Zolani Mahola, a South African singer, actress, storyteller, and inspirational speaker, is a celebrated artist who has graced the same stage as music legends like Stevie Wonder and Hugh Masekela. Known for her ability to unite people through her art, she launched her solo career in 2019, transcending social, racial, and cultural divides.
Passionate about empowering children and youth, she is an ambassador for the Seachange Project, Zip Zap Circus School, Morris Isaacson Centre for Music, and the Earthchild Project. Her 2019 self-penned one-woman play, “The One Who Sings”, earned her the prestigious Fleur Du Cap award for Best Actress.
Her debut solo album, “Thetha Mama,” released in November 2021, explores themes of childhood, nature, and storytelling, earning two nominations at the 2022 South African Music Awards.
Sasha-Lee is a 26 year old Published Author, Business Owner, Model and Philanthropist.
A Bachelor of Social Sciences Graduate with a double Major in Marketing and Psychology now also pursing her qualifications in Education. Sasha has always been passionate about education and youth development from a very young age and has actively been involved in giving back within her community.
In 2018 Sasha started Learn to Read, Learn to Lead with the aim and vision to help create a literate nation in South Africa especially amongst areas that lack resources. Learn to Read, Learn to Lead consists of children’s educational books to teach children the basics of reading, writing and counting while also addressing social issues such as bullying, child trafficking and protecting the environment.
In 2018 the first book was recognized as book of the year in Parliament at the National Youth Summit and Sasha was awarded Young Leader in Philanthropy. These books give back to two beneficiaries being the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Tshwane Child Welfare Fund and Sasha is very excited about the recent partnership with Breadline Africa as well!
Breadline Africa is doing an incredible job to help develop children in poor communities and I am excited to be working with them and hoping to change the lives of many more children within South Africa.
The books from Learn to Read, Learn to Lead are featured as learning materials in schools in Delft, Western Cape, Witkoppen Primary and has been featured in Bulgaria with their department of education.
Sasha has since also been awarded the Woman of Wonder Award in August 2022, Top 50 Inspirational Woman of 2022 and Top 50 Global Inspiring Icons for 2023.
As a proudly South African young entrepreneur, speaker and business owner of a swimwear company called She Succeeds, Bianca Bezuidenhout probably looks quite familiar – and she should, as a Miss South Africa finalist and audience favourite!
She was born in Newcastle, Kwazulu Natal and matriculated in Bloemfontein in 2017. After obtaining a BA degree in Marketing Communications from AAA School of advertising in 2020, she decided to pursue a childhood dream of becoming one of the youngest contestants to make it to the top five of Miss South Africa in 2021. And being the resolute young lady that she is, that is exactly what happened.
In addition to her business, Bianca is a Zumba dance instructor, taking the opportunity to bring people together through dance and in celebration of health, fitness and unity. Through her passion for community work, she is a youth ambassador for several community projects and lives out her passion and mission to move South Africa forward, faster.
She sums herself up in three words: Faithful, compassionate, purposeful.
An experienced financial services professional in South Africa with business interest in the UK. Sanelisiwe has accomplished career highlights in broadcasting, marketing and publishing. She is a seasoned thought leadership, investments, wealth, economics and premium lifestyle writer; trained corporate spokesperson in representing listed financial services providers, as well as a trained studio reporter and has successfully reached SA and the broader African continent audiences in expressing economic data on television, radio, print and online.
Gantsho is a non-executive director, board member, Trustee and Chairman of the UK board for Help2Read and a member of the executive committee for the South African Chamber of Commerce UK. She is passionate about being an instrument for global social impact investing, international trade – under the banner of environmental, governance and socially (ESG) cohesive practices.
Gantsho holds an MBA, Bcom Hons Economics; Bcom Economics and Business Management, specialising in Econometrics, Investment Analysis and Financial Econometrics. She is also an invited guest writer and author at Lucy Cavendish College (University of Cambridge), Stellenbosch Visio and the Stellenbosch Wine Routes half century celebratory book.
Colin Bloom is a teenager living in New York City (NYC) and is a dual USA / South African citizen. He visits South Africa often and will be attending the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa from January 2023.
In NYC, Colin volunteers as a literacy tutor with Reading Partners in Harlem each week and since 2017, has provided free after-school STEM classes to underprivileged children at Washington Heights. Colin founded his school’s Architecture and Urban Planning Club and worked in construction over the summer. He plays water polo, golf and referees flag football games on weekends.
Colin founded Libraries for Literacy, an organisation dedicated to increasing access to books for South African schools. In March 2020, he established his first library at an under-resourced school in Doornkop, Soweto. Colin collected and transported over 1,500 beginner and early reader books to create the school’s first library.
In March 2022, Colin brought over 3,000 books to launch the new Tshaneni Primary School library in rural KwaZulu Natal. He also collaborated with Room to Read Africa to purchase more than 100 children’s books in Zulu. As the school building didn’t have space for a library, Colin spent half a year fundraising and reached out to partner with Breadline Africa to place a converted shipping container next to the school hall.
Douglas Bragdon earned a master’s degree in English at West Virginia University in 1981, and then began a successful career with the Federal Government. In 2008, he formed a small company to provide engineering and management services to the Government and during the course of 2021, retired from all government work and sold the company.
As Douglas began to contemplate a restful retirement, he began to write funding proposals for local non-profit organizations in the human services sector. The organisations he supports care for foster children, provide mentorship for inner-city youth, support those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and encourage young people to explore science and technology education.
In addition to a successful ‘second career’ as a grant-writer, having written and coordinated the submission of grant proposals for six non-profit organisations, Douglas has served as a volunteer, advisor, and board member for various non-profit groups.
He says: “While there are many worthy and underfunded causes within the US, I believe there is also a recognition among some of us that the needs may be even greater in other regions of the world – and there is an accompanying willingness to help.”
Jane Hardy, based in the UK, is an extreme cold water swimmer, and was the first English woman to swim an ice kilometre in Antarctica in February 2020.
Jane swam the Freedom Swim, a mass participation event that takes place from Robben Island to the Cape Town mainland in 2015 where she met Arafat Gatabazi, a Breadline Africa ambassador who reconnected her with Breadline Africa director, Marion Wagner after 25 years, as it turned out that they had attended university together!
Jane took the opportunity to learn more about Breadline Africa’s work, and was so impressed with the difference the organisation was making to children in under-resourced communities, that she took it upon herself to actively raise funds. Together with Arafat, she swam around the moat in the Castle of Good Hope to celebrate its 250th birthday, while raising awareness and funding for Breadline Africa and also arranged events in the UK – included sitting in an ice bath outside her local Sainsburys supermarket for Sport Relief, a fundraising arm of Comic Relief, a UK-based international funding entity. The store kindly gifted a range of basic necessities, which Jane brought on her next visit to South Africa to be distributed to one of Breadline Africa’s pre-school projects in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
Jane’s involvement in making the world a better place is not limited to Breadline Africa and she lends her time and efforts to several environmental causes, with a strong emphasis on protecting the oceans. She rescues marine mammals for British Divers Marine Life Rescue and is involved with Pawz for Thought, a domestic animal rescue organisation.
Arafat Gatabazi is a an open-water swimmer and philanthropist. He uses his passion for swimming to raise funds for various charity organisations in South Africa. He is known for his endurance and determination, having completed several challenging swims, including the swim from Robben Island, swimming around Robben Island, and swimming around Cape Point. In 2014, he was honored with the Swimmer of the Year award by the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association.
In addition to his swimming achievements, Arafat is also an experienced project manager in the Edtech industry. He has been working in the field for eight years and has a wealth of experience in both software development and project management. Currently, he is a project manager for a leading Edtech company and in his role, he helps his team deliver impactful and innovative educational experiences that attract, engage, and retain students. He does this by working collaboratively with faculty and subject matter experts to create customised learning solutions for leading universities.
Arafat is a long-standing supporter of Breadline Africa and shares the organisation’s enthusiasm for supporting early childhood development initiatives in impoverished communities around the country – so much so that he has combined this with his passion for open-water swimming to raise much-needed funds for Breadline Africa’s projects.
Scarlett Lanzas is a social entrepreneur and nonprofit management executive with a demonstrated history of working with public and private sector agencies, nonprofits and international development and humanitarian assistance organisations. She is passionate about human rights and gender equality.
Scarlett founded Accountable Impact (AI), a social impact enterprise that activates networks in South Florida focusing on systems change addressing multiple dimensions of sustainable development by utilizing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework. Scarlett co-founded Emergent Global Consulting, a consultancy and advisory firm providing services to organisations, public institutions and corporations that focus on sustainable development and social impact. As an impact investor, she focuses on the development of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) metrics, research and development of financial services related to impact investing at Emergent Global Investments. She co-founded Social Impact Movement, a Miami nonprofit organisation and a catalyst for change for youth engagement, activism, and education on the SDGs.
During the span of her career, Scarlett worked in diverse areas ranging from international development and humanitarian assistance through her role at the United Nations World Food Programme. Previous roles included Executive Director of Puentes New Orleans, a nonprofit organisation in Louisiana that focused on policy and advocacy and the development of economic, health and community assets and leadership building initiatives for Latinos. At Florida International University she worked on specific projects related to data review, assessment, and accreditation processes for graduate programs.
Scarlett holds an Executive Master of Public Administration degree from Florida International University, a master’s in International Development and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations. Scarlett supports causes ranging from civic engagement, social justice, and the protection of human rights around the world. Scarlett is committed to fostering relationships and developing partnerships with organizations that work on the achievement of the UN SDGs.
After graduating from Gannon University in Pennsylvania, USA, Richard Deuink travelled to South Africa to meet his grandparents and extended family. His mother was born outside Witbank (now called Emalahleni) in Mpumalanga and lived there until the age of seven and following World War II, she emigrated to the USA with her new husband, while her family returned to South Africa from the United Kingdom.
This short visit turned into a three year stay in Africa that saw Richard working for De Beers Diamonds, based in Oranjemund in Namibia. 1977, he returned to the USA to begin his post-graduate education in Sociology, graduating from the State University of New York at Albany in 1978 and moving on to a PhD programme from there.
Preferring a family life and a job to academia, he married and began a career, first within State government, then with the Federal government, where he worked for 30 years in the Baltimore – Washington DC corridor.
Having spent his entire working career in government service in the USA, he returns to his roots in Africa as an ambassador for Breadline Africa. He explains that he had the privilege of knowing one of the organisation’s founders, Frances Greathead, and spoke with her several times about its mission, adding that he could think of few more important contributors to the lives of South Africa’s young people.
“Breadline Africa has stepped up admirably by offering practical solutions to communities in need of educational facilities from where services can be based and made real,” he says.
© Breadline Africa. NPO No. 053-406-NPO | UK Charity No. 1075525 | IRL Charity No. 20107666