Sheila Berry, EarthLore’s Director, is a Clinical Psychologist who has been a strong campaigner for social and environmental justice for more than 30 years. She views the Earth as the source of physical, mental, psychological and spiritual well-being and health. She draws her inspiration from the traditional rural farming communities that EarthLore partners and the indigenous people, particularly hunter-gatherer communities in Southern and Eastern Africa, she previously worked with. Sheila is an ardent activist against open cast coal mining, particularly in Somkhele and Fuleni, two rural farming communities accompanied by EarthLore in KwaZulu Natal. EarthLore supports their opposition to the expansion of Tendele Coal Mining on the boundary of the historic iMfolozi Wilderness Area, where these communities have lived for generations. Sheila heads the Save Our Wilderness campaign and is spokesperson for the iMfolozi Communities and Wilderness Alliance (ICWA).
Method Gundidza currently holds the post of Programme Manager for EarthLore, as well as overseeing finances. He is a Certified Chartered Accountant with over 15 years financial management experience in both the public and private sectors. After joining EarthLore in early 2013, he became increasingly attracted to and involved in the field activities of the organisation, which resonated with his childhood days. He found himself being strongly drawn back to his roots in a subsistence farming community in the Bikita district of Zimbabwe, where his mother and several family members still live.
EarthLore’s involvement in Bikita, since 2015, has produced many noteworthy changes and achievements that attract growing interest.
In July 2017, Method was amongst the first graduates of the Gaia Foundation’s ground breaking 3 year international training course on Earth Jurisprudence (EJ) which views Nature as our teacher and emphasizes that her lores take precedence over all manmade laws. Method is currently a mentor for the next group of EJ students.
In April 2018, he was invited to speak at the UN in New York on African Perspectives of Earth Jurisprudence – Reweaving the Basket of Life.
He is making a valuable contribution to EarthLore’s growing reputation as an exemplary partner in medium-size, regional programmes.
Mashudu Takalani currently holds the post of Programme and Administration Assistant, with an N6 in Business Management from Vhembe FET College. Mashudu joined EarthLore (then Mupo) in 2009 as a volunteer working with communities in Venda until her full time appointment, working closely with elders, to accompany communities in reviving their indigenous knowledge and practices. She straddles Administrative and Programme work, assisting in financial management and the coordination of field activities including community dialogues, seed work and eco-mapping processes.
Lihle describes herself as an Environmentalist/ Conservationist and Activist. She is the first black and female guide to be trained by the Wilderness Leadership School to qualify as a Wilderness guide. From an early age she fell in love with nature and started volunteering with Environmental organisations such as Earthlife, the Wilderness Action Group, Ecopiece, etc.
She has worked for the Wilderness Leadership School as a backup guide, and has worked for the Wilderness Foundation SA in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. She sits on the Magqubu Ntombela Foundation as a trustee. She is also a co-founder of Fezufunda Eco Environmental Youth Development Centre in KeiMouth, Eastern Cape. She has recently joined the team at Earthlore working as a Community Animator.
She is presently studying Counselling Psychology through UNISA.
In July 2017, Sara started working for EarthLore part-time from Zimbabwe, to assist with fundraising. She has a wealth of experience having worked in London for 13 years. After the completion of her Masters in Human Rights, she provided fundraising and project management for our close partner, the Gaia Foundation, in London. Sara has a passion for community food growing, having run her own food growing training project and being head grower on London’s then only certified organic market garden. Back home in Zimbabwe, she set up a community newspaper, currently operating sporadically, and continues links with rural farming communities projects in the country that partner with EarthLore. She has a beautiful vegetable garden, keeps chickens and is delighted by the joy her two small children get from picking their own food
Nkosinathi Mike Mlambo worked for 5 years as a Social Auxiliary with NICRO until he joined the Mupo Foundation, now EarthLore, in August 2015. He is a Field Animator, accompanying communities in Elukwatini, his home area, in Mpumalanga. During his childhood, he grew up in a rural setting and participated in farming with his family, learning from both his Zulu and Swazi ancestry. He is passionate about the importance of not loosing ones identity and and is committed to enabling the communities in his area to bring back their knowledge and practices so that they can restore the soil, their sacred sites and their farming practices to deal with the changing climate.
Sasha joined EarthLore as an intern. She is currently doing her 2nd year as an
accounting student at Wits University and has been associated with the Wits
Inala Forum as an activist against the food injustice systems in the country.
She is also acquiring increasing knowledge of agroecology and crop biodiversity.
Sasha is keen to learn around the traditions of African cultures as she believes
that these need to be preserved and kept alive. Sasha was born in
Harare and nurtured in the Midlands of Zimbabwe (Gweru) as well as the
mountainous valleys of Mutare before moving to South Africa. Currently she
resides in Fourways, Johannesburg.
As an extroverted, sporty, outdoorsy, free spirited young woman, it is a surprise to discover her favourite sport is chess and she currently represents Wits University’s chess team.