Staff and Volunteers

The Executive Committee, chaired by Dr Khoza, is responsible for the daily management of the Trust and perform an important supporting and monitoring role in relation to the overall management of the organisation. Meet our staff and volunteers who achieve the work on the ground.


Julia Cloete, Chief Executive Officer

Julia was appointed the CEO of the Buffelshoek Trust in 2012 and provides strategic guidance to all of our projects. She focuses on creating viable demonstration models for how conservation and the wildlife economy can directly benefit rural communities. She has been a researcher and project manager in the biodiversity and development field, with particular expertise in the interface between people the economy and the environment. She has worked as a researcher, facilitator and programme manager since 2001.

Maria Honig, Chief Operating Officer

Maria is the Chief Operating Officer for the Buffelshoek Trust and head of Media and Communications. She is responsible for everything you hear, see and read about the Trust. She has just completed a Masters in Environmental Science, Policy and Management with the Erasmus Mundus Programme abroad, focussing on positive cases of market-based conservation. She worked for three years on the WWF Responsible Fisheries Programme developing training programmes, conducting research, informing policy and campaigning.

Betty Chiyangwa, Intern

Betty Chiyangwa was enrolled as an intern student at Buffelshoek Trust in March 2015 and is a Masters student in Development Studies at the University of Johannesburg. She is responsible for further development and refining of the Monitoring & Evaluation tools for the School’s Programme. She holds a BA in Psychology and she obtained an Honors degree in Development Studies in 2014. She is combining her internship work and her thesis to develop effective, efficient and sustainable educational interventions to bring positive change in the lives of the learners. Betty is an enthusiastic and dedicated professional aiming to become a Monitoring & Evaluation proficient.

Hamilton Mnisi, Education Specialist

Hamilton provides the Trust with supervisory services to guide the development of our education and sport related programmes. He is a highly respected retired educationist who served education in the region for almost 50 years – including as a principal, rector of a college, Deputy Chief Education Specialist in provincial government and a member on multiple educational boards and governing bodies. As a resident who has always wanted to see the area prosper, he also chairs and is a member of many associations and foundations tackling social development challenges in Bushbuckridge.

David Wylde, Education Specialist

David provides the Trust with services to guide the development educational excellence at our flagship school, Acorns to Oaks. David taught for a number of years at well-known English and South African schools. He was the Headmaster and Rector of St Stithian’s College and the Headmaster of St Andrew’s College. After a long career in teaching, he began coaching and mentoring 10 principals in rural disadvantaged schools in Mpumalanga off the Penreach platform, Penryn College’s non-profit outreach programme in 2009, later becoming the CEO in 2012. As an educator and skilled manager with a strong vision for the future of education in South Africa, David retired in July 2014 as CEO of Penreach, a programme that reaches 350,000 learners, 900 schools and 2,000 teachers annually. Having a strong passion for working in the community for educational excellence, the Trust is very honored to have him work with us.

Wendy Fraser, Health Specialist

Dr. Wendy Fraser (MBchB (Wits), BSc Hons (human genetics) FCPath (anatomical pathology) (Wits), is a medical doctor appointed in a part time role as Health advisor and clinic doctor for the Trust. Wendy qualified from Witwatersrand University in 1992, and went on to specialize in Anatomical Pathology. In 2005, Wendy and her family moved to Hoedspruit and she has been working since then as a medical practitioner in the area, first as a General Practitioner in Hoedspruit and then as a medical officer at Tintswalo Hospital, in Acornhoek, Mpumalanga. Wendy is also the Director of Seeds of Light, a Non-Profit Organization that has been involved with upliftment and empowerment projects in the Acornhoek area since 1994. Wendy has an intimate knowledge of the challenges that doctors and nurses have when working in rural South Africa and hopes to bring this knowledge into her work in order to alleviate some of the problems the patients have when accessing health care. Other interests that Wendy has is to help with HIV and AIDS education, teen health related issues and woman’s issues.

Alice Barlow-Zambodla, ICT specialist 

Alice has been selected by the Vodacom Change the World Programme as a volunteer to support the Buffelshoek Trust. Alice manages the integration of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in our schools and villages. She has more than 24 years of research and lecturing experience in Higher Education (Agriculture, Biology, Botany, Science Education) and 7 years of Research and Development experience in the NGO sector (project management, academic programme development and implementation). She specializes in capacity building, research and development (agriculture, biological science and education), ICT4D and ICT4Ed, Agricultural Education and Training for Development, and OER for Agricultural Development.

Mike Grover, Ecologist

Mike is the resident ecologist and based with his family at Djuma Private Game Reserve. He is completing a Master’s degree through the University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort and consulting on the integration of technology in conservation. Qualified in GIS and with years of expertise on the ecology and biodiversity of the lowveld, he is well placed as the project manager of the Cattle Programme, using his ecological and contextual knowledge to inform the development of local skills and governance of the rangelands.  Their daughter is schooled at the local creche, which initiated a passion to invest in the sustainable development of the region. Mike hopes to make a difference in community-based conservation, not only in the area but also to the worldview of the international community.

Kgomotso Matthews, Specialist in Local Economic Development

Kgomotso is the Project Manager for the Pfunanani Enterprise Development Project (PED Project), a position she has held since September 2014, when the project commenced. As Project Manager of the PED Project, Kgomotso is responsible for the daily management of the project, project staff and ensuring project deliverables and targets are achieved. Leading up to this position, Kgomotso has had extensive experience in both public and private sector management consulting and development. Kgomotso views her work as that of facilitating sustainable development in all economic and community sectors, focusing on Local Economic Development and Partnership Building. Kgomotso has worked in the countries of South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho and to a lesser extent, Mozambique. Kgomotso has a Masters in Agriculture Economics and Economics from New Mexico State University, USA.