Back to top

Brigalia Bam (1933 - )

The Order of the Baobab in

Brigalia Bam (1933 - ) Awarded for:
Her distinguished contribution to the upliftment of women and to democracy-building in South Africa.

Profile of Brigalia Bam

Brigalia Bam was born in 1933 in the former Transkei, in the Eastern Cape. Although Bam trained and worked as a teacher, she received further training in South Africa and abroad in the fields of social work, communication and management. She is a qualified social worker with a post-graduate degree from the University of Chicago.

Bam has held various posts throughout the world. She was the Africa Regional Secretary and Co-ordinator of the Women’s Workers' Programme for the International Food and Allied Workers Association based in Geneva. She has co-ordinated the World Young Men’s Christian Associations International Training Institute and Programme, as well as its affiliate, the Development for Human Rights. She was also Executive Programme Secretary for the Women’s Department of the World Council of Churches. Between 1997 and 1998, Bam served as General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches from 1994 to 1999.

In South Africa, she was a founding member of the Women’s Development Foundation and became the Foundations President in 1998. She has been a board member of the Matla Trust as well as the South African Broadcasting Corporation. Since 1999, Brigalia Bam has become a familiar personality to South Africans as the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa, contributing her accumulated experience to the well-managed electoral process for which our country has become known. Her steely leadership and wise counsel has seen our country through many difficult times. She is a great asset to South Africa.