Empowering Women

Phakamani (pronounces pug-ah-ma-nee) means ‘rise up’ in isiZulu.

Empowering impoverished women to succeed

A Hand Up, Not a Hand-Out

We only work with those who are prepared to help themselves. When the loans are paid back, they are reinvested to assist other entrepreneurs. Every rand and dollar is leveraged to help as many people as possible.

Our integrated programme of training, group loans, and ongoing support leads to income, savings, and hope for the next generation. The Foundation is a registered nonprofit, Christian, public benefit organisation that serves people in need irrespective of race, religion, or creed.

Our Mission & Vision

We envision a country in which even the poorest entrepreneur has the opportunity to create a business, uplift a family, and build a dream.
Our mission is to empower poor individuals to succeed at micro-enterprise by providing training, suitable micro-finance products, and ongoing support that will help them thrive.

Guiding Principles

We value the poor
We value doing the right thing
We value greatness from humility
We value loyalty and truth
We value being trustworthy
We value an attitude of gratitude

Management Team

Eric Crawford

CEO (2015)

Eric brought his vast experience in managing and developing many different businesses to his role as CEO. Eric has a broad skill set that is ideally suited to this role at Phakamani Foundation. Eric spent seven years in retail and more than 10 years in various project management and senior management positions before taking on two different COO roles. Eric holds an MBA from Thames Valley University in London.

Kudzayi Rujuwa

Finance & Admin Manager (2015)

Kudzi has spent over 15 years sharing his skills and knowledge in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. He has spent the last decade working with donor funded organisations supported by local and international funders. His areas of expertise comprise Financial Accounting, Management Accounting, Auditing, Corporate Governance, Taxation and General Office Administration. Kudzi has achieved the Strategic Professional level with the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants, (ACCA) (UK) and is an MBA scholar specialising in Finance and Accounting with the Catholic University of Murcia (UCAM), Spain.

Eric Mabunda

Operations Manager (2013)

Eric has 17 years of experience in Micro-finance having held roles of Development Loan Officer and Branch Manager at the Small Enterprise Foundation, and Compliance Officer and Quality Assurance Officer at Women’s Development Business. Eric previously worked as a news reporter at SABC in Limpopo and for Cobra Watertech in Gauteng. Eric holds a BA Honours degree from the University of the Limpopo in Media Studies.

Gabriel Rapatsa

Internal Audit and QA Manager (2009)

Gabriel has 24 years of experience working and leading micro-finance operations in South Africa. He has worked as a Branch, Zonal, and Training Manager at Small Enterprise Foundation. Gabriel has a Senior Teachers Diploma, Micro-Enterprise Foundation and Development Certificate from University of Limpopo, Southern New Hampshire University (School of Community Economic Development), Management of Development Organizations and Community Based Microfinance Coady International Institute of St. Francis Xavier University in Canada. Visited India’s Micro Finance Organisations (Share and Cashpor). Gabriel is the son of a poor woman who herself took out a micro-loan, which gives him a special perspective on Phakamani’s work.

William Chauke

Human Resources and Training Manager (2009)

William brings a diverse range of skills and project experience to his role. William was previously a lecturer and teacher in several institutions.  William holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree specialising in Human Resource Management, a Diploma in Education from Mkoba Teachers College, and certificates in Practical Labour Law, Risk & Compliance Management, Microfinance Management, and Ministerial Theology. William is completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Development as well as the Governance Practitioner level with the Chartered Governance Institute of Southern Africa.

Mitchell Terblanche

Project Manager (2021)

Mitch has a broad range of experience having worked for Non-Government Organizations and private companies alike. Launching and managing initiatives as a Project Manager, General Manager and sitting on the Executive Management Team in previous positions. He has studied Theology, Electrical Engineering, Economics and most recently Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets through Harvard Business School. Mitch is most passionate about living a life to positively impact those he’s never met.

Our Board

Matthew Comins (Board Chair)

Regional Director, the FD & CFO Centre, Mpumalanga, South Africa and Mozambique

Matthew is the Mpumalanga and Mozambique Regional Director for the FD & CFO Centre. Previous financial leadership experience comes from his 10 years as the Group CFO for the HL Hall & Sons Group and as a Regional Financial Controller for Standard Commercial Inc. in Tanzania and Malawi and Alliance One International Inc. Matthew completed his articles with Pim Goldby/Deloitte & Touche in the early 1990s. As a dedicated member of the South African financial professional community, he is a registered Chartered Accountant and a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. Matthew has a passion for the ‘numbers that really matter’ and his strengths lie in Risk Management, Corporate Governance, Treasury management, interpreting the real story behind the numbers, and building and supporting effective finance teams.

Ronas Marule

Regional Director – Provision

Ronas serves on the International Team with responsibility for Africa. This includes Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa where he mentors leaders both online and through field visits. Previously, Ronas was Area Director for Mpumalanga at Youth for Christ, a non-profit, non-denominational, Christian youth development ministry directly addressing problems and needs of the young people of South Africa. He also serves on their National Leadership Team and is presently serving as a board member at ASM Clinic and also Pro-Vision. Prior to this he was a Pastor and lecturer at Africa School of Missions. Ronas has served on the boards of Hands at Work, Ekukhanyeni Child Care, Child-Welfare Mpumalanga, Child-Welfare White River and Mpumalanga Alliance for Street Children. Ronas graduated from North West University with an Honours degree in Theology in 2015.

Vuyelwa Matsiliza

Non-Executive Director

Over a period of 30 years, Vuyelwa Matsiliza has served as a teacher, lecturer, central banker, development financier, and non-executive director. She has deep skills in macro-economic application, strategy research & development, treasury management, credit insurance, enterprise & credit risk management, project finance, corporate finance, investment management, portfolio management & evaluation and governance. Vuyelwa holds a BA, BA Economics Honours Cum Laude, Master of Business Leadership, and a Secondary Teachers Diploma. She is currently an active non-executive director at the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa, Chris Hani Development Agency and IsivandeSethu.

Khomotso Malapane

Senior Education Specialist, Department of Education

Khomotso is a registered counsellor in psychology with more than 10 years’ experience working with rural youth in Mpumalanga. Her current role with the Mpumalanga government has her working directly with teenagers and their families to plan how to improve their futures. Khomotso earned her junior and post-graduate degrees at the then Rand Afrikaans University. She is a seasoned mental health practitioner with demonstrated track record of successfully working with diverse client populations in numerous and varied roles. Her community work includes, serving on the Careers Exhibitions and Information Association (CEIA) national community, and also at the Lutheran Church in Acornhoek Parish.

Donald Lagerway

Managing Director of Tony Lagerwey Pty Ltd

Don Lagerwey is the Managing Director of Tony Lagerwey Pty Ltd in White River. Over nearly four decades Don has developed his company into a diversified developer with interests in commercial building, property development, property management, frail care and retirement complexes, and secured storage facilities. Don has served on the boards of Africa School of Missions, Seed for the Sower, Youth for Christ and his local church.

Mark Tucker

Co-Founder and Vice Chair – Phakamani Foundation

Mark Tucker has more than 30 years of experience in business and entrepreneurship. He began his career in information technology, holding various management positions in Standard Bank and Anglo American Corporation. He later established Buzzmark Holdings Ltd, a Canadian company that develops and operates Great Clips for Hair franchises in British Columbia and Alberta. Mark also served as Senior Pastor at Heritage Mountain Community Church, in British Columbia, which he helped establish. Mark was born in Canada and raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Shirley Tucker

Independent Author, Co-Founder of Phakamani Foundation

Shirley Tucker is an author and community organiser. Born in Zambia and raised in South Africa, Shirley began her career as a trained primary school teacher, serving in South Africa’s public school system for seven years. She later joined Scripture Union as a children’s worker responsible for leading camps and coaching teachers. Shirley is an adult bible teacher, a former Sunday school teacher in a church that she helped establish along with her husband, a Kids Can Sew Franchisee and she has volunteered with several different non-profit organisations.