Our Johannesburg office has a small but dedicated team that drives the organisation. Find out more about them here.
Refilwe Nkomo is a Johannesburg based multidisciplinary artist, curator, educator and community organiser producing cultural and artistic interventions, programmes and installations using various mediums including performance, video, text and dance at the intersection of arts and social justice. Her research, workshops and performance have been the recipient of numerous awards and presented in South Korea, Ghana, Botswana, Brazil, Germany and the United States of America. She has founded organisations and platforms including We Are Here (WAH), a non-profit organisation working with men and boys to dismantle gender-based violence, founded in 2010. She holds a B.Bus.Sci degree from the University of Cape Town and a Masters in Arts and Politics from New York University (Tisch School of the Arts|Art and Public Policy). Refilwe serves on the leadership committee of IMPACT (Imagining together Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation) and is a Clore Chevening Fellow 2019/2020. She was previously co-director of !Kauru Contemporary Art.
Network Programmes Manager
Katlego is a Network Programmes Manager at VANSA, a violin teacher, performer, and arts development practitioner, with a background in theatre, dance, film and literature. He studied classical music performance at the University of Cape Town, and he is interested in shaping the development of the arts as a whole within South Africa.
Lauren von Gogh
Network Programmes Manager
Lauren is a Network Programmes Manager at VANSA, co-founder of the artist-run platform Sober & Lonely, and an ultra-distance runner. She studied Fine Arts at Wits followed by various non-degree programmes in studio and curatorial practice at the HISK, Mountain School, and Machine Project.
The VANSA board shapes the organisation’s work and helps the VANSA team to steer in the right direction. Part of building the current board has been possible through the generous support of BASA.
With over 14 years of combined experience in the creative industries, social innovation, and higher education sectors, Thabo K. Makgolo is a graduate of the University of Cape Town and Tshwane University of Technology and has worked as a performer, producer, advocate, and administrator in the creative industries and performing arts sectors. A recent addition to the Distell’s Fleur du Cap Theatre Panel since 2019, he is also a trained marketing executive who regularly consults on a number of wide-ranging projects through his Consultancy based in Gauteng and the Western Cape. Most recently with the UCT Liberty Institute of Strategic Marketing as a Researcher and recently completed a chapter for an open-source textbook “Marketing to South African Consumers” to make education more accessible and is a member of advisory boards within the Creative Industries and Education sector.
Gabrielle situates her practice within contexts marked by the races, disparities and as-of-yet unreconciled traumas of colonialism and apartheid, as well as socially entrenched structures of patriarchal power and rape-culture. Enabling opportunities for affective, relational encounters, she seeks to resist the violence through which black, brown, feminine, queer and vulnerable bodies are routinely fixed through forms of representation. Gabrielle has exhibited widely and has won a number of awards including a Future Generation Art Prize/Special Prize (2019), the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award (2019), as well as the Institut Français, Afrique en Créations Prize at the Bamako Biennale (2017). Her work features in numerous public and private collections. Gabrielle is currently a Ph.D. candidate with the Institute for Creative Arts at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Nothando was born in kwaMsane, Northern KwaZulu-Natal in 1986. She is currently doing her MA in Fine Art at Durban University of Technology. She is an education officer at the Durban Art Gallery under eThekwini Municipality and an executive member of the KwaZulu-Natal Arts & Culture Counsel. Previously she has cofounded the Zululand Crafters Association and was an art programme manager at iSimangaliso Wetland Park which is one of only two world heritage sites in South Africa. Nothando is passionate about the holistic development of arts as a viable vehicle for social transformation and economic development.
Kwanele Thusi or Finch began working extensively in Dance and Education in 2013, beginning as an intern at the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, teaching in the Arts Department at Sacred Hearts College, and finally becoming the Performance Project Lecturer at Wits University and Drama For Life Johannesburg. He has created an innovative and inspiring body of work and workshops I have also performed in numerous local and international festivals. Finch also works extensively in research and theory and has written a paper titled The Performance of Masculinity: Gay Male Choreographers in South Africa. Currently, Finch is the Independent Director of Kwanele Global Collective, which is a private company that contributes to achieving quality education for young creatives and athletes. He is also the Movement Coach for JIVA Netflix original series and a celebrity personal trainer.
Tanisha is a senior attorney in the segment of the global market in the financial services industry and a visual artist. She has held solo exhibitions in South Africa and Germany and participated in curated exhibitions in South Africa, France, Germany, Netherlands, Namibia, China and Romania. Her photographic imagery is taken from naturally challenging environments such as nuclear wastelands, landfill sites and natural and urban ecosystems susceptible to change. Tanisha has held discussions on the topics of Rebirth, Transformation and Decomposition for strategic sessions and has displayed artwork for collaborative projects on War, Women and the Human Spirit, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (Canada), General Consul of France (Istanbul, Turkey), Graduate Institute, Geneva and the University of Oxford, Centre for International Studies. Tanisha currently holds the position of Chairperson of the VANSA Board.
Beathur Mgoza Baker
The founder of Madlozi Art, Film & Heritage Africa. She is an independent art curator, gallerist, filmmaker, and cultural producer from South Africa, active across the African continent and its diaspora internationally. Her primary focus has been fostering narratives that build positive identities and are grounded in de-coloniality and consolidating African heritage and art as collaborations and exhibition platforms between countries to build the sector and grow audiences and an awareness of our history and rich visual culture on the content. Beathur is also a seasoned filmmaker, content editor and producer, and creative/cultural entrepreneur with extensive experience in the design and growth of cultural businesses and social/community development and participation. She has worked in cultural development and production and her work across platforms embodies the values of education, access creation, and using art to foster projects and agency toward decoloniality and dignity, enabling artists, and engaging audiences around critical histories and contemporary geo-political, social, and cultural histories and narratives. In and about Africa.