Nicolus Mzikayise Ndzuzo


Mzi is one of the funders as well as the Chairperson of Ubuntubethu, a non-profit organization focusing on the youth of Samora Machel township.
Experienced in drama and music, he is also one of the founders and directors of community radio station Iqhayiya FM as well as the presenter of Masithethe Talk Show. He truly believes in the power of relationships and perseverance. He loves helping others and has been volunteering for his community since 1999. In 2017 he visited Italy where he was introduced to the Reggio Emilia pedagogic approach, and he returned to South Africa determined to apply this approach in an Early Childhood Education Centre in the community where he lives.

Nokubonga Sbosh Mepeni

Deputy Chairperson

Sbosh was born in Lady Frere, Eastern Cape. After completing her studies, she collaborated with STATS SA and the IEC. Currently, she is employed by JL Zwane Training & Development Centre in Gugulethu. Sbosh is one of the founders of Ubuntubethu NPO, as well as the Movement for Change and Social Justice. She is active in the community as the Deputy Chairperson of the Samora Machel Youth Development Forum and as a volunteer in schools and organisations, with a focus on children and youth. In 2017 she visited Italy and was introduced to various social enterprises and associations, including the Loris Malaguzzi Centre in Reggio Emilia. She returned to South Africa with the dream of creating a Reggio Emilia inspired Early Childhood Development Centre for the children of her community.

Annalisa Contrafatto


Born and bred in Italy, Annalisa gained there extensive experience in the non-profit sector and in social cooperation. After relocating to Cape Town, she began to serve as board member and volunteer for various South African non-profit organisations, and works as translator, researcher, and subject matter expert in the financial & risk sector. She loves travelling, reading, and meditating, and is committed to the project of a Reggio Emilia inspired centre in Samora Machel because it promotes creative, critical thinking which is the foundation of active citizenship.

Catherine Collingwood

Member of the Management Committee​

Born and raised in South Africa, Catherine is a Social Worker by profession, focused on working with creative and therapeutic processes with children. She became familiar with the Reggio Emilia approach a few years ago, embracing its view of children as protagonists of their own learning. From 2015 she worked daily in this approach, both in the UK and in Johannesburg at Small World School. She is very happy to be part of Friends of Thandolwethu, willing to share her knowledge and experience…and ready to learn more!

Andrea Couvert

Member of the Management Committee

Andrea is a web and graphic designer from Turin (Italy). Currently based in Cape Town, he divides his time almost equally between designing, managing co-design and participatory design projects. He enjoys embracing challenges and seeing how good design can improve people’s lives. While in Italy he worked in the non-profit sector for over 15 years, gaining substantial experience in delivering communication products such as documentaries, magazines and multimedia exhibitions. In South Africa, after a stint as project manager for an international NGO assisting refugees and migrants, he founded the communication agency Slowdesign and is also now involved in community-driven civic participation.

Marina Araki

Member of the Management Commitee

Marina is an Italian-Japanese Communication Designer and Art Director from Milan, based in Cape Town. She loves to conceptualize ideas into visuals, and design communication products that are simple, creative and efficient; she has over 10 years experience in international agencies and as a freelancer. She aspires to become an Art Therapist for Early Development: she previously worked as an Art Facilitator at the Epic Art Inclusive Education Center in Cambodia, in 2014, and would love to further her experience in Art Facilitation at Friends of Thandolwethu. When she is not designing, Marina loves to travel and explore new cultures and perspectives, practice yoga and meditation, and play guitar.