WHO WE ARE
Chairperson, Sustainability and Transformation
Gugu Mclaren has over 10 years experience in the field of sustainable development, having worked in corporate, consultancy & non-profit sectors in varying industries including health, insurance & extractive. Her focus has been on strategy development & implementation, leadership, and reporting within globally relevant organisations. She holds a MSocSc in Gender and Development from the African Gender Institute at UCT. Gugu is a co-founder of iSwareyi, a Johannesburg based movement for the appreciation our African identity, manifested through art. Additionally, Gugu is director of Themba Books, an independent publisher focused on supporting African writers telling African stories.
Dr “Clown” Jamie McLaren Lachman
Jamie (aka Jabulani Nene Mshengu aka Banjo Max aka Dr Jamie Clown) is the founder of Clowns Without Borders South Africa. He has over 20 years of experience as a physical theatre performer, musician, storyteller, songwriter, mindfulness facilitator, and clown. Jamie has performed and facilitated 100s of shows and workshops to support the wellbeing of children and families around the world. He also has a DPhil in Social Intervention from the University of Oxford where he also works as a research fellow in the Centre for Evidence-Based Research. His research focuses on the development, adaptation, implementation, evaluation and scale-up of parenting programmes to reduce violence against children and improve child and family wellbeing in low- and middle-income countries. Always looking for laughter in the life’s simplicity, Jamie strives to live each day fully with compassion and amazement.
Neesha is a committed advocate for gender equality, youth empowerment, child participation and child rights. Her career in international development and rights based programmes, spans over a decade, covering 30 countries in East and Southern Africa, West Africa as well as the Asia- Pacific region. She is currently attached to Save the Children International regional office for East and Southern Africa’ regional programming unit, where she is a member of the child rights governance and child poverty team. Her focus has been on strengthening and supporting civil society organisations and regional mechanisms in the East and Southern Africa region to hold governments to account for child and youth rights. Previously she was associated with UN Women, ARROW in Malaysia and People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), where she collaborated with diverse teams, working in the area of ending gender based violence and universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. She holds a Masters (MA), in Global Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), at the University of London and is planning on starting a second masters in Global Leadership, in the summer of 2019. Neesha believes the more she learns, the more she has yet to learn and she hopes that never changes.
Sibongile Tsoanyane is a juggler, singer, storyteller, clown, and facilitator. Originally from a small town in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, she lives in Pietermaritzburg. In 1999, Sibongile was a founding member of the African Dream Circus. She began working with Clowns Without Borders as a senior facilitating artist in 2007. Working throughout Southern Africa as well as Ethiopia and Canada, Sibongile has told stories, performed clown shows, and facilitated workshops that use storytelling and play to strengthen relationships between guardians and children affected by HIV/AIDS, poverty, and violence. With a big heart and beautiful smile, Sibongile hopes to continue awakening joy and creativity in the lives of people throughout the world.
Sibusiso was born in Soweto. During high school he was involved in cultural of learning and teaching programmes through drama. He joined Thesele Creative Society (T.C.S.), a community theatre group. T.C.S. introduced him to physical theatre and street performance touring around the world. In 2003 Sibusiso was awarded a scholarship to study physical theatre at the Jacques Lecoq School of Theatre in Paris for two years. Upon his return he taught in schools, organisations and institutions and continued performing and directing. At later stage Sibusiso joined MLA agent where he was introduced to co-operate theatre. In 2008 he got a role in an international movie still to be released called Bang Bang Club. In 2009 Sibusiso attended a facilitators training at Sibikwa Arts Centre and was awarded a SACRA certificate.
Lulu has worked with Clowns Without Borders South Africa since 2008. Prior to her involvement in the organisation, she worked in the private sector as well as with the faith based institutions and churches of South Africa and internationally. She was also the Operations and Funds Director of the Robs Smetherham Bereavement Service for Children, now called Dlalanathi (2004-2008). Ngcobo was a fellow in the 2010 MACAIDS Leadership Training by the University of Columbia and Human Sciences Research Council. She has training in gender sensitivity, monitoring & evaluation, management, and bereavement. Lulu is a graduate of the University of South Africa, holding a Bachelor of Commerce in Business Management. In 2018, she graduated with her Honours in Bachelor of Theology with the University of KwaZulu Natal in Pietermaritzburg. As Co-Director of Clowns Without Borders South Africa, Ngcobo is responsible for organisational management and procedures, financial management, and donor relations
Suzan is Co – Director at Clowns Without Borders South Africa since 2018. She has over 15 years of experience working with the non-governmental and public sector, as well as the UN – in particular with refugees, children and education. She has a MSc from London School of Economics in sociology and complex emergencies. Suzan comes from a Swedish speaking and Tatar background in Finland, grew up in the UK and has worked in Finland, UK, Switzerland, Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa. She is a strong believer in empowerment of individuals to take control of their lives and make informed decisions without harm. Suzan loves reading (has even written a novel) and being outdoors in the middle of nowhere!
TECHNICAL PROGRAMME SPECIALIST (Content Development and Quality Assurance)
Anna is part of the implementation network of the Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) initiative. As Technical Programme Specialist for the parenting programme for parents of children ages 2-9 (PLH 2-9), she enjoys providing support to a wide variety of partners to successfully strengthen families and reduce child maltreatment. After completing her Masters in Humanitarian Action in the Netherlands, Anna lived and worked as a development consultant in Liberia, West-Africa, for several years. When the Ebola epidemic brought her work in Liberia to an end, she joined Médecins Sans Frontières for missions in Pakistan, South Sudan, and South Africa. In 2016, Anna joined the parenting team at Clowns Without Borders South Africa to support partners in adapting and implementing the PLH 2-9 programmes. She continues to be amazed and motivated by the positive impact of the parenting programmes on individual lives, families, and communities across Africa and East-Asia.
TECHNICAL PROGRAMME SPECIALIST (TRAINING)
Sibongile, aka Gogo, is a juggler, singer, storyteller, clown, and facilitator. Originally from a small town in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, she lives in Pietermaritzburg. In 1999, Sibongile was a founding member of the African Dream Circus. She began working with Clowns Without Borders as a senior facilitating artist in 2007. Working throughout Southern Africa as well as Ethiopia and Canada, Sibongile has told stories, performed clown shows, and facilitated workshops that use storytelling and play to strengthen relationships between guardians and children affected by HIV/AIDS, poverty, and violence. With a big heart and beautiful smile, Sibongile hopes to continue awakening joy and creativity in the lives of people throughout the world.
TECHNICAL PROGRAMME SPECIALIST (International)
Nyasha has a MA in Child and Family Studies, as well as being a qualified counsellor and life coach. She was born and raised in Zimbabwe, moving for studies to South Africa at the age of 18. She has invested the last 11 years engaged in community development projects, especially focusing on the acquisition of socio-economic rights of disenfranchised people. She resides with her two sisters whilst being surrounded by loving family and friends of all races and nationalities – she thrives in diversity and the variety it brings! Her perfect day is when where she can drive to places with good food and taste a little bit of everything! She likes DIY projects that involve transforming seemingly old and unloved pieces into new and useful pieces. She never gets bored, as her over-active imagination keeps her occupied. The work at Clowns reminds her that we are connected as human beings, our experiences may be different yet we all crave good communication, good relationships and a violent-free society.
TECHNICAL PROGRAMME SPECIALIST (SOUTH AFRICA)
Mpume started her NGO career in 1999 working with children living on the streets of Durban. Her work centred on building trust with these young people at risk, encourage them to make positive choices and if possible, reunite them with their families. This experience exposed her to extreme conditions of poverty and inequality, leading to her pursuing postgraduate studies focusing on the Economics of Development. She later joined CWBSA in what began as a very short stint to assist with reporting in 2014 and has become a longer relationship and home.
Ayanda was born in Durban raised in Matatiele and now lives in Pietermaritzburg. She joined CWBSA in 2016 as a financial Administrator. She held a certificate in Bookkeeping, Pastel and Financial Accounting and currently working on her diploma in Accounting. Ayanda has been involved in different community work though the church. She believes in paying it forward by impacting one individual at a time. Her passion is music, organizing events and running catering business. She is a great organizer and love to keep the team financial accountable.
Previously Gillian was working with a global non profit organisation for nine years before joining CWBSA. Born and raised in Harare Zimbabwe, the sixth in a family of seven. She moved to South Africa in 2009 to study and pursue other opportunities. She is passionate about changing the world and enjoys making a significant positive impact on many families which drives towards the goal of changing the world. Outside of work, Gillian enjoys obtaining knowledge about the healing power of herbs. She recently obtained a diploma in herbalism to deepen her understanding and is constantly learning more.
Phatheka grew up in Mount Fletcher, Eastern Cape. She has a Diploma in Human Resources and is currently studying Counselling and Communication Skills. She has been with CWBSA for nearly 5 years and has worked all over Africa, Caribbean and Asia in terms of capacity building, providing technical support and programme coordination. She believes in being centred and balanced, focusing on a small circle of family and friends, but also enjoys learning from and experiencing different cultural and behavioural practices, traditions and expectations, as well as contributing to the overall growth and development of society.
MENTOR TRAINER, FACILITATOR AND STORYTELLER
ANDISWA MGEDELE COTIYANA
Andiswa joined CWBSA in 2013, and works as a trainer, facilitator and storyteller. She was born in Willowvale in the Eastern Cape and grew up in Cape Town. She is currently studying to complete a higher certificate in counselling and communication skills to combine with her education in early childhood development. Andiswa loves being around her larger family and makes sure she arranges events regularly, so that they can all connect. She feels at peace. She also love travelling and experiencing new cultures through CWBSA. She finds her professional work benefits the community and that she also applies to her own family and children.
Fundiswa has worked with CWBSA for 7 years. She has also previously worked as a data capturer and community worker. She originally comes from a family of 7 from Port Elizabeth, but now lives on the Cape Flats with her husband, children, niece and nephew. She is an independent lady who likes to challenge herself with new experiences, she also likes cooking and trying out new recipes.Working at CWBSA is close to my calling of helping the community and knowing that I can make a difference to many families.
ARTISTS WHO HAVE WORKED WITH US BEFORE
Sibusiso (SeeSaw) was born in Soweto. During high school he was involved in cultural of learning and teaching programmes through drama. He joined Thesele Creative Society (T.C.S.), a community theatre group. T.C.S. introduced him to physical theatre and street performance touring around the world. In 2003 Sibusiso was awarded a scholarship to study physical theatre at the Jacques Lecoq School of Theatre in Paris for two years. Upon his return he taught in schools, organisations and institutions and continued performing and directing. At later stage Sibusiso joined MLA agent where he was introduced to co-operate theatre. In 2008 he got a role in an international movie still to be released called Bang Bang Club. In 2009 Sibusiso attended a facilitators training at Sibikwa Arts Centre and was awarded a SACRA certificate. He continues to facilitating programmes for Batsha Jieud programmes at Ipelegeng community centre in Soweto.
Annabel, aka Banana Bell, is a clown, storyteller and facilitating artist from Swaziland and Malawi. Her interest in performing arts began during her school years at the United World College of Southern Africa. Annabel studied Theatre Arts at the University of London, while also collaborating as a performing artist with InForm Theatre Company, a physical theatre-based ensemble. Annabel went on to train for two years with an international drama academy to become a drama teacher. Searching for something closer to home and to her heart, Annabel returned to Swaziland and started Creative Beans, an arts-based organisation dedicated to the expression and empowerment of the child spirit through the arts (and heart). Through Creative Beans, she performs clown and storytelling shows, facilitates workshops, practices permaculture and home herbalism, as well as other things. Annabel has performed all over the world with CWB and radiates love, playfulness and compassion wherever she goes.
Sibongile is a juggler, singer, storyteller, clown, and facilitator. Originally from a small town in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, she lives in Pietermaritzburg. In 1999, Sibongile was a founding member of the African Dream Circus. She began working with Clowns Without Borders as a senior facilitating artist in 2007. Working throughout Southern Africa as well as Ethiopia and Canada, Sibongile has told stories, performed clown shows, and facilitated workshops that use storytelling and play to strengthen relationships between guardians and children affected by HIV/AIDS, poverty, and violence. With a big heart and beautiful smile, Sibongile hopes to continue awakening joy and creativity in the lives of people throughout the world.
Sibusiso Dlamini, aka “Mr. Fish,” has been performing for audiences for many years, astounding them with his skills as a juggler and physical comedian. A veteran of many local circuses including the Boswell Wilkie Circus, he has worked with Clowns Without Borders on many field expeditions in KZN, the Eastern Cape, and Limpopo. Mr. Fish lives in Hammerstead.
Jayne completed her Honours degree at WITS University, majoring in directing and stage/costume design. She decided she wasn’t finished learning and continued a further 2 years of theatre studies at l’ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris. She returned to South Africa to find herself in Cape Town working with the prestigious Visual theatre company, FTH:K. Jayne as a Director is best known for her “Batzofin Bite” as seen in her theatre productions Kardiavale and PruTTeL (which won a KANNA for Best Debut Production at the KKNK 2013) . Her common thread amongst all her work has always been based in the fundamental theatre training of “the Clown”. She has been a recurring director for Clowns without Borders South Africa since 2012, and through doing so, has discovered a passion for working in the social upliftment sector of the Arts.
Sipho Mdletshe, aka Zumba, was born and raised in Pietermartizburg. After matriculation, he couldn’t continue education due to financial constraints. A passionate football player, he devoted his life to the sport hoping to make a break through professionally. In 2007, Sipho broke his leg ending his soccer career. He joined the YMCA-Edendale as a volunteer facilitating workshops with children and youth who face challenges in life. Joining Clowns Without Borders in 2008, Sipho has performed throughout South Africa and Swaziland for thousands of children. He loves every moment of the work – especially facilitating residencies. He is very humble, passionate, and a hard worker and a hilariously funny character clown.
Gavin Stockden is one of the founding members and an office-bearer for CWBSA. He has been a performer since about 2000, starting as a fire performer and slowly moving on to juggling, unicycling, clown and magic. He is also the director of an entertainment agency that books performers for corporate and private functions in Durban and KZN. And he is one of the directors of a company that creates and installs urban gardening solutions such as vertical gardens, roof gardens and permaculture designs. He still can’t believe he doesn’t know how to surf or play an instrument.
Carlo Daniels grew up in Mitchell’s Plain, where he started singing and acting on street corners from a young age. Later he started his own boy band SHY which performed at places like Madame Zingara. He landed his first role in a David Kramer musical ‘Some Like it Vrot’, in 2011 and went to star in four more David Kramer productions- ‘Kat and the Kings’, ‘Blood Brothers’, ‘Orpheus in Africa’ and ‘District six Kanala’. He followed his calling to be a clown when attending a CWBSA clown workshop and he has never looked back.
Nomfezeko Sussie Mjwara, aka Olive, was born in the Eastern Cape, Mount Frere. She completed her higher primary and tertiary education in KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, and holds a National Diploma in Drama from the Durban University of Technology. Sussie is a facilitator, clown and storyteller; and has worked as an intern for KZN Department of Education Co-curricular Services: 2015-2017. Currently she is a freelancer in performance and facilitation and working on a regular basis with The Big Little Caravan of Joy, facilitating arts based programming for children.
Irene, aka Shikwikwi, is a clown, storyteller, performing and facilitating artist from Kenya. She developed her interest in working with children when she was in college. In 2011 she joined Sarakasi Trust Hospital Project as a storyteller, but she was soon introduced to hospital clowning. Shikwikwi has worked with Clowns Without Borders South Africa in Kenya and South Sudan as a volunteer performing and facilitating artist in 2014 and 2015. She completed her degree in counselling psychology and is currently working with Terre Des Hommes Swiss in one of the biggest slums in Kenya where she has introduced a new approach of using artistic skills to help children who are in distress.
Emilie is a fun and passionate theatre actress, singer, improviser and of course, clown! She completed her BADA degree at the Wits University, majoring in Performance and Television/Film Production. She then went on to New York to do a summer musical theatre intensive course at the Stella Adler Studio, and has been a part of the Joburg based Indigo View Advanced Actor’s Academy. She has performed in a range of children’s shows at ‘The National Children’s Theatre’, been a singer and dancer in the Cantare Varga Girl cabaret show, performed in the comedy ‘Vanya, and Sonia, and Masha and Spike’ at The Pieter Toerien Theatre, facilitated workshops with ‘Buzz Drama Dance and Singing’, and is a part of the comedy improvisational troupe called the Jittery Citizens. She never misses an opportunity to spread the clowning love and make people laugh, and with her red nose on, it’s all sorts of silliness and ‘organised’ chaos!
Natalie was born in Johannesburg and completed her acting training in the UK. After being classically trained at The Oxford School of Drama; Natalie attended Goldsmiths College where she discovered her love for Theatre Making and Physical performance. Since graduating, Natalie has been involved in innovative theatre productions that explore storytelling via alternative methods. She has been involved in three productions and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and her co-devised piece, Loose Soul was transferred to London. She moved in Cape Town in 2015, and discovered her nose in 2016. She loves nothing more than to make people laugh and to make them feel happy.
Bo Tasker is Deaf and base in Durban. Have been into drama since school and have a kack to make people laugh. After leaving school started performing as fire shows, stilts, juggling, drumming, ballon molding and face painting. Also made a show called “Listen with your eyes” with two other Deaf guys and we tour around DBN and JHB. Then got invited to do our show in France and England. Being a clown comes to me naturally.