Change the world

Prof Amira Omer Siddig Osman

Amira Omer Siddig Osman is a Sudanese/South African architect/lecturer/researcher is a Professor of architecture at the Tshwane University of Technology. Amira studied at the University of Khartoum in Sudan in 1988 (B.Sc.) and 1996 (M.Sc.). She also obtained a Diploma from the Institute for Housing Studies in Rotterdam (IHS) in 1992 and PhD in Architecture from the University of Pretoria in 2004.

She worked as an architect in Khartoum during the period 1988- 1997 with various practices on small and large projects and was a United Nations Volunteer (UNV) in Maseru, Lesotho 1997-1998, as an architect with the Department of Public Works. She has participated in a number of projects in South Africa including a hostel upgrade and designs for social housing in Pretoria. Amira is a registered Professional Architect with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) and while her focus is academic and research-oriented, she continues to practice on a small scale.

Amira taught at a number of institutions for about 30 years, with 10 years at the University of Khartoum, 11 years at the University of Pretoria and 5 years at the University of Johannesburg. Amira contributed to the conceptualisation of the honours programme at UP and ran it for several years. She also managed the first master’s studio at UJ in 2012 which helped lead to the full accreditation of the degree in 2013. She established the Housing and Urban Environments (HUE_UP) research field at the University of Pretoria and at the University of Johannesburg. She also established UJ’s research and academic UNIT 2 “Architecture and Agency: DESIGN | MAKE | TRANSFORM” in 2015. The unit focused on the promotion of Open Building thinking and practice, exploring relevance and applications in the South African context. Amira’s teaching has focused on Housing and Urban Policy and she currently runs the design studio for the professional master’s studio at TUT.

She previously worked as a Senior Researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria (2010-2012) where she collaborated with a team from the Department of Human Settlements, the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) and other councils and private sector representatives in the development of ten points for sustainable human(e) settlements which she proceeded to disseminate widely.
Amira was one of the conference conveners for the World Congress on Housing in 2005 at the University of Pretoria and the convener of the Sustainable Human(e) Settlements: the urban challenge, 2012, hosted by FADA, University of Johannesburg and partners. She also served as UIA 2014 Durban General Reporter and head of the Scientific Committee for the International Union of Architects (UIA) and the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA). She currently serves as a joint coordinator for the international CIB Open Building Implementation network.

Professor Samuel Babatunde Agbola

Babatunde Samuel Agbola is an Urban and Regional Planner with life long interest in Human Settlement Development and how this has been affected by climate change. He holds a BSc Degree in Economics from the Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria and an MCP, MA and  PhD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He was the Pioneer Director of Physical Planning at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is currently the Chair of the Regional Committee for Africa (RCA) of the International Council for Science (ICSU) now merged with the International Social Science Council (ISSC) as International Science Council (ISC). He was a past Chair of the Association of African Planning Schools (AAPS), the Chair of the Nigerian Chapter of the Land Use, Land Cover Change Group of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) . Prof Agbola was one of the Pioneer Members of what is today the Safer Cities Network of the UN-Habitat. He was a Visiting Professor of Planning at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls. He is the author of fifteen books, seventy–two Chapters in highly rated books published by rep12 KButable international publishers and over fifty three peer reviewed international and local journal articles. Most of these publications are in the area of Human Settlement Development and Management

Prof Brink Botha

Prof Brink Botha is an Associate Professor in the Built Environment and Owner/Managing Director of various entrepreneurial ventures, primarily Built Environment and Real Estate related. Professor Botha shares a passion for property development, a niche discipline in which he is active both as academic and industry practitioner, but also as an entrepreneur as well as Professional Consultant.  He has been involved in Academia and the Built Environment for the past two decades since 1996 with vast experience in the related disciplines.

The author completed a National Diploma in Building Cum Laude, two Baccalaureus degree respectively in Quantity Surveying and Construction Management Cum Laude, an MSc in the Built Environment with specialization in Property Economics and Valuation as well as a PhD with a thesis titled: “Property development: A Business Process Model.

Professor Botha is currently Head of the Construction Management Department at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and Co-Director of the MSc Built Environment programme jointly hosted by two Built Environment departments. In this capacity, Professor Botha is actively involved in conducting, publishing and promoting Built Environment and Real Estate related research whilst being active in Industry in his capacity as professionally registered Construction Projects Manager with the South African Council for the Construction and Project Management Professions. He is amongst other fulfilling the function of Project Manager of the implementation of various Built Environment related Short Learning Programmes.

Professor Botha is also a Member of the Association of Construction Project Managers, an Incorporate of the Chartered Institute of Building, a Member of the Ergonomic Society of South Africa and is serving on the respective Councils of the South African Property owners Association as well as the Association of Schools of Construction of Southern Africa. Professor Botha is passionate about advanced teaching and learning methodology, mentoring and life coaching as well as community renaissance, hence rendering various pro bono services whilst supporting related non-profitable organizations aligned to the collective objective.


Janet Cherry

Janet Cherry is a South African social justice activist and academic. She is currently Professor and Head of the Department of Development Studies at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth. She has a PhD in political sociology from Rhodes University. Her main areas of research are sustainable development, democratic participation, social and political history, labour, gender and human rights. She has published two books as well as a number of articles and chapters in books on South African history, labour and social movements, transitional justice and sustainable development.

Dr Jeffrey Mahachi

Dr Jeffrey Mahachi is a registered professional engineer and registered construction project manager. Jeffrey obtained his qualifications from Wits University (PhD), University of Surrey (MSc) and University of Zimbabwe (BS Eng). He is also a recipient of an M.IT degree from University of Pretoria. Jeffrey is currently the Head of School of Civil Engineering and the Built Environment at the University of Johannesburg and lectures structural engineering. He has previously worked
for the National Home Builders Registration Council, where he held several executive positions, worked for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as a Research Engineer and lectured at Wits University. Jeffrey has also been involved in a number of construction projects including sustainable human settlements and the roll-out of innovative building systems. Jeffrey has contributed to the development of standards and is passionate about developmental engineering and promoting innovation in the construction industry. He is currently serving as a Board Member of AgrŅment South Africa, Council for GeoScience, the Engineering Council of South Africa and the Clay Brick Association. He has authored and co-authored two books in structural engineering and several journal and conference papers.

Prof Leslie Bank

Leslie J. Bank is a Professor of Social Anthropology and Deputy Executive Director at the Human Sciences Research Council in Cape Town. His books include Home Spaces, Street Styles: Contesting Power and Identity in a South African City (Pluto Press, London, 2011), Inside African Anthropology: Monica Wilson and her Interpreters (Cambridge University Press, co-editor 2013), Imonti Modern: Picturing the Life and Times of a South African Location (HSRC Press, co-author, 2017), Anchored in Place: Universities and City Building in South Africa (African Minds, co-editor, 2018),  City of Broken Dreams: Myth-making, Nationalism and Universities on the African Rust belt (2019, Michigan State University Press, Lansing, USA) and Migrant Labour After Apartheid (HSRC Press, co-editor 2019, forthcoming). His new book Sobukwe’s Children is due out in 2020.

Prof Prudence Khumalo

Prudence Khumalo is an Associate Professor in the department of Public Administration and Management at the University of South Africa. He has published on Public Policy and Development, Leadership, Environmental Governance, Poverty and Local Economic Development. He has presented papers at both local and international conferences. He has successfully supervised a number of students at both Master’s and Doctoral levels. Prudence currently serves as the chair for the research committee in the department of Public Administration as well as a Programme co-ordinator of the Human Settlements Cluster in the same department.

Prudence holds a Doctorate Degree in Public Administration, University of Fort Hare 2011, Master of Public Administration, University of Fort Hare 2009, and a Bsc Honours in Human Resource Management, Midlands State University 2005.  He had a stint with the University of Fort Hare as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2011 and later on joined UNISA in a similar capacity under the Poverty Alleviation Field within the Department of Development Studies in the College of Human Sciences prior to assuming his current position.

Prof Sijekula Mbanga

Prof Sijekula Mbanga is an Associate Professor, a Programme Leader for the Human Settlements Studies, a Member of the Research Group on Environmental Stewardship and Sustainable Livelihoods and the Chair for Sustainable Human Settlements and at the Nelson Mandela University, in South Africa. He holds a PhD in Public Administration, with his thesis focusing on integrated development planning, obtained from the previous Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. This is the same institution where he completed his Masters’ degree in Administration (Cum Laude) with distinctions in Advanced Project Management, Advanced Public Policy Analysis and 100% pass in Integrated Development Planning modules.  Sijekula is a registered and active member of SAAPAM, SAMEA, GISSA   and SAPI. His research interests include: integrated approaches to development management, sustainable livelihoods, spatial transformation and urbanism, green settlements and neighbourhoods, human settlements policies and systems, local government capacity, and indigenous knowledge  systems in infrastructure development. Sijekula spans a wealth of industry experience and has worked in a number of public sector organisations. Before joining the Nelson Mandela University he has held senior management positions in the Eastern Cape Departments of Roads and Public Works, Office of the Premier, Housing Local Government and Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements in South Africa.  Sijekula, currently serves in university committees and South African national government Advisory Committees, including the DST/CSIR  Advisory Committee on Science and Technology Innovations for Sustainable Human Settlements, South African Reference Group on the New Urban Agendas,  the Southern African Cities Academic Network, the South Africa /Swedish Universities Forum Advisory Committee on Urbanisation and 21st Century Cities, the NAHRO – USA International Housing Research and Exchange Forum, the World Bank Inclusive Development Network, the Society for Housing Professionals in Africa..  Sijekula is not only an academic but a purpose-driven community development activist that is critical of societal order where a naturally resourced economy sits side by with abject poverty, malnutrition and homelessness. Sjekula thrives in research that transcends sectors and disciplines due to his strong conviction that no single sector or discipline holds a solution to complex societal problems, and that trans-disciplinary and multi-agency approaches are prone to yield sustainable outcomes. Sijekula is a devout Christian, married to Buyelwa, and they are blessed with two daughters and two grandsons.


Dr Thomas Ramovha

Dr Thomas Ramovha is currently the incumbent of the position of Director Technical Capacity Development in the National Department of Human Settlements of the Government of South Africa. His educational Qualifications are: (i) National Diploma in Organisation and Work Study (factories) from Technikon RSA; (ii) Diploma in Municipal Governance from Rand Afrikaans University; (iii) Bachelor of Technology degree in Management Services from Technikon Witwatersrand; (iv) Advanced Programme in Organisational Development from UNISA; (v) Master of Commerce degree in Leadership from University of KwaZulu-Natal; and (vi) Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in Engineering Management from University of Johannesburg.

He worked for organisations in private sector (i.e. AECI, Gencor Mining, and SAPPI), the public sector (i.e. Provincial department of Local Government & housing in Limpopo, Boksburg local Municipality, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality & the National Department of Human Settlements) and the State Owned Entity (i.e. ESKOM). His responsibilities were in the areas of Productivity Improvement, Organisational Effectiveness, Organisational Development, Change Management, Process Engineering and Capacity development.

Thomas Stewart

Thomas has been a housing practitioner since 1991.  He developed a passion for human development and residential property development while studying towards his master’s degree in town- and regional planning at the University of the Free State.  During his student years he was involved in various community development initiatives, facilitating the engagement of students in the broader community, where he got exposure to the social dynamics of a developing South Africa.

Following his university studies, he spent time in Public Service as a Town Planner. He subsequently joined the Urban Foundations’ Housing Policy Unit in 1991.  The latter resulted in project managing one of the biggest (4000 units) Informal Settlement Upgrading projects in South Africa, i.e. Freedom Square in Bloemfontein.

His housing development involvement extended to various towns in the Northern Cape;  Free State; and Eastern Cape, where a spread of Informal Settlement Upgrades;  Greenfields Developments;  Owner Managed (Peoples Housing Process);  Social Housing Projects;  and Retirement Villages has been structured and implemented by him, in his capacity as either development or project manager, employed by the New Housing Company (NewHco) and Inframax.  (1992 – 2007).

He founded his own housing development management company, Hadeda Developments, in 2007.  This allowed him an entrepreneurial space and exposed him to a wider range of opportunities and business initiatives.

On 1 August 2014, he joined the University of the Free State as lecturer in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and is the main driver of an honours course in Spatial Planning, Specialising in Human Settlements. Other than teaching honours’ and masters’ students he also supervises several masters’-; mini-; and full research dissertations.

Tshepang Mosiea 

Tshepang Mosiea is pursuing a PhD at the Nelson Mandela University on enhanced peoples housing process and self-help housing. His other research interest include innovation for service delivery and human settlements, alternative building methods, innovative sanitation systems and ICT for policy modelling. He is currently employed as a Director for Science and Technology for Sustainable Human Settlements in the Department of Science and Technology in South Africa. He is an accredited Project Management Professional (PMP) and a PRINCE2 practitioner. He has been employed as a General Manager: Programme and Fund Management Portfolio at the National Urban Renewal and Housing Construction Agency (NURCHA), where he was responsible for  setting up business processes and procedures to manage the programme and fund  management portfolio, establishing and operationalize portfolio management governance processes, develop and implement programme management resource models and programme team ways of working to successfully deliver the infrastructure, housing delivery, fund management, bucket system eradication, contractor support and development, as well as the institutional capacity development amongst municipalities and provincial housing departments through implementing change management initiatives, mapping business processes, and establishing portfolio, programmes and project management units on behalf of clients.

Professor Winston Shakantu

Winston Shakantu is a Professor of Construction Management at NMMU. His qualifications include an Honours degree in Building; a Masters in Construction Management from the University of Reading; a Doctorate from Glasgow Caledonian University and a Post-graduate certificate in International Construction Management from Lund University.

Winston is also professionally qualified as Professional Construction Managers (PrCM) and is a full member of the chartered Institute of Building (MCIOB). He is also a Chatered Construction Manager. He has published over 100 papers in journals, conferences and book chapters and supervised to completion 10 Doctoral graduates and scores of Masters and Honours candidates.