Jay Naidoo

Jay Naidoo is a trustee of the Earthrise Trust, which is working on models of rural development and innovation in the eastern Free State of South Africa. He also sits on the Board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation established to promote African development through a focus on promoting good governance.
He has served in an advisory capacity for a number of international organisations including the Broadband Commission of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Lead Committee of the UNSG on Nutrition.
 He is the Patron of ‘Scatterlings of Africa’ a paleontological foundation linking archaeological sites across Africa.

From 1994 to 1999, Jay was the Minister responsible for South Africa’s Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) in the Office of the President before becoming the Communications Minister in Nelson Mandela’s Cabinet. He was the founding General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) where he served three terms (1985 to 1993).He was at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid leading the largest trade union federation in South Africa.

From 2001-2010, Jay was Chairperson of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the premier development finance institution driving infrastructure in the SADC region. From 2003 -2010, he serves as deputy chair and trustee of ‘Lovelife’, a nongovernmental organization leading the fight to prevent HIV/AID through education and mobilization. He also chaired the board of the global foundation GAIN. (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition) from 2003 - 2015 which is committed to fighting malnutrition facing 2 billion people in the world and has programs in over 25 countries.

Jay Naidoo started studying a BSc at the University of Durban Westville in 1975 to be a medical doctor but his studies were interrupted by the political turmoil at the time because of student uprisings. He became active in SASO the South African Students Organization that was banned in 1977 just after its leader Steve Biko was murdered in police detention.

Jay was the recipient of, among other awards, the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (Legion of Honor), one of France’s highest decorations, and received the ‘Drivers for Change Award’ from the Southern African Trust and Mail & Guardian newspaper in October 2010.

His most recent awards include The Ellen Kuzwayo Award from the University of Johannesburg, awarded in November 2012 as well as an Honorary Doctorate Technology Degree in Engineering and the Built Environment from the Durban University of Technology, awarded September 2013.
He has recently returned to full time voluntary work, and publishes a blog at www.jaynaidoo.org. Jay has recently published a new book CHANGE! Organising Tomorrow, Today.

Married to Lucie Pagé, a French Canadian writer and journalist. Jay considers his three children, Shanti, Kami and Léandre, his greatest achievement.