Asonele Melapi, IEDF SA Chairperson of GBV, Honored with Prestigious Mail and Guardian Award For Civil Society

Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa – July 02, 2024 – Asonele Melapi, a prominent activist in the gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) space, has been honored with the esteemed Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans Award for Civil Society, at a prestigious Mail & Guardian Award Ceremony held in Bryanston, on Thursday, 27 June 2024. This accolade recognizes her tireless efforts and significant contributions toward advocating for survivors and victims of abuse and her unwavering commitment to eradicating GBVF.

“This award means everything to me, it just shows that I am being recognised for the hard work and dedication that I put in assisting victims of gender based violence and their families, and also advocating for the rights of victims who are with us and those who are no longer with us,” said Asonele.

“It also shows the “black child”, that you can be anything that you want to be, and your circumstances don’t define who you are and where you are going in life. If you have a positive outlook and you work hard you can achieve any goal you have. I believe that God is our salvation and protector, I couldn’t have done this without his favor,” she added.

At 33, Asonele has established herself as a leading voice in the fight against GBVF. Her journey began after the tragic loss of her sister, Nokwanda Patocka, who was killed by a boyfriend of four months. In her sister’s memory, Asonele founded the Nokwanda Patocka GBVF Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to supporting survivors of abuse, helping them navigate the legal system, and offering assistance in their healing journeys.

Asonele is actively involved in numerous organizations, including the Women’s Sector Council in Nelson Mandela Bay, the Baphi Abafazi Movement, the Youth Chamber Council Committee, and the National Gender-Based Violence Working Committee of the Informal Economy Development Forum (IEDF). Her efforts have earned her multiple accolades, such as the 22nd Nelson Mandela University Herald Citizen of the Year award for Gender-Based Violence and the Inside Politics 100 South African Shining Stars award in 2023. In 2024, she was recognized as the United Nations Best Diplomats Delegate and won the South African Cities Network Youth-Led GBV award.

Asonele’s work is driven by her vision of a nation free from gender-based violence and femicide, where human rights are upheld, and perpetrators face severe consequences. She holds qualifications in Project Management and Office Management from the Imsimbi Training Institute and has demonstrated remarkable leadership through various roles, including serving as the National Gender-Based Violence ambassador for the South African Police Service and as a member of the SAPS Spiritual Crime Prevention Committee in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Among her many achievements, Asonele is particularly proud of the Not Again GBVF Prevention and Support Project in institutions of higher education. Her efforts in this project earned her the South African Cities Network Youth-Led GBV Competition, providing funding and resources valued at R25,000 to support self-defense and GBVF awareness workshops at universities and TVET colleges.

Asonele credits her late sister Nokwanda as her biggest role model, alongside other mentors who have inspired her resilience and determination. Selected for the TILP Trauma-led Black Women in Excellence Programme, Asonele has benefited from mentorship by esteemed individuals such as Mrs. Nhlanhlo Mkhize and Babalwa Mbuku, who have supported her in her mission to make a meaningful impact.

Asonele Melapi’s receipt of the Mail and Guarding Award is a testament to her relentless advocacy and dedication to ending GBVF. Her work continues to inspire many and paves the way for a safer and more just society.

For more information about Asonele Melapi and her work, please contact her on or 073 450 5518