Kumi Naidoo is formerly from Chatsworth, and was part of the struggle against apartheid from the age of 15. Because of his anti-apartheid activities, he was expelled from high school. He was the founding member of the youth organisation Helping Hands, worked in community organisations, was part of the underground movement and an organiser in mass mobilisation initiatives against the apartheid regime.
In 1986, he was arrested and charged under the State of Emergency regulations. He went underground for one year before finally fleeing into exile in the UK until 1989. During this time, he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and earned a doctorate in political sociology. Kumi was the Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation for the last ten years. CIVICUS has a membership of more than 1000 organisations and individuals from more than 100 countries. CIVICUS is dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world. He is currently the honorary president of CIVICUS.
He is currently the Chair of the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA and for the coming months he will focus his attention on generating civil society pressure and cooperation to demand a strong deal at the UN Climate Summit to be held in Copenhagen this December: one which gets CO2 emissions under control, protects tropical rainforests, and replaces dirty fossil fuel energy with renewables and energy efficiency.
He was one of the founders of Global Call to Action Against Poverty, which has grown since 2005 into a coalition of anti-poverty campaigners from over 100 countries. They apply public pressure on leaders to fulfil promises on aid, trade, debt, climate change and gender equality. He was recently appointed the head of Greenpeace International.