Meet the Staff of Ubuntu Africa
Ubuntu Africa has skilled and experienced staff members dedicated to serving HIV-positive children and their community. Meet some of the core staff members below!
Founder and Executive Director of Ubuntu Africa
Whitney Johnson, Founder of Ubuntu Africa NFP, is an ardent activist, youth leader and world changer. Inspired by her experiences while studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa and volunteering in an orphanage in the nearby township of Khayelitsha, Whitney was drawn to the cause of supporting HIV+ children. She noticed a gap in services and sustained assistance for children and teens living with HIV. She wanted to ensure that HIV+ children received the support they needed to live long, healthy and happy lives. She graduated from Colorado College in 2006 with a degree in Psychology. At the age of 21, Whitney established Ubuntu Africa (UBA), a nonprofit organization with the mission of providing health and support services to HIV+ children in South Africa.
Through her diligence and determination, Whitney successfully secured funding to establish a children’s HIV care center in Khayelitsha. The center provides Healthcare & Nutrition, Psychosocial Support, Health Education & Life Skills, and Community Support to HIV+ children and their families. Whitney is committed to growing the organization in size and scope to reach more HIV+ children in need of support.
As Executive Director of Ubuntu Africa and public speaker on HIV/AIDS, Whitney engages young people and fosters an empowered attitude towards HIV/AIDS around the world. Whitney was named a World Economic Forum Global Shaper in 2012 and a winner of 2013 Young People in International Affairs Top 35 Under 35 young foreigners making an impact in Africa.
Nontuthulzelo Patience Ntwana (Ntuthu)
Operations Manager / Nurse
Nontuthulzelo received her Diploma in Nursing in 1999 from Carinus Nursing College and her B Tech in nursing from the Peninsula University of Technology in 2009. Prior to taking a fulltime position with Ubuntu Africa Child Healthcare, Ntuthu had ten years of dedicated service in HIV care facilities. Ntuthu is also certified in the management of HIV-related conditions, integrated HIV/AIDS treatment programs, and anti-retroviral treatment. Prior to working at Ubuntu Africa Child Healthcare, Ntuthu was the Professional Head Nurse for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and the Post Rape Care Clinic, both located in Khayelitsha.
Ntuthu is passionate about improving the health of children in Khayelitsha. Through her work in local clinics, Ntuthu witnessed the devastating impact that HIV/AIDS was having on children and felt strongly that more comprehensive and personalized care was needed for infected children to successfully overcome illness. This inspired her to join Ubuntu Africa Child Healthcare where she feels that she is able to truly make a difference!
US Director of Operations and Strategy
Jessica Annis joined Ubuntu Africa in July 2011 as a Princeton in Africa Fellow. Prior to joining UBA, Jessica worked in HIV prevention research on various clinical trials including the iPrEx and Partners PrEP studies. Jessica is a graduate of Emory University where she received a BA in International Studies and Global Health. While at Emory, Jessica developed a passion for the health issues most affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations. Jessica’s work with other non-profits includes volunteering for the Center’s Development office as well as at the Georgia State Capital with Planned Parenthood. After 1.5 years working in Khayelitsha, Jessica recently returned to the US taking on a new role as US Diretor of Operations.
US Development Director
Robyn Deutsch joined UBA as Director of Development in January 2013. She received her BA from Emory University where she studied Political Science and was a Community Building and Social Change Fellow. During her undergraduate studies, she studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, where she decided to stay for 2 years and worked for Ikamva Labantu, a community development NGO in the Western Cape. When she returned to the States, she began working with international youth development organization MCW (Miracle Corners of the World) where she focused on fundraising and media and communications and served as program coordinator for MCW Jacqueline’s Human Rights Corner. She also completed her Master’s Degree in Non-Profit Management from The New School. Her love and passion for South Africa and experience with non-profit fundraising and development makes this what Robyn calls “her dream job”.
Lisa Nozuko Godana
Accounts Officer/Office Administrator
Lisa joined the UBA family in September of 2011. She has received a Marketing Management Diploma, Diploma in Personal Computing and Public Relations Certificate obtained at Varsity College. Lisa is a community worker who generously devotes of her skills to all areas of services needed. Before joining UBA Lisa worked at iThemba Laboratories for 9 years as an Administrator, afterwards joining The Hope Centre / Way of Life Church for 5 years. Later Lisa moved to The Trauma Centre for Survivors of Violence and Torture where she worked in Fundraising and Human Resouce Administration. She is currently involved in varied community structures involved in management and administration of HIV/AIDS. We just love Lisa’s bright spirit and get’er done attitude!
Shelley is a Southern California native who began her work with Ubuntu Africa in June 2012 after returning to South Africa for the third time. After graduating from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas in 2009 with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Communications, she spent half the year working for a talent and brand management company in Los Angeles and the other half in Cape Town; there she lived with a host family while volunteer teaching grade 1 at a public school and handling all PR-related materials for a women and children abuse intervention non-proft organization in Lavender Hill. She spent 2011 back in Los Angeles as a digital advertising sales representative for Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). Shelley is now thrilled to be back in the Mother City completing her Masters degree in Media Studies from the University of Cape Town (UCT).
Hannah recently joined UBA as the Communications Fellow in September 2013. Hannah lived in Cape Town for a year in 2004, which is where she developed where her passion for public health, service, and working with people living with HIV developed.
Hannah graduated from Tulane University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Development and Sociology, and studied abroad in Ghana for a semester her junior year, helping to start a small NGO there. After graduation she spent a year as a Global Health Corps Fellow, working for Single Stop USA, in New York City, as a Policy Assistant.
Lauren joined UBA as the Programs Coordinator in September 2013, and is responsible for Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E), curriculum design, and partnership development. Previously, she worked in Malawi as a Global Health Corps Fellow, working as the M&E and Project Coordinator for mothers2mothers. Her previous experience with HIV prevention prepared her to expand and develop Ubuntu Africa’s comprehensive care model for children who are already infected with the virus.
Originally from New York, Lauren graduated from The George Washington University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and a minor in Public Health.
Nkoliso is a teacher, mentor and friend to the children and teens who attend Ubuntu Africa’s program. Nkoliso is energetic and charismatic and helps to make even the most difficult conversations and topics manageable.
Nkoliso has received a variety of training, making him particularly qualified to work with Ubuntu Africa’s children including certifications in in Basic Curriculum Skills, Basic Care of Child Development Approach, and Fundamental Skills Development Assessment. Additionally, he has received training in HIV/AIDS, First Aid, and Early Childhood development. Nkoliso is currently continuing his education to better serve the children by participating in a training to become a Child and Youth Care Worker.
MT is from Smora Michelle, matriculating from Zikhanyo high school, where his passion for working with children began. In grade 10 he began working with the YMCA, participating in holiday programs mentoring young children, where he learned that “when I am working with kids I get to play, and then educate them by playing.”
After matric he began volunteering and working at various organizations focused on youth empowerment. He helped to start a small organization that introduces children to music, poetry, dance and art. He then became a facilitator for various youth organizations including the Masiphuhlisane Community Development Centre (CWD) and Wortegat camp, working with children on community dialogue, team building, life skills programs and conflict resolution. He moved from the camp to UBA because he realized that “working outside the camp with the children is where I found love, and that is what I get to do at UBA.”
Siphokazi has been with UBA since 2008, when she was the only person cooking for Ubuntu Africa’s children. She completed a course in 2010 focused on cooking and nutrition, and continues to provide UBA’s children with a nutritious and well balanced meal each day, often the only full meal UBA’s children receive. She loves children and loves cooking, which is what attracted her to UBA, and now that the center works with so many children, she manages caregiver/parent volunteers who assist with food preparation.
Siphokazi came to UBA as a volunteer Social Auxiliary Worker during her Social Work studies at Continuing Education for Africa (CEFA). Siphokazi was attracted to Social Work because she was always the person her friends came to for advice and she loves to help people. After completing her studies, Siphokazi joined the UBA team full-time.
In addition to her Certificate in Auxiliary Social Work, she has also attained a Matric Certificate, Code 8 Driver’s License, Basic office admin, basic computer skills, and a Sewing Certificate.
Get to know Siphokasi
Thumeka came from the Eastern Cape to attend higher primary in Cape Town. In addition to her matriculation certificate, she received her Certificate in Auxiliary Social Work, Computer Certificate, Domestic Violence Certificate, Learner’s License Code 10, and is working towards her training for Early Development and Childhood.
She came to UBA as a student volunteer in 2013, and recently joined the team full-time as a youth facilitator because UBA “gives opportunities that people don’t have even from the government, because people get to be open with their status and parents learn and children get confidence that life must go on.” She says there are few organizations like UBA, and she loves lending a hand to the children she works with.