Meet the Team
Executive Coordinator & Chief Operating Officer
Marie-Tinka was born and bred in Musina, where she completed her Matric. She obtained her BA (Hons) from Rhodes University and her Master’s Degree from the University of Witwatersrand.
After marrying Dr Wynand Uys, the couple moved permanently to the Hoedspruit Area in 1987.
Over the years, she has played a role in the conservation and sustainable development interface in the landscape, where she championed the declaration of the Kruger to Canyons UNESCO Biosphere Region in 2001.
Her work experience includes the coordination of the Rural Foundation’s Community Development Programme, a Short Course Coordinator at the Southern African Wildlife College, the Coordinator for the Tourism and Conservation Training Authority’s Skills Development Programme in the Region and a stint as a lodge manager (Ottersden River Lodge).
In 2012 she was appointed as the Executive Coordinator of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, a position that she currently holds.
Senior Programme Manager
Nicholas Theron has over 15 years’ experience related to the development and strategic management of conservation projects in South Africa. He has an MSc in Conservation Genetics obtained from the University of the Free State (cum laude) and a B-Tech in Game Ranch Management. During the early part of his career he spent time in the Lowveld focussed on the conservation of Southern Ground Hornbill where he developed a love for the Lowveld and its mountains. After a stint in the Eastern Cape and KZN Drakensberg, he returned to join the K2C team in 2016.
Nick is currently the Senior Programme Manager and oversees the Conservation and Catchment Programme which aims to formally secure and better manage critical ecosystems and water sources while exploring models to sustainably fund management and drive community beneficiation. Nicholas’ work allows him to interact with a diverse range of people and explore special places within the K2C Biosphere.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Manager
Vusi is a bubbly, energetic young leader involved in variety of programmes. He has been with K2C since 2013 when he started as an Environmental Monitor. He completed his National Diploma in Nature conservation with Tshwane University of Technology in 2010. He has gained skills and experience working in various kinds of jobs including zoo keeping, game capture, snake wrangling, Environmental Educator and international volunteer programme coordinator, to name a few. The different skills set was a perfect fit for the K2C Environmental Monitors (EMs) programme where he is currently the project manager. Vusi oversees the 5 EM managers, partnering with 31 different environmental projects and 74 communities in the K2C landscape. He is also currently working on a Human Wildlife Conflict project through WWF-Khetha to assist local communities in developing a communication & response protocol for the community leaders, aligned to the relevant provincial authorities. He is passionate about youth & community development where he represents the landscape and the country in other international programmes such as Man And Biosphere (MaB) International Youth Programme and Global Youth Biodiversity Network.
Conservation Science and Data Manager
Romy joined the K2C team in the beginning of 2019. She has an honours degree in Environment, Ecology & Conservation (WITS) and a Masters in Geography and Environmental Studies (WITS), where she conducted her research on the Makuleke Wetlands (Ramsar site) in the Pafuri region of the Kruger National Park. She has worked for many years in the environmental consulting industry and has a strong GIS and Remote Sensing background.
Romy joined the K2C as the stewardship ecologist for the SANBI GEF 5 Biodiversity Stewardship and Land Under better Management Project. Through a secondment to The Nature Conservancy, Romy currently supports work on formalising protected areas & other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs), monitoring and tracking environmental elements in the landscape and improving land management practices for improved biodiversity and water conservation in the K2C region. Romy is also the “go-to” person for all K2C’s branding, marketing & communication materials.
DWS Project Manager/EM Manager
Rešoketšwe ‘Shoki’ Mafogo, was born and bred in the Kruger to Canyons landscape and has been growing and learning as part of the K2C team since 2014.
With a BA Humanities degree, Shoki always finds the human factor in any circumstance. This, together with a special heart for development, has combined well in the role that she fills in the K2C team; as the Project Manager for the Dinkwenyana Water Smart Project, as well as the Environmental Monitors project. She works closely with Traditional Authorities (Bapedi ba Dinkwanye, Mametja and Bakone ba Sekororo), Municipalities (Maruleng, Mopani) and LEDET; and partners Hoedspruit Hub, Conservation South Africa and STEPS.
As a strong believer that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, Shoki is taking up space and cementing herself in youth oriented platforms such as MaB Youth Forum, GYBN and SAYBN.
“I believe in change, empowerment and development; these are factors I would like to stimulate in the work I do everyday.”
Pro-Nature Economic Projects Manager
Cindy currently lives in the Hoedspruit area but was originally from the small town of Magaliesburg in Gauteng. She is formerly qualified in hospitality management with over 10 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. Her local knowledge, experience and expertise in hospitality made her the perfect candidate to close the gap between SMME’s and the tourism industry in the K2C region in her role as the from the Region for the Region (fRfR) Project Coordinator (https://fromtheregion.org). Cindy is the engine behind the ever growing monthly Hoedspruit Farmers Market supporting local businesses.
Living Catchments Project Coordinator
Ms Itumeleng Selebalo holds an MSc in Environmental Sciences (Resource conservation biology) from the University of the Witwatersrand. She has an honors degree in geology (WITs), including an educational background in geography, environmental sciences, sustainable development, climate change adaptation, systems thinking and systems dynamics modelling. She was part of the young professional program (2017 to 2019) with The Association for Water and Rural Development where she assisted in the application of system dynamics modelling as a tool to help facilitate collective action towards climate change adaptation, nurturing biodiversity and enhancing water security in the Olifants Catchment. She published her Master research report titled “A systemic analysis of the environmental impacts of gold mining within the Blyde River Catchment, a strategic water area of South Africa” and received a prize for the best research project at the Systems Analysis in Africa Conference from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).
In 2021 she joined the Kruger to Canyon Biosphere in support of the Land Use Incentive project by implementing the Fresh Water Heath Index analysis tool to determine priority areas for ecosystem restoration for water security and long-term restoration strategies in the Blyde River Catchment. She is currently the catchment project coordinator for the K2C, implementing the SANBI living catchment project by enabling collaboration, co-learning, and co-creation at the nexus of built and ecological infrastructure for water security in the Olifants River. She also supports the coordination and implementation of the UNESCO Be Resilient project and the catchment investment program in K2C landscape.
Itumeleng Desiree Morale
fRfR Assistant Coordinator
Itu comes from Welverdiend Village in the K2C. She has a BA in International Relations obtained from the University of Venda. She has years’ experience as coordinator, facilitator and administrator in different community orientated organisations and now assists the fRfR Project Coordinator in linking local producers and services providers to local markets, growing the circular green economy in the K2C region (www.fromtheregion.org).
Resilient Waters Project Manager
Dimakatso is the friendly ever smiling lady in the office and she has been part of the K2C team since 2013 as part of the EPWP Environmental Monitors program that is Implemented by BSP SANParks. She moved her way up into the office as an EM Manager in 2016. She has a National Diploma in Nature conservation and is busy pursuing her BTech Degree in the same field.
Dima currently forms part of the K2C team as the Project Manager for the Resilient Waters Project. She works closely with the Environmental Monitors, Restoration Teams, Traditional Authorities, CPAs, Traditional Healers and communities to help preserve and restore the environment back to its natural state and encourage the practice of sustainable harvesting of natural resources.
Mpho is a well-spoken avid reader and nature enthusiast hailing from Venda. She holds an honours degree in Environmental Sciences & Geography obtained from the University of Venda. She started her career at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (now DFFE) before joining the K2C team in 2019 as an Environmental Monitor. Shortly after that she became an Assistant Data Capturer on the Environmental Monitors Programme, capturing all the environmental data reported by community based Environmental Monitors spread across the Biosphere. In 2021 she became a data capturer for the Dinkwanyane Water Smart Project, responsible for the project’s data oversight. She now manages the DWS and Our Water project database and works closely with the K2C team and Ecosystem Custodians in Phiring to ensure data integrity and accuracy.
Dinkwanyane Water Smart (DWS) Site Coordinator
The DWS team is responsible for the implementation of the DWS project in Phiring village. Dumisa coordinates this team overseeing the Rangeland Management component; Agroecology component and fRfR component.