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Our Team

As the Akan proverb teaches, “Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it,” it takes a team of experts to bring you the exceptional EDU Africa experience. Our company is staffed by friendly, passionate, courageous people who care about Africa, her environment and her people – individuals who believe that Africa is where you’ll feel most alive.

Meet the people who work together to make the EDU Africa journeys possible:

Zimbabwe Team

Barry Rawlings (Founder & Managing Director)

Barry graduated with a Bachelor of Social Science Degree from the University of Cape Town. Following on from his studies with the South African Institute of Financial Markets, he became a registered trader on the Johannesburg and London Stock Exchanges. He is also a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. Before taking on a role as the General Manager for EDU Africa,

he worked as a Service Centre Manager for Old Mutual in Cape Town, South Africa.Based in Harare, Barry takes great pleasure in leading the EDU Africa team. “I am often asked why I have moved from my home town of Cape Town to Zimbabwe. Well, in many senses no city beats Cape Town, but Zimbabwe has other benefits and has equally won my heart . The people, open spaces and community life here are incredible. This feels like ‘real’ Africa and, for me anyway, it feels somehow easier to make a meaningful contribution. I am in love with Africa and count the opportunity to introduce others to this continent and its people an absolute privilege. I am thoroughly enjoying life here with my wife and three young sons.”

Tapiwa Makore (Program & Operations Manager)

Born in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe, Tapiwa studied Administration and Management with the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. He went on to study Tourism Management with the University of Cape Town along with in-house training at EDU Africa as a tour leader when he joined the team. Tapiwa has travelled extensively around Southern Africa.

“I am passionate about experiencing nature in its unadulterated form, setting up camps in the middle of nowhere and just enjoying nature. Having grown up in a mountainous farming area, I spent hours climbing mountains and wondering what was beyond the horizon. That initiated my passion for travel and a desire to learn new things about the different places around the world. I am now well placed to be able to organize educational programs in and around Southern Africa.”

Tafadzwa Muchopa (Business Development Coordinator)

With a BSc (Hons) Degree in Molecular Science, Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health and Certificates in Community Development and Counseling, it is Tafadzwa’s passion for travel and empowering individuals through a holistic approach to education and sustainable development that makes her a good fit on the EDU Africa team.

“I am a Zimbabwean and have lived here all my life, save for the three years that I spent studying in the UK. Through personal experience via the cross-cultural experiences that I had during my escapades to various countries within Africa and Europe, my conviction that experiential travel ought to be an integral part of every scholar’s life has been strengthened. The opportunity to be on the EDU Africa team has enabled me to make this a reality for many and I am thrilled to be able to be of such influence”.

Kenya Team

Sean Anderson (Founder & Director)

Sean studied Environmental Science/ Economics with the University of Cape Town. He is the Managing Director of Muna Tree Holdings (which includes EDU Africa). He is also the Chairman of Mara Naboisho – a leading community-based conservation initiative driven by eco-tourism in the Maasai Mara Ecosystem. “Whilst I am proudly Zimbabwean (my forefathers arrived in Africa in 1800),

I have had the privilege of living and working across the continent. I love discovering ways to not only offer an excellent service to visitors, but moreover to make a lasting impact in local communities through the local project partners and the various community partners we are blessed to serve. When I have a spare moment, I love escaping into the bush with my beautiful wife, daughter and son who are proving to be fast learners with those clumsy binoculars!”

Heidi Barends, PhD profile

Heidi Barends, PhD (Academic Program Manager)

Heidi holds a PhD in English Language and Literature from the University of Cape Town where she was involved in research and teaching from 2014-2018. She was also a faculty member at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology from 2015-2018. 

Heidi’s work in programming at EDU Africa is an ideal translation of her research interests – she is passionate about ethical exchange between African countries and the rest of the world, and EDU Africa offers her a platform to achieve this.

Lincoln Njiru (Program Manager)

Lincoln was born and brought up in central Kenya where he developed a passion for things of nature early in life. Pursuing this early passion seemed the obvious thing to do as he went ahead to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Management from Egerton University, Kenya. Years that followed saw him work in Botswana before moving further down south of the continent for further studies

at the University of KwaZulu Natal where he obtained a Masters degree in Environment and Development. Lincoln has been involved with wildlife conservation programs in the Maasai Mara for a number of years before transitioning to endangered species conservation with a focus on rhino conservation in Kenya. He has recently joined the EDU Africa team as our specializing in Natural Sciences programs. His passion lies in biodiversity conservation, with an interest in conservation initiatives that are community based and contribute to improvement of livelihoods.

Andrea Hartley (Representative)

Andrea traveled with EDU Africa in 2011 while she was studying towards her Bachelor of Arts Degree (International Studies concentrated in Africa, minoring in Business Administration and Psychology) at Louisiana State University Honors College. This Study Abroad Program, which involved a season in Tanzania, ignited a passion for Africa that has led her to return and join the EDU Africa team.

“I visited Kenya my first year of university through EDU Africa. Blown away by the eye opening experience, I decided to set my heart on returning. When travelling in East Africa, my mind is never as clear and my heart is never so full. I constantly feel that I receive more from my time here than I am able to give back, a frustrating cycle that has led me to leave my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee and declare Kenya my new home. My hope is to make the same lasting impact on others and my passion is to inspire others by facilitating unforgettable learning experiences, relationships and growth through travel in Africa.”

South Africa Team

Michael Massingham (Founder & Director)

Michael holds a business degree with specializations in Business Management and Industrial Psychology. He co-founded EDU Africa, currently holding the title of South African Director, and also serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations. Michael has traveled extensively over the last fifteen years; he has presented at several conferences and hosted webinars. He is primarily interested in sustainable community development, ethical global exchange and environmentalism as they pertain to study abroad on the African continent.

“I consider it a privilege to be involved in this tremendously exciting initiative and am ever more passionate about making a lasting impact in communities, the education and development of our future generations, and helping to protect the spectacular wild places that Africa is blessed with. In my years of witnessing the impact of cross-cultural engagements and being a registered and qualified South African Tourist Guide, I have loved seeing people change and grow. For me it’s all about building lasting relationships and showing students our beautiful continent that seems to welcome everyone with the same warmth I’ve experienced. Completing my team are my wife and three daughters.”

Charl Ackermann (Marketing Director)

Charl was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. He completed his BA(Hons)Tourism Management Degree at the North West University. After studying, Charl spent 2 years working in London, England before heading back home to South Africa. He joined the EDU Africa family in our Cape Town office in 2009.

“It’s such a privilege to be part of a team that is actively involved in impacting people’s lives through unique educational experiences in Africa. I believe that curious minds is what drives learning, and there is no better way to drive curiosity than through experiencing the beauty, history and unique diversity that Africa offers.”

Annerien Nel (Marketing & Business Process Manager)

Annerien was born in Pretoria, but moved down to Cape Town with her family 15 years later. She grew up in a home that loved the outdoors and explored South Africa and our beautiful neighbouring countries. Her adventurous heart tugged her abroad after school where she spent two and a half years working and traveling in the UK and USA.

Upon her return she stumbled into the wedding industry where her love for photography, design and project management grew. Annerien joined the EDU Africa Program Manager’s team in 2016 before moving over to the Marketing department. “I have this ever growing need to see more and do more in this world. Joining such a dynamic team with a vision to transform lives in and through Africa just fuels my passion to live on purpose for a purpose. The ability to showcase what our continent has to offer and to tell the story of changed lives inspires me daily.”

Desireé Haakonsen (Program Manager)

Desireé studied at the University of Cape Town where she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Film and Media Production. Before joining the team at EDU Africa, she was a travel blogger, editor and social media ninja at TravelGround. “My desire to travel began when I was first able to reach the door handle on tippie toes – it was an ‘aha!’ moment when I discovered a bigger world out there.

As a creative at heart, I’m passionate about the beauty of Southern Africa – from her landscapes to her people – and the warm sense of home that it gives to travellers on even the shortest visits. Another thing I’m passionate about is serving others. This is where my work atEDU Africa really tugs at my heartstrings. It’s an honor working with people who inspire a love for others and seek to change lives – not only in the communities we serve, but also for those that do the serving.”

Dave Fisher (Program Manager)

Dave was born in Johannesburg, South Africa but has spent most of his life in the beautiful city of Cape Town. He studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Cape Town and then for a postgraduate qualification in Education. After working as a high school teacher for 5 years and then in the media industry, Dave moved into working for EDU Africa.

Having always had a passion for travel, Dave has travelled to over 14 countries across North America, central America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Working at EDU Africa allows Dave to combine a love for travel and a passion for education.

David Mayekiso (Program Support)

David focuses on program support and assists the program managers with the ground handling and smooth running of all EDU Africa programs. David is warm and welcoming and has a passion for people and all things sport and travel. In his spare time, he's also a facilitator  - working with youth groups in his church. David is a big supporter of the Springbok rugby team.

Prosper Samva (Program Facilitator)

Having grown up in a tiny sheep village in Zimbabwe, Prosper’s life today is a far cry from its humble beginnings. Prosper arrived in South Africa in his teens and soon discovered a passion for people and travel.

He has worked his way up to a full-time guide and is one of the company’s most valuable assests. Prosper is all about making trips memorable and will do everything he can to help you tick off your bucket list dreams. When he’s not working, you’ll find him supporting his favourite soccer team.

Gordon McCrindle (Program Facilitator)

Gordon grew up in Johannesburg, and has always had a passion for exploring new areas and activities. He studied Adventure Tourism, and has now found a love for facilitating educational programs. Gordon’s passion for Africa and our people are infectious. "I enjoy showing students our beautiful continent and witnessing their reactions to each new experience."

Jurgen Jacobsen (Program Facilitator)

Jurgen grew up in the beautiful city of Cape Town and is passionate about his country. After studying personal training, he found that his love of working with people from different backgrounds complemented his passion for educating people about South Africa. Jurgen joined EDU Africa in 2017 and has thoroughly enjoyed meeting people from around the world. He is proud of the work that EDU Africa does within local communities and our approach to experiential learning journeys.

Tanzania Team

Adrian Maarschalk (Director)

Adrian holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Rhodes University, South Africa. After living and working in New Zealand for four years, he had the opportunity to return to his home continent, join the EDU Africa team and exercise his leadership skills in a field that he loves. “I have a wonderful wife and two amazing children and we currently live in Tanzania where I work with EDU Africa.

It is a privilege for me to be involved in sharing the culture and beauty of East Africa with travellers and students from all over the world.”