Thabang Mametse is a qualified Social Worker and has been working in the development sector since 2004. She worked at Grassroot Soccer as a Programme Manager, providing oversight on the Community Responses Programme and managing grantees. Previously, she worked at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund as a Programme Specialist, managing funded partner organisations and providing strategic guidance to the Fund’s initiatives in the North West province. Thabang managed the 2014 and 2015Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliaments, a joint initiative with the Department of Social Development. Prior to her lengthy experience at the Fund, she worked at Heartbeat Centre for Community Development as a Social Worker, overseeing the design, implementation and monitoring of the Children’s Empowerment Programme. Socially, she embraces health, fitness and wellbeing as a qualified Group Exercise Instructor through Virgin Active Gym. Thabang holds an Honours Degree in Social Work from the University of Pretoria and a number of certificate trainings.
Mother, occupational therapist, public health specialist. After seven years of working as an occupational therapist, Ruth embarked on a Master’s in Public Health. The highlights of her career include four years with Medecins sans Frontieres’ (MSF) HIV and TB project in Khayelitsha, as well as becoming a mother and relocating from Cape Town to Johannesburg.These experiences have brought her to her present role as the Flourish Curriculum Developer and Master Trainer at Grow Great.Her personal and professional experiences of pregnancy, early childhood and motherhood have made her acutely aware of the vulnerability faced by parents and the potential impact of this on their children.This understanding is her motivator as Flourish works towards creating a network of empowered moms, supported to raise children capable of reaching their full potential in life.
Sinikiwe’s passion arises from recognising that achieving the dreams of our forebears’struggle for a South Africa that upholds justice and dignity for all depends on the health of its citizens.“We need strong bodies and strong minds for the work of bringing forth the vision of our forefathers and foremothers. Moreover, the state of health in our communities is a potent measure of our progress towards that vision –and sheds light on the long road still before us,” she says. Sinikiwe was born in rural KwaZulu-Natal, to a traditional Zulu family –where it was, and remains, difficult to access reliable information, and –more difficult still –to wisely analyse it. Hoping to address this challenge, she undertook studies in journalism and media studies. She is committed to using her skills and gifts to benefit rural communities, which still comprise a large portion of South Africa.
Mmakgomo Tshetlo was born and raised in Kwa-Thema, Springs.She originally enrolled at Boston Media House to study advertising.She had always dreamed of pursuing a career as an art director,and eventually owning her own ad agency.During her second year of studying, she had a change of heart and fell in love with radio and decided that would be her final year major. She graduated with a diploma in radio and broadcasting production.A year after graduating and knocking on many doors, she was fortunate enough to secure an internship with one of the best talk radio stations in the country, Talk Radio 702. Her first role at the station was that of a promotions producer, before vying for her dream role of becoming a content producer. After four years at the helm of influencing and driving important conversations in the country she changed roles, moved departments and wore the hat of a digital content producer.After six years, she parted ways with her first love –radio.Soon thereafter she was afforded the opportunity of delving into television, another interest and passion of hers. She assumed the role of researcher, working on a reality show called Stereotype Drop. It was a brief stint,but presented many learning opportunities. Mmakgomo is now a Flourish coach and can confidently say this has been one of the most fulfilling things she has done in her life. Being at Flourish has given her a sense of purpose and belonging –she no longer feels misplaced.
Valerie Mthandeki obtained her Bachelor of Arts (Education) degree at the University of Transkei (now called Walter Sisulu University).She furthered her studies, completing a Further Diploma in Education Management with the University of Pretoria and a TEFL course with Boston College. After a 10-year career with the Department of Education as an Educator, her love for interacting with different people saw her leaving the department and starting a career insales and marketing. She spent a few years working for companies like Old Mutual, Sanlam and Bytes Document Solutions, among others. While working in sales, various opportunities arose for her to work infreelance jobs in publishing and research. This kick-started her career path as a Freelance Research Field Worker and a Freelancer in publishing. She has worked on various projects both in publishing and research, with companies like Pearsons, Maskew Miller and Systems Approach, to mention a few, where her love for working with people of different cultures in different communities was enhanced. It was during her time working on one of these projects that she was identified to work as a Facilitator and a Coach for Flourish.
I love Flourish because it is fulfilling and it empowers mothers and children to achieve zero stunting by 2030.
I love Flourish because it gave mea platform thatempowered me to bringapositive changetomy community. I stay in a community where pregnant moms use and abuse substances that can be harmful to mom and baby. I’m looking forward to 2030,to see a healthier community as well as a healthy and striving South Africa.
I love Flourishbecause ithas changed my life. It has given me a new lease on life. It is adynamic and beautiful organisation that is changing the landscape of the next generation in South Africa. I believe that everyone who comesin contact with Flourish can never be the same again. The beautiful amazing women who are at the helm of Flourish arean inspiration and a blessing to me. I am so privileged to be a part of thismovement. You go Flourish!
Phakama Ndamase is, by profession,a social worker. She began her career in 2006 after completing her BA Social Sciences degree in Social work. Phakama worked for 7 years at the Child & Welfare Society of Pietermaritzburg before venturing into private practice as a social worker. She also workedas a supervisor at theUniversityof South Africa from 2014 until 2018 supervising first, second and third year social work students in the Practical Social Work course and conducting workshops. Phakamais passionate about helping and working with people and generally seeing them improve in any area they feel needs development. “I love 'interaction for purpose’ and working with people to help them achieve their dreams and overcome their challenges,” she says. She currently works on one-on-one counselling, trauma and debriefing, training and workshops. She says that being a Flourish coach has enhanced her passion for helping women and mothers. “I have had the great pleasure ofbeing part of a motivated and inspired team of Flourish coaches and mothers. I'm also a proud mother of one and I aspire to raise a healthy child.”
I love Flourish because it helps create awareness around stunting and teaches mothers how to take care of themselves and their children during and after pregnancy.