Siphokazi (Sipho) Mthathi

General secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign

Sipho is the general secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).

Born in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, she was raised by her grandmother – one of her biggest heroes – and lived in the village of Mgababa, in the former Ciskei, until she was 14. Cape Town was her first venture into the big city, where she started her BA degree at the University of the Western Cape, and later did her honours and pursued education studies at Rhodes University.

Sipho’s many interests include reading and writing particularly poetry and prose. Since 1999, she has emerged as one of the TAC’s key women leaders, building the organisation into a mass-based movement of people living with HIV and all the marginalised of society, irrespective of their HIV status. Sipho was a TAC member for three years – building branches in Guguletu, Nyanga and Khayelitsha – before she joined the organisation as a staff member, running its national treatment literacy programme. In 2002, she was elected as the TAC’s national deputy chairperson and has lead the organisation alongside Zackie Achmat, Vuyiseka Dubula, Nonkosi Khumalo, Mandla Majola and others.

She is now the organisation’s general secretary, a position endorsed and elected for the first time at the TAC third national congress last year.

Lunch Spot: Spiro's Melville; Berusso's, Cape Town