About Shine Literacy

In 2000, with a handful of volunteers, Shine Literacy opened its first centre in a primary school in Cape Town, providing weekly one-on-one support to children struggling with reading and writing. Motivated by the remarkable progress we measured, we designed a social franchise model and formalised our methods and materials so that the Shine Literacy Hour (SLH) programme could be used more widely.

As our experience has grown, so has our understanding of the wide range of factors that influence a child’s progress at school. We have therefore expanded our offering to encompass parents, caregivers, and the greater community in an effort to Create a Culture of Reading  (CCR) in the spaces where children live, play and learn.

Shine Literacy Board Members

Kehiloe Ntsekhe


Kehiloe holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology and a postgraduate certificate in mindfulness-based interventions. She has consulted for the University of Cape Town on various topics such as mentor training, life skills programmes and psychotherapy since 2003. Her interest in diversity and inclusion has also led her to facilitate diversity programmes and workshops within the NGO sector. She is an associate at Rosa Burns Ntsekhe, a global consultancy working towards broad-scale behavioural change by tackling issues of socio-economic inclusion and organisational diversity.

Graeme Auret


Graeme manages Shine Literacy’s finance, risk and governance functions. After starting his career as a chartered accountant in KwaZulu-Natal, Graeme moved to Deloitte & Touche, then Ernst & Young in the United Kingdom. Back in South Africa, he climbed the corporate ladder to the position of Managing Executive in the corporate banking division at Nedbank. Graeme has always been involved in entities that contribute to the development of social consciousness and upliftment. He values the opportunity to continue doing so through Shine Literacy.

Lolo Mini


Lolo Mini, who joined the Alan Gray Orbis Foundation in June 2018 as the Head of Talent, has 20 years of human resources experience. Previously, she was the HR Director at Chevron, where she spent over 10 years in different positions covering South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland. Before changing careers to HR, Lolo started out as a teacher. She holds a BA Degree in Psychology, a BA (Honours) in Psychology from UNISA and a Masters in Philosophy in People Management from the University of Cape Town.

Di Turpin

Di holds a BBus Sc (Marketing) from the University of Cape Town. Most of her corporate career was spent in the unit trust industry before she moved into the non-profit space to head up the Association of Collective Investments.
Since 2010, Di has been working as an independent director and retirement fund trustee. She chairs the Nedgroup Collective Investments Board, as well as the Old Mutual Wealth and Fairbairn Capital Retirement Funds. She furthermore serves as Nedgroup Investments Retirement Funds trustee.

Kathryn Torres

Co-founder and Honorary Board Member

Kathryn completed a Montessori Diploma in London in 1994, followed by a BEd in Early Childhood Studies and honours and master’s degrees in early childhood development at Roehampton University. South Africa’s deep social inequality and Shine Literacy’s attempts at levelling the playing field were the driving forces behind her social justice and political awakening. In 2018, Kathryn left her beloved South Africa for new adventures in the United States. She remains passionate about the organisation’s work. She remains engaged through her role as honorary trust

Shine Literacy Team

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 Literacy’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

Executive Director

As a qualified teacher specialising in remedial teaching, Maurita witnessed first-hand the need for support services in low-income schools. This led her to founding the first Shine Centre in 2000. As the Director of Shine Literacy, she has helped establish the organisation’s social franchise model in the form of Shine Chapters.  She has led the organisation through challenging times brought on by the Covid-19 Pandemic with care and resilience. As a result, Shine Literacy staff eased into a hybrid working model and embraced it while making some necessary changes to some of its programmes to respond adequately to the pandemic. Shine Literacy currently supports over 14 000 children across 46 schools nationally.

Julie Fischer

Finance Manager

Julie has been responsible for the smooth and efficient running of Shine Literacy’s finances since 2012. By ensuring good governance, compliance, and careful risk management, she ensures that the organisation remains on track to reaching its long-term vision of being sustainable and impactful. Julie holds a diploma from the Chartered Secretaries of Southern Africa and has financial management experience in both the non-profit and corporate sector. 

Trudy Coetzee

Social Franchise and CCR Coordinator

As a strong advocate for human rights and education, Trudy has been working in the NGO sector for over 27 years. After serving as the manager of the Shine Literacy Centre at Prestwich Primary School from 2010 to 2017, she became the operations coordinator at the Shine Literacy head office. Earlier in her career, she worked in the travel, film, modeling, entertainment and local tourism industries. 

Sharleen Haupt

Creating a Culture of Reading (CCR) Manager

Sharleen, originally from the Midwest in the United States, has called South Africa home for 30 years.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Primary Education from Alverno College in Wisconsin, USA. Sharleen’s first got involvement with The LifeMatters Foundation in 2011.  She then joined the foundation as the Centre Manager at the new Westlake Literacy centre in 2012.  She later became Academic Programme Manager.  In 2015 Sharleen earned a master’s degree in Education in Language and Literacy.  Sharleen joined Shine Literacy as an ad-hoc training consultant in 2019.

Nosipho Waqu

Creating a Culture of Reading (CCR) Trainer

Nosipho Waqu is skilled in the areas of project management, education, community outreach programmes, workshop facilitation, training, and capacity building. She has 13 years of teaching experience, and 10 years teaching international students on a part-time basis. For the past 15 years Nosipho has been working in NGOs that have a primary focus on educational outreach programmes. Community mobilisation, collaboration, training, coaching and youth development are some of her strengths and skills. Nosipho’s interest in diverse developmental fields has seen her working in government organisations and NGOs. She holds a B. Education degree, and a Higher Diploma in Education from the University of the Western Cape.

Michael Dirks

Communications and Stakeholder Support Officer

Michael is a creative and analytical thinker. He holds a National Diploma in Marketing Strategies and Digital Advertising in Digital Marketing. He has a demonstrated history in working in the Education Publishing Industry as a Sales and Marketing Support and coordination of projects, data management and reporting on CRM systems, namely Salesforce. He has been involved in initiatives such as fundraising and Awareness Events as well as the UN Global Green Impact Team Challenge (UK) in honour of achieving a silver award. He is Passionate about creative writing, graphic design, and photography.

Daniswa Jacobs

CCR Coordinator and Office Support

Daniswa started her career at Shine Literacy as the Centre Manager for St Agnes Primary School in the years 2009 to 2012. Her aspiration to gain excellent experience demonstrates why she has dedicated her time and expertise to this organisation for over 10 years. Daniswa has extensive experience in her field as she has worked with a number of primary schools specialising in paired/shared reading including St Agnes, Holy Cross, Sosebenza, and Walmer Estate Primary School.


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.


Respect for human rights
We uphold the values that all people should be treated equally and with dignity as is reflected in South Africa’s Bill of Rights.

We are invested in our duty to improve the future of literacy in South Africa.

Our actions, methods, measures, principles and outcomes will be consistent, truthful and transparent. 

We aim to be sincere and truthful in all our working practices.

We build partnerships with those who share a common purpose.