Communities where people thrive.


To work with active community leaders by following their direction, acknowledging their ownership and providing access to resources and opportunities.


Ikamva Labantu’s mission is to harness South Africa’s potential through community-led projects, focusing on putting people first and human security. Since 1962, Ikamva Labantu has been building connections in township communities across the country. Today, the organisation advocates for these communities and provides support and resources to grassroots projects, driven and owned by community leaders. Ikamva Labantu believes that communities know exactly what they need in order to thrive; we just help them get there.

The ground-up approach is rooted in activism and champions local knowledge and solutions. Ikamva Labantu is an organisation made up of over 100 committed field workers, most of whom come from the same communities that they work to uplift. Together, we actively work towards a more just society where human rights can be fully realised.

Ikamva Labantu’s core programmes are based throughout Cape Town’s township communities and beyond. Ikamva Labantu’s work focuses on early childhood development, the well-being of older persons and after-school initiatives that keep children safe and off the streets. The organisation strives to be a conduit for community-led change.

South Africa faces systemic social ills that one organisation alone cannot overcome. Ikamva Labantu believes in the power of collaboration and regularly partners with other NGOs, community-based organisations, government departments and donors to pursue the common goal of human rights, human safety and security and dignity for all.


In the early 1960s, Helen Lieberman and other courageous activists responded to the unjust conditions of South African Apartheid by setting up survival initiatives in the Western Cape. This led to a groundswell of similar initiatives being established in other parts of the country. Over the decades, this work expanded in many different fields, including early childhood development, disability care, foster homes, shelters, elderly care, economic empowerment, food security and youth development. In 1992, this organic growth and coordination of initiatives was formalised and Ikamva Labantu, meaning “Future of The People”, was launched as a non-governmental and non-profit organisation.

Read about the work we do today.


Ikamva Labantu is proud to have over 122 talented staff members, many of whom hail from the same communities we serve.

Ishrene Davids

General Manager

Ishrene has over 30 years of experience in the social development sector, having worked for the Department of Social Development, Cape Mental Health Society and Community Chest.

Ishrene joined Ikamva Labantu in 2000, where she worked as the HR manager, before becoming the COO and later the Director. In 2011, Ishrene left to pursue her Honours degree in Social Policy and Management at the University of Cape Town, and worked at Community Chest until 2018, where she took on a range of roles, from grant-making to interim COO.

Ishrene returned to Ikamva Labantu in early 2018 as the General Manager, overseeing the operations and management of the organisation.

Barbara Stemmert

Head of Programmes

Barbara graduated from University of Western Cape in 1994 with a BSc in Occupational Therapy. Her career has included working as a Clinical Supervisor at the UWC OT Department and as a Community Rehabilitation Therapist at SACLA Rehabilitation Project. Barbara has also practiced as an OT in the USA, specialising in gerontology.

Barbara joined Ikamva Labantu in 2003 as Programme Manager and has since occupied various positions and spearheaded the expansion of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme. In July 2017, Barbara was appointed to the critical position of Head of Programmes at Ikamva Labantu. She is currently in the process of completing her MSc in Occupational Therapy at the University of Cape Town.

Jovana Djeri

Head of Sustainable Development

Jovana Djeri joined the Ikamva Labantu Fundraising team in 2007, having spent a year as the Antiretroviral Programme Co-ordinator for the Catholic Relief Services’ South African Office. Jovana is of Serbian origin, and prior to moving to South Africa, spent 4 years as the Financial Officer at the Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe.

Jovana studied Marketing Management at the University of South Africa and also has experience in the financial and administrative management of non-profits.

Today, Jovana is Head of Sustainable Development at Ikamva Labantu and is responsible for strategic leadership and development on the fundraising function, including the implementation of a fundraising strategy, donor stewardship and establishment of donor partnerships.

Janine Glanz

Head of Finance

Janine studied a BComm degree through Unisa, while working part-time as a bookkeeper. She completed her articles at Baker Musikanth/Moores Rowland (now Mazars) and qualified as a Charted Accountant in 1995.

Janine took time off to raise her children before going back to work in 2008 as Finance Manager for Col’cacchio restaurant group, where she worked until early 2018. Janine joined Ikamva Labantu as Head of Finance in March 2018.

Isaac Peterson

Head of Operations and Facilities

Isaac has more than 25 years of experience in the non‐profit sector and is well‐versed in NGO Financial Operations and Property Operations.

He joined Ikamva Labantu in 2009 as Finance Manager and in 2015, he assumed the role of Head of Facilities and Operations. Isaac now manages the full spectrum of this portfolio including building operations, employment equity and financial management.

Isaac serves as a Trustee on the Ikamva Labantu Empowerment Trust (ILET) which is a BEE Investment partner of the Ikamva Labantu Charitable Trust.

Xolisa Matoti

Human Resources Manager

Xolisa graduated from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology with a National Diploma in Retail Business Management and a Baccalaureus Technologiae Degree in Human Resource Development.

He started his career in the Retail industry in 2012 and later gained exposure in other industries, including Agriculture/Mariculture and Financial services. Xolisa joined Ikamva Labantu in 2019 as Human Resources Manager and oversees the HR function of the organisation.

Lulama Sigasana

Programme Manager: Seniors

Lulama holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietetics from the University of Western Cape. She started working in the communities in 1992 through the Department of Health in the area of nutrition and policy development and joined Ikamva Labantu in 2009 as the Health & Nutrition Manager.

Currently, Lulama is Programme Manager of Ikamva Labantu’s Seniors Programme which supports vulnerable elderly throughout the Cape Metropole.

Mthunzi Funo

Programme Manager: Life Skills and Recreation

Mthunzi holds a Diploma in Oral Health from University of the Western Cape and a Postgraduate Diploma in the Management of HIV/Aids in the World of Work from the University of Stellenbosch.

Mthunzi has experience at Educo Africa, where he started the flagship Sisonke HIV/AIDS programme, working nationally with people affected by the pandemic.

Mthunzi joined Ikamva Labantu in 2014 as a Programme Head for the Community Relations Department and became immersed in the broad work of Ikamva Labantu, supporting all programmes through his work. In March 2018, Mthunzi took on the role of Programme Manager for the Life Skills and Recreation Programme.

Mildred Bopoto

Programme Manager: Early Childhood Development

Mildred obtained her Diploma in Education in 2000 in Zimbabwe and has worked as a Primary school teacher for seven years.

She joined Ikamva Labantu’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) team in 2010 and was soon promoted to the ECD Centre Principal position. In October 2017, she was promoted to ECD Programme Manager. She is currently studying towards her Early Childhood Development and Foundation Phase B.Ed Degree.

Mejury Mushanguri

Programme Manager: Ikamva Phambili

Mejury is a seasoned social developmental worker, with 20 years of experience in programme and project management, organizational capacity building, program monitoring and evaluation in the education, sustainable livelihoods, and social development programmes. Mejury holds a Masters Degree in Development studies (NMU), Post Grad in Project Planning and Management (UZ), Executive certificate in NPO Management (Stellenbosch) and a certificate in Monitoring and Evaluation. She has worked for various non-governmental organisations including Care International, SOS Children's Village and South African Education Project in different roles with programmes focusing on the vulnerable groups in the community especially women and children.

She joined Ikamva Labantu in November 2022 as the Programme Manager for the Ikamva Phambili Department.


Ikamva Labantu prides itself on good governance and is grateful to those who take the time to support the organisation in so many ways. The Board of Trustees and Protectors is made up of individuals who are dedicated to the Ikamva Labantu mission and wholeheartedly believe in its approach. The Boards of Trustees for Friends of Ikamva Labantu (FOIL) USA and UK are integral in supporting international activities.

Board of Trustees

Neetesh Ramjee


Helen Lieberman

Founder and Honorary President

Ilana Shone

Avin Lieberman

Ntobeko Ntusi

Africa Melane

Helen Lieberman (Founder and Honorary President)



2022 Kirsh Family Lifetime Achievement Award in honour of Helen Suzman

2017 Chairperson Award – Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies

2017 Officier de la Légion d’Honneur (National Order of the Legion of Honour)

2017 Eliot and Myra Osrin Transformation Award, by the Jewish Board of Deputies

2010 XII Edition Coexistence Award from Ceuta, Spain

2009 Roger E. Joseph Award from Hebrew Union College NY

2008 ABSA Jewish Achievers: Cyril Harris Humanitarian Award

2006 World Presidents’ Community Award

2005 Impumelelo Award for Ikamva Labantu, from the Social Development Department of the SA Government

2004 Order of Disa Award: Nation Building Award from the SA Govt.

2002 Honorary Doctorate: Doctorate of Laws from University of Notre Dame USA.

2001 South African Human Rights Award from the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the SA Government

1994 Lions Club International Foundation: Melvyn Jones International Fellowship Award

1993 Lions Citizen of the Year

1992 Named 75th International Fellow by Rotary International: awarded to one person per year worldwide 

Board of Protectors

Gaynor Rupert (Chairperson)

Director and owner of the Drakenstein Stud; Chairperson of the South African College for Tourism and initiator of the Tracker Academy (Peace Parks); Founding and Executive Trustee of the Imibala Trust, and Board Member of the Rupert Family Foundations.

“Over my 20-year association with the board, I have been moved to see the way in which Ikamva Labantu works with township communities to empower them to uphold the cause of the weak and needy, defend the fatherless and provide refuge for the elderly. It has been a great privilege to join hands with the Ikamva Labantu family and participate in the realisation of such a grand vision.”

Philip J Krawitz

Executive Chairman, Cape Union Mart Group

“Ikamva Labantu is an organisation which focuses on ‘hand-ups’ rather than ‘hand-outs’. Its culture is one of inter-dependency rather than dependency. I consider it a privilege to be able to help people help themselves in order to live the dream of our Rainbow Nation.”