In South Africa
Anim van Wyk (@animvw) joined Africa Check as our deputy editor in July 2014. She was named editor on 1 October 2015. Previously she edited an award-winning national supplement in the Afrikaans papers Beeld, Die Burger and Volksblad and has also worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and television producer. In 2016, she completed a masters degree in media management at Stellenbosch University – with a thesis titled “Fact-checking in the Global South: Facts about non-profit journalism funding models”, sharing the prize for best student.
- Deputy editor
Lee Mwiti (@LMAfrican) joined Africa Check on 1 September 2016 as deputy editor. Previously he was the deputy editor at Mail and Guardian Africa, the pan-African arm of the South Africa-based Mail & Guardian. He has also been senior writer at the Africa Review, the continental unit of the Nation Media Group, in Kenya. He holds a Masters in International Studies from the University of Nairobi, a BSc. in Biomedical Sciences and a certificate in journalism. He has also been a Diageo business reporting awards (UK) finalist with wide experience in reporting on the continent’s geopolitical economy. He is a recovering pedant.
- Senior researcher
Kate Wilkinson (@kateomega) joined Africa Check as a researcher in July 2013. She was previously a media officer at Equal Education, a non-profit organisation working for quality and equality in education. She received a first-class honours degree in international relations from the University of Cape Town in 2011. While completing her studies she volunteered at the Right 2 Know Campaign and worked part-time for Médecins Sans Frontières. The Mail and Guardian named her one of its Top 200 Young South Africans in 2013.
- Health researcher
Ina Skosana joined Africa Check as a health researcher in May 2017. Prior to that she was a journalist at Bhekisisa, the Mail & Guardian’s Centre for Health Journalism. Before joining Bhekisisa in February 2013, she was the health reporter at The New Age newspaper. Ina has won several awards including the Discovery Health Journalist of the Year and the Discovery Young Health Reporter of the Year. She has a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Pretoria and is currently pursuing an honours degree in journalism and media studies at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Gopolang Makou (@Mak_Makou) joined Africa Check in August 2016 as a researcher. Previously she interned at the National Planning Commission Secretariat in the Research and Policy division, and before that worked as a researcher at Youth Lab, a non-partisan youth policy think-tank. Gopolang was a Fellow on the Awual Socioeconomic Research Institute’s Future Leaders Programme in their 2016 cohort. She holds an honours degree in philosophy, a postgraduate diploma in Social Science Methods from Rhodes University and Stellenbosch University respectively, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Social Science Methods.
Alphonce Shiundu (@Shiundu) joined Africa Check as the Kenya editor in January 2017. A graduate of Information Sciences from Kenya’s MoiUniversity, he began his journalism career at the Nation Media Group and later joined the Standard Group, where he ran the Parliamentary Desk. He trained journalists and editors in both media houses on new media (NMG) and on a newspaper production ERP (SGL). He’s an alumnus of the School of Authentic Journalism (Mexico), the Professional Fellows Exchange Programme (Washington DC), and the Young African Leaders Initiative (Nairobi). He believes in holding power to account. In his free time, he climbs mountains.
Vincent Ng’ethe (@vn6) joined Africa Check as Kenya deputy editor in December 2017. He was an Online Sub Editor at the Nation Media Group, with responsibility for the Dot9 Blog and also the sub editor for Newsplex, the Daily Nation’s data journalism desk. In addition to data and fact checking, he has written stories with a focus on urban planning and the natural environment. Ng’ethe graduated in 2006 with an honours degree in geography and environmental science from Trent University in Canada. He also has certificates in advanced sub-editing and data journalism from Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications.
David Ajikobi (@Pantaphobious) joined Africa Check as Nigeria editor in November 2016. He was previously an Editor/Producer at Channels Television with about a decade of experience across different media platforms. He was one of the pioneer News Editors/Producers at 99.3 Nigeria Info, 96.9 Cool FM and 95.1 Wazobia FM in Lagos. Earlier in his career, he was Metro Editor at NEXT Newspaper (234next.com) published by African-born Pulitzer Prize winner, Dele Olojede. David has a bachelor’s degree in zoology at the University of Lagos and a masters degree in media and communications with distinctions, from the Pan Atlantic University, Lagos.
Motunrayo Joel (@motunjoel2) joined Africa Check as Nigeria deputy editor/health researcher in February 2018. She has about eight years of experience in journalism covering health, education and development issues at the Punch newspapers. She studied Journalism at the Midrand Graduate Institute, Johannesburg, South Africa, where she graduated with distinctions. She won the Nigeria Academy of Science Award in 2016 and was named runner-up at the 2015 edition of the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism award. She was among the 12 journalists from eight countries in Africa and South Asia shortlisted for the 2015 Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Foreign Press Award and the Kurt Schork Memorial Awards.
Allwell Okpi (@allwellokpi) joined Africa Check as researcher and community manager in January 2017. As a trained journalist, his newsroom experience spans eight years: reporting and editing at NEXT Newspaper and PUNCH Newspaper. Allwell has also led content development for leading strategic communications consulting firms in West Africa – C&F Porter Novelli and Chain Reactions Nigeria (an Edelman affiliate) – and in those roles, helped develop and deploy strategies for consumer marketing, advocacy campaigns, media relations and crisis communication. He has a bachelor’s degree in geology from Federal University of Technology Minna and certificates in copy writing and digital marketing.
Assane Diagne (@assaned) joined Africa Check on 1 October 2015 as editor of our French-language website, based in Senegal. He was previously chief editor of Agence de Presse Sénégalaise (APS), the national news agency for five years. Before APS he was editor of the independent daily Le Populaire. He holds a Master’s Degree in International Journalism from Cardiff University School of journalism, in the United Kingdom and a BA in journalism from CESTI, in Dakar. Diagne majored in English from Gaston Berger University in Saint-Louis, Senegal.
- Deputy Editor
Samba Dialimpa Badji (@dialimpa), who joined Africa Check as deputy editor for francophone West Africa in July 2016, studied journalism at the Centre d’Etudes des Sciences et Techniques de l’Information (CESTI) in Dakar. Before joining Africa Check, he was for more than four years deputy editor of the BBC French-language service in Dakar, and before that editor of independent Senegalese radio station Océan FM. He previously worked for other media including the radio station Walfadjri and daily newspaper Le Matin.
- Health editor
Coumba Sylla (@coumbas2) joined Africa Check as health editor of our French-language website in January 2018. She holds a diploma of general university studies (DEUG) in socio-anthropology from Université de Bamako and a Higher Diploma in Journalism from CESTI, Dakar. She worked for nearly sixteen years, until mid-2017, at Agence France-Presse (AFP). Coumba collaborated in two decades with various media in Mali, Senegal and outside Africa. She has also worked in the film industry.
- Researcher & community manager
Hyppolite Valdez Onanina (@ValdezOnanina) joined Africa Check in July 2017 as researcher and community manager of our French-language site, of which he had been a permanent contributor since April 2016. Prior to this collaboration, he was reporter at Agence de presse sénégalaise and to the Dakar office of Alerte Info. He was also a trainee at the United Nations Information Center in Dakar. Hyppolite holds a masters degree in media and communication from ETICCA Dakar and a diploma in journalism from Centre africain de formation et de perfectionnement des journalistes de Cotonou.
- Executive director
Peter Cunliffe-Jones (@PCunliffeJones) launched Africa Check in 2012, devising the project and overseeing it since. In more than 25 years as a journalist, most of it for the AFP news agency, he reported on the wars in Bosnia and Croatia for two years, spent five years in Lagos as AFP Nigeria bureau chief and three years in Hong Kong as AFP chief editor for Asia. From 2011 to 2016 he was Deputy Director of the AFP Foundation. He became a fellow of the Shuttleworth Foundation in March 2016 and is a Visiting Researcher at the University of Westminster. He has written for numerous media and provided commentary for Al Jazeera, the BBC and CNN. His book My Nigeria – Five decades of independence was called “a triumph” by Chinua Achebe.
- Deputy director
Noko Makgato (@nokolosh) joined Africa Check on 1 September 2016 as deputy director. With experience of over 18 years in media, Noko has a deep understanding of the industry coupled with expertise in news gathering and newsroom management, content management and distribution. In various senior roles, Noko has led several editorial and creative teams successfully in print and digital. He recently served as assistant editor responsible for news at Business Day/Financial Mail. In his previous role as managing director of digital agency Big Media, Noko was responsible for day-to-day operations and for shaping and implementing digital communications strategies for a wide range of clients. Noko is currently studying for an MBA degree.
- Finance manager
Rajan Thevasagayam joined Africa Check as our finance manager in 2016. He is a qualified Chartered Certified accountant who has over thirty years of audit and accountancy experience in many different sectors including auditing, banking and retail.
For the past nine years, he was Head of Finance for a major international charity. He has worked in both Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom.
- Fundraising & business development manager
Nancy Chimhandamba joined Africa Check in January 2016 in the role of fundraising and business development manager. Nancy is an accomplished strategic marketing and communications professional with sponsorship and fundraising experience. She has an MBA from the Gordon Institute of Business Science with highly diversified experience in the non-governmental, government and corporate sectors. She has worked at Afrika Tikkun and REPSSI and other non-governmental developmental organisations focused on children and youth. She has also held regional portfolios in marketing communications and fundraising, managing the Southern African and East African region.
- TRI Facts General Manager
Aniesha Bulbulia previously worked at the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ) as its Business Development Manager, from there she later moved to head the IAJ’s Communications Unit where she collaborated, built and made the department relevant to the needs of modern day journalists and communicators. Her business acumen, organisational skills and interpersonal relationship with clients, delegates and facilitators make her an asset to the organisation. Aniesha is also a facilitator/trainer and a registered assessor with MICT-Seta.
- Head of Training, Research & Information
Nechama Brodie (@brodiegal) is a South African journalist with over two decades of experience in media. She is a former magazine editor and radio talkshow host, and the author and editor of five books including best-selling urban histories The Joburg Book and The Cape Town Book. During her career, Nechama has dodged the secret police in Burma (after interviewing Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi); explored hidden tunnels underneath Johannesburg; and traded punches in the ring as a boxer and boxing writer. Nechama is currently working towards a PhD at Wits University, where she is also an occasional lecturer and mentor at the university’s journalism school.
- Community Manager
Laura Kapelari (@laurakapelari) joined Africa Check in September 2016 as community manager. She was previously marketing & fundraising coordinator at SA Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind. Before this, Laura interned at Médecins Sans Frontières, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and local nonprofit SANGONeT, adding to her information technology and public information skillset. She holds first-class masters degrees in both International Relations and German Literature from the University of the Witwatersrand and has completed a diploma in Digital Marketing from the University of Cape Town.
- Impact Manager
Nicola Theunissen joined Africa Check in November 2017 as impact manager. Previously, she worked as an independent communication specialist in Monitoring & Evaluation for a Ghanaian-based NGO advocating for better evaluation practices in Africa, and Khulisa Management Services, an established M&E consultancy in Johannesburg. She continues to consult in the M&E field. Nicola started her career as trade journalist in natural resources, infrastructure and urban planning. She holds a masters degree in communication studies and is currently pursuing honours in community and health psychology, with a specific interest in public mental health.
- Information manager
Ada Blignaut joined Africa Check as Information Manager in March 2018. She is qualified both in information science and public management and governance. She has worked as a knowledge management specialist for both international and domestic organisations, such as USAID/Southern Africa and Seda as well as gained experience in public policy while working for Gauteng Provincial Treasury. She is also a registered member of the International Council on Knowledge Management and consults in the knowledge management field.
- Finance assistant
Tsigie Tewabe joined Africa Check in January 2017 as finance assistant. She is a partly-qualified accountant. Previously, she was finance officer at Global Fund and World Food Organisation in Ethiopia for four years. Tsigie was also finance and administration officer at the South London Refugee Association in the United Kingdom. She holds a masters of business administration degree from Greenwich University.
- Editorial and marketing assistant
Khumo Motaung joined Africa Check in February 2018 as editorial and marketing assistant. Khumo is a third year LLB law student at the University of South Africa (UNISA) and holds a certificate in advanced radio from the Wits Radio Academy. She ventured into radio two years ago, producing as well as presenting content for a law-focused talk show on UNISA Radio. She also completed a radio programming internship with Jacaranda FM and VOW FM in 2017, where she gained experience in activations, project management and marketing.
Anton Harber (@AntonHarber) is the Caxton Professor of Journalism at the University of the Witwatersrand and chair of South Africa’s Freedom of Expression Institute. He was a founding editor of the Weekly Mail (now the Mail & Guardian) and is an executive director of Kagiso Media. He wrote Diepsloot (Jonathan Ball, 2011), winner of the Recht Malan Prize, and co-edited the first two editions of The A–Z of South African Politics (Penguin, 1994/5), What is Left Unsaid: Reporting the South African HIV Epidemic (Jacana, 2010) and Troublemakers: The best of SA’s investigative journalism (Jacana, 2010).
Boris Bachorz (@borisbachorz) has been a journalist for thirty years, mostly for the AFP news agency. He worked in Brussels, London and in Moscow where he was part of the team that won the prestigious Prix Albert Londres in 1995 for coverage of the first Chechen war. From 2009 to 2013 he was AFP’s bureau chief in Nairobi, covering east Africa, and since 2016 has been AFP’s Director for Africa. from 2001-2006 he chaired the agency’s society of journalists.
Eric Chinje, recently appointed as CEO of the African Media Initiative (AMI), started his career as a journalist in his native Cameroon. After leaving journalism he became head of external affairs and communications at both the World Bank (Africa Region) and the African Development Bank and led the World Bank Institute’s Global Media Program. In addition to other roles he has also served as Vice-President of the African Advisory Committee of the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institute, in Washington D.C.
Karien Bezuidenhout (@karienbez) is an advocate for openness and supporter of social entrepreneurs. As a director of the Shuttleworth Foundation, her core interest lies in social and policy innovation through practical interventions and sustainable social enterprises. Through her experience as board member to social change organisations and social enterprises across the world, she strives to make connections that accelerate learning. Karien studied business and economics at the business schools of the University of Stellenbosch and University of Cape Town.
Nicola Tallett (@nicola_tallett) brings to the board extensive experience of fundraising in the non-profit sector. She started her career at the group World Vision in 1993 and during the Rwanda genocide developed a programme resulting in unprecedented income for an emergency appeal. In 2000, she joined the group Children’s Aid Direct and from 2002 to 2010 worked with Action for Children, driving fundraising and marketing performance. From 2010 to 2014 she was Director of Fundraising and Marketing at the MS Society UK, the UK’s leading charity for people with multiple sclerosis. Nicola is currently a consultant with the THINK consultancy.
Robert Holloway, the chairman of the board, is the director of the AFP Foundation, the not-for-profit media development arm of the international news agency AFP. He began his journalism career covering the 1974 revolution in Portugal and reported for various publications from the Middle East from 1978 until 1984. Since joining AFP in 1988 he has been deputy chief editor, UN correspondent and head of the English service. While at the UN, he coordinated the team of AFP journalists and photographers in New York covering the 9/11 attack. Robert has taught at schools of journalism in France and at the United Nations and trained AFP’s own staff in the Middle East and Africa.
Roger Frimpong provides the board with more than 15 years of experience of running the financial and administrative side of charities. Educated in Ghana and the United Kingdom, Roger took his diploma in accounting in 1987, became a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 2004 and is today head of finance at Samaritans, a major UK charity, responsible for the day to day oversight of the finance department, providing strategic direction and reporting on statutory compliance on all matters financial. Before working in the charity sector he developed experience of accounting in the fields of merchant banking, the law and insurance and commodity brokerage.
Sisonke Msimang (@) is a writer and activist who has worked for various United Nations agencies and philanthropic organisations. Prior to her tenure as executive director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa from 2008 – 2013, she was the regional advisor for east and Southern Africa for UNAIDS. In 2012 she was a Yale World Fellow in residence in New Haven, in 2014 she was an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow and in 2015 she was named a Ruth First Fellow by the University of the Witswatersrand. She writes about race and social justice and has been published in the New York Times, The Guardian, Newsweek and a range of other titles. Msimang also serves as a trustee of the Graca Machel Trust.