Who we are

Meet our team of committed literacy activists working to unlock the potential of South African school children through storytelling and reading. 

Michael Cekiso

Programme Manager

With close to 15 years’ experience working in the development sector, including the management of large staff complements, Michael possesses significant management, facilitation, capacity building and reporting skills. In his role of Programme Manager for Story Powered Schools, he is responsible for ensuring that the overall strategic objectives are met while supporting and leading his team members every step of the way. 


Programme staff

Nompumelelo Ntsele

KwaZulu-Natal Programme Administrator

An experienced project manager and facilitator, Nompumelelo has worked in grassroots organisations, diplomatic missions and international non-governmental organisations in developing countries including Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. 

She has led and played key roles in multi-cultural teams aimed at developing and implementing programmes for children, youth, women, and disability rights. Her most recent work as a consultant for the Department of Higher Education designing career guidance and counselling programmes for high-school learners inspired her move to the Story Powered Schools project.

Gcinumuzi Radebe

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Support Coordinator

Gcinumuzi joined the Nal’ibali campaign in 2013 as a Literacy Mentor in rural KwaZulu-Natal where he gained knowledge in training and mentoring and, most importantly, in motivating and sustaining volunteers to be inspired reading role models to children and adults in their communities. Gcinumuzi has a BA degree in Development Studies from the University of Johannesburg.

Pumelele Keswa

Eastern Cape Provincial Support Coordinator

Pumelele has always been interested in child and youth development and obtained her National Diploma in this field from the Durban University of Technology. She has worked in various roles at different South African non-governmental organisations and has designed, implemented and facilitated a multitude of youth intervention strategies and mentored and managed a team of over 50 staff.

Lucia Mkhize

Office Coordinator

At home behind her desktop, Lucia is a whiz at all things administrative. Efficient and accurate, she keeps the Story Powered Schools team on track whether she is arranging travel plans, booking meetings or distributing literacy materials to the hundreds of schools the team supports. Moreover, Lucia is ambitious and open minded; she is always looking for new and innovative ways to support her team.

Literacy mentors

Masiza Hlekwayo

Literacy Mentor

Masiza describes herself as a passionate literacy activist, a book lover, a coordinator of writing and reading clubs and a mentor for young readers. She grew up in rural KwaZulu-Natal and has been working the NGO sector since 2013; mostly as a fieldworker for leadership and environmental education activities and events. Masiza joined the Story Powered Schools project through Nalíbali’s FUNda Leader programme and gives further expression to her passion for SA’s youth by producing content for the youth show on her local community radio station.

Bonisani Mahlinza

Literacy Mentor

Bonisani has a long history of community volunteering and excels in facilitating, coordinating and managing development projects. With ten years’ experience in working with young people in not-for-profit programmes, he is well versed in establishing and running programmes in new areas.

Cokisa Sicwebu

Literacy Mentor

Cokisa started her career as a fieldworker for the South African State Theatre where she used dramatic art as an educational tool to mentor and support young people while building their confidence and self-expression through performance. No stranger to the power of stories and storytelling, Cokisa also has experience in project managing and co-ordinating awareness campaigns for young people. Having grown up in rural Eastern Cape herself, the development and advancement of its people is a cause close to her heart.

Bonginkosi Mkhiz

Literacy Mentor

Hailing from a background in child and youth work, Bongikosi has been involved in establishing and facilitating community- and school-based children’s clubs where he taught life skills, leadership workshops, provided basic counselling and coordinated and conducted reading clubs. Bongikosi enjoys working with young people and has a certificate in Early Childhood Education from Bunker Hill Community College in the USA.

Asanda Molose

Literacy Mentor

A passionate literacy activist, Asanda has volunteered as a community literacy agent since her student days. She has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Fort Hare and grew up in rural Eastern Cape. In 2016 she initiated a literacy campaign for children and the elderly in the Joe Gcabi District Municipality; establishing reading clubs, writing sessions and poetry readings. She is a welcome addition to the Story Powered Schools project team!

Thulani Pango

Literacy Mentor

Thulani has a Social Science Honours Degree in Development Studies from the University of Fort Hare and a Career Guidance Practitioner’s certificate from UNISA. For the past three years he has been a volunteer at the Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development facilitating literacy projects in the Eastern Cape. He has also facilitated various other literacy projects in South Africa and supported youth camps for young people with few resources on a volunteer basis.

Zenkcubeko Mpongoma

Literacy Mentor

Zenkcubeko grew up in the Maluti district in the Eastern Cape. Passionate about working with young people in rural communities, she has a diploma in Youth Development from the University of South Africa. Prior to joining the Story Powered Schools project Zenkcubeko worked with the African Solutions to African Problems programme, helping to facilitate and monitor holistic community development interventions in schools, households and communities.

Story sparkers

Portia Nkonzo

Story Sparker

Bekisiwe Ngcobo

Story Sparker

Brenda Myeza

Story Sparker

Bayanda Mdaba

Story Sparker

Thabisile Labani

Story Sparker

Snikeziwe Radebe

Story Sparker

Thokozani Nkosi

Story Sparker

Wandile Mathonsi

Story Sparker

Zimasa Tshaka

Story Sparker

Sthabiso Busane

Story Sparker

Sonwabile Mqokweni

Story Sparker

Sisikelelwe Mavareni

Story Sparker

Sinegugu Ngcobo

Story Sparker

Silindelwe Nkwanyana

Story Sparker

SIfisesihle Mdunge

Story Sparker

Sanelisiwe Mini

Story Sparker

Sandile Xulu

Story Sparker

Phumezile Jwili

Story Sparker

Philela Hlongwa

Story Sparker

Oyama Madloka

Story Sparker

Ondela Nzama

Story Sparker

Noxolo Zungu

Story Sparker

Noxolo Godlwana

Story Sparker

Nosipho Shizeyana

Story Sparker

Nondumiso Malunga

Story Sparker

Nombuso Madlala

Story Sparker

Nikiwe Buso

Story Sparker

Mxolisi Zuma

Story Sparker

Mvuselelo Hlongwe

Story Sparker

Msawenkosi Dlamini

Story Sparker

Mpho Malakia

Story Sparker

Mbali Msweli

Story Sparker

Funeka Nkayinkayi

Story Sparker

Lungelo Nhlango

Story Sparker

Londiwe Dube

Story Sparker

Kwanele Mathoba

Story Sparker
Nal'ibali staff

The Nal'ibali Team

Part of the broader Nal'ibali campaign, the Story Powered School staff are supported by their Nal'ibali counterparts. Meet the Nal'ibali team members guiding and facilitating the schools team to success.


Jade Jacobson

Managing Director

Jade Jacobsohn is responsible for the scale-up phase of the Nal’ibali campaign, working with the management team to provide strategic direction for campaign partnerships and growth. She is a seasoned anthropologist with research experience in South Africa, Uganda and Malawi, and has a solid grassroots background in the Eastern Cape as founder and Programme Manager of the Sophakama Community Partnership. She has managed various educational projects, specifically focused on early childhood development and environmental education within economically deprived areas, and has worked closely with Anglo American, Takalani Sesame and Food for Development. Her academic qualifications include a BSocSci (Hons) in Anthropology and Environmental Science from Rhodes University, and an MSc in Anthropology, Environment and Development from University College London.

Chibi Charuruka

Head of Finance

Chibi joined Nal’ibali from Amnesty International South Africa in November 2016 to drive the finance function. He has more than twenty-five years’ experience from a banking, manufacturing and NGO background. He has also previously worked for other International NGOs such as Humana People to People and the Read Educational Trust. 

He holds a Bachelor of Accounting Science (BCompt) from the University of South Africa, a Graduate in Advanced Taxation Certificate from the University of Pretoria and is a member of the South African Tax Professionals

Thulile Seleka

Head of Programmes

Thulile joined the Nal'ibali team at its inception and has led its ever expanding programmes department since. Managing a large team spread across the country, Thulile has exceptional communications and management skills and is always seeking to development her team for greatness. She has more than 15 year's experience in the development sector and is currently studying towards a post-graduate diploma in public management.

Ben Rycroft

Head of Communications

Ben has a BA degree from Stellenbosch University, a postgraduate diploma in account management from AAA School of Advertising and a certificate in Business Management from the Chartered Institute of Business Management. He has 17 years in the marketing and communications arena, five of which were spent living and working in Australia. His integrated 360° marketing skill set includes through-and-below-the-line advertising, design, direct marketing, digital and CRM.

Ben has always wanted to use his extensive corporate experience to get behind a real cause in the NGO space. Reading is something that has always been close to his heart, which lead him to join the Nal’ibali team.

Sally Mills

Senior Communications Officer

Having worked on the Nalíbali reading-for-enjoyment campaign since its inception in 2012, Sally not only understands the ins and outs of social marketing, she is well versed in designing and delivering both provincial and national marketing campaigns.

Sayeeda Khan

Travel Coordinator

Sayeeda joined Nal’ibali in January 2016 but has been in the travel industry since 1996. Not only does she hold the relevant travel diplomas, she is armed with over a decade of experiance. Inspired by her three children who love reading and storytelling, Sayeeda made the move to work at Nal’ibali and is excited to be part of its ever evolving journey.

Este Buccholz

HR & Recruitment Specialist

Este joined Nal’ibali in September 2016 to drive the recruitment and human resources function. She qualified with a BA Industrial Psychology degree from the University of Stellenbosh. She has more than twenty years’ knowledge and understanding of the processes and the complexities of recruiting for organisations across the private, public and not-for-profit sector.  Most of her experience was gained working in London as an Executive Recruiter in the Social Care and Health Sector.  After her return to South Africa in 2014, she worked for Deloitte before joining the Nal’ibali team. She loves having the opportunity to apply her skills in the not-for-profit sector.

Ntombizanele Mahobe

Training Manager

Ntombizanele Mahobe has worked for PRAESA since 1998. She has many years of experience as an early literacy teacher and community trainer in biliteracy development, doing research, writing and translating children’s stories, and telling stories. She is one of the founders of the Vulindlela reading clubs, and mentors community literacy volunteers. Ntombizanele is also a trustee of the Little Hands Trust

Pumza Ndamase

Training Coordinator

Pumza’s decade of working in the non-profit sector has seen her filling different roles from training and development through to events coordination and peer education.  She has certificates in advanced training and facilitation, HIV/AIDS training as well as coaching and mentoring and is currently studying towards a BSc in Social Sciences. Pumza joined Nalíbali because she wants to contribute to the development of young people, particularly those from disadvantaged communities. 

To see the full Nalibali staff complement and find out more about the campaign, click through here