A bit more about the team behind Zingela Ulwazi
Education Program Manager
Agnes Rapau heads up our Enterprise Development education, bringing 20+ years of experience teaching enterprise development in rural South African communities. She is also an entrepreneur, owning 3 businesses of her own : Learn From Us Solutions Pty Ltd; SATUMO sewing and embroidery Pty Ltd and Nako Yaka Kids Program(NPO).
Agnes has founded several projects to uplift disadvantaged youth and children, including Learn From Us Farmers in 2014, teaching small scale farmers to use natural resources in a sustainable way and to grow nutritional food in their back yards. Agnes started working with medicinal plants when she was 15, which developed into a deep passion. Agnes also works with Conservation South Africa, where she coordinates the Green Economy and Green learning programs; supervises YES4Youth programme and Green Business development. She coaches, mentors, facilitates trainings, organizes environmental awareness and stakeholder engagements. What drives Agnes is assisting people to be aware of their potential to deal with poverty and social and environmental issues.
Agnes holds a wealth of knowledge about every aspect of small enterprise development and is an excellent teacher, tackling complex concepts in a way that is understandable and accessible to all of our participants, regardless of their educational level. She has firsthand experience of the harshness of growing up vulnerable in rural South Africa, and brings tremendous wisdom, heart, kindness and love to all she does. We are so fortunate to have her as an integral part of our team.
Trygive Nxumalo is the Lead Permaculture Educator for Permaculture Explorers. He established Rooiboklaagte B Organic Community Garden in 2015 with his wife Suzan Mashego. Together with their community, they have developed it into a spectacular permaculture garden, with a beautiful thatched boma that serves as a classroom and event space, a kitchen and office space. Not only is Trygive responsible for working with 300+ community members to develop and maintain their own home permaculture gardens, but he has generously travelled to communities far and wide, sharing his expertise, advice and grace. Trygive brings tremendous joy to the world, and to our classes, in the form of kindness, generosity, great empathy, wisdom and an infinite supply of song and dance. He graduated from Avuxeni Computer School in 2020, and with Suzan, the women of his community and partner organisation Ubuntu, runs a feeding scheme for over 150 children in his village, using vegetable from the garden. Trygive is the recipient of the Presidential Award for Leadership and a member of Rotary Hoedspruit.
Permaculture Educator and CWI Food Forest Leader
Sylvester Nzimande is based in Powerline Village in Acornhoek. He has passion in working with the community, hand vast experience in Permaculture/Organic and sustainable farming. He spent 11 years with Food and Trees for Africa as a facilitator in Gauteng and Mpumalanga province. With FTFA, he helped schools to establish sustainable food gardens to supplement their school feeding scheme kitchens with healthy and fresh food straight from their school yards.
Sylvester also coordinated tree planting events during the celebration of Arbor Month and Mandela Day, and planted about 10 000 fruit and indigenous trees with FTFA. He planted 6,000 spekboom plants as food supplements for rhinos in one the game reserve in Mpumalanga with Konica Minolta.
Sylvester was part of FTFA team who hosted 200 climate change activists from different countries, each member planted a tree in each house in Alexandra township to represent his/her country.
At home, Sylvester runs a project that has chickens, goats and a food garden. The project has influenced surrounding community, they have adopted his style of living where each house has chickens, a small garden or goats to sustain themselves.
Water Activist and Educator
December Ndhlovu has decades of experience as a community and environmental activist, and brings his skill to our learning programs to help women know, understand and exercise their rights, and processes necessary to such engagement. December has been passionately advocating for water rights, sacred sites and indigenous knowledge systems and is a member of the South African Water Caucus and Mpumalanga Water Caucus. A graduate of Changing Practice (EMG/Rhodes University), December researched and co-authored the booklet “Saving Moholoholo“, which explores how the eucalyptus plantations that cover Moholoholo mountain affect stream flow of rivers that run through Bushbuckridge. The impact on close to a million peoples’ water supply is devastating, also affecting traditional healers’ practice by destroying sacred pools and reducing the availability of medicinal plants.
Special Projects Co-ordinator
Becky Harmon comes to Zingela Ulwazi with more than 20 years of experience as a Non-Profit Director, including 9 years in South Africa. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and holds a Clinical Social Worker license. She has also worked on international HIV projects in Botswana, Lesotho, and China and loved every minute of it.
Throughout her work history, Becky has always been hired to be “the first”, or the one to come in and build, or rebuild organizations or programs. She has a unique ability to connect with and build meaningful relationships with people from all walks of life–all races, ages, and ethnicities–and to share joy and humor, even in the most difficult life situations. She learns new things very quickly and is a calm, adept problem solver.
During her time as the Director of a Non-Profit Organization in South Africa, Becky was approached by a community group who wanted to start an Orphan Centre to care for the hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children in their village. Becky orchestrated the fund raising of over $400,000 U.S. and oversaw all planning and construction for the creation of a unique, landmark Orphan Center. It now serves over 200 children per day with meals, homework tutoring, and arts and sports activities. It is fully owned and operated by the community. She also developed and established the Acornhoek Leadership Forum, a yearlong program to develop leadership capabilities among bright, committed South Africans who were dedicated to uplifting their communities.
Becky has also been a small business owner and taught small business enterprise development to women in prison in America. She has completed extensive coursework on permaculture and on climate change and environmental issues, and cares deeply about inspiring and supporting people in rural communities to be careful stewards of our precious planet.
Community Liaison / Manager of The Centre for Women's Independence
Lillian Marule lives in RDP Village in Acornhoek and is the Permaculture Explorers and Sekwanele: Enough is Enough! Community Liaison to the other women participants, civic and traditional structures in the area. She is a highly respected member of her community, having volunteered for many years in various projects serving orphans and vulnerable children. She is a child magnet! Lillian has completed her Level 4 Certification for Early Childhood Education, worked at Ekurhuleni Centre for Orphans and Vulnerable Children and at Sibonile Day Care and Primary School Centre. Lillian is also the co-founder (with her daughter, Quentan) of Sekwanele, a courageous project which aims to change the culture in RDP Village and put an end to the relentless violence that women and girls are subject to. Lillian is developing her own Sapaza shop in RDP Village, and is also part of a collaborative business with local women, creating eco-friendly cleaning products. She is passionate about building her own and other women’s businesses and loves to grow and learn. She is an invaluable part of our team and a champion of women in Acornhoek, and is absolutely key to the design of Zingela Ulwazi’s programs. She brings exceptional commitment, wisdom, humour and love to all that she does.
Founder and Self Defence Coach : Sekwanele
Quentan Marule is the co-founder and Project Co-ordinator of Sekwanele : Protective Strategies for Violence Against Women. She is passionate about women’s empowerment, and fierce about doing something to change the status of women in her area, advocating for women’s power and independence. Her motto for Sekawnele is OWN YOUR CROWN. Quentan says, “My experience with Zingela Ulwazi has been amazing because I feel it is a journey of self discovery. This gives me time to polish my skills and learn new ones, accelerating me to reach greater heights. My passion is seeing that I have had a great impact in fulfilling something that was beyond my expectations, and that is why I am a leader of Sekwanele, and why I am fierce.” She resides in the RDP Village, and is the fourth of six children, raised by her lovely single mother, Lillian Marule. Quentan is studying Electrical Engineering at TVET in Acornhoek. Her interests are reading, creative writing, gardening and striving for women’s empowerment.
Self Defence Coach
Winnie Shongwe is a long time participant in Zingela Ulwazi’s programs, a graduate of Permaculture Explorers and Sekwanele: Enough is Enough! Winnie is passionate about girls and women’s safety and building their abilities to protect themselves from the dangers in South Africa, so much so that she has graduated as a Self Defence Coach under the training of Coach Xania Swart. Winnie is a passionate and very successful home food gardener, and has an exemplary home garden, where every space is taken up with growing food or medicine. Winnie is a much loved teacher and runs fitness sessions which the girls of the village love to attend.
Suzan Mashego gained a wealth of experience in cooking for large numbers of people during the years she worked in the busy kitchens of A1 Fisheries in Acornhoek, which she now brings to the feeding scheme she runs with her husband Trygive and community at their permaculture garden and training site, Rooiboklaagte B Organic Community Garden, feeding over 150 children. As well as developing her own organic food garden and catering business, Suzan prepares delicious food for ZIngela Ulwazi events, and is in charge of co-ordination, communications and transportation for our Women’s Health Program, which runs in partnership with local health NGO Hlokomela. Suzan ensures that each participant of our training courses attends a full health check at the Hlokomela Clinic, and then liaises with chemists and Zingela Ulwazi for any follow up treatment that might be required. Suzan is the mother of three wonderful children and brings her phenomenal singing voice, her dance, kindness, generosity, wisdom and traditional grace and respect to all that she does. She says that during her time with Zingela Ulwazi, she has learned “how to communicate with others, how to start her own business (and how business works), team work and more about love. I have learned to be independent and NOT dependent. That as a woman I can do everything, and it is possible!”