Melanie Verwoerd

Melanie Verwoerd

Melanie Verwoerd was born into an Afrikaner family and grew up during the height of Apartheid in South Africa.

She attended Stellenbosh University, where she got her Master’s degree in Philosophy, focusing on feminist theology.

She married Wilhelm Verwoerd, the grandson of the former Apartheid Prime Minister HF Verwoerd, generally regarded as the architect of Apartheid. In 1990, after a brief spell at Oxford and following the unbanning of the ANC, she and her then-husband returned to South Africa.

Shortly after their return, Melanie met with Nelson Mandela, who encouraged her to “use her surname and voice for the bigger good”. She stunned many by joining the ANC.

During the first democratic elections in 1994, Melanie was elected as a Member of Parliament for the ANC under President Nelson Mandela. At the age of 27 she was the youngest female MP in the history of the South African parliament. During her time in Parliament, she worked closely with Nelson Mandela and participated in the writing of South Africa’s constitution. She was re-elected in 1999 and in 2001, was appointed as South African Ambassador to Ireland.

After her term of office ended in 2005, Melanie became the Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland, a position she held until 2011.

Between 2005 and 2007, Melanie presented Spectrum, a weekly radio show on Rté (the national broadcaster in Ireland), and wrote regular columns on current affairs for the Daily Mail Ireland.

Since her return to South Africa in 2013, she has advised companies both domestically and internationally on political developments in South Africa and Africa. She does regular roadshows to asset management companies and other financial institutions and writes a weekly column for News24.
South Africa
1 Podcast shows

Never Waste A Good Hysterectomy

It is estimated that 1 out of every 5 women worldwide would have had a hysterectomy by the age of 55. Yet, there is far too often a cloak of silence around the procedure. In the year following my surgery, I decided to write a book about my journey under…
13 Feb 2023 13 episodes English Health & Fitness · Life Sciences