A doctor, an author, and a mother, Kopano Matlwa Mabaso has accomplished an enormous amount at a young age.

Dr. Kopano Matlwa Mabaso is a South African public health physician & novelist. She is founding Executive Director of the Grow Great Campaign ―a South African campaign aimed at galvanizing a national commitment to zero stunting in South Africa by 2030.

Kopano is a Rhodes Scholar and an alumnus of the University of Oxford where she gained both her masters and DPhil in Public Health. Kopano is a published fiction writer and the winner of the European Literary Award (2007) and joint winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa (2010). Her three novels CoconutSpilt Milk and Period Pain are social commentaries on post-apartheid South Africa and between them, have been received over a dozen international rights deals. Period Pain was in 2017/18 shortlisted for the Sunday Times Literary Award, the South African Literary Awards and South Africa’s Humanities & Social Sciences Awards.

Kopano has received numerous awards and honours for her work as a public health physician and social entrepreneur, most recently receiving the Emerging Leader Award in the 2019 South African Health Excellence Awards. Kopano is both an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow and an Aspen New Voices Fellow and from 2014-2018, served as one of the youngest elected board members of Health Systems Global, the world’s first international society dedicated to health systems strengthening and knowledge translation.

In 2020 Kopano Matlwa Mabaso was celebrated as a ‘Hero in the Field’ by Bill Gates, on his personal blog, Gates Notes. Watch the feature below.

Kopano is a proud mother of two, and is married to her best friend, Motlatsi Mabaso.