Umtapo Centre

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About Us


A society that will be characterised by political, social and economic justice and values that are consistent with the spirit of Ubuntu, an African philosophy.


UMTAPO’s mission is to engage in popular education and social activism promoting ubuntu, self-reliance, anti-racism and anti-sexism, critical thinking, and ethical leadership.

Status of Organisation

Registered Non Profit Organisation (024-294-NPO)

Registered Public Benefit Organisation (PBO No. 930027158)

Registered non profit company as defined in Companies Act, 2008

UMTAPO Board Members

Mrs Ntsiki Biko

Community leader and health professional. Wife of the late Steve Biko and Board member of the Steve Biko Foundation

Dr James Marsh (Chairperson)

Political activist and educationist. Was imprisoned on Robben Island for 5 years at the age of 17. Spent many years in exile in Germany before returning to SA.

Ms Asha Moodley

Ex-teacher. Political and gender activist. Banned and house arrested for many years during the 70s’. Wife of the late Strini Moodley. Retired from the Legal Resources Centre.

Mr Jay Reddy

Well respected attorney, specialist in labour law. 

Dr Farida Patel

Deputy Principal at Centenary High School in Durban, one of the educators trained in PHARE and who had started a Peace Club at her school. Volunteer at Life-line and former lecturer at Edgewood Teacher Training College.

Mr Deena Soliar 

Founding member and Director of UMTAPO. Former Secretary General of the South African Association for Literacy and Adult Education and Assistant Director of the African Community Education Association.

Ms Linda Yhukutwana 

Educationist. Former teacher at Dr Mandela High in Western Cape, was one of first educators trained in PHARE and started a Peace Club at her school. Currently, lecturing at the Cape College.

UMTAPO Patrons

Ms Marjan Boelsma, former chairperson of Dutch anti-apartheid solidarity group Azania Komitee. Marjan Boelsma has been associated with UMTAPO Centre since 1992. Marjan’s political activism spans through 36 years of rigorous action for a more just world. She received UMTAPO’s Steve Biko International Peace Award in 2010.

Ishmael Mkhabela is the founder of Interfaith Community Development Association (ICDA), an agency which has since 1991 pioneered and promoted community organizing and community conflict resolution in South Africa.  In 1978, Ishmael was the founding chairperson of the Azanian People's Organisation (AZAPO).  Mkhabela chairs the boards of a number of trusts and companies including the Steve Biko Foundation.  He received UMTAPO’s Steve Biko International Peace Award in 2002.

Professor David Macharia has been at the University of Nairobi for many years in various positions from Dean to Head of Department of Extra –Mural Studies. He has been adviser to various Ministries of Education on the African continent, a founder member of the African Association for Literacy and Adult Education, and former president of the International Community Education Association. He received UMTAPO’s Steve Biko International Peace Award in 2003.

Professor Bennie Khoapa 

Social scientist. Former vice chancellor of the Natal Technikon (now DUT). Was executive director the Black Community Programmes when it was banned in 1977. Went into exile for almost 15 years. Former Chairperson of UMTAPO and the South African Association for Literacy and Adult Education.



  • National Director: Deena Soliar

  • Special Programmes Director: Arun Naicker

  • Limpopo Branch Director: Nomiki Yekani

  • Youth Programme Director: Pumzile Yika

  • National Student Co-ordinator: Xolile Ntuli

  • Eastern Cape Co-ordinator: Zukiswa Mpayipheli

  • EC Field worker: Athini Ngqumza

  • Finance Assistant: Ester Bangaroo