ABOUT US

Our team are united and motivated by the promise that lies for our country and continent in a stunting free future, where no child is unjustly denied the opportunity to reach their full potential.

MEET THE TEAM

Dr Kopano Matlwa Mabaso

Dr Kopano Matlwa Mabaso

Executive Director Grow Great Campaign

Dr Kopano Matlwa Mabaso is the Executive Director of the Grow Great Campaign. Kopano is a medical doctor by training, with a special interest in public health.

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She is a Rhodes Scholar and an alumnus of the University of Oxford where she gained both her Masters in Global Health Science and DPhil (PhD) in Population Health. Kopano has received a number of accolades for her work as a social entrepreneur, including the first ever Aspen Idea Award, Aspen New Voices Fellowship and Tutu Fellowship. Kopano is also an award winning novelist and her three novels have been published in a number of languages across the world.

She is inspired by the resilience of South Africa’s people and motivated by the promise that lies for our country and continent in a stunting free future, where no child is unjustly denied the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Bernadette Robertson

Bernadette Robertson

Champions for Children Master Trainer & Resource Centre Manager

Following her nursing studies, Bernadette obtained a qualification in Call Centre and HIV Clinical Management in 2002.

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She In addition to the above, Bernadette also has a qualification in Corporate Governance From 2003-2016 Bernadette was a loveLife employee, provide support to both the CEO and Board of Trustees at loveLife in all aspects of company management

Thereafter she qualified in Call Centre and HIV Clinical Management in 2002. She also has in her possession a qualification in Corporate Governance in 2002, which covered all aspects of Company Management and provided support to both the CEO and Board of Trustees at loveLife. She is currently the Master Trainer and Resource Manager for the Grow Great Campaign.

She is an extremely calm, organized, reliable and patient professional with excellent administration skills. She is always commended for her efficient and effective handling of difficult situations in the workplace.

Duduzile Mkhize

Duduzile Mkhize

Communications Specialist

Duduzile Mkhize is a communications specialist, having gained experience as a television producer, director and writer.

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She has worked on several television productions including The Big Debate on Etv, Carte Blanche on MNet, Sifunukwazi on Mzanzi Magic and Phola for the SABC. Before she moving to TV, Duduzile worked for an advertising agency as a creative producer. Duduzile is also the Founder of aWoke Media, a non-profit organisation which aimed at promoting the rights of vulnerable and marginalized groups. It was through aWoke Media that Duduzile consulted for organisations like the UN, Action Aid, Amnesty International and the Foundation for Human Rights. Duduzile has also served in the Board of Forest Town School for Children with disabilities for the past 3 years. Her main responsibilities are marketing and Ffundraising. Duduzile has completing her MBA at Wits Business School. She has a degree in Communications from the University of Johannesburg, A post graduate diploma in Business administration from Wits Business School and an advance strategy certificate from La Verne University.

Duduzile dreams of a South Africa where all children have equal access to opportunities despite their background.

Jabulile Mahlaba

Jabulile Mahlaba

Administrator

Jabulile Mahlaba is a African woman whom is well versed in all spheres of administration in civil society.

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Jabulile’s has over 10 years experience in administration of civil society organisations

Her career commenced as a Branch Administrator for The Big Shoes Foundation, a pioneer paediatric palliative care project incubated by Wits Palliative Care in 2007.

In 2010, she progressed to the role of Regional Administrator and promoted in 2016 to the role of Executive Assistant for the Southern African Aids Trust, a regional organisation that focuses on community systems for equitable and inclusive health.

In 2016, she accepted the role of Senior Administrator for The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, an organisation spearheading reconciliation, democracy and a human rights culture in South Africa. The Douglas Murray Trust currently employs Jabulile as an administrator.

Jabulile is currently pursuing the completion of her Diploma in Business Management with Rosebank College.

Mervyan Konjore

Mervyan Konjore

Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist

Mervyan has ten years’ experience in evidence-driven monitoring, evaluation and research programmes for corporates, government, NGOs and donors. 

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A Rhodes Scholar, she is an Extraordinary Lecturer with the University of Pretoria’s School of Health Sciences and Public Health. Mervyan’s past professional tenure includes working for government, Hospice Palliative Care Association, and the Global Fund.

Prior to joining the Grow Great Campaign, Mervyan established Measure Value, a consultancy geared towards providing monitoring, evaluation and research services across the African continent, to notable clients like the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, RMB, Distell, Property Point, UNICEF, USAID and the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia.

Mervyan possesses two Masters Degrees from the University of Oxford, A Postgraduate Diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation Methods (Stellenbosch University) and several courses on evaluation and applied research methodologies from Claremont Graduate University and the University of Pretoria.

Nicola Eley

Nicola Eley

Program lead: Champions For Children

Nicola Eley completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics at Stellenbosch University in 2008 and has spent most of her career working in the public health sector.

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After completing her Community Service at Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital in Mitchell’s Plain, Nicola worked for the Stellenbosch Community Development Project as a nutrition consultant focused on supporting primary school nutrition programmes.

Nicola joined Philani Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Trust in 2010 as the Nutrition Centre Manager and was responsible for managing and supporting a team of Nutrition Advisors and Breastfeeding Peer Counsellors.

In 2012 she was promoted to Training Unit Manager. This unit was responsible for training and supporting Community Health Workers from South Africa, Swaziland and Ethiopia with a particular focus on maternal, child health and nutrition.

Nicola is currently completing her Masters in Nutrition at Stellenbosch University focusing on Nutrition, Human Rights and Governance.

Ruth Mathys

Ruth Mathys

Master Trainer: Flourish

Mother, occupational therapist, public health specialist. After seven years of working as an occupational therapist , Ruth embarked on a Masters in Public Health 

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The highlights of her career include four years with Medecins sans Frontieres’ (MSF) HIV and TB project in Khayelitsha, as well as becoming a mother and relocating from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

These experiences have brought her to her present role as the Flourish Curriculum Developer and Master Trainer at Grow Great.

Her personal and professional experiences of pregnancy, early childhood and motherhood have made her acutely aware of the vulnerability faced by parents and the potential impact of this on their children.

This understanding is her motivator as Flourish works towards creating a network of empowered moms, supported to raise children capable of reaching their full potential in life.

Sinikiwe Mqadi

Sinikiwe Mqadi

Flourish coach

Sinikiwe’s passion arises from recognising that achieving the dreams of our forebears’ struggle for a South Africa that upholds justice and dignity for all,  depends on the health of its citizens.

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We need strong bodies and strong minds for the work of bringing forth the vision of our forefathers and foremothers. Moreover, the state of health in our communities is a potent measure of our progress towards that vision – and sheds light on the long road still before us.

Sinikiwe was born in rural KwaZulu Natal, to a traditional Zulu family – where it was, and is, difficult to access reliable information, and – more difficult still – to wisely analyse it.

Hoping to address this challenge, She undertook studies in journalism and media studies.

She is committed to using her skills and gifts to benefit rural communities, which still comprise a large portion of South Africa.

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Serole Sehlabana

Serole Sehlabana

Flourish coach

Serole Sehlabana successfully completed her matric in 2009 then pursed a degree in education.

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She was a foundation phase teacher for four years, educating and assessing the performance of children. She later completed a post-graduate diploma in Business Administration, which allowed her to explore and grow her knowledge and skills in the business sector.

Serole is a hardworking, dedicated and goal driven individual who grabs every opportunity with both hands.

She believes that being part of the democratic youth of South Africa means “we are the country’s ‘walking economy’”.

“We have been assigned the responsibility of bringing about progress and development through our acquired skills, knowledge and higher education,” she says.

Sibongile Sibanda

Sibongile Sibanda

Flourish coach

Sibongile Angel Sibanda completed her matric in 2003 and went to study a diploma in Business administration.

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She then studied Social Auxiliary Work, which had always been her plan as she loves working with people.

She has had an interesting career path thus far and has worked in different fields. In 2010, she worked for the South African Drug Abuse and Aids Council as EPWP Coordinator and was later promoted to the position of Social Auxiliary Worker.

In 2013, she worked with the Department of Trade and Industry as a Community Development Worker. In 2016, she was a Digital Ambassador for the City of Johannesburg before joining the Field Band Foundation as a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer.

She draws inspiration from the following words by Nelson Mandela: “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Esther Mbavhalelo Tshivhenga

Esther Mbavhalelo Tshivhenga

Financial Accountant

Esther Mbavhalelo Tshivhenga joined Grow Great as a Financial Accountant in January 2019.

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Her responsibilities include preparing monthly management reports, preparing the annual budget and monitoring performance against the budget as part of the financial reporting process and raising grants payable in accordance with approved grant agreements/schedules.

Professionally, she enjoys the challenge of identifying and solving problems and listening to the needs of the organisation. Her honesty, integrity and professionalism are qualities many people appreciate.

Esther brings to the team 15 years of experience in the accounting field, having worked in bookkeeping, finance and compliance for several years. She had also acted as finance manager where she was in charge of auditing, tax, financial reporting, internal control and grant management.

She previously served for three years as a finance and compliance officer for African Men for Sexual Health and Rights, where she was responsible for finance and budgeting, monitoring, reporting and financial analysis as well as partnership and budget support.

Esther has worked most of her entire career in the NGO sector at organisations such as the National Religious Association for Social Development, Wits Health Consortium, Bigshoes Foundation and Humana People to People.

Esther is currently completing the final modules of her BCompt (Financial Accounting) degree at the University of South Africa. She is committed to her family, church and building relationships with friends.

Esther lives by the following quote from TB Joshua: “Your success and happiness depend on your willingness to help others solve their problems”.

Mmakgomo Tshetlo

Mmakgomo Tshetlo

Flourish Coach

Mmakgomo Tshetlo was born and raised in Kwa-Thema, Springs. She originallyenrolled at Boston Media House to study advertising.

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 She had always dreamed of pursuing a career as an art director, and eventually owning her own ad agency.

During her second year of studying, she had a change of heart and fell in love with radio and decided that would be her final year major. She graduated with a diploma in radio and broadcasting production.

A year after graduating and knocking on many doors, she was fortunate enough to secure an internship with one of the best talk radio stations in the country, Talk Radio 702. Her first role at the station was that of a promotions producer, before vying for her dream role of becoming a content producer. After four years at the helm of influencing and driving important conversations in the country she changed roles, moved departments and wore the hat of a digital content producer.

After six years, she parted ways with her first love – radio. Soon thereafter she was afforded the opportunity of delving into television, another interest and passion of hers. She assumed the role of researcher, working on a reality show called Stereotype Drop. It was a brief stint, but presented many learning opportunities.

Mmakgomo is now a Flourish coach and can confidently say this has been one of the most fulfilling things she has done in her life. Being at Flourish has given her a sense of purpose and belonging – she no longer feels misplaced.

Ofentse Mboweni

Ofentse Mboweni

Communications Officer

Ofentse Mboweni is a Communications Officer at Grow Great. He holds an honours degree in Political Studies from Wits University.

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He has been in the media and communications space for five years, working for organisations such as TNA Media as a sub-editor and the Mail & Guardian as an online editor, among others.

What keeps him motivated is his ever-present desire to be better every day and add value to the lives of others, however he can. He strives to ensure that his firm commitment to social justice and nation-building is reflected in every facet of his life.

Ofentse believes that resilience and determination are the keys to success and his personal mantra is the quote by Steve Biko: “In time, we shall be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest possible gift—a more human face.”

Thabang Mametse

Thabang Mametse

Programme Lead: Flourish

Thabang Mametse is a qualified Social Worker and has been working in the development sector since 2004.

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She worked at Grassroot Soccer as a Programme Manager, providing oversight on the Community Responses Programme and managing grantees.

Previously, she worked at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund as a Programme Specialist, managing funded partner organisations and providing strategic guidance to the Fund’s initiatives in the North West Province.

Thabang managed the 2014 and 2015  Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliaments, a joint initiative with the Department of Social Development. Prior to her lengthy experience at the Fund, she worked at Heartbeat Centre for Community Development as a Social Worker, overseeing the design, implementation and monitoring of the Children’s Empowerment Programme.

Socially, she embraces health, fitness and wellbeing as a qualified Group Exercise Instructor through Virgin Active Gym. Thabang holds an Honours Degree in Social Work from the University of Pretoria and a number of certificate trainings.

Nozuko Valerie Mthandeki

Nozuko Valerie Mthandeki

Flourish coach

Valerie Mthandeki obtained her Bachelor of Arts (Education) degree at the University of Transkei (now called Walter Sisulu University).

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She furthered her studies, completing a Further Diploma in Education Management with the University of Pretoria and a TEFL course with Boston College.

After a 10-year career with the Department of Education as an Educator, her love for interacting with different people saw her leaving the department and starting a career in sales and marketing. She spent a few years working for companies like Old Mutual, Sanlam and Bytes Document Solutions, among others.

While working in sales, various opportunities arose for her to work on freelance jobs in publishing and research. This kickstarted her career path as a Freelance Research Field Worker and a Freelancer in publishing.

She has worked on various projects both in publishing and research, with companies like Pearsons, Maskew Miller and Systems Approach, to mention a few, where her love for working with people of different cultures in different communities was enhanced. It was during her time working on one of these projects that she was identified to work as a Facilitator and a Coach for Flourish.

Grow great campaign board

Anthony Farr

Anthony Farr

CEO: Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropy Africa

Anthony Farr is CEO of Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropy Africa, responsible for the execution of the Gray family philanthropy across the continent.

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Previously, he was the founding CEO of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. Prior to this, Anthony co-founded the Starfish Greathearts Foundation in 2001. He is qualified as a CA (SA) and Chartered Financial Analyst.

Bernadette Moffat

Bernadette Moffat

Executive Director: Elma Philanthropies Services (Africa).

Bernadette Moffat is Executive Director of the ELMA Philanthropies Services (Africa), based in Cape Town, South Africa.

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In this role Bernadette oversees the philanthropic work of the ELMA Group of Foundations in southern Africa. She also serves on the Boards of the ELMA Philanthropies Services (US) Inc., and the ELMA South Africa Foundation.

She also serves as a Trustee of the Discovery Foundation which supports the education and training of medical specialists in South Africa. Prior to joining ELMA in 2006, Bernadette was chief executive officer of the Women’s Development Bank Trust, an organization that promotes the participation of women at all levels of the economy through investing in leading South African companies, providing microcredit to poor rural women, supporting the growth of small and medium women- owned businesses and supporting the appointment of women to executive and board roles in major South African companies.

Bernadette has international experience as an entrepreneur and corporate lawyer. Previously Bernadette served as a consultant to the Commission on Gender Equality advising them on issues of women’s economic empowerment. The Commission published her work The Working Woman’s Manual a volume on women and labor law in South Africa (1996). Honored by France with the Ordre de Merité in 2007, she holds a magna cum laude BA degree from Wellesley College in the United States and a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia University also in the United States.

Dr David Harrison

Dr David Harrison

Chief Executive Officer: DG Murray Trust.

David Harrison is the CEO of the South African grant-making foundation, the DG Murray Trust.

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After completing his medical internship in 1990, David joined the Child Health Unit of the University of Cape Town, working on policy issues related to child health, nutrition and early childhood development. He completed an MSc(Med) related to the planning of child health services in Khayelitsha.

In 1991, he founded the Health Systems Trust (HST), a non-government organisation supporting health policy and services development in South Africa. In his capacity as Director of HST, he established the South African Health Review – an annual assessment of health and health care, and the Initiative for Sub-District Support, working with the Department of Health to improve the quality of health care in clinics throughout South Africa.

In 2000, he completed a Masters in Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, before returning to South Africa to head up loveLife, a national HIV prevention programme for young people. In 2010, he joined the DG Murray Trust, which has a significant focus on early childhood development (ECD) and education and opportunities for young people.

Elizabeth Maepa

Elizabeth Maepa

Board member: First Rand Foundation.

Having started her career as a nurse, with a qualification in midwifery, Elizabeth Maepa has gone on to serve in senior and influential leadership positions in both business and civil society.

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While Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital served as her training ground in the late 1970s, she later secured qualifications in commerce and business leadership.

She went on to nurse strategic transformation in at least two of South Africa’s big four banks. Today, as Head of Talent, Brand and Operations, she is a key part of the entrepreneurial team at Sifiso Learning Group, which is charting new paths in education provision in South Africa.

She served on the boards of BankSeta and the KZN Growth Fund Trust. She currently serves on the boards of the FirstRand Empowerment Foundation, the FirstRand Foundation and the Shalamuka Trust. She chairs the board of Radio Veritas and serves on the Staffing Committee of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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