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Inclusive & Affirming Ministries

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Ecclesia de Lange – Director

Ecclesia de Lange is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA). She holds a Comprehensive Honours degree in Theology from the University of Southern Africa (UNISA) and a Masters degree in Social Science from the University of Cape Town (UCT). After announcing to her congregation that she was going to marry her same-sex life partner, Ecclesia was charged, suspended, disciplined and discontinued as a Methodist minister in February 2010. She has been involved with IAM part-time since 2011 and became a full-time staff member in 2014 and was appointed as director from June 2017.

Michelle Boonzaaier - Program Manager

Michelle Boonzaaier holds a Bachelor’s degree in Diaconia Youth Work from Huguenot College. She started her career in agricultural development, working with small farmers. Michelle went on to work as a fundraiser at the Institute for the Blind. She holds a Master’s degree in Divinity from the University of Stellenbosch after which she entered the ministry as a Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) minister. Michelle served on the IAM Board in 2010 and joined IAM in 2011. Apart from Michelle’s work at IAM, she continues to work as a consultant in the field of rural development. She was appointed full time and is part of the senior management team from January 2017.

Louis van der Riet - Process Coordinator

Louis van der Riet is a Process Coordinator at Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM), which catalyses faith communities to recognise and celebrate LGBTIQA+ people in Africa. Louis is an ordained minister in the Dutch Reformed Church, where he serves on task teams that work towards gender justice and racial reconciliation. He holds a PhD in Systematic Theology from Stellenbosch University and Vrije University Amsterdam. At IAM, he works in the Faith Partnerships Programme in mainline denominations, universities, and seminaries, doing facilitation, research and resource development at the intersection of gender, sexuality and religion.

Abigail Haricombe - Administration

Abby Haricombe joined IAM in 2018 as the organisation’s Administrator. She works, often behind the scenes, to keep IAM running smoothly. She started her humanitarian career at Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in 2013 as a fundraiser and enjoys working in the NGO sector as a way to contribute to a better society that focuses on inclusivity, diversity and uplifting the dignity of all human beings.

Irma Greyling - Assistant Financial Administrator

Irma Greyling joined IAM in January 2022 as Assistant Financial Administrator, after retiring from being an Accounting teacher for many years. During these years, she became more and more involved in running the budgets and finances of schools in an environment that is becoming increasingly challenging regarding the collection of school fees. Irma also served as part of the school’s Management Team. She studied at the University of Stellenbosch where she obtained a B.Comm degree, as well as a Diploma in Higher Education.

Alida Bergman - Financial Administrator

Alida Bergman studied at the University of Stellenbosch where she obtained a B.Comm degree and a Diploma in Higher Education and retired after 32 years of teaching Mathematics and Accounting. While teaching, she was also responsible for the finances of the school. She has a passion to work with figures and joined IAM in September 2013 as Financial Administrator.

Nokuthula Mjwara - Process Coordinator

Nokuthula (Thuli) Mjwara is a Process Coordinator at Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM) working in the Collaborative Partnerships Program. She is a queer, Pan-African feminist based in Western Cape, South Africa. She has served on local, provincial, and national forums advocating for policy reform to address hate crimes violations targeting the LGBTQI+ community. Thuli holds a postgraduate degree in Gender and Transformation from the University of Cape Town. Her thesis focused on women’s narratives in navigating family whilst in same-sex relationships after a heterosexual marital relationship. Thuli is an Education, Training, Development, and Practices (ETDP) SETA accredited facilitator and assessor, and serves as the chairperson of the community advisory board of the Groote Schuur clinical site for HIV prevention trials (2019-present). She has worked within a range of marginalized communities including youth-at-risk, sentenced offenders, youth living alongside disabilities, and LGBTIQ+ youth and their families. In 2017, she was a recipient of the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, taking part in the Human, Civil rights, and Tolerance in Africa regional project. Thuli is passionate about making the South African Constitution a lived reality for all in the community.

Marlow Newman - Regional Coordinator

Marlow is a Social Science graduate with further education in Human Resource Management and Project Management. He is a seasoned human rights advocate and defender working tirelessly towards ending othering for gender and sexual minority groups. Marlow was the first pastoral leader at the Good Hope Metropolitan Community Church as well as the deputy director at Triangle Project.

His areas of expertise and experience includes sexual reproductive health and rights; facilitation and training around inclusion, dismantling hetero-normative gender and sexual stereotypes, and creating safe spaces for LGBTIQA+ narratives to be articulated and heard.

Marlow has worked in the environment of organisational change, shifting organisational culture, conflict resolution, mediation and relationship-building. He currently serves as an executive board of the Red Ribbon Foundation, a HIV/AIDS community-driven project.

Marlow joined Inclusive and Affirming Ministries in October 2019.

Gomo Lesejane - Communications Officer

Gomo (she/her) is a Black queer feminist writer, gender justice activist and member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa.

With a wealth of experience in managing and building brands, her passion for creating impactful and nuanced communications products coupled with her passion for the advocacy of marginalized groups has led to her taking up the role of Communications Officer at IAM.

She studied for a BA Law degree from the University of Johannesburg, and is also a trained copywriter.

Lauren Matthew - Chairperson

I am an ordained minister in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA). I would consider myself an activist within the community and particularly within the landscape of the MCSA. My activism is at the intersection of gender justice, race and class and I seek to make the MCSA a more inclusive and nurturing environment for the LGBTIQ+ community and women. I am currently reading toward a PhD in Philosophy and Religion at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

I am married to Dr Nokukhanya Dube and we are proud (and sometimes exasperated) parents of a very lively seven year old.

Dr. Zamantshali Dlamini

Dr. Zamantshali Dlamini is a gender practitioner and activist.  She is active within the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (Diocese of Natal). She currently works for Ujamaa Centre for Biblical and Theological Community Development and Research as a Researcher and a Public Theology Programme Coordinator.  Her research interests lie at the intersection of culture, religion, and gender justice, with a focus on gender-based violence. She firmly believes in the liberation and flourishing of humankind.

Nitano Muller

Nitano is an ordained Anglican priest, currently Rector of St Peter’s Church in Eersterivier (Cape Town) and is also Chaplain for Young People in the Diocese of False Bay. Prior to full-time ministry, he worked as an Educator for several years specializing in English and the Social Sciences. Youth development, gender justice and liturgy are amongst his passions. He is currently reading towards a Master’s in Theology at St Augustine’s College, exploring the intersection of faith, gender and leadership. In 2022, Nitano was selected as a Trinity Leadership Fellow, a program for emerging faith leaders offered by Trinity Church Wall Street, New York.

Miss Vandy Fourie

Vandy qualified as a chartered accountant in 2012. She is an experienced Chartered Accountant with a demonstrated history of working in the Auditing industry. Skilled in IFRS, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), UK GAAP, FRS101 and 102. Having been an Accounting teacher for 12 years, it instilled a passion in me for teaching and mentoring people to reach their fullest potential. She recently returned from the UK where she worked as an audit manager for two years and has relocated to Cape Town.

Thuli Mbete

I am a peace worker and pastor who has worked in South Africa, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, South Kivu in Congo and Kenya. I serve on the Friends World Committee for Consultation (Quakers) in Africa. I also serve on the International board of Central Executive Committee (Quakers), London office for six years. I am a Gender Equity and Reconciliation International facilitator (GERI). I work closely with Gender Works in Cape Town. I also facilitate workshops on the Alternative to Violence Project (AVP) around South Africa. In Addition to this I have a calling as a traditional healer, and form part of the Traditional Health Practitioner in Cape Town and I work very close with spiritual healers from all over the Africa continent. Lastly, I am a LGBTQIA+ coordinator for Traditional Healers Forum (THF) in Cape Town, which aims to raise awareness and fight homophobia in schools, within families, and churches.