Palesa Letlaka

Project Manager / Producing Director: Mandela 100 USA

Palesa Letlaka is an internationally award-winning filmmaker with an extensive background in media production, broadcasting and communications. Her broad portfolio of work has seen her directing and producing social impact documentaries, commercials, drama series, short films, animation and World Aids Day specials which have been broadcast in numerous African countries, Europe and America. She has also created a number of public history installations looking at the intersections of memory and history.


Palesa has worked as a broadcast executive for national programming for the Public Broadcaster in South Africa, where she was a Commissioning Editor/Show Runner- where she commissioned and developed programming across genres, created content strategies for the network and later became the Head of Formats. During her incumbency in broadcast management, her programming won a number of international awards- US International TV and Film Festival awards, International Emmy nomination. She has also worked on various national health advocacy campaigns as a Creative Director.


In 2017 she worked at the Smithsonian as the Project Manager on The Will To Adorn – the Aesthetics of African American Diversity, Style and Identity, a multi-year collaborative cultural research project initiated by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. This pan-institutional and multi-sited research project involved five partner institutions across the USA and explored the diversity of African American identities as expressed through the cultural aesthetics and traditional arts of the body, dress and adornment. Palesa holds an MA in History, cum laude, with a focus on transitional justice and gender from the University of the Witwatersrand.