Zeenat Adam

Director responsible for diplomacy: Department of International Relations and Cooperation

Thirty-four-year-old Zeenat Adam is one of the finest unknown bureaucrats in South Africa. Having developed an interest in politics at an early age, Adam chose to direct her energies at public service. Armed with a master's degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, she served as South Africa's deputy ambassador to Qatar between 2005 and 2009. A human rights activist in her own right, her current responsibilities in government include providing direction on the political dynamics in Sudan, Somalia, Madagascar and countries in East Africa, as well as the facilitation of South Africa's relations with these countries. Adam has also played a significant role in civil society: she took part in the World Conference against Racism and the World Summit on Sustainable Development and was invited to the International Youth Conference in Iraq, before the invasion by the US. She was also chosen to attend the United Nations Leadership Programme in Jordan and monitored the elections in Palestine and the referendum in Juba. � Matuma Letsoalo

Twitter: @ZeenatAdamZA