Suntosh Rathanam Pillay
Suntosh Rathanam Pillay is busy grappling with the paradoxes that both fracture and unite our society, hoping to help with finding solutions. He grew up in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, and now lives in Durban where he works as a state clinical psychologist at King Dinuzulu Hospital Complex. Suntosh has worked in the public health system from 2009. He did a Masters in Social Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2008, as a Mandela-Rhodes Scholar. He graduated with his Bachelors, Honours and Masters Degrees all summa cum laude at UKZN. He is now completing a PhD, exploring implementation of government’s mental health plans. As a public intellectual, Suntosh writes regular social commentary articles and has published in most major newspapers and online media, including the Sunday Times and ThoughtLeader. Two of his columns received writing awards from The Witness in 2013 and 2014. Suntosh is also an active academic researcher on social psychological issues, such as post-apartheid racism, identity, and transformation. He co-authored the African and Eastern Psychology chapter for the textbook Psychology: An Introduction (Oxford University Press) and three chapters for Talk Therapy Toolkit (Van Schaik Publishers). He is a core member of the African LGBTI Human Rights Project, to develop the first practice guidelines in Africa for psychologists working with gender and sexual diversity. He is also vice-chair of the Division for Community and Social Psychology of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA), and chairperson of PsySSA’s Transformation and Equity Committee. He has presented his work at numerous academic conferences. He initiated his hospital’s first mental health symposium, and launched an interdisciplinary advocacy group. In 2015 he was named as one of the Top 200 Young South Africans by the Mail and Guardian. Suntosh is currently a Board Director for the Mandela Rhodes Community.