Veteran activist and social historian, Luli Callinicos was a founding member of the History Workshop of University of the Witwatersrand and the Workers’ Library in Johannesburg. She has written a number of books, including her three-volume People’s History of South Africa: Gold and Workers, Working Life and A Place in the City – as well as The World that made Mandela; Oliver Tambo: Beyond the Ngele Mountains; and Who Built Jozi? Discovering Memory at Wits Junction.
In 1994 Callinicos was appointed to the ministerial Task Group ACTAG, mandated to reconfigure the arts and culture landscape to redress past imbalances and reflect an inclusive democratic South Africa. To that end, she assisted in conceptualising and identifying Legacy Projects for the Department of Arts and Culture.
From 1996 she served on the Council of the National Monuments Council and helped to transform it into the more democratic South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA). She was a founding Trustee for Freedom Park and served on the Education Ministerial History Committee. Subsequently she was appointed as the Chairperson of the National Heritage Council. Currently she is a Council member of the Robben Island Museum, a Board member of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection as well as the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, which aims to restore the balance of the humanities in relation to the sciences.
In 1997 Callinicos was awarded the Order of the Phoenix from the Democracy of Greece, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Fort Hare in 2005 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from wRite, in collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture in 2008.
Her interest in community empowerment and environmental conservation is reflected in Callinicos’ membership of the boards of Khanya College and the Whole Earth Building Foundation. She warmly welcomes and looks forward to the valuable contribution of the Whole Earth Building Foundation, both to a healthy environment and to the community economies and skills, particularly in developing our rich indigenous knowledge and science.