Who is Athol Williams? Age, family, poems, education, qualifications, profiles, worth

Who is Athol Williams? Age, family, poems, education, qualifications, profiles, worth

Athol Williams is a South African social advocate, award-winning poet, author, and public intellectual. He is passionate about education and holds five master’s degrees from top global universities, including MIT, Oxford, London School of Business, and Harvard. He recently made headlines across South Africa after fleeing the country for safety following his state capture testimony before the Zondo Commission in March 2021.

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Athol Williams former UCT lecturer
Athol Williams is a South African author, social advocate and public intellectual. Photo: @allcapetown
Source: Twitter

Athol Williams is a firm believer in education, and his undivided zeal has propelled him to intellectual success. He is also working hard to ensure that kids across Mzansi can read through Ready to Rise, an NGO he co-founded with his wife to advocate for literacy in the country. Herein is all you need to know about Athol’s achievements and his efforts to have a better South Africa.

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Profile summary and bio

  • Full name: Athol Williams
  • Date of birth: 20th June 1970
  • Athol Williams’ age: 51 years in 2021
  • Birth sign: Gemini
  • Place of birth: Lansdowne, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Nationality: South African
  • Ethnicity: Coloured
  • Gender: Male
  • Sexuality: Straight
  • Marital status: Married
  • Wife: Taryn Lock
  • Alma mater: Oxford University, London School of Economics, Harvard, London Business School, MIT, Wits University
  • Profession: Author, public intellectual, social philosopher, entrepreneur
  • Known for: Literacy activism and fighting corruption in South Africa
  • Website: atholwilliams.com
  • Athol Williams’ Twitter: @Athol_Williams
  • Instagram: @atholwilliams
  • Facebook: @athol.williams1
  • Athol Williams' LinkedIn: Athol Williams

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Early life

Athol Williams whistleblower
Athol has written hundreds of poems and books. Photo: @atholwilliams
Source: Instagram

The South African intellectual was born on 20th June 1970 and is 51 years in 2021. He hails from Lansdowne, Cape Town and was raised in Westridge, Mitchells Plain. Little is known about his family, but he has a brother called Nicholas.

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Athol Williams’ education and qualifications

The social advocate is decorated with several degrees from top universities, including;

  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (1989 to 1992) from the University of Witwatersrand
  • Master of Business Administration in Strategy (1994 to 1996) from MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Master of Science in Finance (1997 to 1999) from London Business School
  • Master of Public Administration in Political Thought & Institutions (2012 to 2013) from Harvard University
  • Master of Science in Corporate Responsibility and Social Justice (2013 to 2014) from London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Master of Philosophy in Business Ethics and Corporate Responsibility (2015 to 2017) from the University of Oxford
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Business Ethics and Corporate Responsibility (2017 to present) at the University of Oxford

Athol Williams’ qualifications make him the first person in history to attain five master’s degrees from five top-ranking colleges in the world.

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Athol Williams' wife and children

Who is Athol Williams?
Williams and his wife Taryn Lock (pictured) founded Ready to Rise, an NGO that advocates for literacy in SA. Photo: @Biz_CSI
Source: Twitter

Williams’ wife is Taryn Lock, a literacy enthusiast, philanthropist and former corporate executive. She quit her job as a strategy analyst to concentrate on improving literacy across South Africa. The learned couple rarely shares details about family matters, and it is not clear if they have kids.


The Harvard scholar kicked off his career as a business executive in the US, the UK and South Africa. Currently, he is the CEO of the Institute of Corporate and Social Ethics, an NGO he founded to promote an ethical society.

The activist has written and published hundreds of poems. Among the first Athol Williams poems are New South Africa, which was published in 1991. It was motivated by the release of several anti-apartheid leaders in 1990. He has received several poetry awards, including the prestigious Sol Plaatje European Poetry Award.

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The philosopher has also authored several fiction and non-fiction books, including Pushing Boulders and the Oaky Children’s book series. Athol Williams books are popular in South Africa and beyond. He serves on the South African Literary Journal board and is the founder of the Cape Flats Book Festival.

The public intellectual has also an experienced academic and has tutored at top global universities, including Oxford University and UCT. As of 2021, Williams is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Ethics at the University of Stellenbosch.

Fleeing South Africa

Athol Williams State Capture
Athol Williams' Zondo Commission testimony in March 2021 has made him a target to be silenced, hence his decision to flee South Africa. Photo: @Gallo Images
Source: Getty Images

Williams left South Africa on 1st November 2021, fearing for his safety and citing poor witness protection by the government. The public intellectual had earlier testified against organizations and people involved in State Capture allegations. The social advocate implicated 39 parties in his testimony before the Zondo Commission.

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In his recent statement, Athol blamed the government for overlooking corruption in the country, including allowing and participating in it. His decision to leave the state comes after another witness, Ms Babita Deokaran, was assassinated outside her home.

Athol Williams’ net worth

Athol came from a humble background and has worked hard to climb the ladder of success. His exact net worth is unknown, but several publications estimate it to be between $1 million and $5 million.

Athol Williams’ zeal to achieve political freedom and have a corrupt-free society is admirable. He has done a lot as an individual to help South Africa on different fronts. But, will the government listen to the patriot’s plight to protect witnesses?

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Source: Briefly News

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