Brian Bongani Sibeko-Ngidi is a social justice activist who is passionate about the plight of marginalised communities, especially the LGBTI community, young girls, and sex workers. He takes it as a personal mission to fight against homophobia, transphobia, and gender-based violence while advocating for comprehensive reproductive health and rights and the decriminalization of sex work. He is community oriented and a people’s person who never misses an opportunity to spread the word of self-love and safe sex.
After gaining experience in the LGBTI field, he decided to become a fulltime student and is currently doing his second level at UKZN where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Social Science degree majoring in Psychology and Sociology.
Sharon lives with her partner, Berenice, at Solitude Retreat Centre, in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
Sharon has a PhD in Physics and is a former lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She now works as a consultant in science education development. Her main area of work is in facilitating science teacher development workshops, primarily in rural schools. She has been involved in various research projects around science education with a range of organisations (including Umalusi and HESA), and has authored various textbooks and research articles.
Sharon also has a keen interest in spirituality, and she jointly runs the Solitude Retreat Centre with her partner Berenice. Sharon’s areas of focus include mysticism and contemplative prayer, gay spirituality and post-modern explorations of religion.
Berenice Meintjies is a clinical psychologist with 15 years community development experience, specialising in trauma and psychosocial support. She is a former director of Sinani / KwaZulu-Natal Programme for Survivors of Violence, and has served as the Chairperson of the CINDI Network and as a Trustee of Themba Lesizwe.
She presently works as a consultant for local, national and international NGOs, involved in training and materials development to promote psychosocial support in under-resourced communities.
Berenice manages Solitude Retreat Centre, situated in the Dargle area of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
Shireen Has worked for the past 28 years as a Social Worker for the HIV/AIDS Unit in the Msunduzi Municipality. She has been actively involved with counselling and community work. She has sat on various Boards and participated enthusiastically in a variety of social issues.
She is married, with three sons whom she adores.
Shireen is also very creative and in her very limited spare time, does fabric painting , decoupage, beaded jewellery , baking and added to this is very passionate about spiritual healing.
She is warm, loving, full of laughter and happiness.
Chris McLachlan is a clinical psychologist that works at the Thuthuzela Rape Crises centre at Edendale hospital. Chris also has a small private practice where they sees sexual and gender diverse people.
Chris has been active in the field of activism from the early 90ties and actively worked and campaigned for the Civil Union Act where same-sex couples can marry. As an ordained minister in the Reforming church, they has had amazing opportunities to officiate at diverse weddings. Chris is also currently a PhD candidate at UNISA where they focuses on the experience of trans and gender diverse people as they access gender affirming health.
Chris was also one of the researchers developing the psychology guidelines for people who work in the sexual and gender diverse field, PsySSA 2018. Chris is serving on the Board of Gender DynamiX as chairperson and on the Sexual and Gender Division of PsySSA's management committee. Chris is passionate about doing hope, fighting for justice and living in the here and now.
Chris is blessed with two wonderful children and a supportive community of care.
Nontuthuko was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg. She attended the University of KwaZulu Natal where she obtained her bachelor’s degree and later her master’s degree in business law. During her time at UKZN, Nontuthuko was a member of the Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ) and served as the general secretary of the same organisation in 2015.
In her High School years, she was a peer counsellor and found the opportunity to assist others in this way very rewarding. She is currently serving her articles of clerkship and has a keen interest in corporate and commercial law.
Some of Nontuthuko’s interests include watching documentaries and sport and being outdoors either relaxing by the dam or the sea.
Juanita lectures at the School of Law, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus. She has been in academia for the past 7 years. She has an LLB and LLM qualification from UKZN.
She is also a registered Advocate of the High Court. Her PhD is on “Discrimination and Prejudice experienced by Gay Woman in their Christian Religious Groups: Pre and Post New Constitutional Dispensation”.
She lectures Family Law and Gender and the Law. Her expertise and niche area is Family Law and her interests are in the areas of Gender and the Law and International Humanitarian Law. She belongs to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) International Humanitarian Law Teachers Association.
Her passion lies with helping and uplifting woman in society and she gets to do this as part of her community service required of her as a law academic. She enjoys enacting with people in both her professional and private capacity. In her spare time, she enjoys reading a good novel, walking and pottering around the garden.
Heidi van Rooyen
Heidi van Rooyen is a trained clinical psychologist with a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is currently the Research Director of the Social, Behavioural and Biomedical Interventions Unit of the HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB Research Programme in the HSRC.
Heidi has worked in the HIV/AIDS field for the past 21 years in various capacities from counselling, training, clinical and academic supervision, mentoring and research management to policy development. Over the past 13 years – first, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Psychology), and now at the HSRC – she has amassed excellent research management skills—scientific, financial, human and regulatory. Heidi has played key scientific leadership roles on several international National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded, multi-year social-behavioural studies dealing with a range of target groups (children, women and men, couples) in a range of settings (schools, clinics, households and communities).
Dr van Rooyen is involved with various leading international groups tasked with addressing key regional and global HIV prevention issues. She is an Honorary Professor: University of the Witwatersrand.