Directors

Regional & South Africa Board

William GumedeTwitter

Executive Chairperson

William Gumede is Associate Professor, School of Governance at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is Executive Chairperson of Democracy Works Foundation and former Deputy Editor of The Sowetan newspaper.

During the anti-apartheid struggle, Gumede held several leadership positions in South African student, civics and trade union movements. He was a political violence mediator and area coordinator for the National Peace Committee during the multiparty negotiations for a democratic South Africa and was seconded to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is the author of several number 1 bestsellers. His more recent books include: Restless Nation: Making Sense of Troubled Times (Tafelberg); and South Africa in BRICS – Salvation or Ruination (Tafelberg).

To read publications by William Gumede on our website please click here.

Democracy in developing and African countries is unlikely to be sustainable without the democratisation of their markets and the economies either. In fact the sustainability of democracy in developing countries will depend on governments democratising both the state and the market.

Olmo von MeijenfeldtTwitterLinkedIn

Executive Director

Olmo is Executive Director and co-Founder of Democracy Works Foundation. He has worked as a political networker, analyst, social entrepreneur, development practitioner and innovative manager on issues of human rights and democratisation in both Africa and Europe. He has spearheaded various leadership, democracy building and conflict resolution initiatives, in addition to managing funds dedicated to strengthening the role of civil society, political society and media through cross-sector approaches to deepening democracy.

His key interests lie in civil society sustainability and funding mechanisms for governance, human rights and democracy work in Africa and the global South, conflict management, institutions, leadership development, technology for development and climate and environmental issues.

Olmo leads the DWF Team on a day-to-day basis. Besides DWF's regional board, Olmo also sits on the DWF Malawi board.

To read publications by Olmo von Meijenfeldt on our website please click here. To view his tags please click here.

Democracy building is and must be an ongoing process, whether in South Africa or the EU. It is never ‘finished’, as older democracies show. Investing in democracy takes time, vision and long-term commitment. The returns don't necessarily show overnight, perhaps not even in our lifetime. It is a political development process that should involve all sectors of society.

Nerine KahnLinkedIn

Nerine is the former Director of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA). She is a qualified attorney with a BA, LLB and advanced Diploma in Labour Law. She practiced for six years where she mainly specialized in labor law. She was then employed by the CCMA as a commissioner for six years, as a senior CCMA commissioner, she was involved in a range of activities.


In addition to arbitrating, mediating and conciliating, she was involved in the development of the CCMA screening process, training for commissioners and the initial dispute management training for trade unions and employers. She was previously Chief Director for Labour Relations in the Department of Labour. In that capacity, she was responsible for the Labour Relations Act (including being the government representative on the CCMA Governing Body), Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Employment Equity Act.

Adjoa Ayivor

Adjoa is a Chartered Accountant and a seasoned Financial Director with extensive experience in Subsaharan Africa. Skillset spans a number of different industries, however, she is currently working in the Business Process Outsourcing space.

Badian Maasdorp

Mr. Maasdorp is the Director of Yard Investment Holdings. He was a Director at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc for 5 years. He is an admitted attorney in South Africa.

Botswana Board

Dr Augustine MagolowondoTwitterLinkedIn

Regional Director

Augustine has over twenty years experience in international development cooperation particularly in the fields of governance, democracy, human rights, with most of these years spent in the field of political parties’ strengthening in sub-Saharan Africa. Previously he worked with the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) as the Africa Regional Representative. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science focusing on democratisation aid and development cooperation and an MA in Development Management from the Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany.

Malawi Board

Olmo von MeijenfeldtTwitterLinkedIn

Executive Director

Olmo is Executive Director and co-Founder of Democracy Works Foundation. He has worked as a political networker, analyst, social entrepreneur, development practitioner and innovative manager on issues of human rights and democratisation in both Africa and Europe. He has spearheaded various leadership, democracy building and conflict resolution initiatives, in addition to managing funds dedicated to strengthening the role of civil society, political society and media through cross-sector approaches to deepening democracy.

His key interests lie in civil society sustainability and funding mechanisms for governance, human rights and democracy work in Africa and the global South, conflict management, institutions, leadership development, technology for development and climate and environmental issues.

Olmo leads the DWF Team on a day-to-day basis. Besides DWF's regional board, Olmo also sits on the DWF Malawi board.

To read publications by Olmo von Meijenfeldt on our website please click here. To view his tags please click here.

Democracy building is and must be an ongoing process, whether in South Africa or the EU. It is never ‘finished’, as older democracies show. Investing in democracy takes time, vision and long-term commitment. The returns don't necessarily show overnight, perhaps not even in our lifetime. It is a political development process that should involve all sectors of society.

Ennettie M'buka

Country Director

Ennettie has extensive knowledge and experience in democratic governance; development and coordination of donor-funded interventions and monitoring program plans. She was previously a Program Officer for Tilitonse Fund responsible for a portfolio of 22 CBO projects and responsible for guiding the implementation,  proposal development, capacity building and monitoring of projects. She has worked as a  Program Analyst for Elections and Social Cohesion at UNDP Malawi. Prior to this, she worked for Malawi Parliament and Guys and St Thomas Hospital in London. She holds a Bachelors from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and a Master of Business Administration from Hull University, UK.

In her capacity as DWF Malawi Country Director Ennettie has been appointed Executive Secretary of the DWF Malawi Board of Directors.

Ambassador Ron Nkomba

Chairperson of DWF Malawi

Ambassador Ron Nkomba (Rtd), became the first Malawian Clerk to the Cabinet in August, 1969. He transferred to the Ministry of External Affairs in 1972 where, in 1975, he was appointed as Malawi’s Chief of Protocol. Ambassador Nkomba was, in December 1978, appointed Malawi’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Kenya. He returned to Malawi in August, 1981 to serve as Permanent Secretary in the Ministries of Local Government, Transport and Communications, and of Health. From 1985 to 1990, Ambassador Nkomba served as Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

Ambassador Nkomba was, in December 1991, appointed Malawi Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, with non-resident Accreditation to Austria, the Kingdom of Denmark, Switzerland, and the Vatican (Holy See). He returned to Malawi in March, 1995 and was in September, 1996 appointed Chairman of the Working Committee which established Malawi’s second Public University – the Mzuzu University. From 2006 t0 2007 Ambassador Nkomba was a Commissioner in the Special Law Commission on the Review of the Malawi Constitution.

From January, 2008 to January, 2012 Ambassador Nkomba served as an Electoral Commissioner of the Malawi Electoral Commission. Currently, Ambassador Ron Nkomba is involved in the establishment of the National Peace Architecture (NPA) which will culminate in the launching of the Malawi Peace Commission. (MPC).

Ambassador Roosevelt GondweLinkedIn

Roosevelt Gondwe is a Malawian lawyer with extensive experience in capacity building and facilitation. He has worked largely with Members of Parliament and Parliamentary Staff focusing on governance and democracy for Parliament and reputable management institutions in the Southern Africa region, namely the Malawi Institute of Management, and the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute.

Until 2015, he served in various public service capacities namely as Clerk of the Parliament of Malawi responsible for advising the Speaker and House on parliamentary law and practice and administering the House and staff under the direction of the Speaker; as Chief Elections Officer (1994-1999 and 2004) at the Malawi Electoral Commission responsible for administering the electoral cycle within the electoral laws and practices of Malawi; and  as Ambassador for Malawi in Japan, responsible for representing Malawi in its diplomatic relations  and negotiations with Japan and other countries of accreditation between 2005 and 2010. He currently consults on legislative strengthening.

I believe the quality of democracy is enhanced when it delivers between elections.

Zambia Board

Reverend Suzanne Matale

Rev. Suzanne Matale was the General Secretary of the Council of Churches in Zambia, a tax justice activist and a member of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT), a group of global leaders promoting reform of the international corporate taxation system. Rev Matale held the position for 10 years from 2007 to 2017. The tenure, however, was challenged from the very beginning and it was never a question of her competence. Rev. Matale outperformed 13 other candidates – all of them men - only for the appointing authorities to decide the position of CCZ General Secretary was too important to be held by a woman. The appointing authorities then called for a second round of interviews and this time it was a different panel. The panel independently decided that the Rev. Matale was better than the other eight candidates – all of them male, and recommended that she be given the opportunity. A position she held for ten years while promoting justice and fairness especially for women and the poor.

Dr Prince Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika

Dr Prince Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika (born 4 February 1948) is a Zambian politician and businessman with a princely title. He was a founding member of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy. During Rupiah Banda's presidency, he served as a Presidential Advisor for Political Affairs. In political governance, Dr. Lewanika clocked twenty years as initiator and Founder, National Secretary of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy, a legislator, a Cabinet Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Special Assistant (Political) to the state President, Chairman of the National Economic Advisory Council, Chairman of the National Governing Council of the African Peer Review Mechanism and a Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission. He holds three Master’s degrees from Boston, Carleton and Cornell universities as well as a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Jackson State University in the USA and Canada. In addition, he holds a Fellowship of the Economic Development Institute of the World Bank, a Certificate in Science and Technology Innovation Programme from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and a Certificate in Management Accounting from the International Labour Organisation and a Certificate, United Nations Institute for Public Enterprise, Ljubljana, Slovenia during the era of a united Yugoslavia. In addition, he has been awarded D. Phil (Honori Causa) by the International Management Centres Association and Revans University of the U.K. in recognition of his contribution towards Democracy and Development as well as lifetime demonstration of Action Learning.

Fannie NthakomwaTwitterLinkedIn

Deputy Regional Director

Fannie is a multi-disciplinary expert with more than 17 years of experience in the development and governance sectors. As the Deputy Regional Director, she is responsible for overseeing the management and operation of all programmes implemented at the country level within the southern African region for improved programme performance and coherence with organizational and donor objectives.

She also serves as the Deputy Chief of Party (DCOP) for the Southern Africa Political Parties and Dialogue (SAPP&D). Prior to this, she served as the Senior Technical Adviser (STA) and DWF Country Director for Zambia. Fannie has wide experience in governance promotion of policy dialogue, citizen participation, responsiveness, transparency and accountability as well as strengthening democratic governance and institutions. She is also well experienced in legislative and parliamentary work, programme management and strategic planning.

Before joining DWF, Fannie worked with a broad range of actors in management positions including serving as Programme Manager at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) Malawi, as Deputy Country Director and Programs Coordinator with the Swedish Organization for Individual Relief (SOIR) and as Project Manager for the jointly funded Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and DFID Economic Governance Project in Malawi.

She also has hands-on experience in grants management and setting up grants making systems having worked as Deputy Team Leader and Head of Operations for a £19 million multi-donor (DFID, Royal Norwegian Embassy and Irish Aid) pooled grant-making facility in Malawi (the Tilitonse Fund).


As a DWF Master trainer and facilitator, Fannie provides organizational capacity development support through training, mentorship and coaching. Her academic background, in which she holds an MSc in Agriculture Economics from University of Malawi, and her practical experience in governance provides the much-needed nexus between politics and development.

Honorary Board Members

Njeri KabeberiTwitterLinkedIn

Njeri Kabeberi was appointed as Greenpeace Africa Executive Director in September 2015. Before her appointment, she served as CEO of the Civil Society Reference Group in Kenya.

Until 2014 Njeri was the programme coordinator for the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy in Kenya and Director of the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD-K), Kenya. In the aftermath of the troubled 2007 elections, CMD-K played an eminent role in fostering a multi-actor dialogue. Her past work includes being part of the Citizens Coalition for Constitutional Change and Development Coordinator for East & Southern Africa at Amnesty International. She is a former First chair of the pressure group, Release Political Prisoners and past board member of the Kenya Human Rights Commission.

Njeri is a recipient of the Democracy Ribbon in the Netherlands for her commitment to human rights and democracy in Kenya most notably after the conflicts that arose following the 2007/2008 elections. She succeeded in bringing various parties together and building bridges for the advancement of democracy in Kenya. She has also received a Humanity Award by the Frankfurt Chamber of Lawyers in Germany.

Heather SonnTwitterLinkedIn

Heather Sonn is the Managing Director of Gamiro Investment Holdings, a company that focuses on investments and building businesses in the energy, agriculture and specialist financial services sectors. She is a Fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative, which is part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and is a global moderator for the Aspen Institute.

Sonn has also worked in national social cohesion projects aimed at increasing the strength of South Africa’s democracy and lobbying government and the social justice sector on various aspects of policy. She started her career completing the Investment Banking Analyst Programme at Merrill Lynch, New York and has held senior executive positions in investment management, stockbroking and banking industries, including as the deputy CEO of the largest women’s investment company in South Africa, Wipcapital that served over 200,000 women beneficiaries via its Trusts. She was also a senior executive of Barclays in London.

Sisonke Msimang

With a background in funding non-profit organisations fighting for democratic change in Africa, Msimang has become a powerful advocate for the better use of money and power on her continent. She writes about money, power and sex. She is the former executive director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.

To read publications by Sisonke Msimang on our website please click here.

I believe that democracy is endogenous to African societies. For too long we have used the language and tools of the West which has created a false impression that accountability, transparency and governance are inherently foreign ideas. Democracy matters because it is as African as it is Greek, and as crucial to our political lives as oxygen is to all of humanity.