Founder and Executive Director
As an American of Jamaican heritage, Scott grew up aware of the generational inequities wrought by discriminatory policies and systems in both countries. Both his academic and professional career have accordingly focused on overcoming the effects of such inequities. He founded Amandla Development in response to the need in South Africa for local capacity development ensuring that populations previously oppressed by apartheid have the opportunity to participate in the growing economy on equal footing.
His interest in education’s ability to provide upliftment out of poverty led to work in education policy research and education reform, having worked for Yale University Admissions, the International Leadership Charter School’s startup team, and later with Life Choices Peer Education Programme in Cape Town, South Africa. Scott has also served with ABAFAOILSS, a consortium dedicated to increasing the presence of underrepresented students on Ivy League campuses.
He received his BA in Political Science with a concentration in Comparative Government and East Asian Languages from Yale University and holds an MPA from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service where he completed his Master’s in public and non-profit management with a specialization in Public Policy Analysis. He has also studied and speaks Spanish, French, and Mandarin, Portuguese, and is currently studying Afrikaans and isiXhosa.
Taona Tsopo - Programme Manager
Taona holds a bachelor’s degree in Education, Msc in Gender and Community Development and another Msc in Sociology. His work experience includes teaching, training, and materials and programme development and management. He is passionate about changing the lives of children, young women and youth to complete their education journey and attain their full potentials in life.
Taona oversees strategic implementation of the projects that Amandla has collaboratively built with our partners. He is responsible for planning, coordination, leading the team, collaborating with Donors and reporting on funded projects. His favourite part about his job is driving collective response and representation amongst the different partners in Philippi. Seeing the youth smile is what gives our Programme Manager the greatest sense of fulfilment.
Taona was born in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe in Chimanimani. He speaks Shona, English and is father to three beautiful girls. Outside of work he spends time with his family and enjoys walking. Although Toana is his happiest when dancing.
Bongiwe Radebe - Project Manager
Bongiwe is originally from Durban but has been in Cape Town since 2009 where she has worked in the NGO sector for more than 10 years. She originally studied Social Work, Advanced Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation and various other courses related to community development. She has experience in project management, research, developing M&E systems and facilitation. She is passionate about skills development and creating an enabling environment for the sustainable development of disadvantaged groups.
Bongiwe grew up in a township and learned through the 'Bantu Education' system. She knows first-hand the challenges the youth are facing in Philippi. She is honoured to be able to use her work with Amandla to minimise bottle necks that hinder quality education and contribute to positively changing lives of young people. Bongiwe also enjoys a hands-on management approach on programmes where everyone feels valued.
Outside of work Bongiwe is a mother to two children and she enjoys spending time with herself. She is fluent in isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sotho, English and she speaks a bit of Afrikaans. She is also a secret creative.
Thandi Gaji - Resource Access Programme Coorindator
Thandi is a local who grew up in Nyanga in New Cross Roads, which is a community next to Philippi. Thandi is a qualified Children and Youth Care Worker with more than 5 years' experience in the NGO sector. She has managed groups of volunteers and is a qualified Workplace Mentor. As the RAP Coordinator, Thandi manages the mentors that work in schools to empower learners to take charge of their education journey and seek the support they need.
The favourite part of her job is interacting with youth and working close with schools. Being only separated by a road, Thandi considers Philippi her home town and she wants to give back to her community and make a difference to the children by being a role model and providing services that will help improve their lives. Many people don't know that Thandi was empowered growing up in a township by having a role model through an NGO after school program. She attributes who she is today because of the teachings and motivations she received. Today, Thandi is teaching, up-skilling and empowering Amandla's 15 mentors to make a difference with the youth that they work with in schools.
Outside of work Thandi aims to be the best wife and mom to the 3 beautiful souls that make up her family. She is fluent in English and her home language isiXhosa. She is always ready with a smile in any occasion.
Darsha Indrajith - Communications and Development Associate
Darsha comes from a multimedia journalism background, having worked as a journalist and taught Digital Media and Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University.
She previously managed the communications at the Social Justice Coalition in Khayelitsha where she implemented a film training workshop in isiXhosa in collaboration with the University of Cape Town.
She is currently finishing her MA thesis in Journalism and Media Studies.
Phuti Mashita - Data Capturer
Phuti is the Data Capturer for the Adolescent Youth Friendly Space and satellite sites in the Klipfontein District .
She is responsible for capturing and recording information relevant to Amandla’s data capturing activities and the AGYW who are entering the programme and accessing services through the safe spaces or the satellites established in this project.
Phuti worked with data collection and capturing at Statistics South Africa for many years.
She is originally from Limpopo and loves reading, travelling, trying out new restaurants and attending food and wine shows and fashion shows on weekends.