Meet the team

CaroleCarole Bloch is the Director of PRAESA. She has a PhD in early literacy in African settings from the Carl Ozietsky University, Oldenburg and has served as an early literacy consultant in several African countries. The main thrust of her work is to transform the way children learn to read and write, by helping to create conditions that put stories, meaning making and enjoyment at the centre of literacy and biliteracy learning. She has conducted research into young children’s literacy and biliteracy learning in multilingual African settings, facilitated training for teachers and teacher trainers and the publication of several books for children of all ages in various languages. She has also written several books for young children and between 2004 and 2007, coordinated the Stories Across Africa Project, a core project of the official language body of the African Union, The African Academy of Languages (ACALAN).  Carole is also a founder and trustee of The Little Hands Trust, which promotes and supports the development of children’s literature in Africa. She is now leading a team who are carrying out a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign called Nal’ibali. Email:

jadeJade Jacobsohn is the Managing Director of the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign. She 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 the founder and programme manager of 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 the University College of London. Email:


Abigail2Abigail Smith is the Operations Manager of the Nal’ibali campaign. She graduated from UCT in 2004 with a BA(HONS) in History and Film and Post Graduate in Marketing Management. Following a short career in Advertising and Events Management at Ogilvy, Abigail took a leap of faith and entered civil society to work in HIV/AIDS Treatment Literacy and Program Management. Since 2008 she has worked with various local and international NGOs such as Community Media Trust, Grassroot Soccer, PCI and The Western Cape Network on Violence Against Woman. An activist at her core, Abigail believes in the power of education and literacy to be the game changer South Africa needs. Email:

Contact for: All operations-related queries

arabellaArabella Koopman  is the Content Manager for the Nal’ibali campaign, and responsible for the development and management of reading materials. Before joining the publishing industry, she worked as a teacher and teacher-educator. More recently she has worked as a writer and publisher, and in publishing management. She has a special interest in developing and researching materials that support and extend children’s literacy in multilingual settings. Email:

Contact for: Queries or requests related to materials development, publishing and copyright

BFBulelani Futshane is a Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign Programme Support Officer. He has a strong background in community dynamics and peer education programmes. Bulelani’s previous roles include Provincial Games Coordinator for loveLife; he also undertook research assignments with the University of Cape Town’s Department of Psychiatry from 2009 – 2010. In 2009, Bulelani was selected by Semester at Sea to be an ambassador for South Africa in Ghana, and in 2010, he participated in the Youth Coalition led training on Global Fund support to countries affected by Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS. Bulelani is also a member of the Spark International Changemaker: a growing global network, which includes Australia, Papua New Guinea, Kenya and South Africa. Email:

Contact for: Nal’ibali demonstration site visits, training requests and programme support

EstherEsther Etkin is Campaign Manager for the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign. She has worked as a freelance writer, researcher, and edited several magazines. As the Head of PR and Channel Management for one of SA’s largest HIV-prevention initiatives, she oversaw the organisation’s communications strategy across multiple platforms and has consulted/spoken on print, mobile media and storytelling projects for young people locally and abroad. She has a Masters in Gender from the London School of Economics. Email:

Contact for: Nal’ibali campaign information and sponsorship/partnership opportunities

KerrieKerri Davis is the Data Management Coordinator at PRAESA. She is involved with the operations team to establish a volunteer program. After graduating from the University of Cape Town with a Bachelor of Social Science in psychology and anthropology, she completed a TEFL course and headed to South East Asia. Kerri spent the next two years teaching English in South Korea where a strong desire to return to South Africa and get involved in education and literacy was born. Email: 

Contact for: All monitoring and evaluation queries. 

LaylahLaylah Hoofd is the Support Services Supervisor in Administration.   She also manages the Nal’ibali  supplements distribution list. Laylah has more than 10 years experience in the book publishing industry and has  a great passion for books and reading. Laylah has certificates in Tender Procedures, Customer Care & Provisioning Administration. Email:

Contact for: Nal’ibali supplements requests, invoicing and administrative requests

malMalini Mohana is the Digital Coordinator for the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign. After completing her Honours degree in Psychology at the University of Cape Town, she trained as a counsellor at Kenilworth Clinic’s addiction unit. She’s since worked as a content producer and writer at a leading independent digital agency in Cape Town, and is a freelance writer and columnist. Malini has a special interest in the neuropsychological processes of writing, as well as the impact of literacy on human rights and gender dynamics. Email:  

Contact for: Information on all digital platforms, online campaigns and requests.

MalusiMalusi Ntoyapi is the Programmes Support Officer and early literacy community trainer for the Nal’ibali campaign. He is an initiator and core facilitator of the KwaFaku-Vulindlela reading club with youth from the community of Lower Crossroads, and a mentor to community volunteers. He has a Degree in Social Science and Linguistics from The University of the Western Cape, and a certificate in Community Storytelling from The International School for Storytelling. Malusi is passionate about the use of stories in social development.

Contact for: Nal’ibali demonstration site visits, events and programme support

nadiaNadia Lubowski is the Storyplay Coordinator for the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, and is responsible for the implementation of the campaign’s newest approach early literacy development approach. Nadia completed her Master’s degree research in the efficacy of educational institutions in poverty stricken areas in South Africa, supported by a Potter fellowship.  She has worked as a teacher in preschool and primary school classrooms, trained educational staff, run community workshops, and participated in many educational fora that promote awareness of the needs of the most impoverished members of South African Society. Aiming to provide access and empowerment to children and parents limited by social, political, and economic circumstances, Nadia, the daughter of the late Anton Lubowski, has been working tirelessly to establish creative and far reaching primary community educational projects in the Western Cape since 2006.

Contact for: Information on literacy development, Storyplay and Nal’ibali in-field research.

NtombiNtombizanele Mahobe is  Training Coordinator for the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign. She has worked in PRAESA since 1998 and 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. Email: 

Contact for: Nal’ibali training requests and workshop information 

RighardtRighardt le Roux is the Nal’ibali School and Public Library Coordinator. He’s worked extensively in the education sector or libraries. Best known for his entrepreneurial and innovative skills of “taking libraries to the people”, he is a past recipient of the UJ’s Mardene Marais Literary Award. He has won a multitude of awards for his community work with children and libraries to fostering a culture of reading. His holistic approach to libraries and how to connect them to civil society also won him an award as the only South African Librarian in the Accumons worldwide competition for Most Inspiring Librarian in the World. Email:

Contact for: Library and school requests and network membership to the Nal’ibali campaign


Sally Mills is the Nal’ibali Networks and Communications Coordinator. She builds effective relationships with partners as well as supports and inspires schools, reading clubs as well as individual Nal’ibali members. Having cut her teeth in PR with five years’ experience at a leading PR agency in Cape Town, she combines her extensive knowledge in the social marketing and psychology in her position. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Science and Psychology as well as an Honour’s degree in Psychology and is a trained Life Line counsellor. Email:

Contact for: Media requests, events and network membership to the Nal’ibali campaign and events


smaSmangele Mathebula is the Campaign Driver of the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign. She is a Ford Scholar and holds a Master’s degree in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University. Her work focused on traditional publishing and the communication circuit in Soweto where she investigated new business models. She has worked as a digital publisher and literacy activist to promote reading and writing. As co-founder of DiBookeng, an interactive book initiative, she ventured into Literary Speed Booking, the FREEBOOKS campaign at taxi ranks and co-published a digital anthology called Summerx500 (2014). As an avid literature lover, she enjoys juggling all things bookish.   Email:

Contact for: Story Power related queries

TholisaTholisa Matheza is the Nal’ibali Mentoring and Support Coordinator at PRAESA. She previously worked as the Children’s Literature Programme Coordinator position at the Centre for the Book, driven by a love of reading and the desire to find ideas to tackle children’s low achievement levels in literacy in schools. She has seven years of experience as a primary school teacher, teaching maths, science and English. Email:

Contact for: Programme queries and support

ThulileThulile Seleka is Nal’ibali’s Programme Manager. She specialises in identifying the root causes of social problems informed by evidence and best practice, and develops the most appropriate and effective interventions. As youth development activist and specialist, she has more than 10 years of experience in the social development sector. She owns and directs a consultancy firm that seeks to contribute to the development and growth of young individuals and youth-led organisations (NGOs) so as to increase capacity, performance and meet critical social needs. Email:

Contact for: Programme and training sponsorships and partnership opportunities 

VenetiaVenetia Naidoo is the Office Coordinator  for PRAESA. She provides general support to Nal’ibali projects and supports PRAESA  human resources. Venetia has a long history of involvement in alternative education projects in Cape Town, primarily in administrative and support capacities. Email:

Contact for: Book orders, conference speaker requests, general enquiries

Click here to contact a team member.


Cluster Mentors are part of the core Nal’ibali team and are PRAESA staff members. They are based regionally and play a vital role in establishing a Nal’ibali presence in a local area, in developing local infrastructure and providing operational support and mentorship to enable new and existing, locally-based Nal’ibali activities to succeed.


???????????????????????????????Bongani Godide is the Cluster Mentor for the Nal’ibali campaign in Gauteng. His success as the Gauteng Nal’ibali Cluster Mentor involves local people, teachers and caregivers to be part of his community projects, which will increase sustainability and accountability. Bongani has experience as an actor and professional storyteller, as well as a passion for developing literacy. In 2004, he won at the Sibikwa Storytelling Festival. He is full of exciting and innovative ideas for sparking a love of stories in small communities, such as the “Read a Story to a School Near You” project, which invites ordinary people who can read and write to visit a local school or library and read. Email:


gcinumuzi-radebeGcinumuzi Radebe is the Nal’ibali KZN-Cluster Mentor. Originally from UMzimkhulu, Eastern Cape, he studied at the University of Johannesburg, and obtained a BA degree majoring in Development studies. His love for children, reading and social development is evident to the different organizations that he has been involved with in his community and during his time as a student, including Sparrow children’s Mentorship program, Lovelife youth programs, Sunday School teacher, UJ-Institutional office for HIV and AIDS, uMthombo wolwazi.  Email:


KamoheloKamohelo Ramaipato is the Nal’ibali Cluster Mentor in the Western Cape. He is a Social Science graduate from the University of the Western Cape, where he majored in Anthropology and Sociology. He has a keen interest in the socio-cultural and socio-economic development of communities through literacy and artistic development. He is the co-founder and co-owner of the new up-and-coming Motswako (zine), which is a magazine of youth writing and visual art. Kamohelo is also a mentor to many young aspiring writers, spoken-word and visual artists, as well as an event’s organizer and manager. Email: 


MalusiMalusi Puwe is an Eastern Cape Cluster Mentor for the Nal’ibali Campaign. Malusi comes from a training and development background. He joined Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa (PPASA) in 1998 as a peer educator. He was trained on Sex and Reproductive Health matters by PPASA including MAN as partners. He was employed as a RHS Youth Educator, which allowed him to continue with his passion of youth leadership. He later ran a successful Million Voices Programme where he coached and mentored young people between 14-18 years on how to be responsible and trustworthy friends. He was also very influential in creating a ‘loveLife culture’ within the community of Motherwell, and worked as loveLife regional programme leader from 2006. He spent 11 years of his working experience at loveLife running youth programmes nationally.


marilynMarilyn Cupido is a Nal’ibali Cluster Mentor in the Free State.  She is a graduate of the FET College at TOSA Welkom, specialising in the field of Early Childhood Development, as well as an Assessor’s and CAPS Certificate. She has had 10 years’ experience as a Gr. R practitioner before joining PRAESA. Marilyn is a keen reader and writer and believes that giving children the power to express themselves in writing can change their lives. Email: 


Portiportiaa Daniso is the National Support Trainer. She studied media and journalism at Achievers Business College and, in 2010, went back to college to study E.C.D level 5 higher certificate at College of Cape Town. Wanting to know more about early childhood development, in 2011, she then enrolled at UNISA for her B. Ed. Degree in Foundation phase. Her interest in developmental psychology and literacy has seen her work for mainstream as well as Montessori education. Email:


reeRinae Sikhwari is currently the Nal’ibali Cluster Mentor in Limpopo. She is studying towards a BCom Management Studies degree through UNISA, and is interested in politics, education, law, business and arts. She loves to work with children and young people. Email:



ThandoThanduxolo Mkoyi is a Nal’ibali Junior Trainer in the Western Cape. Thandu holds a certificate in Project Management, community development and Leadership with Activate change drivers. He initially worked for PRAESA as a volunteer, working his way up to realise his goal of becoming a literacy change-maker. Thandu’s love for stories and his commitment to bettering communities is what inspires him. Email: 


monicaThotyelwa Monica Kewana is a Nal’ibali Junior Trainer in the Western Cape. She has over 10 years teaching experience, working with both community centres and Montessori Schools. Thotyelwa studied Early Childhood Development at Cape Collage before putting her practical skills to use at Nal’ibali. Her love for children and community development is what drives her everyday. Email: 



Thulisa Mayekiso is a Nal’ibali Cluster Mentor in the Western Cape for Masiphumelele. Born in Johannesburg and bred in Mdantsane, East London, she has previously worked as a library volunteer and was a peer educator with OIL, a programme in partnership with GOLD. Thulisa studied at The University of The Western Cape (BA), majoring In Psychology, Anthropology and Sociology. She is also an actress and in 2011 she performed at the Grahamstown Arts festival in a Xhosa play written by Wiseman Gwabavana, and directed by Akhona Baba.