fellowship COVID-19 News

Tutu Fellows have been active in addressing the challenges Africa is facing due to the coronavirus pandemic.  We have a new section highlighting some of the work being done by the Fellowship.

About AFLI



The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) is unique among leadership initiatives in that it focuses on building the capacity and capability of visionary and strategic leadership across the continent. Developing exceptional leaders representing all spheres of society, the Institute’s flagship programme is the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Offering a multifaceted learning experience and run in partnership with Oxford University, it is awarded annually to 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa. Alumni of the African Leadership Institute form a dynamic network of Fellows passionately committed to the continent’s transformation, bridging the divide between nations and ensuring that Africa is set centre-stage in global affairs.