Our Story

The Jakes Gerwel Fellowship is an independent and aspirational initiative birthed out of Allan Gray Orbis Foundation’s Endowment. As a premium scholarship provider, Allan Gray Orbis Foundation has close, country-wide contact with school principals and teachers in identifying South Africa’s brightest young entrepreneurial talent. This extensive engagement revealed a consistent and haunting plea: “Where will South Africa’s next generation of teaching talent come from?”

Over time, there was a dawning realisation that Allan Gray Orbis Foundation had a moral imperative to respond to this call to action. A long-term commitment was needed to address both the educational and entrepreneurial dimensions of our society in enhancing our country’s transformational capacity. There was also the recognition that no education system can ever supersede the capacity of its teachers and this was where the response had to lie.

In April 2017, the Board of Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Endowment gave the commitment to create the Jakes Gerwel Fellowship to honour the legacy of a true high impact teacher who was also the Foundation’s inaugural Chairperson and a close confident to former President Nelson Mandela.

Why Teaching?

The quality of teachers is a seminal and binding constraint for truly unlocking human potential that the success of South Africa’s young democracy is so dependent on. To support this, what is needed is for the classroom to be seen for the vehicle of change. In short, we want to make the strongest possible case and provide the greatest possible support for our best students to become our best teachers.

The Jakes Gerwel Fellowship is committed to creating this pipeline of future, high impact teachers. These are individuals who through purposely following their passion for subjects in which they achieve subject mastery, can become tomorrow’s expert teachers. As expert teachers, Jakes Gerwel Fellows are encouraged to also follow leadership and entrepreneurial paths within the teaching field so that in a collaborative manner, they are compelled to solving some of the biggest obstacles that currently characterise our education system.

Our Team

Julian Hewitt

Julian is passionate about the transformative power of entrepreneurship and education. With a commerce degree from Stellenbosch behind his name, Julian has applied this knowledge in founding several social enterprises. He previously headed up Allan Gray Orbis Foundation’s Fellowship Programme and currently sits on the Board of Trustees for the Royal Bafokeng Nation’s flagship school, Lebone II College.

Jeremy Gibbon

With over 20 years’ experience, Jeremy has a deep understanding of the South African educational context. He was Principal of Pinelands High School, a vibrant, diverse, co-educational high school in Cape Town and draws on research knowledge from his Masters Degree in Education at the University of Cambridge. Jeremy carries a fervent belief in the potential of all children and a burning desire to see this potential realised across South Africa.

Mpho Motloung

Mpho is passionate about driving change through education. She says that our dream of a just and “woke” South Africa is dependent on an education system that strives to nurture and develop potential in every citizen, young and old. She believes that a good education can change anyone but a good teacher can change everything. Her role in the Fellowship gives her an opportunity to proactively contribute towards preparing young people to becoming competent citizens of the 21st century.

Carla Petersen

Carla’s passion is to improve the development and reflective skills of new teachers entering diverse contexts of South African schools, particularly at high school level. Carla holds a Bachelor of Education (Hons) from UCT and is currently completing her Masters. She has completed studies in educational management and pedagogy in both Finland and South Africa. Her main passion is to improve teacher effectiveness and teacher retention in public South African schools.