Meet our Board of Directors
“A truly community driven organization that focuses on taking up community issues, with and through the community. I see The Equality Collective as a vehicle for the achievement of human rights, as enshrined in our constitution.”
Khaya Tyatya is currently employed as Director: Programmes at the Zenex Foundation, an independent philanthropic Foundation focused on education investments. Khaya has extensive experience in the area of education and grantmaking having previously worked for Tshikululu Social Investments where he held numerous roles including Client Relationship Manager and education specialist where was largely was responsible for the development and management of corporate social investment (CSI) strategies and programmes. Khaya has also worked as education specialist at the National Education Collaboration Trust and JET Education Services. Khaya has expertise in the areas of programme design, strategy development and stakeholder engagement amongst others. Khaya is a Ph.D. candidate in Department of Educational Leadership and Management at the University of Johannesburg. His research focuses on understanding factors that affect student academic success in post school education.
“The Bulungula Incubator welcomes the opportunity to deepen and strengthen support for community organising, advocacy and agency through the Equality Collective. Because rural communities are likely to be located further away from the centres of power that urban ones, they will benefit from the kind of support that the Equality Collective will facilitate.”
Réjane is an Economist and a CFA charterholder. She completed her undergraduate degree in Business Science at the University of Cape Town and her Masters degree in Development Economics at the University of Sussex, UK. She has previously held the positions of Chief Economist and Head of International Portfolio Investments for Metropolitan Asset Managers and Research Analyst for US investment bank, Merrill Lynch, in the economics and fixed-income sales and trading departments. Rejane was a trustee and the National Treasurer for TCOE, the Trust for Community Outreach and Education. She has previously served as a volunteer counselor and a member of the board of directors of the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust. She is a fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative (ALI) and the Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN). Réjane is a founding member of the Bulungula Incubator.
“It's quite common to reflect at the end of a chapter but far less common, though perhaps even more important, to reflect in the beginning. The Equality Collective has at its core an ambition to harness collective power and I am most excited about practicing development in a way that recognises and reinforces the power of the community that the EC serves. I feel very fortunate to be a part of a group of people who seek to bring about change for rural communities to flourish by grounding our understanding of progress and practice in the communities we will work with. I hope through my efforts to support the collective effort to realise a more just and equitable society, beginning with the most marginalised and deprived communities in the South Africa.”
Megan is a senior economist in the Economic Policy division of South Africa's National Treasury. She has worked since 2012 in development economics, in the private sector for Genesis Analytics, in the academic space for the Universities of Johannesburg and Witwatersrand, and as an independent researcher. Though she had the misfortune of studying economics at the height of the neoliberal project, she has been on a journey of recovery, wading into feminist economics, economic history and heterodox economic ideas. Her work on the EC shifts her away from her focus on urban poverty, inequality and joblessness to a rural expression of these challenges; re-orientating her from the abstractions of policy-making to the practice of community-centred change. Megan has an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.
“Access to justice has been one of my main preoccupations since my first year in university. So it’s a privilege to be part of an organisation that seeks to venture into this terrain by collaborating with the community in the provision of access to justice. My wish is that the Equality Collective will be a walk in community law clinic that is capable of addressing the legal needs of the community.”
Lunga Siyo was admitted to the Eastern Cape Society of Advocates, Grahamstown, where he began his career in December 2013. He was admitted to the Johannesburg Society of Advocates in 2015. He holds an LLB and an LLM in Constitutional Law. Lunga is also in-house counsel at the Constitutional Litigation Unit of the Legal Resources Centre. His areas of interest include constitutional law, administrative law, land rights, mining law, customary law, medical negligence, personal injury law and general litigation. He has appeared in the High Court, Land Claims Court and the Constitutional Court.
Executive Director and Founder
"The Equality Collective was conceptualised at the grassroots level from the lived experience of those who are very far from centres of power with no direct access to organisations focussed on social justice work. The need for a rural based activist and community-centred law organisation emerged.We are committed to ensuring that the Equality Collective is a powerful vehicle to fulfill a bold vision of justice and realisation of constitutional rights in rural communities."
Tess has a B.Soc.Sci in Politics, Philosophy and Economics as well as an LLB from UCT and an LLM from Harvard University. She completed her articles at Webber Wentzel attorneys before moving to the Legal Resources Centre for human rights experience. She also spent a year clerking at the Constitutional Court after being appointed by Justice Skweyiya. Tess has experience working in the education and early childhood development sectors at the grassroots, grant-making and policy levels (having worked at the Bulungula Incubator, for Tshikululu Social Investments and as a consultant for Ilifa Labantwana and the Nelson Mandela Foundation). She serves as the Treasurer of Equal Education, is a 2019/20 Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity and a Salzberg Global Fellow.
Yana Van Leeve
"The Equality Collective is a refreshing and humble approach to centering legal practice and applying the law in the context of the lives and communities it wants to support. It aims to offer tools to the poor to access rights and participate in social and democratic structures such as local government, courts, legislatures and traditional leadership. It will do this by adding and building capacity within existing community organisations, meaningfully and sincerely, understanding that change is achievable when driven by communities."
Yana commenced her career in constitutional litigation at the renowned Legal Resources Centre, founded by Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson. She later specialised in education law and policy and currently serves on the National Council of Equal Education. Following a year of clerking at the Constitutional Court for Justice Edwin Cameron, Yana joined Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr as an Associate in 2016 and is now a Senior Associate there. Yana operates primarily in the Public Law Sector, focusing on constitutional, administrative and regulatory law.
Hombakazi Mercy Nqandeka (advisory member)
"I'm excited to work with Equality Collective because it is an organisation that is anchored on rural development. It is an organisation that is about hearing people's grievances for basic services and lastly, it is an organisation that advocates for the delivery of basic services to the least developed people."
Hombakazi Mercy Nqandeka was born in Mqele location at Elliotdale (Xhorha) in the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. She is a driven young woman who takes pride in the betterment of the preservation and promotion of the Xhosa culture. She is passionate about Rural Development and Africa at large. She has authored and published two books: The Dissonant Rainbow (2019) and To My Young Self (2020). She was until recently investing her time in volunteering at Bulungula on a women's farming project. Mercy also teaches bead-making to the Bulungula youth. She holds double Masters degree in Agriculture Climate Change Transition from the National University of Ireland, Galway and SupAgro, Montpellier, France. She now works for Viva con Agua on their Water and Sanitation projects in the local schools in the Xhora Mouth Administrative Area.
Mzuzile Mhlola (advisory member)
"Being on the EC Board is great explosure as it is my first time being a board member. The EC is addressing issues that affect people who stay in rural areas, these are the people who really need to be empowered. The EC is advocating for people's rights especially for rural communities and I which I belong too as well. It is also a platform to connect and be part of a discussion that would really make change to people's lives."
Mzuzile Mhlola was born in Mgojweni (in the Xhora Mouth Administrative Area) and finished school at neighbouring Zithulele. He started working at the Bulungula Incubator as the only male Nomakhaya (home based worker) and quickly moved up the ranks to Assistant Manager of the BI health programme, showing leadership and dedication to his work and community. In 2017, he became the first Vibrant Villages Manager leading and shaping a new area of projects for the BI that includes: managing the Bulungula Radio and running sports leagues in all the villages. He describes himself has deeply committed to development.