Diana Hornby

Diana Hornby was appointed Director of Community Engagement at Rhodes University in January 2011. She leads a young and dynamic team, committed to building mutually beneficial and reciprocal partnerships between the university and broader community.  What Grahamstown lacks in material resources we more than make up in human capital which has to date not been fully identified and harnessed to drive a potential turnaround of the city. The CE office with the combined effort of faculties and partners we are championing the challenge to bridge the deep divides which poverty has scoured across our community, bringing together new learning and capacity to model a different and better future, in South Africa, in the Eastern Cape and specifically in Grahamstown.

Diana has 15 years experience in the Early Childhood and Community Development field.  She directed the Centre for Social Development at Rhodes University for 6 years and in this time developed a best practice ECD model that received national recognition. Diana was also part of a team that establishing a national network for 70 ECD NPO’s in the country.  In 2007 she took over the Angus Gillis Foundation, a rural development NPO with a strong focus on Pro-poor models of development, winning SA’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Award (Welfare and Community Service) for her work.  She has an B Ed Honours from Rhodes University and a Masters in Social Science from Fort Hare University. 

Nosipho Nkwinti

Community Partner Coordinator

Nosi has a B. Social Science (UFH) Honours in Psychology (UFH) and currently enrolled for a  Master in Education with Rhodes University. She manages and facilitates the formation, and development of mutually beneficial partnerships between students and staff at Rhodes University and community based organizations in Grahamstown and the Eastern Cape. She is responsible for community partner training and development programs with community based organizations who have signed MOU documents with RUCE. Nosi is also part of the Joza Youth Hub committee. Joza Youth Hub was established by  Rhodes University and  NGO’s who identified a critical need for an accessible youth education hub within Joza Township, for learners to receive supplementary support in Literacy, Numeracy, Life Skills and IT access. Rhodes University together with NGO’s (Village Scribe Association, Access Music Project, Upstart and Ikamva Youth) have formalized a partnership with the Makana Municipality to then establish this Joza Youth Hub.

Contact Nosi:



Anna Lindiwe Talbot

9/10ths Mentoring Programme Coordinator

BuddingQ Programme Manager

Anna Talbot coordinates two of the Vice-Chancellor’s Education Initiative programmes: BuddingQ ECD Literacy programme and 9/10ths Matric Mentoring Programme. These programmes aim to improve the quality of education for children in Makhanda and revive our city's schooling. Anna graduated in 2016 with a BA in Music and Art History and Visual Culture and most recently is an M.Ed candidate at Stellenbosch University. She is passionate about education and the outdoors. This passion has led to a colourful CV of experiences in Makhanda: she founded the Grahamstown Scout Group in partnership with RUCE and the Rhodes Mountain Club. In 2016 Anna was the recipient of the Student Volunteer of the Year Award and the Mountain Club won Society of the Year. 


Joana Bezerra

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Joana has a joint Major Bachelor degree in Politics and International Relations at Sussex University, England. She did her Masters in Environment, Development and Policy at the same University. Returning to her home country, Brazil, Joana did her PhD in Environment and Society at the State University of Campinas, Brazil. After spending time at Gottingen University, Germany, and at Wageningen University, the Netherlands, she moved to Rhodes University to work as a postdoc at the Department of Environmental Science. Her passion is bringing to light the political dimensions of environment and development issues.


René Oosthuizen

Engage Citizen Programme & Engaged Research

Dr René Oosthuizen is a new lecturer at the Rhodes University Community Engagement (RUCE) Division. She is an Engaged Research academic and coordinator of the Engaged Citizen Programme. Before joining Rhodes University, Dr Oosthuizen was Stenden South Africa’s Academic Dean. She also lectured at Tshwane University of Technology and Nelson Mandela University before teaching at Stenden in 2010.


Thulani Dandile

Office Administrator

Thulani is responsible for all the administrative processes and systems associated with CE programmes; assisting with the developing and maintenance of Data Base for individual CE programmes. He also attends to logistical arrangements for all students and staff of the community engagement office, as well as training workshops, awards functions and ongoing support. He deals with the processing of payments, monitoring of expenditure and reporting on areas of concern to the staff involved and the CE director, Diana Hornby.


Contact Community Engagement: Phone: +27 46 603 7229. Fax: 046 603 8869

Thandiwe Matyobeni

Social Innovation Hub - Lab Manager

Thandiwe Matyobeni is a digital content producer/journalist and a lab manager in the Rhodes University Social Innovation Hub, which is one of three digital storytelling labs in Makhanda.

The Social Innovation Hub is a fixed lab located at the Rhodes University Community Engagement offices and is open to the public as a resource centre. Thandi and her team hold workshops to train people how to use digital storytelling as well as just teaching basic digital media skills. They also hold digital literacy workshops regularly with the hopes of improving the digital divide in Makana and to build a foundation for people to further their computer literacy and competencies to be able to find employment, assist their children with schoolwork, and contribute to growing knowledge and innovations from Makana.

Thandi joined Rhodes University in 2016 when she enrolled for a Postgraduate Diploma in Economics Journalism, she went on and completed her master’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies earlier this year. She joined this project in April this year hoping to use the knowledge and skills honed to give back to the Eastern Cape community

Thandiswa Nqowana

Coordinator: Parent Engagement Programme

Thandiswa Nqowana is coordinator for the Parent Engagement Program (PEP). Her work entails work with Rhodes University staff to improve their children's access to higher education. Through tutoring and mentoring, the children of Rhodes University staff are assisted in improving their school performance to a level where they can achieve a bachelors pass in their matric exams thereby allowing them the opportunity to study at Rhodes University. In doing so, otherwise inaccessible and prohibitively expensive tertiary education may be opened for them. Thandiswa holds a BSc (RU), BSc Honours in Biotechnology (RU) and MSc Pharmacy (RU), and is currently reading for a PhD in Biotechnology (RU). Thandiswa has been involved in community engagement since her first year as a student in 2013, and was the recipient of a Rhodes-Investec Top 100 Awards for Community Engagement. She also one of the Top 10 student volunteers at Rhodes University in 2015. In 2018, she received the award for Engaged Researcher of the Year.

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