Sydelle Willow Smith (Co-founder and Executive Director)
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 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 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 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)
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 is a Spark Impact Sunshine Cinema alumni. She is a podcast editor, media coordinator and she contributes to the overall running of the ambassador programme at Sunshine Cinema. She is a marketing graduate with a passion for digital marketing and she finds it essential for the youth to equip themselves with digital marketing skills since media is constantly evolving and this creates room for income opportunities.
Ayanda Kondlo (Programmes Coordinator)
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 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.