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Leah and Desmond Tutu. File picture: ESA ALEXANDER.
Leah and Desmond Tutu. File picture: ESA ALEXANDER.

The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation has appointed a new CEO to navigate the organisation through its changing circumstances and carry on the late archbishop’s bridge-building work.

Tutu, the last surviving SA laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize, died in December in Cape Town at the age of 90.

Taking up the helm at his foundation is Janet Jobson, a Rhodes University graduate and Rhodes scholar at Oxford University.

Since completing her Masters dissertation at Oxford on the role of youth in global civic society 13 years ago, Jobson set strong roots at the DG Murray Trust. There she honed her skills on the technical side of development work, rising to the position of deputy CEO and was also acting CEO for a year.

Chair of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Niclas Kjellstrom-Matseke, said the board was looking to Jobson to lead the next leg of the organisation’s development.

Developmental specialist Janet Jobson is the new CEO of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. Picture: SUPPLIED.
Developmental specialist Janet Jobson is the new CEO of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. Picture: SUPPLIED.

“The foundation is well-established and administratively sound. It is ready to make real and tangible social impacts. In an era of global existential crises, the archbishop’s calming voice of reason and compassion is already sorely missed.

“Janet has a mandate to respond to the human challenges of our time by developing programmes and partnerships infused with the archbishop’s wisdom, courage and morality,” Kjellstrom-Matseke said.

Besides Jobson’s learning, passion and experience, she grew up steeped in the struggle for social justice in SA. Her mother, Dr Marjorie Jobson, is national director of the Khulumani Support Group, which she has served for more than 20 years.

“What we are most excited about is where Janet’s lived experience has positioned her, at the crossroads of what is often perceived as a generational divide. She understands the interdependent obligations of young and old, and of wealth and poverty, women and men, black and white, Christian, Jew and Muslim,” Kjellstrom-Matseke said.

“She wants to contribute to building a new kind of society that acknowledges the wisdom of harnessing experience and innovation, of matching wealth and resources to new and clever thinking to building bridges.”

Jobson said she viewed the foundation’s role as facilitating human conversations.

“So much of what determines the success of our work in social justice is ultimately relational. Archbishop Tutu was an extraordinary public figure who had the capacity to bring his simple, human way of being and doing into very complex situations. That is the work I want to pursue — not what does the foundation think about climate change, but what does the deep well of our collective humanity — our human ethic — tell us we should be doing?” Jobson said.

She replaces Piyushi Kotecha, who during her three-year term of office succeeded in placing the organisation on a sound administrative footing and realised the vision of developing a permanent exhibition in Cape Town honouring the archbishop and the church’s role in the liberation struggle, the foundation said.



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