Secular Society

Secularist of the Year

Secularist of the Year

The Secularist of the Year is awarded by the South African Secular Society (SASS). The award goes to the individual or organisation that the judges consider to have made the greatest contribution to the separation of religion and government in the country for that year. The prize consists of a certificate and was first awarded in 2017.

Factors considered in the award include, but are not limited to:

  • The extent of benefit accrued to, or harm averted from, the secular cause in South Africa and beyond
  • Contribution to the normalisation of secular views in the public eye (awareness, media coverage)
  • Current – or groundwork for possible future – legislative impact of the nominee’s actions
  • Nominee’s overall presence in South African society as a positive role model for secularism

The “Secularist of the Year” Award enables secularists and others who recognise the value of a secular state to celebrate milestones and meritorious achievements in the advancement of egalitarian treatment of South African citizens by their government and society.

Previous Winners:

2022:Prof Sean Davison, founder of DignitySA, for his exceptional efforts in advocating for the right to die with dignity.
2021:Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng for her tireless advocacy for women’s sexual and reproductive rights and health.
2020:Dr Suzanne Walter for her work to decriminalise physician-assisted dying.
2019:Prof Sakkie Spangenberg, an academic, theologian and co-founders of the Nuwe Hervorming Netwerk
2018:Dr Patrick Pillay PhD, for his academic contribution.
2017:Hans Pietersen, founder of the “Organisasie vir Godsdienste-Onderrig en Demokrasie” (OGOD).

Nomination for Secularist of the Year 2023

SASS calls on interested parties to submit nominations by February 2024.  Closing date is 28 February 2024. Please submit your nomination and motivation here:






    2022

    Prof Sean Davison

    Founder of DignitySA, for his exceptional efforts in advocating for the right to die with dignity.

    2022

    2021

    Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng

    For her tireless advocacy for women’s sexual and reproductive rights and health.

    2021

    2020

    Dr Suzanne Walter

    For her work to decriminalise physician-assisted dying.

    2020

    2019

    Prof Sakkie Spangenberg

    An academic, theologian and co-founder of the Nuwe Hervorming Netwerk.

    2019

    2018

    Dr Patrick Pillay PhD

    For his academic contribution.

    2018

    2017

    Hans Pietersen

    Founder of the “Organisasie vir Godsdienste-Onderrig en Demokrasie” (OGOD).

    2017