Jade Jacobsohn is responsible for the scale-up phase of the Nal’ibali campaign, working with the management team to provide strategic direction for campaign partnerships and growth. She is a seasoned anthropologist with research experience in South Africa, Uganda and Malawi, and has a solid grassroots background in the Eastern Cape as founder and Programme Manager of the Sophakama Community Partnership. She has managed various educational projects, specifically focused on early childhood development and environmental education within economically deprived areas, and has worked closely with Anglo American, Takalani Sesame and Food for Development. Her academic qualifications include a BSocSci (Hons) in Anthropology and Environmental Science from Rhodes University, and an MSc in Anthropology, Environment and Development from University College London.
Meet the team behind the Nal’ibali magic! Based across the country, each one of these individuals works to bring the power of stories to as many South Africans as possible. From the Communications gurus, to the Programmes heroes and Operations wizards, we’re a diverse team of passionate people - from all walks of life, and with all kinds of stories.
Meet the team
Thulile joined the Nal'ibali team at its inception and has led its ever expanding programmes department since. Managing a large team spread across the country, Thulile has exceptional communications and management skills and is always seeking to development her team for greatness. She has more than 15 years experience in the development sector and is currently studying towards a post-graduate diploma in public management.
Tholisa Matheza previously worked as Children’s Literature Programme Coordinator at the Centre for the Book, driven by a love of reading and the desire to find ideas to tackle children’s low achievement levels in literacy in schools. She has seven years of experience as a primary school teacher, teaching Maths, Science and English.
Mzwandile Shakespeare Dwangu
'Shakes' Dwangu is the Nal’ibali National Systems & Administration Coordinator. He has more than 20 years in managing social development programmes involved in youth development, training and facilitation and enterprise development training. His previous roles are Resource Centre Coordinator at the Council for Black Education and Research Trust, Youth Development Programme Manager at Catholic Welfare and Development, Social Development Manager at The Big Issue, and National Trainer at Hand in Hand Southern Africa. In early 90’s, he studied at Ubuntu Social Development Institute specializing in Social Action, UCT and hold a certificate in Adult Education, UWC and majored in Sociology and Public Administration. Shakes is passionate about creating conditions for social change and development in South Africa.
A self-proclaimed Soweto-boy, Bongile Mtolo also spent much of his childhood in the Eastern Cape. He studied Project Management with the IT Education and Training Institute. Bongile worked for loveLife for seven years, three of which he was Regional Manager, and was with Activate as a provincial manager. He joined Nal’ibali because he saw the campaign as a vehicle that could effect change in the children of his community.
Kamohelo Ramaipato is a Social Science graduate from the University of the Western Cape, where he majored in Anthropology and Sociology. He has a keen interest in the sociocultural and socio-economic development of communities through literacy and artistic development. He is the co-founder and co-owner of the new, up-and-coming Motswako, a magazine of youth writing and visual art. Kamohelo is also a mentor to many young aspiring writers, and spoken word and visual artists, as well as an events organiser and manager.
Malusi Puwe is an Eastern Cape Literacy Mentor for the Nal’ibali Campaign. Malusi comes from a training and development background. He joined Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa (PPASA) in 1998 as a peer educator. He was trained on Sex and Reproductive Health matters by PPASA. He was employed as a RHS Youth Educator, which allowed him to continue with his passion of youth leadership. He later ran a successful Million Voices Programme and was also very influential in creating a ‘loveLife culture’ within the community of Motherwell, and worked as loveLife regional programme leader from 2006.
After studying at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Nkosingiphile Myeza started a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with modules in Child Development. Nkosi is driven by a love for children, stories and community involvement. Her goal is to improve all rural areas and fight, with Nal’ibali, against language barriers in our communities.
Ntombizanele Mahobe has worked for PRAESA since 1998. She has many years of experience as an early literacy teacher and community trainer in biliteracy development, doing research, writing and translating children’s stories, and telling stories. She is one of the founders of the Vulindlela reading clubs, and mentors community literacy volunteers. Ntombizanele is also a trustee of the Little Hands Trust.
Righardt le Roux
Righardt le Roux has worked extensively in the education sector and in libraries. Best known for his entrepreneurial and innovative skills in ‘taking libraries to the people’, he is a past recipient of the UJ Mardene Marais literary award. He has also won a multitude of awards for his community work with children and libraries in fostering a culture of reading. His holistic approach to connecting libraries with civil society further won him an award as the only South African librarian in the Accumons worldwide competition for the Most Inspiring Librarian in the World.
Portia Daniso studied Media and Journalism at Achievers Business College, and in 2010 studied for an ECD Level 5 Higher Certificate at the College of Cape Town. Wanting to know more about early childhood development, in 2011 she then enrolled at Unisa for her BEd degree in Foundation Phase. Her interest in developmental psychology and literacy has seen her work in mainstream as well as Montessori education.
Thanduxolo Mkoyi holds a certificate in Project Management, Community Development and Leadership with Activate! Change Drivers. He joined Nal’ibali as a volunteer, and worked his way up to realise his goal of becoming a literacy change-maker. Thandu’s love of stories and his commitment to bettering communities is what inspires him.
Thotyelwa Monica Kewana
Thotyelwa Monica Kewana has over 10 years of teaching experience working with community centres and Montessori schools. Thotyelwa studied Early Childhood Development at the College of Cape Town before putting her practical skills to use at Nal’ibali. Her love for children and community development is what drives her every day.
Sithembiso Nhlapo holds a BA degree in Sociology and Psychology from Unisa. He has experience working at the Community Literacy and Numeracy Group (CLING), and worked for Khanya College as an organiser at the Jozi Book Fair (JBF). Sithembiso is passionate about contributing positively to a reading movement, and his biggest desire is to see the future generation of this country become powerful readers.
Thabisa Nomkhonwana finished high school in Langa and studied teaching at St Joseph’s College. She joined Nal’ibali because of her personal love of stories and her drive to create a better world for her brothers and sisters. Thabisa believes in being the change we want to see in the world, and maintains that changing attitudes starts with modelling the right kind of behaviour and providing the right kind of support.
Molefe Mpesi is a Literacy Mentor in Bloemfontein. He has worked with various community-based organisations in the eastern Free State. He has been responsible for the establishment of youth structures around Setsoto Municipality. He has served as Head of Educational Support in the Community Works Programmes at Setsoto Municipality. Molefe's passion for education and literacy development is what lead him to Nal'ibali.
Sanelisiwe Ntuli is a storyteller, poet and performer born and bred in Hammarsdale, KwaZulu Natal. She is a human rights activist and a KwaZulu Natal Youth Coordinator at Africa Unite Organisation. Sanelisiwe is fighting illiteracy through storytelling and uses this important part of Africa’s heritage to enhance identity and self-esteem while entertaining and educating. She has been involved in numerous events for her work and commitment to storytelling and literacy development. Sanelisiwe’s mission is to restore and develop Africa’s stories and the art of storytelling as an art form and educational tool. She collects stories from all regions of South Africa, which she presents.
She is also the founder of the Funda Ubhale Project, an initiative geared at developing literacy in disadvantaged schools in KwaZulu Natal and surrounding areas. The aim of the project is to produce learners who can read and write at an early age. Through poetry, book-reading and storytelling clubs that form this project, Sanelisiwe aims to create awareness about the importance of reading and writing.
Sanelisiwe has conducted reading, writing and storytelling workshops in schools of KwaZulu Natal and surrounding areas. Her focus here is on primary schools and Early Childhood Development, as these children will be South Africa's future leaders. She has shared stage performances with local and international poets and storytellers at different events and festivals.
Ms Ntuli is currently working as a storyteller with the Gcinamasiko Art & Heritage Trust, spreading courage of reading and writing to the upcoming new generation of South Africa. In 2015 she was trained by the Africa Unite Organisation and was awarded Africa Unite Certificate of Completion. She is also a Human Right Peer Educator and committed herself to make a difference in respective communities by building social cohesion communities through human right workshops and discussions.
Madoda Anderson Ndlakuse was born in Mdantsane, in the Eastern Cape. He is a multi-talented storyteller, writer, poet, master of ceremonies, facilitator, motivator, interpreter, translator and reading initiatives activist. He started writing stories, poems and lyrics in 2000. In 2001 while in Mdantsane, he started perfoming music at the Mdantsane Sun Hotel and Greenpoint High School, in East London. In the Nelson Mandela Bay area he then co-founded the Spoken Word Art Movement (SWAM) where he was head of communications, responsible for all NMMU campuses where literacy activism started. Storytelling, drama and the spoken word were always his strong points especially when SWAM conducted outreach programmes in nearby locations Govan Mbeki, KwaNoxolo, Zwide, KwaZakhele and Motherwell.
Madoda is on a mission to influence every individual in his cluster, to appreciate and be involved in literacy development and to be proficient in mother tongue language. He believes that stories are a basic need for all human beings as they form essential parts of our lives, irrespective of our backgrounds. The stories we were told as children around the fire place helped shape our views about the world we live in, while having a positive thearapeutic effect when facing life's issues. Madoda loves to train people so they can continue to change people’s lives through literacy development. He also uses his choral music background and storytelling techniques to demonstrate literacy development as a social practice in his Ilunda reading Club, five VW-sponsored schools and four ECD Centres he is responsible for mentoring in Uitenhage.
Pumza worked for loveLife for 10 years in different roles including training and development, events coordination and mentoring of peer educators. She has certificates in Advanced Training and facilitation, HIV/AIDS Training as well as Coaching and Mentoring. She is currently studying BSc Social Science in Community Services. Pumza's passion for literacy and change lead her to Nal’ibali - she wants to contribute in the development of young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Salome Maluleke has over six years community involvement working experience. She has a Bachelor of Social Work Degree from the University of Limpopo, a Supervisory Management qualification from Oxbridge Academy as well as certificates in Event Management, Environment, Health and Safety and Basic HIV/AIDS.
She previously worked at the Department of Social Development, University of Limpopo Centre for Student Development and Counselling, University of Limpopo Performing Arts Centre, Love Life Trust and the Sports Coaches OutReach (SCORE).
Eugene Riviers grew up in the community of Wentworth in Durban and has worked in the development field for the past 15 years, 13 of which were at management level. His passion for the development of young people led to his studies in Commonwealth Youth in Development Work at the University of South Africa. His combination of business and community dedication, provides the necessary synergy when ensuring development programmes maintain their societal relevance from concept and content development through to implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
He has also worked extensively in the development field as an Executive Director for Turntable Trust, National Training, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager for PPASA, Regional Campaign Manager for loveLife and Provincial Cluster Programmes Manager for Miles and Associates International for programmes implemented across South Africa.
Eugene holds an advanced certificate in Commonwealth Youth in Development Work from the University of South Africa, he is a registered assessor with ETDP SETA, has completed his moderator course and has also completed his Diploma in Human Resources Management with Varsity College.
Abongile was born and bred in different disadvantaged areas of East London (Scenery Park, Mdantsane and Kwelerha) in the Eastern Cape. She's a Social Worker by profession and the co-founder of Siyakholwa Reading and Writing Club Drop In Centre based in Nompumelelo Township, East London. She joined Nal'ibali as a Literacy Mentor based in the rural AmaJingqi - Willowvale area in the Eastern Cape. She's also a writer, activist, innovator and motivational speaker.
Literacy activism, youth development and children advocacy, and activation of leadership is at the core of Abongile's heart. She stands for empowerment, equality and education. Her philosophy of development is that hands, heart, head and time knows no formal education.
Before joining Nal'ibali, Ntoko worked as a research assistant for one year at UKZN, as an education data analyst and manager at the Lima Education unit for one year and for Lima as an education partnership facilitator for three years supporting an education public private partnership (ePPP). She is now employed by Nalibali as a partnership coordinator to support the next phase of the aforementioned ePPP.
Ntoko has a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree in Psychology and Education and Development, an Honours degree in Education and Development and is in the process of finalising her Master of Education degree. All from UKZN.
Bonga has worked in a number of areas including TV, theatre and radio but always comes back to her first love, the NGO sector! She has a certificate in Community Development Practice and has 11years experience in the NGO sector and has taken on different roles over the years from being a facilitator,rResearcher, project manager, script supervisor and dialogue coach. She has worked in different organisations including the Western Cape Network on Violence Agianst Women where she worked as an M&E Officer, on a USAID-led project. She was also a content producer on Siyayinqoba, an education TV show on HIV/AIDS before joining Nal’ibali.
Bonga’s passion for community development is what led her to Nal’ibali. She has a special interest in the arts which she believes could be used to educate, transform and empower communities. She is also an artist in her own right and has shared stages with the likes of Lebo Mashile and Jessica Mbangeni. In her spare time, Bonga enjoys working on creative writing and performances with young people.
Nompucuko "Hluma" Zakaza
Nompucuko Zakaza, known as Hluma, is a self-motivated trainer, writer and IsiXhosa story teller from Tsomo, Upper Nqolosa in the Eastern Cape. She is a highly skilled facilitator across various learning fields and learners (both adult and young) and holds high African values of indigenous wisdom in all her dealings. Hluma loves writing isiXhosa poems and short stories for fun, and has published two children’s books. She was inspired as a storyteller by her rural background, her late grandmother and mother, and by all the unsung heroes from the deep rural areas in the Eastern Cape and other parts of the world.
Hluma initiated an arts cultural and literacy development organisation called Lisahluma Skills Development Services (NPO) in 2013 with two projects in Zwelitsha (Lisahluma After Care) and Tsomo (Isangqa seNkcubeko Reading & Arts Cultural Club). She has also established successful reading clubs with the help of organisations like Nal'ibali, WordWorks, Biblionef SA, Centre for Books, PanSALB and Traditional Leaders.
She has been engaged in arts, language and literacy development initiatives through various networks and institutions like NMMU, DSRAC, Umtapo Centre in Durban, Arts & Culture Trust, Steve Biko Centre. Hluma is also academically involved with Rhodes University for African Language Studies in IsiXhosa Storytelling in the Eastern Cape.
Ben joined the Nal'ibali team in June 2016. He has a BA degree from Stellenbosch University, a postgraduate diploma in Account Management from AAA School of Advertising and a Business Management Certificate from the Chartered Institute of Business Management. He has 17 years in the marketing and communications arena, five of which were spent living and working in Australia. His integrated 360° marketing skill set includes CRM, direct marketing, through-and-below-the-line advertising, design and digital.
An avid reader, Ben also enjoys running, travel and spending time with his wife and daughter.
Having worked on the Nalíbali reading-for-enjoyment campaign since its inception in 2012, Sally not only understands the ins and outs of social marketing, she is well versed in designing and delivering both provincial and national marketing campaigns. Recognising the important role that community media can play, she is also expert at establishing and nurturing these relationships to bring about maximum benefits for both the media and the brand. Having cut her teeth in public relations at Cape Town’s biggest advertising agency, her passion for reading and community upliftment has placed her at the heart of her biggest passion: children’s literacy.
Babalwa is a qualified artisan and Diesel Electric Fitter. Having worked in various industries, Babalwa's many skills have led her along an interesting path to Nal'ibali. Her passion for multilingual literature and reading inspired her to join the team. She loves working with children and is enjoys engaging with people across South Africa to help them bring the joy of reading and stories to their homes and communities.
Babalwa joined Nal'ibali as a call centre coordinator and has recently been promoted to the role of Traffic & Production Coordinator in the Communications team.
Petunia has a Masters in Development and Management from North-West University. Petunia completed her BA in Communication studies in 2004 and has since worked in different roles within the Communications field. She joined Nal’ibali in March 2017 and is excited to work for an organisation that advocates for reading-for-enjoyment in South Africa.
Born in Johannesburg and bred in Mdantsane, East London, Thulisa Mayekiso previously worked as a library volunteer and as a peer educator with OIL, a programme in partnership with GOLD. Thulisa studied for a BA at the University of the Western Cape, majoring in Psychology, Anthropology and Sociology. She joined Nal’ibali because she is passionate about the future of our nation and believes that reading is the first step to a brighter future.
Thembakuye "Kuye" Madlala was born and bred in the small town of Estcourt, in the heart of KwaZulu Natal. She holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences Degree from Rhodes University. She has a passion for the written word and for communicating ideas around positive social change. It’s this passion that led Thembakuye to the Nal’ibali team.
Sithandwa Ngwetsheni, was born and bred in Port Elizabeth. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism Degree, a postgraduate diploma in Media Management from Rhodes University. Sithandwa has worked as a Digital Content Producer for one of South Africa's media companies and believes in giving the voiceless a voice. She is committed to providing a platform for the inspiration and empowerment of the youth in Africa, with the aim of building the next generation of informed, educated and conscious African leaders and active young citizens.
Nokuphumla has been working as a volunteer running running after-school programmes for children. Previously working for the City of Cape Town in the Social Development and Early Childhood Development Departments as a Community Family Officer, her constant focus has been on children in schools and she is particularly passionate about the advancement of children and education in rural areas.
Este joined Nal’ibali in September 2016 to drive the recruitment and human resources function. She qualified with a BA Industrial Psychology degree from the University of Stellenbosch and has more than twenty years’ experience in the processes and the complexities of recruiting for organisations across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
The majority of her experience was gained working as an Executive Recruiter with the Social Care and Health Sector in the United Kingdom as a partner for a niche public sector recruitment business. She joined Deloitte’s Cape Town office shortly after her return to South Africa in 2014.
Laylah Hoofd has certificates in Tender Procedures, Customer Care and Provisioning Administration. She manages the Nal’ibali Newspaper Supplements distribution list and the campaign’s financial administration. Laylah has more than 10 years of experience in the book publishing industry and has a great passion for books and reading.
Venetia Naidoo provides general support to Nal’ibali’s projects and human resources. She has a long history of involvement in alternative education projects in Cape Town, primarily in administrative and support capacities.
Gugu joined Nal’ibali in August 2017. She has vast experience in the field of Human Resources management as a generalist. She has worked in both the public and private sectors, for different organisations. Her last role before joining Nal’ibali was with one of the prestigious University of Cape Town. She is passionate about education, as she believes education is the most powerful weapon which can be use to change the world.
Sayeeda joined Nal’ibali in January 2016 as the Nal’ibali Travel Coordinator. Having worked in the travel industry since 1996, she has the expertise and relevant travel qualifications. She is a mother of three joyful kids who have inspired her with the love for reading and storytelling.
Sayeeda is happy to be part of this exciting journey with Nal’ibali and looks forward to working with everyone.
Chibi joined Nal’ibali from Amnesty International South Africa in November 2016 to drive the finance function. He has more than twenty-five years’ experience from a banking, manufacturing and NGO background. He has also previously worked for other International NGOs such as Humana People to People and the Read Educational Trust.
He holds a Bachelor of Accounting Science (BCompt) from the University of South Africa, a Graduate in Advanced Taxation Certificate from the University of Pretoria and is a member of the South African Tax Professionals.
Buhle completed her matric in 2010 and is completing her last year of a BCom in Accounting with the University of Western Cape. She also holds a Pastel certificate and enjoyed her experience in the NGO space after working as an office assistant in her previous work. She is passionate about music and reading books, which lead her to the Nal’ibali team.
Godfrey joined Nal’ibali in August 2017 from Humana People to People in South Africa, and forms part of the finance team where he provides direct support to the Head of Finance. He holds various qualifications in commerce among them an MBA and is currently studying with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
Over the years he has gained immense experience from both corporate and not-for-profit sectors in areas including but not limited to; financial management, project management, enterprise risk management and compliance and brings with him vast experience on USAID funded projects management.
Katie heads up research and innovation at the Nal’ibali campaign. Before joining the team, she spent three years supporting and learning from education champions as a portfolio manager at the DG Murray Trust. She’s also worked at the South African Education Project (SAEP); co-authored two ‘economics for dummies’ books; and represented South Africa at the Ultimate Frisbee world championships. A Marshall Scholar, she has a BA in Journalism (University of Massachusetts Amherst), an MA in Global Political Economy (University of Sussex), and an MSc in Social Anthropology (London School of Economics).
Luleka grew up in Alice, in the Eastern Cape. She has been an avid reader all her life, and believes that reading for enjoyment helps people to get new information and explore worlds outside their own. Not only is she an important part of the Nal'ibali team - she's also currently studying part time to be a social worker.