"Mphatheleni Makaulule was brought up in Vuvha, a village of the VhaVenda tribe of northern South Africa. She has a deep passion for the culture and traditions of her people, and has watched the fast attrition of her culture as westernisation and modernisation have engulfed her community. While increasingly the local youth believe that the elders of the community are “uneducated” in the western tradition and have nothing to offer them, Mphatheleni has spent countless hours sitting with the elders, or “libraries of knowledge” as she calls them, learning about social and ecological governance.
In the past Makaulule was awarded a Bill Clinton Fellowship "to study leadership in the states, which included some time at Harvard." Concerning this she was asked: "How was it returning to your community after this experience?" Her response was:
- "When I returned people said: "You, you've been to the United States and now you're a millionaire. You must start a business." But that's not what I was preparing myself for. Money doesn't interest me. I went back to what I was doing.
- "I worked with those who were really interested in traditions, and that's how I met people from the Gaia Foundation. I spent days with them. They really understood what I was doing. With their help and with the African Biodiversity Network we started The Mupo Foundation to defend sacred sites and traditional rituals..." 
"Makaulule spent two months in the United States after winning a Bill Clinton Fellowship award."