Contact Us

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:

Leadership Team

Sean Anderson (Muna Tree Managing 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!”

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.”

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.”

Adrian Maarschalk (East Africa 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.”

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.”

Heidi Barends, PhD profile

Heidi Barends, PhD (Academic Director)

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.

Annerien Nel (Marketing & Business Process Manager)

Annerien grew up in a home that loved the outdoors and explored South Africa and our beautiful neighbouring countries from a young age. 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.”

Program Consultants

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 at EDU 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.

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.

Roseanne Kinyua (Program Manager)

Roseanne holds a Bachelor's degree in Education from Kenyatta University and was a high school music teacher from 2005 to 2010, when she ventured into the world of administration and program management. "While I remain a passionate educator at heart, I realized that being in the production end of educational experiences was more fulfilling for me than being at the front of the classroom. I've also had the privilege of traveling

to several different parts of the world and I see how important travel is in getting to know yourself, examine your worldviews, and appreciate what your host and home countries have to offer to you and others. I love Kenya, and to be part of a team that avails opportunities to others to learn and grow in my country is a great honour. I also love organizing people and things, so my work at EDU Africa is the perfect marriage of my skills and passions.” Roseanne lives in Nairobi with her husband. She still loves music and can be found singing at, or attending music events of varied genres during her spare time.

Nastasia Doritou (Program Manager)

Nastasia was born and raised in Cyprus. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fashion Management with Marketing from Southampton Solent University in the United Kingdom. Before joining EDU Africa, she worked in the fashion industry in London. In 2016, Nastasia embarked on a volunteer journey to Tanzania, where she fell in love with the culture and the country. She believes in the eye-opening, perspective-altering capacity of traveling to and engaging with Africa, and is passionate about sharing that with others.  "Traveling to Africa has been eye-opening and changed me in so many positive ways and I want others to experience this great transformation." 

Support Team

Tafadzwa Muchopa (Quality Assurance 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”.

Resego Molope

Resego Molope (Program Support)

Resego hails from Johannesburg, the City of Gold, and moved to Cape Town to study at the University of Cape Town in 2016. She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Politics and Sociology. Her keen interests in African Economic History and the provision of quality education across the continent marry well with her work in study abroad programming for our East Africa office. Resego's keen eye for detail, passion for sustainability, and love for travel are evident in every aspect of her work.

Ashley Cilliers (Program Support)

Ashley was born in Evander, a small mining village in Mpumalanga, South Africa, and moved to Cape Town once she finished her schooling. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in both Theology and Psychology from the Cornerstone Institute and presently is completing her probation period in order to become an ordained Full Gospel Pastor. Ashley is an expert administrator, having worked in events, PR and marketing in the past, and she currently assists the South African Programming Team with a host of backend processes. She loves being part of a company that strives to see people grow and develop and being able to make a difference in people's lives through travel.