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Biography: Mark Heywood

- By Wits University

Mr Mark Heywood grew up in Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana and England. 

He holds a BA Honours degree in English Language and Literature from Balliol College, Oxford University. After graduating from Oxford in 1986 he worked for the Marxist Workers Tendency of the ANC, first in London and then from 1989 to 1994 in South Africa. During this time he was instrumental in setting up campaigns such as the Philemon Mauku Defence Campaign, the Leeukop Political Prisoners Support Committee and the Johannesburg Inner City Community Forum. 

He also completed a Masters degree in African literature at Wits and lectured and wrote on the influences of Shakespeare on African writing and politics in South Africa. 

Mr Heywood joined the AIDS Law Project in 1994, becoming its head in 1997 and executive director in 2006. In 1998, he co-founded the Treatment Action Campaign. 

In 2007, he was elected as deputy chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council. He is the current chairperson of the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights. 

In 2009, Mr Heywood was appointed as a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the National Health Insurance. 

Mr Heywood has written extensively on HIV, human rights and the law, including co-editing the AIDS and the Law Resource Manual and Health & Democracy: A guide to human rights, health law and policy in post-Apartheid South Africa. He has been part of the legal teams of the AIDS Law Project and the Treatment Action Campaign that have been involved in all the major litigation around HIV and human rights in South Africa.