Advisory Panel

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Legal status  

Roving Reporter is registered as a Close Corporation currently managed by its sole member and founder, Fred Kockott.

An advisory panel has been convened to establish a new governance entity to ensure the organisation’s sustainability and growth.


Key members of our advisory panel include:

Sbu Mngadi  

Managing Director of Great Brands (Proprietary) Limited, former Tribute magazine editor,  Sbu has been following Roving Reporters development with great interest of late and is keen to give input on developing the commercial  and funding revenue streams required to sustain its growth. Sbu started his career as journalist with City Press in 1983 and worked his way up to become its Bureau Chief in KwaZulu-Natal. He subsequently served as editor of Tribune Magazine from 1993 – 1996. He was appointed as vice president and director (public affairs and communication) of The Coca Cola Company, South Africa, in 1996, and then moved to Atlanta Georgia where he worked as the company’s vice president and director (strategy and business planning). He returned to South Africa in 2004 to work as the Chief Strategy and Corporate Officer of Cell C, South Africa, and before becoming Managing Director of Great Brands, a position he still holds today.

Mazwi Xaba

Sunday Tribune editor, Mazwi Xaba, is an avid fan of Roving Reporters work and supports our training programme by providing opportunities for our interns to attend the Sunday Tribune’s news conferences to pitch story ideas and take part in assignments alongside his newsroom staff.  Mazwi and the Sunday Tribune’s assistant editor, Annie Dorasamy, were also instrumental in launching the Sunday Tribune Game Changers series and associated Amaqhawe Awards as a joint initiative supported by Roving Reporters and the Human Elephant Foundation.

After having worked as a journalist and sub-editor at The Daily News and Sunday Tribune was part of the part of the founding editorial team that launched vibrant isiZulu brand, Isolezwe, in 2002. He later served as editor in chief of South Africa’s biggest selling papers, Daily Sun and Sunday Sun, before returning to take over the reins at Isolezwe. Mazwi was appointed Sunday Tribune editor in 2016.

Andre Wiesner

Award-winning feature writer, André Wiesner, is a seasoned wordsmith with many arrows to his quiver.  Based in Cape Town,  André is active as a journalist, editor, educator and developer of print and digital products, and undertakes work for an array of clients in the media, commercial, academic and social development sectors. He has written for innumerable publications, the research for which has led him into dank mountain caves, crococile-infested rivers, mortuaries, movie sets, TV dating shows, the fighting ring in no-holds-barred martial arts, and to the roof of the sky, where he reached zero-gravity inside a military jet.  Roving Reporters established relationship with Andre as the convenor of the GetSmarter – UCT Feature Writing Course  which provides a perfect stepping-stone into the world of feature journalism by providing the skills and techniques needed to write for a variety of media, including newspapers, magazines, websites and blogs. Each year since 2012, deserving students serving internships with Roving Reporters have qualified for sponsored enrolment on the course.

Mary Pappaya 

A well respected media leader, Mary Papayya, is passionately committed to the development of young and talented journalists, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

A mentor to young journalists and a trainer, she has several qualifications including an MPHIL Journ (Stellenbosch University).  She has worked in the media industry in SA and continent for nearly three decades in a range of positions including Journalist, Bureau Chief, Editor, News Manager and News Project Initiator. She is the former regional general manager for the Times Media Group & a Publisher – the first women and journalist to be appointed into these positions. She was the Regional & Coastal Regions Editor of the Sowetan. She has played a pivotal role in the the development, transformation (race and gender) and the management of key media entities in the print and broadcast media across both mainstream and community media since 1986. Her contribution on gender transformation and the advancement of women in media is well documented.

She is a founder Editor and former Secretary-General & Deputy Chair of the South African National Editor’s Forum (SANEF) where she spearheaded key media freedom campaigns, summits and platforms. She remains the youngest and longest serving founding Editor on SANEF since 1996.

She also served as Convener of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year (3 years), Convener of the KZN Newsmaker of the Year Award, Convener of Nat Nakasa Bringing Home a Hero Project.

We welcome Mary on board our Advisory Panel and the inputs she can make in forging lasting training partnerships that promote the role of good story telling in addressing critical environmental, social and justice issues.

Mark Gerrard

Mark Gerrard is the director of WildLife ACT – a team of experienced conservationists who roll up their sleeves in working in the field 365 days a year to save endangered and threatened wildlife from extinction. Mark previously worked as strategic projects manager of the Wildlands Conservation Trust, now the WildTrust and was instrumental in developing Roving Reporters Ocean Watch series with support of The Blue Fund and the Human Elephant Foundation. He looks set to play an equally vital role in developing our Thin Green Line series which gives voice to a wide range of stakeholders in seeking solutions to the loss of green infrastructure, the pollution of critical river catchments and water sources, and associated biodiversity loss.

Mark grew up in Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal, and after schooling went on to study at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg – majoring in Agribusiness and Wildlife Science. Having grown up in South Africa and having visited numerous wildlife areas on the continent, Mark developed a passion for wilderness areas. This was further strengthened after university whilst working at some of Southern Africa’s prime wildlife tourism destinations. “In Africa, many of the people living near wilderness areas are reliant on natural resources. There is also a strong connection between the health of the environment and these communities,” says Mark. “By exposing the people to the work being done to protect these areas, I believe that we can generate support for their conservation. In addition, people living adjacent to wilderness areas need to be exposed to development opportunities and their capacity strengthened.”

John Charter

John is the CEO of the Human Elephant Foundation, the founding sponsor of Roving Reporters environmental journalism training programme. The Foundation also makes use of public space art and the general harnessing of human imagination to draw attention to the state of the planet and promote conversations around possible solutions.

John Charter went to Hilton and Stellenbosch were he did a liberal arts degree in English and Philosophy. He spent 37 years in the advertising business in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Toronto and latterly in Durban with Companies such as Ogilvy, McCann, Lintas and more recently Matthews and Charter Ogilvy and Mather before selling out to Ogilvy in 2002.  He then started Black Egret, a business consulting organisation focussing on business strategy, people development and branding which he runs to this day.

John values creativity and human imagination and started the Human Elephant Foundation with world renowned sculptor Andries Botha. John was also a director of the Durban International Convention Centre and is a founding trustee of the Mazisi Kunene Foundation, an organisation dedicated to the nurturing of indigenous literature.