South Africa is virtually unique among upper-middle-income countries in that most of our children (78%) do not learn to read for meaning in the first three years of school. Without this core skill, they fall further and further behind as they are promoted into higher grades.
Nic Spaull is the Executive Director of the Funda Wande / Bala Wande programs and leads the team. Nic is a Senior Researcher in the Economics Department at Stellenbosch University, currently seconded to the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Endowment to develop the Funda Wande / Bala Wande programs. Nic has a PhD in economics and has published numerous articles in the areas of early literacy and numeracy, teacher development, assessment, government policy, and evaluation. Nic has recently co-edited two books, both published in 2019; “Improving Early Literacy Outcomes: Curriculum, Teaching, and Assessment” (published by BRILL/SENSE and co-authored with Prof John Comings), and “South African Schooling: The Enigma of Inequality” (published by Springer and co-edited with Prof Jonathan Jansen). Nic has recently returned from Paris where he was the Thomas J Alexander Fellow at the OECD and before that a Visiting Scholar at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Nic has completed consulting projects for UNESCO, UNICEF, the EU, the South African Presidency, the Department of Basic Education, and the South African Treasury. He regularly contributes to the South African media on the topic of education and was recently asked by both the Minister of Finance (Tito Mboweni) and President Ramaphosa to advise them on education policy in relation to economic growth. He sits on the board of Section 27, the advisory board of Shine and the Section 11 Advisory Committee of the South African Human Rights Committee (SAHRC), and is the Policy Editor of the South African Journal of Childhood Education.
Nwabisa Makaluza, PhD is the Deputy Director of Research at Funda Wande. The research unit at Funda Wande aims to generate evidence on early grade reading for use by policy makers, academics, and the general public. She is a research associate at the Research on Socio-Economic Policy (ReSEP) at Stellenbosch University where she obtained her PhD in Economics. She has worked on training programs for the Department of Basic Education in South Africa and the Namibian National Planning Committee.
Nangamso Mtsatse joined Funda Wande in December 2018 as the Head of Relationship. She is currently a PhD candidate in Education Policy and a member of ReSEP at Stellenbosch University. She holds a Masters in Assessment & Quality Assurance in Education and Training. Prior to joining Funda Wande, she worked at UNISA as a junior lecturer and the Centre for Evaluation and Assessment as a junior researcher, where she was involved in planning and executing the Progress in Reading Literacy study 2016 (PIRLS). Nangamso’s main research interests are early reading literacy in African languages, literacy measuring, testing, reading and writing pedagogy. In January 2019, Nangamso was selected to be on the Top 30 Under 30 Global Literacy Leaders by the International Literacy Association. Her research envisages improving the teaching and learning of African languages in the foundation phase as well as developing valid and reliable assessment tools in African languages.
Jolene was one of the first team members to join Funda Wande in July 2017. She started her career off in London working as a designer and layout artist for various newspapers and magazines. Her adventurous spirit took her to all corners of the earth volunteering and working at various organizations in Uganda, India, USA, Hong Kong, Ireland and the UK.
With a degree in Video Technology, filmmaking and telling stories is at the heart of who she is. Having gained experience in production on award-winning, international films, commercials and documentaries she has a knack for juggling a million balls in the air at the same time. At Funda Wande, she ensures the engine room keeps running smoothly with all operations and supporting the full Funda Wande team.
Khanya Mpahlwa is all round creative i.e. Video Editor, Videographer and a Music Producer and has been contributing to this industry for more than 10 years.
He is currently working at Funda Wande producing educational videos for the South African Educational sector as a Video Editor and Videographer. Khanya has a lot of experience in narrative storytelling and in the past 6 years, he has been doing work for Companies and Foundations i.e. VW Qubeka, UN, Children Radio Foundation, Red Bull, Red Bull Amaphiko, Bill Gates and Melinda foundation, UCT GSB, Raymond Ackerman Academy, UNICEF etc.
Maphale Julia Maphutha is the Head of Sotho languages at Funda Wande Organisation. She is passionate about education and loves to see children succeeding in reading and writing. Julia is a philanthropist who likes to make a difference by empowering the youth and adults in various communities across the country. She initiated the Library Practice Learnership in Limpopo Province in 2015. She was fully involved when the Programme was implemented from 2016 to 2017 and it was completed with a huge success (ETDP SETA UP SKILLS MAGAZINE Issue no: 1 2017)!
Julia holds a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Limpopo. Prior Funda Wande, she was as a Primary School Language teacher for 14 years and received Awards for being the Best reading teacher. From 2012-2018 Julia worked for Room to Read (an International Organisation) where she has gained an in-depth knowledge on early literacy and skills ranging from coaching, facilitation and material development.
Joining the Funda Wande team in 2019 has been the most exciting and fulfilling experience she has ever had. Her main responsibilities at Funda Wande are; to version the existing materials into Sepedi, Setswana and Sesotho, identify master teachers in each of these languages and supervise the filming and editing of the content.
Her motto is, “Intensive support should be geared towards adults so that many children will receive more help, and more appropriate help.”
Zuks full name ZukhumNan ‘Gift from God’ Emmanuel is part of the Funda Wande media team as (Editor, Media Creative and Videographer).
He is a jack of most trades in the media field, from music and photography to video (camera-work, editing and Vfx/ Graphics).
He studied video and photography at Media Village, Cape Town in 2009/10 and has since gained a lot of experience by working with various professionals and productions including Redbull, Fixerfilm, Day Dream Films, solo projects and more.
He has a passion for innovative media projects and music and in his spare time he makes music with his #NewageMashUp band, AlterFAM.
Thina Daniel is a Filmmaker and Community Journalist, she has graduate as a documentary film making. In 2011 Thina attended the Big Fish School Documentary filmmaking she studied under the tutoring on Melanie Chart, and that is where she received her training to be film maker. In 2012 she received her first job in the industry working as an Office manager for an Organisation called StreetTalk and was soon promoted to working as an Editor for the organisation, she was selected to go to the United State to go except an award of the organisation.
She has also worked independently and one of the biggest jobs she has done independently was a job she did for the Robben Island Museum in 2018. She has also worked for the Big Fish School of Digital Film making and some of films she edited were nominated for festivals.
Thina is currently working for Funda Wande as an Assistant Editor.
As Community Journalist she was amongst the group of women who fought hard for the Social grants, and has continued to be a journalist for the community.
Vusumzi Mkhangeli is a Media assistant at Funda Wande, uploading digital content online (on the Funda Wande App) via WordPress CMS. His tasks extend to translating and editing text/ subtitles on videos.
He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree - BA focused on Language and Communication at the University of the Western Cape. He is also part of the Desmond Tutu TB Centre (DTTC) Steering Committee at Stellenbosch University. He is a youth representative of the DTTC Community Advisory Board.
His fields of interest are education and community development.
Xolisa Kamteni has a range of skills and experience, He has been working at Film Afrika since from 01/September 2016 up until 15 December 2016 in Editing field as an Editor. From January 2017 up until September 2018 He was working at bubblegum as a Graphic Designer/ Animator.
He Joined Funda Wande in september 2018 as a Graphic Designer. He completed a Bachelor of Multimedia degree focused on Designing, programming, Videography and animation at CPUT.
He is a passionate designer. He is a team player with a collaborative, enthusiastic and proactive approach. He is also a self-manager and prioritize a large number of tasks while displaying high attention to detail and
Ntsika is currently a Literacy Coach in Port Elizabeth. Before joining Funda Wande he lectured at Rhodes University Isixhosa method for BEd FP year 2 and a course called Children’s literacy. Ntsika was also part of the team that coordinated the BEd FP program in the Education Department at Rhodes University.
Prior to moving to Rhodes University Ntsika worked for GADRA Education under a project called Primary Education Program. Under this program, Ntsika was involved in supporting in-service teachers through providing practical workshops that were based on the need expressed by teachers. The focus of the workshops was to expand teachers’ knowledge of teaching reading and writing by exposing them to other methods and strategies of teaching reading and writing. Because of that work, Ntsika went to Pietermaritzburg to run a workshop on how to utilize shared writing methodology to develop independent writers during the RASA conference 2016.
Ntsika is also currently working on his Masters degree, his main research interest is in literacy.
Ingrid Sapire has been involved in mathematics teacher education for 25 years. After teaching mathematics in schools, she began lecturing at the Johannesburg College of Education (JCE) (1993-2001). She was a materials developer and lecturer based at the RADMASTE Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) (2003-2006) and then became a part time staff member (primarily as a researcher) in the Wits Education Department (2007 to present). She has been involved in the development and presentation of materials for mathematics teacher education courses and training programmes, has developed numerous systemic mathematics assessment instruments and has written and edited both high school and primary school mathematics textbooks and resource material. She has also developed and reviewed print based and online OER (open educational resource) material for mathematics teachers and teacher educators. She has worked as a writer and researcher for Wits, SAIDE (The South African Institute of Distance Education), the HSRC (Human Sciences Research Council) and JET (Joint Education Services). She has been involved in the implementation (at scale) of mathematics lesson plans (which are supported by bilingual learner material) for Foundation Phase teachers. In 2017-2018 she was the leader of the project Researching Multilingualism in Foundation Phase Mathematics and was the chairperson of a ministerial task team that developed a framework for the teaching of mathematics in South Africa schools. She is currently still based at Wits University and is working on her PhD, on multilingualism in Foundation Phase Mathematics. In 2019 she began working as the Head of Mathematics for the Bala Wande project.
Lynn Bowie is a Visiting Associate at the University of Witwatersrand, the mathematics coordinator at OLICO Mathematics Education and a Bala Wande team member. She holds a PhD in Mathematics Education and has taught mathematics at all levels from primary school through to university mathematics. She taught prospective and in-service mathematics teachers at the University of Witwatersrand for a number of years before leaving academia to join an NGO, OLICO Mathematics Education. At OLICO she has been involved in the development and implementation of materials to support mathematics learning in grades R – 12. She works as a consultant for Umalusi and is a contributing researcher in the Teaching and Learning Development Capacity Improvement Project with the Department of Higher Education and Training.
Phinda Kula is currently a translator at Funda Wande. She is an independent filmmaker and also a news reporter/former Zibonele FM personality. She is a director of a film documentary ‘A placed called home.’ Phinda is an award-winning as a best newsreader in 2015 and in 2017 as a best news reporter. A former freelance writer at Elitsha Magazine. And currently she is a freelance writer/photographer for I’solezwe lesiXhosa newspaper.
Ayanda Mtsatse joined Funda Wande in December 2018 as the Program Manager for the Eastern Cape Intervention where she is responsible for organizing programs and activities to ensure project goals are aligned with the strategic direction of the intervention. Prior to joining Funda Wande, she worked at CapeNature for 10 years where she started off at Human Resources and moved to Finance and Governance where she dedicated 6 years in the Management Accounting Unit. She led the development of the entity’s planning and budgeting process and creation of tools to develop work plans. She is a SAP Certified Application Associate (CO) who was part of the SAP Project implementation team at CapeNature. She successfully managed changes and intervention projects in the Gouritz and Breede River Regions of CapeNature and was nominated for the CEO’s award shortly before her move to Funda Wande.
Clare Verbeek is part of Funda Wande’s content development team and is the point-person for liaison with universities. She is working closely with Rhodes University to develop multimedia courses on teaching reading for meaning. Clare has been involved in the education field in both rural and urban contexts since 1981. She has worked as a teacher, community educator and educational materials developer, and as an academic at the Universities of KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town. Clare’s PhD was about teaching reading for meaning in mainstream South African schools.
Glory is currently a Literacy Coach at Funda Wande in Port Elizabeth. She is currently coaching teachers in the Nelson Mandela Metro and Sarah Baartman Districts on teaching reading for meaning. She has Senior Primary Teachers Diploma and then studied B Ed intermediate phase. Before joining Funda Wande Glory was a foundation phase teacher then moved to intermediate Phase where she taught Isixhosa and Life Skills. She was a Language (Isixhosa) head. During her teaching years she served as a member of school governing body. Glory was part of the Leader Wise Program under FAMSA, where she was coaching learners on leadership skills in several schools in Port Elizabeth, she also involved herself in the program called safety and security under GM.
Lucille is a part of the content team at Funda Wande working as a Learning designer. In this role she writes and adapts our LTSM for the Eastern Cape Intervention. She coordinates the materials across the multi-media platforms such as video, print and APP to be used by teachers. Previously, she worked at Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy as a Materials developer. As a teacher she is passionate about literacy development and was involved in running Nali’bali reading clubs and literacy projects. She is currently completing her Honours in Economics of Education with Rhodes University .
Luleka is currently a Literacy Coach at Funda Wande based in Port Elizabeth where she is coaching teachers in the Nelson Mandela Metro.
She attained her B.Ed and B.Ed Hons at the Nelson Mandela University and is currently busy with her Master’s Degree where her research topic focuses on how teachers can be developed in teaching reading for meaning in the foundation phase.
After 21 years of teaching foundation phase she worked for ERA under the umbrella body Zenex literacy project. She has lectured B.Ed Xhosa first additional language and is also a tutor at SANTS for the Grade R teachers.
Professor Mark Tomlinson (PhD) is the co-Director of the Institute for Life Course Health Research in the Department of Global Health at Stellenbosch University. He is the lead on Dlala Wande which is currently developing a tablet based intervention with a toolkit that aims to improve nurturing care in pre-schools in South Africa. He was one of the co-ordinating writers of the World Health Organization document – ‘Nurturing Care for Early Childhood Development: A Framework for Helping Children Survive and Thrive to Transform Health and Human Potential. He has published 230 papers in peer-reviewed journals, edited two books and published numerous chapters.
Permie is currently a Literacy Coach in Sarah Baartman. Before joining Funda Wande she was a Foundation Phase teacher at Holy Cross School. She has been a part-time lecturer at Rhodes University for the past 4 years, lecturing Isixhosa method for BEd FP and PGCE FP as well as Education Environment. Permie has been extensively involved in the development of the Funda Wande booklets and was one of the teachers that were filmed in the creation of the Funda Wande videos. She is also part of the team that lectures the Foundation Phase Literacy Teaching short course at Rhodes University.
Sarah Murray is Head of Content at Funda Wande. She is responsible for developing resources and ensuring the quality of material produced by Funda Wande. She is based at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape where she also coordinates Short Courses in Foundation Phase Literacy Teaching, a collaborative project between Rhodes, Funda Wande and the Eastern Cape Department of Education. She has extensive experience in teacher education, having recently developed the curriculum for a new BEd in Foundation Phase Teaching at Rhodes, and taught at undergraduate, Honours and Masters level.
Experienced Project Administrator with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry. Skilled in Customer Service, Office Administration, Sales (Internal and External), Microsoft Office, and Interpersonal Skills. Strong program and project administrative skills.
Thobeka is currently a Literacy Coach at Funda Wande based in King William’s Town where she is coaching teachers in the Buffalo City Metro. She has a B.Ed honours degree, is a qualified assessor and is currently completing her Masters in Development Studies. Thobeka has 28 years teaching experience of which 26 years was dedicated to teaching mathematics in the intersen phase and other subjects informed by unavailability of a teacher. She has taught foundation phase in many schools and is currently tutoring students specializing in Grade R at SANTS
Tutula is a literacy coach in East London (BCM). Before joining Funda Wande she was a foundation phase teacher at James Kobi Senior Primary School, Umtata.
She obtained a Senior Teachers diploma at Transkei collage of education were she was majoring with English and History.
A 2years ACE certificate in management with UNISA.
Tutula was a lead teacher for circuit-3 schools, as a result of that she was elected and trained by the Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Education on a programme called incremental introduction of African languages (isiXhosa) fal. This programme focuses on teaching isiXhosa in the former model c schools at foundation phase.
She was among the teachers elected to represent the OR Tambo in Land in Funda Wande workshop, East London, September 2018.
Tutula is currently registered with Rhodes University doing a 2 year course certificate in Literacy for Foundation Phase (Reading for Meaning).
Phuti is a Literacy Coach at Funda Wande, working in Limpopo Province, Capricorn District. She supports Foundation phase teachers in Grades 1-3 on teaching reading. She joined Funda Wande in July 2019 as a consultant and was recruited on a fulltime basis in October. As Funda Wande, we envision a world where all learners by the age of 10, will be able to read for meaning.
Prior to working at Funda Wande, Phuti worked for a literacy organization called Room to Read, from 2012 to 2018. She was involved in establishing libraries in the project schools, training and supporting teacher-librarians and foundation phase teachers in the library and the classroom.
She is both a teacher and librarian by profession. She holds a Secondary Teachers Diploma (S.T.D) and an Honours degree in Library and Information Science from University of the North, (now Limpopo). She is a qualified Assessor, Moderator and Facilitator, accredited with ETDP SETA.
Phuti is passionate about reading and is prepared to do everything in her power to ensure that in all our project schools, learners are able to read for meaning. She is a registered member of LIASA (Library and Information Association of South Africa). She is also the National Public Relations Officer for SLYSIG (School Libraries and Youth Services Interest Groups).
She has been part of the Funda Wande team that developed Sepedi lessons for grades 1 to 3. Moreover, she has participated in filming grades 1 to 3 lessons for YouTube.
She echoes the same sentiment with the late Tata Nelson Mandela when he said: “It always seems impossible until it is done”. Together, we can do it.
Vuyolwethu Notholi is the Centre Coordinator of the Institute for Life Course Health Research in the Department of Global Health at Stellenbosch University. She has worked for the Institute for 10 years providing leadership and ongoing support in training that includes intervention training, data collection and qualitative interviewing in the field of health research. At Funda Wande she is the Project Manager of Dlala Wande which is currently developing a tablet-based intervention with a toolkit that aims to improve nurturing care in pre-schools in South Africa.
Portia October joins the Funda Wande team as Literacy Specialist: Western Cape.
She is a qualified teacher, registered counsellor and trained coach.
Her teaching career has spanned 28 years from Primary to High School.
In 2014 she joined READ Educational Trust as a literacy coach in the Zenex Foundation Literacy Project.
In 2018 she became part of the Education arm of New Leaders Foundation-a coaching and management NGO.
She has worked intensively in 7 schools in Mitchell's Plain. This included working with principals and SMTs around leading for reading, capacitating HODs as instructional leaders and coaching teachers to become expert reading teachers in English HL and Afrikaans FAL.
For the past 6 months she has worked as a FP Curriculum Advisor for WCED.
Currently Portia is completing the Rhodes University Teaching reading for meaning course.
She is passionate about impacting literacy in South Africa and partnering to improve reading levels.
Zaza Lubelwana is the manager of the Funda Wande Intervention in the Eastern Cape. The intervention is in 30 schools focusing on developing Foundation Phase teachers in teaching Reading for Meaning.
She is heading a team of six coaches in the intervention and was one of the content writers for the Funda Wande course which in now offered at Rhodes University. She has been a teacher for 10 years before joining Molteno Institute as a literacy coach in the Gauteng Primary Literacy and Mathematics Strategy (GPLMS). Thereafter she joined Zenex literacy programme as a coach in six schools, isiXhosa Home language.
Kamzati Mphalalo is an Office administrator assistant. He is responsible for carrying out the internal administration of the Eastern Cape Office. A Psychology graduate from the University Of Kwa Zulu Natal, where he has served as an academic liaison and secretary for Usizo Foundation. A student & Non-Profit Organization that’s geared towards enriching lives of youth through access to Education and Entrepreneurship. His fields of interest also include Organizational development and Food security.
Paballo Mondiggoane is the Sepedi Video Editor at Funda Wande.
She is a multi-lingual film maker who has worked as an editor, writer and producer. Though she comes from a theatre background she's working in film and television for years with companies such as Penguin Films, Okuhle Media, Passion Productions, etc. After high school she studied at Boston Media then later at UNISA and most recently at Big Fish for a documentary film making course. The short film she produced has screened in multiple festivals such as the DIFF and Jozi Film fest.