Ambassadors and advocates
UNICEF’s celebrities have a wide range of talents and achievements, but they all share a commitment to improving the lives of children in South Africa
UNICEF works with numerous high-profile personalities to raise awareness around children’s issues and the work of the organisation, at a national and a global level.
The organisation has, over many decades, tasked prominent personalities in the fields of music, television, sport, film and many other industries to use their popularity to highlight issues that are relevant to the safely and well-being of all children.
Those that accept these responsibilities convened by UNICEF, are then appointed as either Ambassadors or Celebrity Advocates.
These high-profile individuals, with the guidance and support of UNICEF offices in various parts of the world, assist with fundraising, advocacy events, campaigns and programmes to raise awareness and resources for the well-being of children.
Yvonne Chaka Chaka - Regional ambassador
Also known as the “Princess of Africa”, Yvonne Chaka Chaka is a South African singer, entrepreneur and humanitarian. In 2005, Yvonne was appointed Special Ambassador on Malaria for Eastern and Southern Africa. In her status as Regional ambassador Yvonne promotes the work of UNICEF and other UN agencies who are involved in combatting malaria in the region.
Jo-Ann Strauss - National ambassador
Jo-Ann has been a UNICEF South Africa Celebrity advocate since 2015 and was appointed National ambassador in 2016. She works tirelessly to raise awareness around children’s rights and the work of the organization. She continues to motivate young people at various UNICEF-convened conferences, and is extensively involved in advocacy programs on early childhood development.
Gavin Rajah - National ambassador
Renowned South African fashion designer, Gavin Rajah, was appointed a UNICEF National ambassador in 2007 and has supported the work of the organization at various levels since then. He continues to use his visibility through fashion and lifestyle events and programmes to bring awareness to various child-related issues and to leverage resources for UNICEF in South Africa.
Carol Bouwer - Special advocate
Carol Bouwer was appointed as a Special advocate in 2018 for UNICEF South Africa’s Influential Women’s Forum. A media company owner, founder and CEO of Carol Bouwer productions, also serves on the Second Chance panel, an NGO that provides care for young people and adults recovering from substance abuse and as a board member on the Amy Biehl Foundation. UNICEF was first exposed to Mrs. Bouwer’s work with children through her volunteer support to the public-private partnership ‘Techno Girl’ job-shadowing programme for girls from disadvantaged communities.
Tshedi Mholo - Celebrity advocate
Multi-award winning musician, former band member of the popular musical group Malaika and a social entrepreneur, Tshedi was appointed a UNICEF South Africa celebrity advocate in 2006. Much of her UNICEF-work focuses on the well-being of adolescents, particularly adolescent girls. She took part in various child and youth forums that have been organized by UNICEF in different parts of the country and continues to raise awareness and share experiences.
Zakes Bantwini - Celebrity advocate
Zakhele Madida, popularly known as “Zakes Bantwini”, is a multi-award winning musician, producer with a large youth following in South Africa. He has been a UNICEF South Africa celebrity advocate since 2015 and is passionate about working with children and youth. Zakes has been a guest speaker at various youth conferences and workshops organized by UNICEF and at these forums he engages young people on how to combat violence within their communities.
Maps Maponyane - Volunteers advocate
Masego ‘Maps’ Maponyane is a TV presenter, actor, producer, philanthropist, and businessman. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Media studies, French, English and International Human Rights (Majors) at the University of the Witwatersrand.
As an entrepreneur, Maps has a passion for start-up SME’s (small and medium sized enterprises), and for education. This led him to establish Bursary Network, and he is currently a director of Silicon Maboneng and Tuta-Me as well as a board member at World Wildlife Fund South Africa. His passion for giving back and desire to change the lives of people around him for the better, also inspired him to volunteer at the Ethembeni Children’s Home over the last 11 years, where he sits on their board.
In his role as UNICEF South Africa Volunteers Advocate, Maps will use his voice, influence and considerable following on social media to mobilize volunteers for the organisation, thereby making UNICEF an even more powerful force for children.
Lebohang Masango - Volunteers advocate
On World Children Day 2018, Lebohang Masango is appointed as Volunteers Advocate for UNICEF South Africa. Lebohang is a poet, activist, and the author of children’s book, Mpumi’s Magic Beads, which is available in all the 11 official languages of South Africa. She is currently one of the 25 young women from Southern Africa selected to be part of the inaugural Zanele Mbeki Fellowship in feminist leadership, from July 2018 to May 2019. She has also been identified by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a #Goalkeeper, one of the young people working to realise the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
In her role as UNICEF South Africa’s Volunteers Advocate, Lebohang Masango will use her voice to make UNICEF an even more powerful force for children by bringing volunteers into the organization.
UNICEF South Africa’s Volunteer Programme is a new initiative deploying the actions, ideas and power of people to improve the lives of children everywhere. In doing so, we are building this global network to bring the power of people into UNICEF.