August 2, 2021

A month of celebrating phenomenal South African Women: Dr Shakira Choonara

We can look up to and reach out to so many inspiring women in our country for mentorship. 

Even with our country labelled as dangerous due to our high statistics of gender-based violence, no amount of bad news can dull the shine on what South African women have been able to accomplish. 

Today, we shine the light on Dr Shakira Choonara, an award-winning independent public health practitioner.

She recently added entrepreneur to her accomplishments when she opened a developing consultancy firm. 2

Dr Choonara is our 2017 Woman of the Year in Health and is listed on the 100 most influential Young South Africans. She attained her PhD at the age of 27 and later went on to achieve her Masters in Demography from the University of the Witwatersrand.

She is known for her work in health policy and system research, specifically universal health coverage, gender equality, and sexual and reproductive health rights.

From 2018 to 2020, Dr Choonara served on the inaugural African Union Youth Council and is presently the AMREF Africa AHAIC Commissioner for universal health coverage. 

In her own words: I am by no means a traditional researcher; I want to see impact and implementation everywhere, all the time. Stepping into the advocacy space allowed me to merge research, implementation and action, to begin to craft programmes that have meaning for women, the youth, and people living with HIV.

“I have never aspired to be an entrepreneur, yet here I am, afraid, excited. As a go-getter, a dreamer, a visionary, an activist, I want to build communities in Africa, and I want to create lasting change and this charts the way.”

A woman of great strength and agility. We see you, we love you, and we appreciate you!

Happy Women’s Month. 

Special features