Kopano Matlwa MabasoDr Kopano Mabaso

South Africa


Occupational Information

Job Title: Founding Executive Director - Grow Great Campaign

Professional History

Dr. Kopano Matlwa Mabaso is a Public Health Physician & novelist currently leading the Grow Great Campaign- a campaign aimed at galvanizing South Africa towards achieving zero stunting by 2030. Kopano is a Rhodes Scholar and alumnus of the University of Oxford where she gained both her Masters in Global Health Science and DPhil (Ph.D.) in Population Health. Kopano was recently honoured as one of Bill Gate's Heroes, and profiled on his blog, Gates Notes: https://www.gatesnotes.com/Health/Heroes-in-the-Field-Dr-Kopano-Matlwa-Mabaso In addition, Kopano was awarded the 2019 Emerging Leader Award in the South African Health Excellence Awards and selected as one of News 24's Young Mandela. Kopano is both an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow and Aspen New Voices Fellow and in the latter capacity won the 2015 Aspen Idea Award. Kopano served as an elected board member of Health Systems Global from 2014-2018, the first international membership organization fully dedicated to promoting health systems research and knowledge translation, and is also one of the InterAcademy Medical Panel's Young Physician Leaders. Outside of her public health work, Kopano is a published fiction writer and the winner of the European Literary Award (2007) and joint winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa (2010). Her three novels Coconut, Spilt Milk, and Period Pain are social commentaries on post-apartheid South Africa and between them, have received over a dozen international rights deals. Period Pain (also known as Evening Primrose in the UK & USA) was in 2017/18 shortlisted for the Sunday Times Literary Award, the South African Literary Awards, and South Africa’s Humanities & Social Sciences Awards. In 2008 and 2009 Kopano was singled out as one of 300 young South Africans ‘you must take to lunch’ by the Mail & Guardian Newspaper and in 2011 was selected as one of Glamour Magazine’s women of the year. In 2016 Kopano was selected as one of South Africa’s 21 icons and a short film was created about her work and aired on SA's national broadcaster.


MBChB degree awarded with distinction University of Cape Town
MSc in Global Health Science at the University of Oxford
Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, UCT, 2009


2015 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow

 Additional Tags: Medicine, Health, Science, Physician, Author