MEET THE TEAM
Sydelle Willow Smith (Co-founder and Executive Director)

Sydelle Willow Smith (Co-founder and Executive Director)

sydelle@sunshinecinema.org

Sydelle Willow Smith is a storyteller and co-founder of Sunshine Cinema. She holds a Masters of social science in African studies from the University of Oxford. She is passionate about audience engagement and experimenting with modes of public participation as an artist, researcher and leader. It is within the context of public participation that she has drawn together her interests in media, anthropology and socio-political interventions. Smith is a 2020 Senior Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Columbia University.
Rowan Pybus (Co-founder and Creative Director)

Rowan Pybus (Co-founder and Creative Director)

rowan@makhulu.co.za

Rowan Pybus is an impact campaign specialist. His work for the last 20 years has been focused on social and environmental development. He founded Makhulu Media in 2005 to create film stories that matter and is the co-founder of Sunshine Cinema. In the course of his career he has won awards from the UN Forum on Forests, National Geographic, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and is a Salzburg Global Fellow.
Rene Weston (Director of Programmes)

Rene Weston (Director of Programmes)

rene@sunshinecinema.org

Rene Weston is the programmes director at Sunshine Cinema. She believes in the power of creativity to unite, strengthen and heal. She builds lasting team relationships while trying to balance her super-organised ‘get-things-done-yesterday’ kind of energy with her ‘calm-confident-rock-in-the-stormy-ocean’ dreamer self. Her background is an interesting mix of NGO project management, education management and having the time of her life as Ian Gabriel’s assistant on both the Forgiveness and Four Corners feature films. She is interested in empowering youth to find their voice, training them in skills that will help them confidently unlock powerful and authentic stories.

Nomnotho Gumede (Impact Lead)

Nomnotho Gumede (Impact Lead)

nomnotho@sunshinecinema.org

Nomnotho Gumede is an impact lead at Sunshine Cinema. Her background entails over seven years’ experience of programme evaluations relating to enterprise development, youth and women’s financial education and livelihood development in both the corporate and the NGO space. Nomnotho advocates for social change justice by embedding good governance and accountability through her M&E, to help young NGOs package their impact data and attract investment in their work unlocking human development.
Shanna Freedman (Financial Manager)

Shanna Freedman (Financial Manager)

manager@makhulu.co.za

An award-winning producer, Shanna Freedman brings unflappable competence and a wealth of valuable experience to the table of any production. Organisation is an art form, after all, and Shanna is a creative master of her craft. Able to stretch a budget, handle logistics, effortlessly put people at ease, manage a team of brilliant individuals and provide creative input, it’s the reward that pushes her to aim for perfection.
Nontokozo Sibanyoni (Media Coordinator)

Nontokozo Sibanyoni (Media Coordinator)

nonto@sunshinecinema.org

Nontokozo Sibanyoni is an alumna of the Sunshine Cinema Spark Impact Programme and a marketing graduate with a passion for digital marketing and impact communications. She thrives on amplifying change on the ground and through online communications. Nontokozo believes it is crucial for youth to equip themselves with digital marketing skills, as the ever-evolving media landscape offers numerous income opportunities.

Ayanda Kondlo (Programmes Coordinator)

Ayanda Kondlo (Programmes Coordinator)

ayanda@sunshinecinema.org

Ayanda Kondlo is a diligent, ambitious and goal-oriented young man, who believes in making change to better the lives of others, mainly that of young people. Kondlo has experience working in education and community development and holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree majoring in psychology from the University of Western Cape. He believes that the tech space is constantly evolving, creating many opportunities for young people's development. In his role as youth coordinator, he is looking forward to leading youth, supporting the Spark Impact ambassador programme.
Pretty Nxumalo (Zimbabwe Project Manager)

Pretty Nxumalo (Zimbabwe Project Manager)

nobuhle@sunshinecinema.org

Pretty Nxumalo holds a Masters in journalism and media studies and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in language and communications studies. She has worked with various non-profit organisations to bring about social change through access to information and women and youth empowerment. She believes that access to reliable information is essential for effective citizen participation in public life. She is enthusiastic about research, women empowerment and development communication.
Thaakirah Behardien (Operations and Activations Manager)

Thaakirah Behardien (Operations and Activations Manager)

thaakirah@sunshinecinema.org 

Thaakirah obtained her BA in film production from the University of Cape Town in 2013. She has worked as a production assistant and as a production coordinator specialising in feature films and still shoots. She has freelanced for numerous local production service companies and has worked on projects for the BBC, Netflix, and 20th Century Fox. In 2021, she completed her Masters degree in Documentary Arts graduating with a distinction. Her short documentary An-Nisaa (Women) won the "Best Emerging South African Filmmaker Award" at the Encounters International South African Documentary festival.

Refilwe Chiloane (MERL Officer)

Refilwe Chiloane (MERL Officer)

refilwe@sunshinecinema.org

Refilwe is an alumna of the Sunshine Cinema Spark Impact Programme with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, International Relations, and Sociology and a certification in Data analytics. Through the Sunshine Cinema programme, she gained valuable skills and tools, enabling her to leverage her passion for evidence-based research to impact her community through facilitation. Using research as a tool for advocacy, Refilwe has applied these skills across various industries, including public health as a Community Advisory Board member, and climate justice and UX design industry as a junior researcher.

Meet the Board Members

Hlubi Mboya-Arnold

Hlubi Mboya-Arnold

Hlubi Mboya-Arnold is an award-winning TV and film actor, athlete, social justice activist, philanthropist, social entrepreneur, educator and reading for her MBA at Henley Business School. She currently is an executive director at Future CEOs and non-executive director at the Mandela Education Programme.

Mbali Ntuli

Mbali Ntuli

Mbali Ntuli is a creative writer, theatre practitioner, researcher and a 2021 Spark Impact alumni at Sunshine Cinema. She studied performing arts and arts administration at Sibikwa Arts Centre and Film and Television production at KZN film commission. She is a social activist and co-founder at Blossom Adventures Arts Creations (BLAAC), based in rural Kwazulu-Natal, which is an NPC that advocates for arts education for young pupils in rural areas.

Faith Pienaar

Faith Pienaar

Faith Pienaar is from Johannesburg and has worked to build a number of youth-led social movements centering the use of creative approaches such as film, photography and illustration for positive social change. She is interested in institutional reform as it relates to governance, and is currently completing a Masters in organisational and institutional studies at Wits with the Public Affairs Research Institute. With over five years of professional and volunteer experience in South Africa, Malaysia and the United States, Faith brings expertise in programme development and implementation, communications, campaign building, research and strategic advisory services. Faith currently works as a researcher and project manager at the Mcebisi Jonas Centre for Change.

Stephanie Bousheri

Stephanie Bousheri

Stephanie Bousheri is a San Francisco-based accomplished entrepreneurial leader and UC Davis and UCSF trained clinician scientist with global experience spanning patient care, clinical research, product strategy, commercialisation and business development. Throughout her career she has focused on ways to use technology and the idea of scale to innovate, uplift, educate and help others. From working as a nurse; to taking the first therapeutic HIV vaccine to Africa; to operating as a GM at an ed-tech company. Over the course of her career she has worked with both Fortune 500 companies and start-ups to bring novel solutions to market and drive company growth. In her free time she gives back by serving on several boards and advising early stage companies.

Vincent Manzini

Vincent Manzini

Vincent Manzini, also known as Sir Vincent, is a DJ, producer, social entrepreneur, speaker and a culture activist whose mission has always been to shine a bright light on where he comes from and its people. Vincent founded the first DJ academy in Khayelitsha called Jump Start Music Academy, which sought to open up the music industry to kids who do not have the resources and access. With more than 15 years’ experience in marketing, Vincent is the co-founder and director of Blank Kanvas, which is credited with securing sponsorships for various platforms in the past two years.

Osagyefo Mazwai

Osagyefo Mazwai

Osagyefo Mazwai is an investment strategist at Investec Wealth & Investment International, and is a member of the South Africa asset allocation committee as well as a member of the Investec Investment Management (IIM) Belonging, Inclusivity & Diversity (BID) committee. His role at Investec encompasses broad local and global macroeconomic and financial market research which acts as an input into strategic asset allocation decisions. He is an expert economist covering macroeconomics, fiscal and monetary policy as well as trade dynamics. He occasionally writes for publications such as the Business Day on a myriad of topics focusing on South Africa’s fiscal framework, monetary policy and broader economic environment.