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.
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 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 Watson (she/her) is an experienced teacher who firmly believes in the importance of emotional and pedagogical resilience skills for new teachers entering diverse contexts of South African schools. She believes in the entrepreneurial mindset being especially important for teachers in schools. Carla’s postgraduate academic career focuses on the build of NQTs leadership, psycho-social and pedagogical potential in the classroom and in broader contexts. She is a certified Integral Coach (UCT GSB). In 2020 she was recognised as one of 50 Most Powerful Women in South Africa (Mail & Guardian). Carla invites LinkedIn conversation about how to partner and collaborate in changing South African education.
Amy loves working with people to maximize their potential. Her career has been centered around education and development. She completed a Masters in Education at the University of Cape Town and during this time spent six months in Finland on an international programme studying their education model. She has been a high school teacher for eight years and held a position on the school management team for six of those years. More recently she was a Programme Officer at Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, a role that allowed her to explore coaching further and she has certified as a Life Coach through Stellenbosch University’s USB-Ed.
Johanna is passionate about entrepreneurial education and youth development. Her career has been rather interesting: started off in Finance at Woolworths (2003) and Media24 (2007) as a Finance clerk. While working and studying in the finance route she realised that she is more of a people’s person than numbers’ person. That’s when she started her Bcom degree in Human Resources with UNISA. Her love for people development was further ignited when she joined the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation (2009) . While at Allan Gray Orbis Foundation she studied Project Management and Management Advanced Programme (WITS Business School). Her wish is to see entrepreneurial education being rolled out to rural school schools as this is where rough diamonds can be found. Her role at the Fellowship will give her an opportunity to give the potential and current fellows an experience through Events and Logistics.
Aamira Surtie-Pillay is a registered Educational Psychologist with a keen interest in career development and psychometric assessments. She has 7 years of experience at an International Baccalaureate school where she primarily worked with students, parents and teachers focused on the improvement of student wellbeing through the development and facilitation of educational and mental health intervention. She has a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) as an English FET teacher and Learning support specialist. She has used these skills to develop curriculum for an online platform. Aamira is also a Registered Counsellor, trained in community development and trauma counselling.
Angel Ancha Lindelwa Bulunga was born and raised in the Kingdom of Eswatini. She is a Rhodes University alumna, an Allan Gray Fellow and Mandela Rhodes Scholar (2017). She is passionate about youth development, specifically personal and leadership development. She is at her happiest when she can support someone, unlock their potential and thrive. As a student at Rhodes University, she was an active student volunteer and student leader. In 2014, as a second-year student, she received the Student Volunteer of The Year Award. Ancha also collaborated with the Community Engagement office in ideating and implementing the community engagement program at orientation. This was also adopted for the Environmental Programme. In 2016 she was the SRC Community Engagement Councillor and interim SRC Environmental Councillor which allowed her to work closely with different stakeholders on policy. Bursaries gave Ancha the opportunity to a world-class education which she would not otherwise have had. As a Programme Officer she gets to live her dream every day of supporting young people unlock their potential and become their best.
Jade (Damonse) Glenn holds an Honours in Educational Psychology (UWC) and a Bachelor of Education degree in English and Life Orientation (UWC). From a young age, she realised her life’s calling is social change and leadership in education. Jade is an experienced teacher and firmly believes her learners benefitted from her strategy of supporting the whole child; often going ‘above and beyond’. Jade now works with JGF’s Newly Qualified Teachers and is excited about continuing her journey of impact to improve the South African education system’s influence on young people. As a JGF Teacher Coach, she offers coaching and support to our NQTS as they navigate their first two years in this daunting, yet wonderful career. Outside of work, volunteering and helping others is extremely important to Jade. Along with her sister, she runs a programme called “Drive by with the Damonses”, which feeds 8 families every month. She has visited 13 countries and plans to tick more off her bucket list soon! When she is not realising her impact of change, Jade enjoys catching up with close friends and family, and watching as many episodes of 90 Days To Wed.
Born eKomani, raised eQonce and educated in Makhanda – Mathabo is a proud multi-talented small-town Eastern Cape native, whose roots are currently in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her eclectic career path includes success in advertising as a digital marketing strategist, child development practice, a noted performance practitioner and international award-winning best-selling children’s author for the picture-book, WANDA. She is a Sociology and Drama and Performance Studies major from Rhodes University and her postgraduate interest is in unpacking the South African classroom as a space of citizenship. A Programme Officer at the Jakes Gerwel Fellowship since 2021, Mathabo is also a content producer & host for #JGFAmplified, a Jakes Gerwel Fellowship podcast which seeks to build community through amplifying the vision and voices of innovative educational leaders, practitioners, and learners in South Africa. “Reconciling the body, mind and spirit” is the reverberation which is the impetus behind all that Mathabo does. She prides herself in attracting and curating great playlists, enjoys watching live music and theatre performance, learning about the African visual art scene, growing in community and lives for her gifts to amount to children being confident in their voices and chosen identities.
Mzwandile Msimanga is an entrepreneurial and innovative capacity-building specialist with extensive experience at the forefront of holistic youth development, with a passion for improving access to quality learning opportunities for all. He is inspiring future leaders through advocacy for youth development by utilising education and literacy development. He has worked as Project Coordinator for the Gauteng Primary Language and Mathematics Strategy which is a flagship project by the Gauteng Department of Education and Joint Education Trust. His experience within the education sector has led him to serve on the National Reading Coalition Reference Group and in 2021 he was a coordinating team member of the Reading Champions project for the Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI) with the Department of Basic Education, Nalibali, FunDza and the National Education Collaboration Trust. Mzwandile joined JGF as a Programme Officer in 2021 and continues his endeavour of developing the youth – those who will go on to change the education landscape in South Africa.
Pietrou Gie is an industrial engineer who has worked to improve processes and systems in a variety of service environments. After several years of business consulting in the corporate sector, ranging from the big 5 banks to government departments, she found her passion in designing processes and systems to deliver services where profit is not the objective. Pietrou is JGF’s Business Intelligence Specialist.
Marvin prides himself in being a Capetonian. He holds diplomas in Business Management and Management and is now pursuing his BTech in Project Management at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Marvin started his career in the Arts sector, managing several projects as Youth Development and Education Manager before he joined JGF in 2022 in his current role. With a passion for the development of the youth, his career over the last decade has been focused on making a difference in the lives of young people. Marvin is the Selection Administrator at JGF.
Samora Menze is an experienced teacher with a passion for mentoring and supporting young leaders. Samora graduated with a BSc in Human Life Sciences and a PGCE from the University of Stellenbosch. He completed his teaching practice at Paul Roos Gymnasium where his heart for mentoring boys was ignited. He then went to teach at Kayamandi High School in the township of Stellenbosch and later became a teacher at Westerford High School. He left Westerford to join Calling Academy, a low fee independent school for boys coming from townships and farms around Stellenbosch. Samora brings to JGF a wealth of valuable experience from a spectrum of different educational institutions, from well to under-resourced.
Siwaphiwe “Siwa” Sibeko is an advocate for multilingualism, inclusivity, and expression in different spaces. Siwaphiwe is also a firm believer in Education and Social Justice. Holding a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Social Anthropology, Environment and Geographical Sciences, Hons in Social Anthropology and currently finishing Masters in MA Linguistics. A Co-Founder of Iliwa Literacy Club and founder of Indibano Yeelwimi Language Services. Siwa’s previous work includes, being a liaison officer, academic administrator, a community developer, a researcher, teaching assistant, student coach and a mentor. Makwande!
Cephas has over 14 years of experience in research, data management, monitoring and evaluation across several sectors such as higher education, development practice, environment and property. He holds qualifications in planning, development planning, development studies, and monitoring and evaluation. He holds a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Fort Hare (2015). His passion is knowledge and learning curation to improve the utilisation of evaluation findings across organisations and business units. His role at JGF will give him the opportunity to accelerate and document impact and curate knowledge and learnings for scalable educational interventions in South Africa. Cephas is the Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist at JGF.
Standford was born in Cunningmore in Bushbuckridge. He holds an honours degree in Teacher Education and Professional Development and a Bachelor of Education in Social Sciences, Learner Support and Life Orientation
Stanford Ndlovu is the Co-founder of The Youth Voice of South Africa, an Organisation that assists young people with career guidance and University applications. He is a YALI Regional Center Southern Africa alumnus and Teachers Change Agent Network. In partnership with The Trevor Noah Foundation, he completed a prestigious teacher development programme called Education Change Makers from Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Centre Southern Africa (YALI RLC-SA). This training comes after completing an online YALI programme focusing on Civic Leadership. This training complements his global ambassadorial mandate for Equality in Education with UNESCO and Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience and the steering committee member of the National Reading Barometer with Nal’ibali. He is also a reading champion with African Storybook.
Mr Ndlovu is passionate about training, mentoring, youth development, and Civic Leadership. His passion for literacy has seen him work with the Australian Indigenous programme as an Assistant Programme Manager to end inequalities in education; moreover, he serves as chairperson of the alum advisory board for the TeachersCAN fellowship. He is passionate about literacy and ICT education. In addition, he is working on an education application to improve mathematics in different official languages in South Africa. He writes stories for children in Xitsonga and English while not teaching—top 5 Finalist Business Pitch Trevor Noah Foundation 2022, and in the same year, he was the winner of the Pick n Pay school club International Teachers Day. As a Teacher Coach, he brings local and international experience to support NQTs
Jackie is a seasoned educator with a passion for mentoring and supporting novice teachers. She has accumulated many years of classroom and school management experience and transitioned from the school space at the end of 2022. Her belief that needed change in the South African education system can best be accomplished through the empowerment of teachers in the classroom, motivates her to interact with individual teachers on a deeper level and enable them to unlock their dormant potential.
Jackie is an advocate for reducing the dropout rate in schools and keeping children safe. In contributing to this goal she initiated a leadership program for severely at-risk learners in the Lavender Hill community and collaborates with a community member who works in the Child Rights space. She is also involved in a USA-funded bursary program for matriculants at Lavender Hill High School where she identifies potential awardees and supports them with career choices and university applications.
She holds a Master’s in Education degree from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and is pursuing a Doctorate in Education degree at the same institution. In joining the team at JGF in 2023, Jackie hopes to contribute to improvements in the South African education system by, apart from coaching Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs), also identifying gaps in the system and working towards evidence-based solutions to close or address the gaps
Hleziphi (best known as Hlezi), joined JGF on the 1st of April 2023 as a Teacher Coach. Her background includes years as a High school Mathematics teacher from Grade 8 through Grade 12, 8 years as a HOD for Science, Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy, Senior marker for Mathematics P1 and P2, Item writer for DBE Mathematics Grade 12 exams, teacher trainer for NCS and Mathematics teaching and recently worked as a senior teacher the position which involved amongst other activities, QA’ing the development and implementation of Mathematical Literacy and mentoring NQT’s. She also taught Mathematics in Some of the international top schools. She earned a teaching diploma (STD) in EC Mango College of Higher Education in 1991 and continued to improve herself earning up to B.Ed Hons in Mathematics education with the University of Pretoria.
She has been and will always be a life-long learner and follows various blogs in education to keep up with the new trends in the education field. She is committed to nurturing positivity and confidence in the newly qualified teachers in both their personal and professional life. She is very excited to be part of the JGF.