Palesa KadiPalesa Kadi

South Africa


Occupational Information

Job Title: Chairperson of South African Geographical Names Council

Professional History

Palesa Kadi is Chairperson of South African Geographical Names Council at the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.  The South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC) is the body that receives recommendations from provincial names committees and advises the government on new geographical names as well as the changing of existing geographical names. 

Previously, Palesa has worked as a media activist, researcher, and a regulator in the broadcasting and telecommunications space. She was inspired to study politics and history when her township junior grade school was burnt down by youths protesting for equal education in South Africa. After attending a multiracial school under intense race conditions, she pursued studies in politics.

Prior to her post at the Names Council, she served as a Councillor at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa – ICASA, where she was responsible for a range of strategic, regulatory and governance functions that include elections broadcasting; community media broadcasting; sports broadcasting; cybersecurity regulations; alternative dispute resolution for consumers and telecommunications operators; strategy; compliance, and governance.

Her areas of expertise are in corporate governance, media development, communications, content regulation, capacity development, consumer awareness, and advocacy. Palesa's experience and involvement in community-based structures range from national youth organizations, university senate committees, and local government to public sector entities at large. As a Ph.D. candidate in Planning and Architecture at Wits University, she has written peoples' histories in context; perspectives on space and urban planning histories; and about South Africa's readiness for the 4th industrial revolution. She helped draft a national rural tourism strategy; the development of provincial economic and tourism initiatives in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup; and was involved in a number of high-level public-policy projects in media, content regulation, culture, and sports development.

Palesa has served on a number of boards, including the Calabash Trust, a community tourism initiative in Nelson Mandela Bay; the Eastern Province Cricket Board; the Alliance France Management Board; Commonwealth Youth Advisory board; Media Development and Diversity Agency board; and on the National Heritage Council. She has served on the National Council of Libraries and Information Services; the National Heritage Council Funding Committee; South African National Geographical Names Council; and as a council member of the Tshwane North TVET College. She is an advisory member of the Women in Technology in Africa (WiT) group, an initiative of the UN South to South Corporation office. Palesa continues to champion the development of regulations in the broadcasting and telecommunications sector.


BA (History) University of the Western Cape (UWC)
BA Honours (Political Studies) (UWC)
MA Public & Visual History (UWC)
Postgraduate Diploma in Development & Public Sector Monitoring & Evaluation, Wits School of Governance
Pursuing her PhD at Wits University


2006 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow

Additional Search Tags: Politics, Governance, Broadcasting, Telecommunications, Media, Sports Development, Culture, Tourism, Economics 

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.