Our dedicated Africa Country Committee Members live or work in countries we serve. They source or review grant applications and provide technical support for our grantees.
Collins O. Airhihenbuwa, MPH, PhD
Collins O. Airhihenbuwa PhD, MPH, is Professor and Dean of the College for Public Health and Social Justice, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Missouri. He is a global expert on health behavior with a track record on the central role of culture in health behaviors. He has led research collaborations, institutional partnerships, and mentoring of faculty and professional staff at various institutions globally. As the author of PEN-3 model his work has informed ways of addressing the intersection of culture, identity, and health globally. He is a consultant to several UN agencies including WHO, UNAIDS, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNFPA. He led one of the earlier WHO efforts to galvanize multi-disciplinary efforts to address HIV and AIDS in Africa. He is the lead author of the Communications Framework for HIV and AIDS (the UNAIDS Communications Framework for HIV/AIDS: A New Direction, 2000); sponsored by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) involving 103 researchers and practitioners from 5 continents with the final report translated into French, Spanish and KiSwahili. He has authored over 120 articles, book chapters, and books. Books include Health and Culture: Beyond the Western Paradigm (1995); Healing Our Differences: the Crisis of Global Health and the Politics of Identity (2007); and Ethnicity: Theories, International Perspectives and Challenges (2013) co-editor (with Agyemang and de-Graft). He chairs the Advisory Board of the Global Philanthropy Alliance which funds projects in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. He has been a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is a former President and Distinguished Fellow of the Society for Public Health Education. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Health Behavior and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. Until December 2015, he was Professor and Head, Department of Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University and Director of the Pan University Network for Global Health.
Kamau Gachigi, PhD – Kenya
Dr. Kamau Gachigi is the Chairman and Coordinator of the University of Nairobi (UoN) Science and Technology Park (S&TP) and serves on the National Steering Committee on Science and Technology Parks. He also runs a Fab Lab (the Fab Labs Network was founded at MIT and include over 40 Fab Labs around the world) which serves as a rapid prototyping center within the S&TP. He was also appointed to the in the Ministry of Higher Education Science and Technology. He is a lecturer and researcher in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Nairobi where he teaches materials science. His current areas of research include activated carbon from agricultural wastes for use in affordable potable-water filtration, and investigation into value addition of titanium and iron bearing ores. He has published 6 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, and was awarded a U.S. patent during his doctoral studies. He obtained his PhD (1996) in Solid State Science at the Pennsylvania State University, USA where he specialized in electronic ceramics for capacitor applications, and spent 2.5 years in Japan as a researcher for the electronic, and component manufacturer TDK.
Chris Ihidero- Nigeria
Chris Ihidero, holds first and second degrees in Literature-in-English and was Chief Operating Officer of Amaka Igwe Studios, one of Nigeria’s leading audio-visual production company. He has been a theatre artiste, broadcaster, newspaper columnist, magazine editor and university lecturer. He made a switch to film in 2007 when he joined Amaka Igwe Studios as a trainee director. Beyond his duties at AIS, Chris also worked as Director of Studies at the Centre for Excellence in Film and Media Studies, Lagos, the research and training arm of AIS. He has directed over 100 hours of TV drama and has made 2 short films. In September 2013, he became the Chief Operating Officer of Q Entertainment Network. He officially launched PinPoint Media in September 2014. He founded True Nollywood Stories, TNS (www.tns.ng), in December 2014. He produced
MTVShuga Series 4 in 2015. He’s currently Head Writer/Story Editor for Mnet’s latest series HUSH.
1. Fuji House of Commotion – Director, over 52 episodes, Television Comedy, since September, 2008
2. Now We Are Married – Director, Television Drama, 18 episodes, 2009/2012.
3. VIP – Director, 15 episodes, Television Thriller, 2010
4. Big Daddy, Writer-Director-Producer, Short Film (12Mins). 2011.
5. It Happened to Me – Director. Short Film (15mins). 2013.
6. MTVShuga – Producer. 2014.
7. HUSH – MNET Series. – Head Writer/Story Editor
Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo – South Africa
Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo has been in the hospitality industry since 1987 when she studied at the renowned hospitality school, Ecole Les, in Switzerland. Upon completion of her Diploma in Hotel Management, she furthered her studies at Penn State University and obtained a BSc in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management (HRIM), and graduated in 1993.
Her career in the hospitality industry began with Hyatt Hotels at the Grand Hyatt Washington DC in 1993 as an intern. She then joined the Park Hyatt Rosebank in 1995 as part of the management team, and quickly rose in the ranks to join the Executive Committee as Rooms Director until 1999. Lindiwe joined the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) as Chief Director of Tourism Support in 1999 and remained there for a year, before being drawn back into the hospitality industry by Southern Sun Hotels as General Manager of the InterContinental Sandton Towers Hotel.
Five years later, Lindiwe embarked on a new journey, and followed her entrepreneurial spirit to star her own hospitality company, Zuka African Tourism Investment Corporation (ZATIC). This led to her developing and operating the first Holiday Inn in Soweto in 2007, which she later renamed, the Soweto Hotel and Conference Centre.
Lindiwe has been a shareholder and Managing Director of the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre from 2011 to 2015. More recently, she has joined the City Lodge Hotel Group as Operations Director. She remains a Director and Shareholder of the Soweto Hotel and Conference Centre. She is also a Board Member of the Africa Advisory Board of the Global Philanthropy Alliance, and the Chairperson of the Schauenberg Educational Trust.
In her spare time, Lindiwe spends time with her husband Salifou and her family.
Bongi Mkhabela – South Africa
Sibongile (Bongi) Mkhabela is the Chief Executive Officer of Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. Bongi is also Chief Executive Officer of Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust whose mandate is to design, build and operate a tertiary and quaternary academic referral pediatric hospital to serve all children of Southern Africa, irrespective of their socio-economic status.
Bongi has an Honors degree in Social Work and several graduate diplomas and she gained immense experience in development issues nationally and internationally whilst serving as a UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) consultant to help establish its presence in South Africa. Bongi is also the Chairperson of Black Sash. She is presently a non-executive director of Barloworld. Bongi is also a Fellow of the Joel L Fleishman Civil Society, Duke University, North Carolina USA. Bongi has published a book Open Earth Black Roses based on her role in the June 1976 Soweto Student uprising.
Mohlopheni Jackson Marakalala, PhD – South Africa
Mohlopheni Jackson Marakalala was born in Mokopane, South Africa. He is currently a senior lecturer and a group leader at the University of Cape Town, with research interets in Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Tuberculosis Biomarkers and Host-Directed Therapies. He has presented his research in local and international conferences (over 10 countries), and published in leading journals, including Nature Medicine, PNAS, Plos Pathogens and Cell Host Microbes. His vision is to increase educational opportunities in Africa to help solve local challenges. He also intends to increase research capacity building in Africa, by training PhD students from previously disadvantaged community.
His personal awards include SA Medical Research Council Scientific Merit award for outstanding young scientist (2016); UCT 2016 College of Fellows Young Researcher Award. He was named a Fellow of the Next Einstein Forum (2016), which is awarded to 15 young scientists throughout Africa, who are using science as a platform to solve global challenges. He was also honored as a World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Scientist, at the WEF New Champions meetings in Dalian, China (2015), and in Tianjin, China (2016). He was the recipient of the Sydney Brenner Fellowship (2010-2012) that is awarded by the Academy of Sciences of South Africa to an outstanding young scientist working in South Africa. He was awarded the Bronte Stewart Research Prize for the most meritorious PhD thesis in the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, 2008. He recently received the Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellowship in Tropical Medicine and Public Health.