John Battersby
Chair of Trustees

John joined the board in July 2012 after serving for five years on the board of the Legal Assistance Trust. He is currently the UK Manager of Brand South Africa. A former journalist, John served as editor of the Sunday Independent in Johannesburg and was the southern Africa correspondent for the New York Times.

Dr Maano Ramutsindela
Vice Chair

Maano joined the board in 2007. He is Professor in the Department of Environmental & Geographical Science at the University of Cape Town, specialising in transfrontier conservation in southern Africa, and land reform issues and border disputes which were created by apartheid. He is a former Canon Collins Scholar.

Patricia Choiral

Patricia has been a trustee and Honorary Treasurer since 2001. She has over 25 years’ financial experience in both the commercial and voluntary sectors, including overall responsibility for finance during the launch of CaféDirect.

Dr Kai Easton

Kai joined the board in 2009. She is a Senior Lecturer at SOAS, University of London, specialising in South African literature.  She previously taught at the universities of Sussex and Rhodes, and was a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in English at the University of KwaZulu-Natal from 2004-2006.

William Frankel OBE

Bill joined the board in 2002.  He is a solicitor who was for 25 years from 1966 the secret legal consultant to the late Canon John Collins’ International Defence and Aid Fund with primary responsibility for the funding of the legal costs of political trials in South Africa. Bill is a trustee of numerous charities connected with South Africa including three South African universities, the Constitutional Court and the Claude Leon Foundation.  Bill was appointed OBE in the Queen's Millennium honours list for services to human rights.

Dr Beacon Mbiba

Beacon joined the board in 2009. He is a Senior Lecturer in Urban Policy and International Development at Oxford Brookes University. Beacon has worked extensively on land issues and justice for the poor, including for UN HABITAT and the International Labour Office.

Dr Mpalive Msiska

Mpalive joined the board in 2009. A Malawian national, he is the Course Director for English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London. Mpalive is an expert on postcolonial literature and has taught at the University of Malawi. He currently writes for several academic journals and is a member of the Council of the Royal African Society.

Lawson Naidoo

Lawson has a legal background and is the Executive Secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC). He has accumulated 25 years’ experience in the political, parliamentary, business and NGO sectors.

Pfungwa Nyamukachi

Pfungwa is the Africa Regional Subscriptions Executive at Research Africa, a Cape Town based multi-media publishing company working with researchers, scientists, universities and research institutes across Africa and the Caribbean in research management and capacity building.

Professor David Simon

David has been a trustee since 1996. He is Professor of Development Geography and immediate past Head of Department at Royal Holloway, University of London as well as a member of the Academy of Social Sciences. A specialist on sub-Saharan Africa, David has published widely and is a frequent radio and TV commentator on southern African affairs. He has acted as consultant and expert advisor to various international development agencies and the Namibian government. 

Jill Williamson OBE

Jill is a journalist and former executive director and chair of the Legal Assistance Trust. She joined the board in July 2012 following the merger of the Legal Assistance Trust and Canon Collins Trust. In June 2013 Jill received the OBE for services to human rights in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.