Lena Lukhele

Land restitution manager, SANParks

Lena Lukhele clearly remembers her first big land claim in Mpumalanga. During an old chief's retelling of how his community was forced off their land, the farmer's grandson and current landowner, started crying. Land ownership is an emotional issue and during the process Lukhele has to be a friend, councillor and shoulder to cry on. But, it's worth it, she says, because land restitution is about power and dignity. Lukhele believes land means freedom to the disenfranchised. Lukhele has been a public servant for nearly 12 years and the SANParks land restitution manager is adamant that she will stay in the public sector for some time to come. She started off her career specialising in urban food security at the Gauteng agriculture department but realised that land reform was her forte. Her real motivation is not the salary. It's about making a direct difference in people's lives. � Hendri Pelser

Lunch spot: Mug & Bean, Menlyn, Pretoria