Staff and Consultants

SALO is staffed by a team of experienced programme, administrative and financial staff who manage the daily operations of the organization.  The SALO team is deeply committed to the values and ethos of SALO, ensuring that the organization itself demonstrates good governance, institutional memory, continuity, and the translation of workplans into excellent practice.

In addition, SALO supplements its full-time staff with ad-hoc, flexible competence by contracting a wide range of research and other specialist skills, creating a flexible network of practitioners that add value to the research/knowledge base of Southern Africa.

Francisca Mdleleni – Senior General Manager

Francisca holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Tourism Management,  from the University of South Africa. She is Kenyan born and educated, and a South African citizen. She joined SALO in June 2008. Previously, she worked as an Administration and Public Relations Manager for a large national company based in Nairobi. Additional experience in finance and admin gained while working in South Africa has stood her in good stead for her current responsibilities in driving SALO’s operations. Francisca is currently SALO’s Senior General Manager.

Joan Brickhill, Director

Joan is the co-founder and executive director of SALO. Previously she was a journalist, broadcaster, and political activist in Southern Africa for over three decades. Among others she worked for various African publications – Radio Freedom and the ANC Information Department in Lusaka, the BBC World Service/African Service, and the Zimbabwe and SA Broadcasting Corporations. In 1987 she and her Zimbabwean husband were injured a car bomb attack by agents of SA Military Intelligence. In 2002 she returned to South Africa after 28 years in exile, including 15 years in Zimbabwe.

Pardon Mawowa – General Manager (Finance and Admin)

Pardon holds a Bcom in Economics from UNISA. He has more than 13 years of NGO experience in Finance and Administration within African context/environment (Zambia, Guinea Bissau and South Africa).

Lwazi Somya – Research, Development and Programmes Coordinator

Lwazi Somya has an MSc in International Relations with Merit from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. He is a Chevening Scholar Alumni (2020 – 2021) He is a youth activist and aspiring academic. He is the Former Vice President of the University of Cape Town’s Student Representative Council (2013/2014), and a former student leader of the #FeesMustFall and #RhodesMustFall movements.  His areas of research include digital diplomacy, international security, regional integration, and human rights. Lwazi is currently a Research, Development and Programmes Coordinator at SALO.

Munjodzi Mutandiri – Senior Programme Adviser

Munjodzi is a human rights activist and a former student leader.  He has a rich history as a human rights defender and a community mobilizer. He has worked with several civic organizations in the two decades he has been an activist. He has run campaigns including the Act Now Against Political Violence Targeting Women campaign. Munjodzi has worked across the region and the continent mobilizing and organising solidarity on Zimbabwe. Connecting people, building networks and people’s movements is a commitment Munjodzi pursues with unparalleled passion. Munjodzi is currently a Senior Programme Adviser at SALO.

Louis Whaley – Project, Development and Operations Coordinator

Louis holds a Bachelor of Social Science in International Relations and Philosophy and plans to study further in the field of international relations. His research interests include foreign policy analysis and conflict, particularly in Southern Africa. Louis is currently a Projects and Operations Coordinator at SALO.

Ineke Stemmet – Research, Development and Operations Coordinator

Ineke has obtained a social science bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) and an honours degree in International Relations from the University of Stellenbosch. She is a master’s graduate at Leiden University in International Relations, specialising in Global Conflict in the Modern Era. She has researched migrants, gender and sexual-based violence and the effects of COVID-19. She is interested in gender equality, conflict studies, the Mozambican crisis and LGBTQI+ issues. Ineke currently holds the position of Research and Operations Coordinator at SALO.

Athenkosi Thoba – Researcher

Athenkosi joined SALO in 2013 after graduating with his Honours Degree at the University of Cape Town (UCT) as an Intern. He is currently a PhD Candidate with the Department of Political Studies at the University of Western Cape (UWC). He holds an MA in Political Studies (UWC) and an Honours Degree in International Relations (UCT). His interests include the global human rights discourse and its relationship with Africa’s understanding of the notion of human rights, especially in terms of the Conflict in Sudan (Darfur) and the call for military intervention.

Athenkosi is currently a Researcher at SALO.

Tebogo Lekubu – Research, Development and Coordination Officer

Tebogo has obtained a bachelor’s degree in BSocSci Politics, International Relations and Public Policy and Administration at the University of Cape Town and has completed his Honours degree in Politics at the University of South Africa. He has worked as a Liaison Officer for the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services in the International Affairs & Trade branch. His interests include decolonial studies (decoloniality) as well as international diplomacy. Furthermore, during his formative years, having been part of the Johannesburg Junior Council, he realised his passion for community development. Tebogo is currently a Research, Development and Coordination Officer at SALO.

Fowzia Davids, Research, Development and Coordination Officer

Fowzia Davids is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science with an MSc in African Development in 2018 and of the University of Cape Town with a Bachelor of Social Science in Economics, International Relations, and Media and Writing and a Bachelor of Arts Honours in International Relations in 2015 and 2016 respectively. She has been with the Southern African Liaison Office as an intern between 2014 and 2016 and returned in 2020 as the Research, Development, and Coordination Officer. She has work experience at democracy advocacy organisations and a background in political and security risk analysis. Previously, she was the Deputy Secretary General of the UCT Students’ Representative Council in 2014, a South Africa-Washington International Programme fellow in 2017. Finally, she was an academic tutor focusing on international trade, international organisations, and conflict in world politics.

Inger Smith Media

Inger’s short films have travelled across the world to film festivals such as the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland, the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian film festival in the USA and the Commonwealth Film festival in Manchester, UK. In 2010 Inger premiered her first full-length Documentary film entitled “Road to Pride” which won the Third Audience Award at the “13th Thessaloniki Int. LGBTQ Film Festival” in Greece in 2011 and travelled to film festivals around the World such as “Pink Apple Film Festival” in Switzerland. In 2012 she was published in the book South African Cinema 1896 – 2010 by Dr Martin Botha and named as one of the “exciting directorial voices … (to) hold immense promise for future feature film-making in post-apartheid South Africa”. She has been described as “A female voice in the South African New Wave” in an article on Inger works on Media at SALO.

Tawanda Sachikonye – Research Consultant

Tawanda Sachikonye is a research consultant for SALO. He was the lead researcher for SALO’s SA-Zimbabwe Relations Vol 1 study published in 2013, edited by Dr Tara Polzer Ngwato. Tawanda is a PhD candidate at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Political Studies department, his thesis focuses on the relationship between South Africa’s developmental priorities and its foreign policy. As a part-time lecturer at the Political Studies department, he has taught undergraduate International Political Economy (IPE) courses. Tawanda holds a master’s degree from Rhodes University’s Department of Political and International Studies, where he taught and facilitated undergraduate courses in “South African Politics”, “Africa and International Relations”, “Thinking Africa”, “Political Philosophy and Collective Violence” in his capacity as a teaching assistant and academic tutor. His interests include: South African foreign policy (including SA-Zim relations), African International Relations, International Political Economy, Development Studies, Development Economics, Brazil-Africa relations, Japan-Africa relations.

Lily Manoim – Human Rights Advocacy and Research Officer

Lily has a master’s degree in Organisational and Institutional Studies from Wits University, where her research looked at security in Johannesburg. She has an Honours in Labour and Economic Sociology from Wits, and a Bachelor of Social Sciences from UCT in Economics, Geography, and Sociology. She has worked in office administration, research, and also has a background in activism and civil society. Her interests range from the military industry to LGBTQI+ struggles, to the work towards justice in Palestine. Lily is currently the Human Rights Advocacy and Research Officer at SALO.

Busisiwe Nxumalo – Advocacy and Research Officer.

Busisiwe holds a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in International Relations and Politics from the University of Cape Town and plans to further their studies in their field. They are a youth activist and former student leader, who played a key role in advancing access to education. They were part of the #RhodesMustFalll, #FeesMustFall movements and UCT SRC.

They have done research work at the Western Cape Provincial Legislature and have worked in the Office of the Chief Whip of the majority party at the National Parliament of South Africa. They are the Deputy Chairperson of the ANC Gaby Shapiro branch , the Convenor of the Western Cape, ANCWL LGBTIAQ+ desk and provincial leader of the ANCYL. They were part of the 2022 United Nations Trans Advocacy week. They are actively involved in projects that are creating a positive change in society.  Their research interests are gender equality , human rights , diplomacy , international relations , foreign policy analysis and LGBTIAQ+ issues. Busi joined SALO in March 2022 and is currently an advocacy and research officer.

Jordan Dittmar – Intern

Jordan recently completed her bachelor’s degree in International Relations at Leiden University and is about to start her master’s degree in Public International Law with a focus on Human Rights Law. She has previously worked with Amnesty International in the Netherlands. She was the chair of the Amnesty International Student Group the Hague. Her academic interests revolve largely around issues of human rights. She has done research on  the human rights problems surrounding migration and the rights of the female child in Africa. She has a deep interest in the functioning of human rights in the African continent. She is able to incorporate these dimensions of herself into the work she does. Her interest in human rights is addressed in blog posts she has written for both her personal blog, Leiden University’s blog and a student research magazine at her university. Outside of academics, she thoroughly enjoys reading, writing, exercise and travel. She was previously awarded the Steve Biko Award for humanitarianism in high school. She is currently working as an Intern at SALO.

Noluvuyo Mjoli – Intern

Noluvuyo has an undergraduate and a post-graduate degree from the University of Cape Town. Her master’s degree is registered under a specialisation in African Cinemas.  She is trained in content producing for television, film as well as web series formats.

She has worked with NGOs such as Love Life, TeachOut, Tshisimani, Sunshine Cinema, and Iranti, carrying out activist work in different projects as she is driven by community outreach programmes that have to do with the upliftment of children and the youth. She often volunteers in youth spaces which enhance the development of young minds.

She has been a researcher for a European Union Agency in Poland, for the City of Cape Town, Public Affairs Research Institute as well as for the Linguistics Department at the University of Cape Town. She is passionate about African languages; from time to time, she works as a translator, transcriber or even as an editor for isiZulu, seSotho, isiXhosa, Tsotsitaal as well as Fana ka Lo.

Overall, she is concerned and affected by issues of the continent that have to do with violence, trauma, sexuality, migration, imperialism and education. Noluvuyo is currently an intern at SALO.

Thapelo Yona – Intern

Thapelo Yona currently serves as an intern at the South African Liaison Office (SALO). He is actively engaged in public service dialogues and social development initiatives. Thapelo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Governance with Administration from the North West University.

Rezah Raftopoulos – Intern

Rezah Raftopoulos has a Bachelor of Arts degree specialising in Film Production and Media as well as an Honours degree specializing in Film and Television Studies from UCT. He has worked in various positions in the media industry ranging from agencies in the film industry to documentary production companies focused on covering both social issues as well as drama productions. He has an interest in both the media and the role it plays in the social and humanitarian space. Through SALO, he hopes to learn how media can bring about change and promote awareness in a technologically advancing world where it plays such a critical role

Resoketswe Tjie – Intern

Resoketswe Tjie holds a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) in Public Relations Management from the Vaal University of Technology. During her studies, she actively engaged in various extracurricular activities, which honed her communication and teamwork skills. Her journey in the corporate world began as a public relations and communication intern at a reputable Business Consulting firm, where she gained hands-on experience and sharpened her abilities in strategic communication and media relations. Her interests in writing, research, and administration, coupled with her passion for gender equality, LGBTQI+ issues, and migration issues underscore her dedication to effecting positive change in society. She aspires to further her education in International Relations.

Mulalo Mphaphuli – Intern

Mulalo Mphaphuli is a graduate of the University of Venda. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations, which he obtained on 22 June 2021. Currently, Mulalo serves as an intern with SALO through the SAWEA internship program.Beyond his academic and professional pursuits, Mulalo displays a keen interest in community development activities. He actively runs an NPO organization that donates to those less fortunate, demonstrating his dedication to making a positive impact on society.

Nosipho Orpah Dube  – Intern

Nosipho Orpah Dube holds an Honours degree in Development Studies and a Bachelor’s in Political Science in International Studies (majoring in International Relations and Anthropology) from the University of Pretoria. During her undergraduate studies, she was on the executive committee of a United Nations (UN) society on campus and her role was geared towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Her honours research looked into the impact of the pandemic on the digital divide and inequalities created in education, with the shift to online learning. She completed her high school diploma under the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) at an international school in São Paulo, Brazil. She speaks conversational Brazilian Portuguese and has worked on outreach projects with Latin American NGO Teto’ to reconstruct homes for disadvantaged Brazilian families in Favelas and has taught Brazilian children English in Favela Paraisópolis in São Paulo.  She has partaken in youth programmes with DIRCO, the European Academy of Diplomacy, Accord/AU and African Rebirth. She is a top 15 winner of the 2022 IORA youth essay competition on Ocean sustainability and is part of Chatham House’s youth programme (Common Futures Conversations).

Mikateko Benedict Phalane – Intern

Mikateko Benedict Phalane holds a certificate in African Politics Management from the Program for Young Politicians in Africa. He is a human rights activist and leading community organiser. He is a former leader of a student organisation, Congress of South African Students (COSAS). He led COSAS as a provincial secretary in Gauteng (2015/2016). His area of interest is in peaceful coordination of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)  region and ‘Silencing the Guns, a flagship initiative of the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063’

Thabo Silimela – Intern

Thabo Silimela obtained his Bachelor of Social Sciences at the University of Free State, specialising in Industrial Psychology and Psychology. Following the completion of his qualification, he worked for the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in the Western Cape provincial office as a Recruitment Officer. Following his role at COSATU, he worked at the South African Communist Party as a membership officer, before joining the SALO internship programme. He is currently registered with UNISA for an Post-graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) programme.