About the Black Sash

The Black Sash is a 59 year old veteran human rights organisation whose current programmes draw on a rich institutional heritage of advocating for social justice in South Africa.

Extract from November 2012 Board of Trustees Statement:

“The Black Sash believes that at this time in the history of South Africa, and of our organisation, the most urgent issues to be addressed are the on-going poverty and inequality afflicting the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society. South Africa cannot be free as long as the majority of its people continue to live under conditions of deprivation and injustice.  We are affected and diminished by this....We therefore commit ourselves to foster, support and encourage community initiatives to monitor, record and analyse the socio-economic conditions prevailing in South Africa.”

Currently the Black Sash works in three areas in the social protection arena, with an emphasis on women and children:

  • rights-based information, education and training;
  • community monitoring; and
  • advocacy in partnership.

Download our updated information flyer about the Black Sash (pdf 2.3MB)

The Black Sash National HELPLINE (072-66 33 739 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) is a free national information, advice and referral service. The public can communicate with a Black Sash paralegal on any questions they have related to their rights.

Over the last few years, the Black Sash has specifically focussed on broadening the beneficiary coverage of the South African social security system, promoting administrative justice, with a focus on the needs of unemployed and poor people.   

In addition, the Black Sash has engaged in ongoing advocacy for the civil society to effectively engage corruption undermining our public and private sectors, for the reform of competition legislation to ensure more accountability companies implicated in collusion, particularly with respect to basic food and services.  In this respect, Black Sash has been involved in a class action case seeking damages against perpetrators of bread price fixing.

We have also focused extensively on close partnerships with well over 400 CBOs nationally through our Community Monitoring and Advocacy Project (CMAP), and other projects.

Black Sash Vision, Mission and Values

Our vision is making human rights real.

Our mission is to work towards a South Africa in which:

  • Human rights are recognized in law and respected in practice;
  • The government is accountable to all its people and attends to their basic needs;
  • Members of society (individuals and the private sector) also take responsibility for reducing inequality and extreme poverty;
  • The Constitution is upheld by all; and
  • Social and economic justice is recognised as fundamentally important.

Our belief is that:

  • Through individual and collective non-violent action, people have the power to change their own situation and impact on society as a whole.

Our aim is to enable all, with the emphasis on women and children, to:

  • Recognise and exercise their human rights, particularly their social and economic rights;
  • Create a society which has effective laws and delivery systems, including comprehensive social protection for the most vulnerable.

Our Values are:

  • Justice
  • Dignity
  • Affirmation of women
  • Integrity
  • Non-violence
  • Rigour
  • Independence and courage
  • Volunteers and civil society