Acacia Global announces recipient of the 2018 Global Leadership Award


Mathepelo (Mathaps) Ngaka-Mtati, Community Director at Monkeybiz in Cape Town, South Africa, is the 2017 recipient of Acacia Global’s Global Leadership Award.

Supporters of Acacia Global are aware of the unique and whimsical works of art that the talented beaders at Monkeybiz create. Less well known is how this nonprofit, which has generated international attention, got its start.

Mathaps was working with Barbara Jackson and Shirley Fintz, two established South African ceramic artists. When Mathaps showed them a beaded bracelet her mother had made, the two women asked if Mathaps’ mum might be able to bead something else. They provided Mathaps with the cotton, beads, and a tiny doll as a sample. Shortly after that, when Mathaps showed Barbara and Shirley the doll that her mother had beaded, Monkeybiz was born.

Since then, Mathaps has worked tirelessly with hundreds of beaders in the townships outside of Cape Town. These beaded creations have captured the imagination of collectors all over the world and transformed the lives of the people who make them. In recognition of Mathaps’ initiative, creativity, and determination to improve the lives of women, and men, in her community, Acacia Global is proud to present her with its 2018 Global Leadership Award.

This is the fifth year in a row that Acacia Global has awarded its Global Leadership Award. The award is announced on Human Rights Day, December 10th. Previous recipients are: Mandla Majola (South Africa), Patricia and John Sola (Namibia), Vuyiseka Dubula (South Africa), and Bheki Kunene (South Africa).

Susan Everson