Christelle Terreblanche is a veteran political journalist and environmental activist. She started a Research Masters in Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Built Environment and Development Studies (Centre for Civil Society) in 2013, focusing on climate justice alternatives in the Global South. Christelle has covered the political transitions in Namibia and South Africa up close, and reported on national and regional politics for over twenty years, recently as Associate Editor: Politics at the Independent Newspapers Group.
In 1996, she joined The Truth and Reconciliation Commission as spokesperson and media liaison officer; and later also as researcher and investigator. She returned to newspapers after a stint in radio. During the next ten years, Christelle’s focus was mostly on in-depth coverage of national political debates and trends, such as poverty, aids, labour; policy, legislative and oversight processes; as well as party political battles and intrigues. Most recently, Christelle currently works as Researcher-Educator at the International Research and Information Group (ILRIG) following a stint as National Coordinator of the One Million Climate Jobs Campaign at the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) and editorial advisory board member of Amandla! magazine.
She traded in her political correspondent’s hat for eco-politics after completing a BPhil in Sustainable Development at Stellenbosch University’s Sustainability Institute in 2009. As member of a team led by para-statal agency, Indalo Yethu, she helped lead a Climate Train across South Africa to spread awareness of the complex issues at stake at COP17. A parallel journey to take a draft African version of the Bolivia-led alternative climate charter, the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth, inspired her thesis topic. She is a founding member of the Earth Democracy Cooperative that focuses on the development of an African charter.
Christelle’s early career included a focus on politics, environment and health as radio and television journalist in Namibia. She then worked for alternative protest publications such as Vrye Weekblad and South. During South Africa’s transitional years, she trained community radio journalists and rural newspaper reporters and wrote for wide range of publications. She also holds BA and BA Honours degrees in Journalism from the University of Stellenbosch. Born in Mangaung, Free State, she spent most of her childhood in Stellenbosch. Cape Town has been home for over 20 years.
Tinashe Gumbo was born in 1976 in Mberengwa, Zimbabwe. He is a PhD Student at the University of KwaZulu Natal under the Centre for Civil Society. He is currently working on a research proposal focusing on the effectiveness of the network model in advocacy work against the illicit financial outflows from the extractive sector in Zimbabwe.
He has experience in politics, economic justice, advocacy and lobbying as well as community development. He is currently employed at Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) as their Policy Research and Advocacy Program Officer responsible for defining advocacy agenda for the organisation, planning, implementation and coordination of advocacy and lobbying programs. He is also responsible for all research work of the organisation. He has led research processes on tax systems in Zimbabwe, debt and development, water issues among other ZIMCODD thematic areas.
He was the Senior Programmes Officer for the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe (IDAZIM) from 2010 to 2013. Before that he was Economic Justice Officer for the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) from 2003 to 2010, where he worked on human rights issues, advocacy and lobbying on national budget, climate change, elections, debt, constitution making processes, political transition issues and other economic and social justice issues at national, regional and global level. He has also been involved in monitoring and evaluation of the two organisations’ programmes. Tinashe has been engaged as a consultant on a variety of topics by organisations and political parties in Zimbabwe.
He holds a Masters Degree in International Relations and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economic History, both from the University of Zimbabwe. Professionally, he is also a holder of a Diploma in Personnel Management from the Institute of Personnel Management of Zimbabwe (IPMZ) among other short courses on elections, paralegal, conflict management, monitoring and evaluation as well as community development.
Tinashe has been involved in opposition politics in Zimbabwe for the past fifteen years.
Toendepi Shonhe has research interests in agrarian political economy. He studied agricultural management in Zimbabwe (2001-2004) before he enrolled for a Masters Degree in public policy and public participation in policy making at Witwatersrand University’s Graduate School of Public and Development Management in Johannesburg (2009-2011). His thesis was ‘Public participation in the constitution making process in Zimbabwe (2000 – 2010). He is currently enrolled at the University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Built Environment and Development Studies under the Centre for Civil Society. His thesis is ‘The smallholder agricultural implications of Zimbabwe’s fast track land reform’. His study area is Hwedza constituency in the Mashonaland East region. Toendepi worked in the banking sector from 1993 where he worked his way up from a bank teller to becoming a Corporate Manager in agribusiness. He is an associate member of the Institute of Bankers of Zimbabwe. In 2007, he was appointed Director General of the MDC, a political party in Zimbabwe.
Farai Maguwu, is a PhD student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and also the Director of Centre for Natural Resource Governance in Zimbabwe.
He is a leading voice advocating for human rights, transparency and accountability in Zimbabwe’s extractive sector. In November 2011 he was honoured with the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism by Human Rights Watch. He played a leading in exposing massacres of civilians by the Zimbabwe National Army between 2008 and 2011 in the Marange diamond fields. As a member of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme civil society coalition, he has demanded the reform of the KPCS, mainly the broadening of the definition of conflict diamonds and a stronger monitoring of human rights throughout the diamond value chain.
Matt Meyer, a native New York City-based educator, activist, and author, is the War Resisters International Africa Support Network Coordinator, and a United Nations/ECOSOC representative of the International Peace Research Association. The founding chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Association and former Chair of the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development (COPRED), Meyer has long worked to bring together academics and activists for lasting social change. A former public draft registration resister and chair of the War Resisters League, he continues to serve as co-convener of the War Resisters International Africa Working Group. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in commenting on Meyer's first book (co-authored with Pan-African pacifist Bill Sutherland), wrote that Sutherland and Meyer have looked beyond the short-term strategies and tactics which too often divide progressive people . . . They have begun to develop a language which looks at the roots of our humanness.
Meyer's work in K-12 public education and teacher training included ten years of service as Multicultural Coordinator for the NYC Board of Education's Alternative High Schools & Programs, as well as a stint as Union Leader of a local section of the United Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. He helped found and direct a mini-school in collaboration with St. Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital's Child and Family Institute (CFI), and led a psycho-educational CFI research delegation on re-integration and treatment of child soldiers in West and Central Africa and related work in inner-city USA; he also helped in the early development of the Harvey Milk High School, the first US safe space school for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Twice-decorated as teacher of the year by two Community School District Superintendents, Meyer's continuous efforts as a high school-based historian have spanned over twenty-seven years.
Meyer's most recent of six books is We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America (PM, 2012), which Dr. Maya Angelou noted was so needed¯ for its investigation of the moral issues of our time. His Time is Tight: Urgent Tasks for Educational Transformation: Eritrea, South Africa, and the USA (Africa World Press, 2007) provides the foundation for comparative education research which he is intensifying in his current work with UKZN's Centre for Civil Society.
Meyer's writings appear in numerous journals, magazines, and on-line news sites, including as a frequent contributor to Waging Nonviolence, and to the blog site New Clear Vision (for which he is a contributing editorial advisory committee member). His is a regular contributor to the peer-reviewed professional journal Peace and Change (for which he serves as an Editorial Board member); his work can also be found in the peer-reviewed Capitalism Nature Socialism; Peace Review; WIN magazine; the Indypendent; Fellowship magazine; Truth-out.org; ZNet (zcommunications.org); and Counterpunch.org. He is a founder of the local anti-imperialist collective Resistance in Brooklyn , working on issues of Puerto Rican solidarity, political imprisonment and the prison industrial complex; this work is spotlighted and detailed in the recent book Accountability and White Anti-Racist Organizing. Argentine Nobel Peace laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel has commented that Meyer is a coalition-builder, one who provides tools for today's activists¯ in his writings and his work.
Charles Mangongera is the Director of Policy and Research for the Movement for Democratic Change MDC), a political party at the forefront of fighting for democratic transformation in Zimbabwe. A senior member of the party’s secretariat, Charles is in charge of developing research based strategic interventions that help the party advance democracy in a country that is experiencing unprecedented economic, political and social challenges.
Charles has served as a Senior Programme Officer for Southern Africa at Freedom House, an American organization that promotes freedom in the world. At Freedom House he worked on projects to strengthen civil society in Zimbabwe and in Africa. He previously worked at HIVOS, a Dutch international development agency, as a program officer for human rights and democratisation, ICT, and media covering Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and Mozambique. At Hivos his work focused on building the technical and financial capacity of civil society organisations in delivering positive change.
He started his professional career as a Research Assistant at the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI), a Harare based non-profit public opinion research institute, which he helped set up in 1999. MPOI has grown to become a leading think tank whose research products have informed and instructed public policy in Zimbabwe. At the time he left MPOI he had risen through the ranks to become the Chief Research Fellow in charge of all research operations.
An accomplished researcher who has contributed to reports produced by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), International Republican Institute (IRI), and the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA), Charles regularly provides expert political commentary to newspapers and radio stations, including Studio 7 Voice of America, Voice of the People and SW Radio Africa. He also writes regularly on political issues and has had op-eds published by Zimbabwean newspapers.
In 2003 Charles was awarded the Chevening scholarship, a prestigious award funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to allow talented Zimbabweans who have demonstrated leadership potential to spend some time in the United Kingdom and pursue graduate studies. He went to the University of Birmingham School of Public Policy where he graduated with a Master of Science degree in Governance and Development Management. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Population Studies from the University of Zimbabwe and a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Political Science from the same university.
In 2013 Charles spent six months at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow in Washington DC, United States of America, where he explored the counter-productive role of the military in Zimbabwe’s efforts to achieve democratic reform.
His PhD is a critical analysis of Zimbabwe's Government of National Unity (GNU) between 2009 and 2013 as a transitional tool. Highlighting the country’s socio-economic collapse, he will reflect on the roles played by various actors in Zimbabwe’s elusive search for a democratic breakthrough during the course of the GNU and will bring to the fore the challenges of power sharing in a deeply polarised society.
David was born in 1975 in Masvingo, Zimbabwe. He is a holder of BSc (Honours) in Economics (1997), Master of Science Degree in Economics (1999), Master of Business Administration (MBA) 2005, all from the University of Zimbabwe. He has experience in economic policy formulation and analysis, economic justice and advocacy for pro-poor policies.
David served as an Economic advisor to the Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion in Zimbabwe from 2009-2013 on secondment from the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe, under a transitional programme for supporting democratic actors in the Inclusive Government in Zimbabwe. He provided in depth economic research and policy analysis to guide economic policy formulation during the Inclusive government with a view to enhance sustainable recovery and democratization of the country. He was the lead resource on the crafting of Zimbabwe’s main development plan “Medium Term Plan 2011-2015”, a key output of the economic cluster under the Global Political Agreement.
David has also worked in the financial sector in Zimbabwe from 1999 to 2008, mainly as a Chief Economist of a number of banks. He is an accomplished Economist who regularly contributes to national economic debates, and provide expert economic commentary to local and international newspapers, Radio stations and Television.
His PHD is a critical analysis of the financial sector development in Zimbabwe and its impact on financial inclusion. The thrust of his research is how to ensure that the financial markets work for the poor and the marginalised members of the society.