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Melusi Simelane

Melusi Simelane

Consultant Programme Manager, Civic Rights Cluster

Melusi Simelane is a passionate and visionary human rights activist who works at the forefront of advancing civil and political rights in Africa. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing from the University of Eswatini and is an alumnus of the prestigious Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University in New York, USA. The US State Department also selected him to participate in the International Visitors Leadership Program in 2017, where he gained valuable insights and connections to further his advocacy work.

Simelane is the founder and former director of Eswatini Sexual & Gender Minorities (ESGM), the country’s first membership-based LGBTQ organisation that seeks to challenge the social and systematic exclusion of LGBTQ citizens. He spearheaded the historic organisation of the country’s first LGBTQ Pride in 2018, which received global recognition and support.

Simelane currently serves as a Consultant, Civic Rights Programme Manager  at the Southern Africa Litigation Center (SALC), where he leads the efforts to defend and promote fundamental freedoms, such as expression, assembly and association, in the region. He oversees the work that challenges these freedoms’ excessive and unjust criminalisation and regulation. He also collaborates with other clusters to support and protect human rights defenders, who often face threats and harassment for their activism. Simelane is also involved in the campaign to decriminalise poverty and status, which aims to end the discriminatory and harmful laws and practices that target the poor and marginalised.

Through his work, Simelane places the day-to-day human experience at the centre of broader justice and international human rights movements in Africa. He strives to create a more just and inclusive society for all.