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CEO and Trustees

Our Board of Trustees includes individuals with extensive experience in advocacy and activism, policy, politics and business. The board informs the vision of the Trust and helps to ensure we are making progress in our mission. Mrs Graca Machel is the Chair of the Board.

Nomsa Daniels CEO 

Nomsa Daniels

Chief Executive Officer of the Graça Machel Trust

Nomsa Daniels is the Chief Executive Officer of the Graça Machel Trust where she heads up a team of programme and advocacy specialists that support the Trust’s work in Women’s and Children’s rights on the African continent. Prior to her appointment as CEO, she held the position of Executive Director of New Faces New Voices (NFNV) for five years where she was at the forefront of initiatives aimed at increasing women’s financial inclusion. In her advocacy role, she has engaged with various stakeholders including regulators, policy makers and financial institutions to increase women’s access to finance and financial services, as well as building skills and capacity of women to access finance.

Through various NFNV programmes, Nomsa was instrumental in developing research projects to advance women’s financial inclusion. These research projects extended over a number of countries including Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa. During her time as Executive Director, she also managed the NFNV Chapter Network, comprising 15 Chapters across the continent, involved in various activities linked to women’s financial literacy, access to finance, strengthening the business environment for women entrepreneurs, and fast tracking women’s leadership in the financial sector.

She has also served as a Trustee of the Graça Machel Trust Board of Trustees and has harnessed her experience in advocacy, policy development, donor engagement, network building and leadership within the global NGO landscape to amplify the work of the Graça Machel Trust. Nomsa enjoys a wealth of private sector experience, having worked extensively in the investment arena. In her role as Executive Director of Scientific Resource Management Holdings, her company invested in start-ups, early-stage businesses, and established companies in South Africa. Its portfolio included investments in information technology, aerospace, financial services and e-commerce.

Theo Sowa 

Theo Sowa

Theo is the Chief Executive Officer of the African Women’s Development Fund. She has extensive experience as an independent advisor on a wide range of international issues with a focus on social development issues. Her work has covered advocacy, service, delivery, evaluation, facilitation, policy and organisational development with a range of international and intergovernmental organisations and grant making foundations, including UNICEF, Stephen Lewis Foundation, the African Union, DIFD and UNDP, amongst others.

Sisonke Msimang v2 

Sisonke Msimang

Sisonke is a Ruth Frist fellow, a writer and activist who works on race, gender, democracy and politics. She has global, regional and national experience, having worked for the United Nations as well as in civil society and private philanthropy. Until November 2012, she led George Soros’ Johannesburg-based philanthropic efforts as the executive director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa. Sisonke now works on human rights and democracy with the Sonke Gender Justice Network, which advocates for working with men and boys in promoting gender equality, and authors a weekly column at the Daily Maverick, a leading South African online news daily.

Josina Machel 

Ms. Josina Machel

Ms. Josina Machel is a long standing human rights defender. As the daughter of Graça and Samora Machel, and step daughter of Nelson Mandela, she was born into a legacy of activism, and is fiercely passionate in her life’s calling to advance women’s rights.

In October 2015, Ms. Machel was physically assaulted by her then-partner which led to her tragically losing sight in one eye. As a result of this horrific experience, Ms. Machel’s activism took on new meaning and she felt propelled to vigorously fight for the rights of abused women, realising that there are many like her who have faced brutality without being able to speak out. As a survivor of domestic violence, she is turning her personal trauma into purpose. Through the Kuhluka Movement, Ms. Machel is helping to accelerate social change in communities across Africa.

Ms. Machel serves on a number of international boards, including those of the Graça Machel Trust, the ABC Atlas Mara in Mozambique, the Emerald Group, and the Zizile Institute for Child Development. She also serves as director at the Samora Machel Documentation Centre. In 2015 she started a dance movement to contribute to Nelson Mandela Day with 67 minutes of Dance for Mandela.

Ms. Machel holds an MSc degree in Sociology (Gender) from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Bachelor of Social Science in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Cape Town. She is a published author and has addressed numerous national and international audiences on issues relating to youth, gender, and culture.


Anurita Bains 

Anurita Bains

Anurita brings more than 15 years of experience in international development and health. In the various positions she has held in the past decade, she has provided advice, strategic direction and analysis at senior levels of policy-making on public health and development, with particular expertise on and interest in women’s health and rights. Currently, she is the regional advisor on HIV/AIDS for Unicef’s East and Southern Africa regional office. Before that she was the country director of the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Rwanda, where she and her team provided strategic, technical and policy support to that country’s government in areas of HIV/AIDS, health financing, human resources for health, and nutrition.

Fred Swaniker v2 

Fred Swaniker

Fred Swaniker is deeply passionate about Africa and believes that the missing ingredient on the continent is good leadership. In line with this, he has successfully founded three organizations that aim to catalyze a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders: African Leadership Academy, African Leadership Network, and African Leadership University.

By 2060, these three organizations expect to produce over 3million transformative leaders for the African continent. In recognition of his work in developing Africa’s future leaders, Fred was selected as one of 115 young leaders to meet US President Obama at the first-ever President’s Forum for Young African Leaders held at the White House in 2010. He has been recognised as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and was listed by Forbes Magazine among the top ten young ‘power men’ in Africa in 2011. Fred was also recognized by Echoing Green as one of fifteen “best emerging social entrepreneurs in the world” in 2006.

He was a 2009 TED Fellow and is a Fellow of the Aspen Institute's Global Leadership Network. Fred began his professional career as a consultant with McKinsey and Company and has an MBA from Stanford Business School, where he was named an Arjay Miller Scholar, a distinction awarded to the top 10% of each graduating class at the business school. He was born in Ghana but has lived and worked in about 10 different African countries.