Mark Heywood is the Executive Director SECTION27. SECTION27 was established in May 2010. It incorporates the AIDS Law Project (ALP), one of South Africa’s most successful post-apartheid human rights organizations. SECTION27 is a public interest law center that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights.
Mr. Heywood grew up in Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana and England. He holds a BA (Hons) 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 did an MA in African literature at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and lectured and wrote on the influences of Shakespeare on African writing and politics in South Africa.
Mr. Heywood joined the ALP in 1994, becoming its head in 1997 and executive director in 2006. In 1998, he was one of the founders of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). In 2007, he was elected as deputy chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council. He is also 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 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 ALP and TAC that have been involved in all the major litigation around HIV and human rights.