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:



Ms Benita Bobo

Lecturer & Coordinator: Service Learning & Engaged Citizen Programme

Benita is a coordinator for Service-Learning and the Engaged Citizen Programme. Her work entails training student volunteers, as well as working closely with academic staff on Service-Learning courses. She holds a B. Social Science (RU) Honours in Psychology (RU) and M. Social Science in Sociology (RU), and is currently reading for a PhD in Psychology (RU). Benita has been involved in community engagement since her first year as a student in 2010, first as a student volunteer, then as a student leader. In 2015 she was chosen as one of 100 Africa’s Brightest Young Minds and was the recipient of two Rhodes-Investec Top 100 Awards, for Student Leadership and for Community Engagement. She was also one of the Top 10 student volunteers at Rhodes University in 2015, and was awarded the Gold Award for Excellence in Community Engagement. Benita’s research interests are in education, development, community partnerships, and gender studies. 

Contact Benita:

Dr. Sharli Anne Paphitis

Systems and Scholarship Coordinator

Dr Sharli Anne Paphitis is a senior lecturer in Community Engagement at Rhodes University (RU). She completed her doctorate in Philosophy at Rhodes University and has lectured in applied ethics, law, philosophy and community engagement at Rhodes University and the University of Fort Hare. She currently leads an NRF funded project on Epistemic Justice in Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR), as well as co-running the Community-Based Digital Story Telling work package on an Erasmus+ Project with 12 international partners. She was jointly awarded the RU Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Medal for Community Engagement in 2016 for her work in a critical health CBPR project, Siyahluma. She currently served as the co-chair of the Rhodes University Ethical Standards Committee from 2016-2017. Her research focuses on identity, human agency, gender, epistemic justice, engaged learning, service-learning and CBPR methods. Her approach to community engagement has focused on human and community development in numerous engaged learning projects she has established and co-facilitated.

Contact Sharli:



Mr 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

Anna Lindiwe Talbot

9/10ths Mentoring Programme Coordinator

BuddingQ Programme Manager

Anna Talbot manages the BUddingQ ECD Literacy programme and also coordinates the 9/10ths Mentoring Programme, which is part of the Vice-Chancellor’s Education Initiative, which runs at Mary Waters and Ntsika High Schools with their matric learners. Anna graduated in 2016 with a BA in Music and Art History and Visual Culture. She is passionate about education and the outdoors. This passion has led to a colourful CV of experiences in Grahamstown: she founded the Grahamstown St Mary’s DCC Cub Pack 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. In her second year of volunteering she was nominated as a Gold Award Student Volunteer. Passionate about education and changing the mainstream education system in South Africa, Anna is currently studying her PGCE as well.


Kim Weaver

Science Community Engagement Officer

Kim has a Master’s degree in Environmental Education from Rhodes (2015) and her background is in Entomology from Stellenbosch (BScHons). She is currently enrolled as a PhD candidate in Education focusing on community education in science. She is eager to facilitate the process of demystifying the discipline of Science among our local communities by introducing them to the various fields and areas of research in the sciences. This is done through various awareness and educative programmes around Grahamstown and the Eastern Cape.

She also assists the Community Engagement Division in Service-Learning courses across campus partnering academics and students with community partners and facilitating this process.

Office: Life Science Building, Rm S08


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.


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