Garth Japhet photo

Garth Japhet

CEO, Heartlines


Garth is a doctor qualifying at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1987, with further qualifications in maternal and child health. In 1992 he founded Soul City: the Institute for Health and Development Communication and was executive director until June 08. Today Soul City: IHDC is recognized as one of the foremost and most evaluated development communications organizations in the world. It works in 12 countries. It has produced award wining TV and radio series supported by print media and consistently reaches over 45 million people in the region. It communicates around all aspects of public health, in particular HIV/AIDS, using a multimedia edutainment approach. It also uses community mobilization and advocacy. It has the largest youth movement “Buddyz Clubs” in South Africa with 80 000 members in over 5000 clubs. Soul City: IHDC has been the recipient of multiple awards for social change, development and communication.

In 2001 he established Heartlines, an organization with a similar programmatic approach to Soul City: IHDC, but with the objective of building, or rebuilding, healthy relationships in all contexts from the home through to business and government, in order to impact on major social problems. It uses the promotion of good values as its primary tool. He is now the full time CEO.

Since 2006, he has chaired the partner group of the Communication Initiative www.comminit.com, a virtual network of over 75 000 communication for social change practitioners.

Garth received a Fulbright scholarship in 1992, was made a Schwab Fellow of the World Economic Forum in 2001 and was awarded the Bishop Tutu Andrew Murray Prize for Media in 2008 and was made a Senior Ashoka fellow. In 2009 he was awarded the Everett Rogers Award for contribution to Entertainment Education (University of Southern California). In 2012 he was elected to the World Economic Forums' Global agenda council for social media