Ottilia Anna Maunganidze
Head of special projects, Institute for Security Studies
Ottilia is the head of special projects in the office of the executive director at the Institute for Security Studies. She works to identify key threats to Africa’s development and crafts innovative solutions to deal with them.
In 2016, Ottilia was one of the panelists at the annual Thabo Mbeki Africa Day lecture — a platform she used to highlight the plight of African victims and call for more responsible and responsive leadership. She is also one of the 2017 Munich Security Conference Young Leaders and intends to leverage this position to bring a strong African voice to global debates.
Through her work she has trained police and prosecutors, including those from the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority, to better respond to serious international and transnational crimes and has contributed to judges of international tribunals’ understandings of African issues. “My deepest passion is for Africa, and I long to see Africa at peace, with Africans safe and prospering,” she says. “Knowing that we can achieve this potential is what gets me going every day and motivates me to play my part. For me, this has meant actively working to shape laws, policies and practices on the African continent — from advancing peace to building inclusive and just societies. My work has few instant successes. It takes a lot of work and time; sometimes you only start seeing results after several years. But knowing that I can and do contribute drives me and keeps me involved.”
She is a big believer in the fact that women can do whatever they set their mind to. “People will tell you you are too young, too female, too this and that. Often, we fight against that. Don’t. You are all of those things and that’s your magic. Decide for yourself what you want to do and work towards it. Invest in yourself. A strong support system is invaluable, too!
“I am inspired by my mother and African women like her — who lead in ways that so many do not acknowledge.”
Ottilia hopes to see a South Africa where healing, inclusivity, and peace are a reality.
“We’ll have to work together to achieve it, but first, we must have tough conversations about who among us must carry the heavier load.”
— Aaisha Dadi Patel