About Shine

Context: Educational Crisis


South Africa’s literacy rates remain stubbornly low. Many children face multiple deprivations from birth, which directly impact on their ability to learn. These include poor nutrition, disease, violence and abuse, impoverished living conditions and a lack of loving relationships.


It was found that of the Grade Three children in those schools sampled, only 17% scored more than 50% in their numeracy assessment and only 31% scored more than 50% in their literacy test. Minister of Education, Angie Motshekga, said that among Grade Three children, the national average performance in literacy was 35%; and in numeracy, 28% (Department of Education, 2012).

Shine’s programmes are helping to transform the prospects of some of South Africa’s most vulnerable children by breaking the destructive cycle of poor literacy, low educational attainment, wasted potential and poverty. We do this by providing structured English literacy support to children, providing storybooks and readers and empowering parents and caregivers through Family Literacy Workshops. We work in partnership with like-minded NGO’s, individuals and non-profit organisations (see here) to raise awareness and develop approaches that are appropriate and sustainable.


Find reports and interesting information. (click here)

Shine Board Members

Kathryn Torres (Chairperson):

Amanda Simpson (Secretary):

Di Turpin (Treasurer):

Khethiwe Cele:

Kay Price-Lindsay:

Xolisa Guzula: 

Hywel George:

BA Ed Honours (Roehampton College, London) 

BA LLB B. Com Honours (UCT)

B. Business Science Honours (UCT)

Chemistry Honours (UCT), MBA (UCT GSB)

BA Psychology, Anthropology and Drama (UCT)

BA Prim Ed, MPhil Education Administration, Planning and Social Policy (UCT)

BSc Economics


In addition to the head office team of eight, we also currently have eight Shine Centre Managers and several part-time trainers and field co-ordinators. Sixteen Shine Chapter Managers complete a very special team who work with integrity, passion and drive.


Dan Pink, in his book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”, talks about success in the workplace being based on each team member having Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Founder and Executive Director, Maurita Weissenberg, believes that Shine’s success can be attributed to each team member being self-motivated, passionate about a shared vision and always willing to learn more.


Maurita Weissenberg


Founder and Executive Director


Maurita spent the first 25 years of her career as a primary school teacher in South Africa and London, working in both private and state schools. Maurita found that struggling to learn to read was an issue that affected many children, irrespective of their background or schooling. This motivated her to qualify as a remedial teacher in 1994.


As a result of her expertise, Maurita established the first Shine Centre at Observatory Junior School in Cape Town in 2000. By 2006, the literacy profile of the school had risen from 50% to 84% for Grade Three children, and from 48% to 78% for Grade Six children. In 2009, four new centres were established and after many enquiries from other individuals and organisations, Shine researched different models of social franchising. As a result, Shine now has 15 successful social franchises (Shine Chapters) running in three provinces.


Carrie Mashek


Operations Manager


B.A. from Marquette University (U.S.A)
BSocSc Honours with distinction, University of Cape Town. Masters candidate in the Department of Social Development, University of Cape Town


Julie Fischer


Finance Manager


CIS-Chartered Institute of Secretaries and Administrators


Kerry White


Funding and Development Manager


Bachelor of Social Science, University of Cape Town


Bea Volbrecht


Programme Manager: Shine Centres


Higher Diploma in Education, Johannesburg College of Education 1980-1983


Hanli van Aswegen


Project Co-ordinator


BSocSc Majoring in Labour, Organisational Psychology and Human Resource Management, University of Cape Town


Madalitso Chimphango


Volunteer Co-ordinator and Database Administrator


BCom (Economics & Finance), University of the Western Cape


2006 – Maurita Weissenberg finalist in Woman of Worth

2008 – Reconciliation Award from the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation

2010 – Shine was one of 30 finalists selected from 89 countries for the prestigious WISE Awards

2012 – ‘Rising Star’ (Africa-Middle East) Award from the STARS Foundation

2013 – Outstanding Volunteer of the Year from SAIF awarded to Kathryn Torres

2013 – Silver Award from Impumelelo for Social Innovation


Each individual matters
Shine creates an environment which affirms a child’s importance.

Listen with respect and without interruption
The quality of our attention profoundly affects the quality of other people’s thinking.

Treat each other as thinking peers
We learn from one another, regardless of age or qualification.

Ease creates, urgency destroys
An environment that encourages children to work at their own pace facilitates learning.

Practice the art of appreciation
Be generous and genuine with praise and words of encouragement.