About the Nova Instition

The Team

Although the Nova team consists of self-motivated individuals from a diversity of backgrounds, regular team meetings are held to define roles, improve communication and to establish synergy.

The Nova team

Dr Attie Van Niekerk

Managing Director

Dr Attie van NiekerkIn 1994 dr Attie van Niekerk became a founding member and managing director of the Nova Institute.

Under his leadership, researchers from a diversity of backgrounds, together with a number of low-income families, are engaged in processes to design, and evaluate in practice, household products and processes that are effective, sustainable, affordable for low-income households, desirable, replicable and socially beneficial.

He is the author of numerous academic articles, holds a DD degree from the University of Pretoria and teaches part time at the Faculty of Theology of the same university. He was a minister of the (black) Dutch Reformed Church in Africa in Venda from 1978 to 1984, and professor for the church's theological training at the University of the North from 1984 to 1993.

Dr Montagu Murray

Programme Manager

Dr Montagu MurrayDr H M Murray holds the following five degrees from the University of Pretoria, all with distinction: BA, BA Honours, BD, MDiv and DD.

His academic studies included pre-graduate studies in Wabasha, Minnesota in the USA and post graduate research at the Universities of Utrecht and Leiden in the Netherlands.

Since 1999 he has been involved in research projects for the Centre for the Study for AIDS, ISWEN at the University of Pretoria, the Nova Institute, the Dutch Reformed Church and the Witness Forum of Mamelodi / Lusaka.

Dr Murray has distinguished himself as researcher. He has published several articles in peer reviewed journals, lectured at the University of Pretoria and he has presented his research on various occasions on a national and international level. He is a core member of the Functional Household Programme Team who won the THRIP EXCELLENCE AWARD from the South African minister of Trade and Industry in 2005 in the category Social Development.

Dr Murray's has 15 years experience in developing quality of life solutions for low-income households in the Southern African contexts. He is currently programme manager of the Nova Institute.

Dr Murray is a Director of the Nova Institute. He is married to Dr Carien Murray, a medical doctor. They have two daughters, Renée and Marita.

Dr Christiaan Pauw

MD of Nova Institute

Dr Christiaan PauwDr C J Pauw holds a BA, BA Honours and a BD degree from the University of Pretoria, all with distinction. He received a DD degree on 4 May 2006 at the same university. Since 1998 he has been involved in various research projects for the Nova Institute, the Dutch Reformed Church, the Willem Nicol Education Trust and the Christian Social Council. The research includes a strategic environmental analysis (SEA) and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a large petro-chemical business as well as numerous studies, pilot projects and full-scale implementations related to housing and domestic energy interventions.

He has coordinated and taken part in various socio-economic studies and quality of life studies in both urban and rural contexts. These include studies on household living conditions in Bela-Bela, Maluti (Limpopo province) and Mariveni (Limpopo province). He has also been involved a study on the impact of diarrhoea on households in Brits, North-West. He has coordinated fieldwork for studies into the environmental health impacts as well as numerous studies on the uptake of the improved top-down ignition technique.

Dr Pauw played a key part in the development of the Nova Institute's QOLA and PIQOLA instruments which are used to analyse quality of life in the household.

Since 1998 he has been involved in community projects aimed in the fields of ABET, urban farming and sustainable household-based agriculture in rural areas.

In 2005 he played a leading role in a study for the DME to evaluate the implementation of the Basa njengo Magogo technique in Tembisa. He was also a core member of the Functional Household Programme Team who won the THRIP Excellence Award for 2005 in the category Social Development. In 2006 and 2007 he was instrumental in the development of a methodology to verify greenhouse gas emission reductions from the implementation of the alternative top-down ignition technique against the WBCSD/WRI GHG Project Protocol.

Since 2007 he leads Nova's implementation of the implementation of the alternative top-down ignition technique which has taken place in four provinces. He also leads Nova's monitoring team which has had greenhouse gas emission reductions of 87000 tCO²eq from Nova's projects verified by an independent third party. In 2008 he was the editor of a mayor report on air pollution in dense, low-income settlements in South Africa. In 2010 he played a key role in the development and registration of a Voluntary Gold Standard methodology for the quantification of greenhouse gas emission reductions from the alternative ignition technique. He coordinates Nova's monitoring and reporting activities for for nine a Voluntary Gold Standard project. He is key contributor to a number of ongoing projects in the field of climate change mitigation, food security, water benefir credits and air pollution offsets.

Tertius Murray

Financial and ICT Manager

Tertius MurrayIn June 2007 Tertius joined the Nova Institute and added his skills in marketing and finance to the growing Nova team.

Currently he is the ICT Systems Manager and responsible for the integration of various ICT systems and also assists with financial and cost accounting of various Nova projects. He is also actively involved in research where his activities include analysing research data for projects as well as writing reports.

He holds a B.Com Honours degree in Marketing- and Communication Management from the University of Pretoria and frequently participates in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) to improve his skills in relevant subjects. Previous Coursera courses completed include: Maps and the Geospatial Revolution, Climate Literacy: Navigating Climate Change Conversations and The Data Scientist's Toolbox.

Previous work experience at Nova include the implementation and verification of Nova's Basa Magogo project. This project was the first in South Africa to issue Gold Standard VERs and it aims to reduce air pollution while improving the quality of life for low-income households in South Africa. He also assisted in setting up accounting and monitoring database systems, training of field workers in the use of mobile phones for surveys, analysing data and writing of project and financial reports and training office staff in the use of ICT programmes.

Non-Nova work experience include contract research for investment opportunities in the Nelson Mandela Metro for Garnett-Adams, a business consultancy firm, as well as holding the position of Marketing Manager for LEFI, a non-profit organisation focusing on care takers in the community.

His dream is to help with the upliftment of low-income households and he believes that it is the possibility of a dream coming true that makes life interesting. His interests include swimming, fly-fishing, birding, touch-rugby and reading. He also enjoys spending time in nature with his wife Delene and three children Henry, Alet and Nina.

Hendrik Snyman

Project Manager

Hendrik SnymanFollowing secondary schooling and nature conservation studies at the Pretoria Technicon, Hendrik was employed as manager at a popular holiday resort in the Limpopo province.

In 1999 he travelled abroad and was employed in the United Kingdom as a Street Environmental Manager in the Westminster City Council until his return to South Africa to commence theological studies. Hendrik attained a MTh degree with distinction.

In 2007, during the latter stages of his studies, Hendrik accepted a position as project manager at the Nova Institute NPC. Currently he acts in the capacity of Director: Implementation.

Hendrik has eight years' experience in developing and implementing quality of life research projects and -solutions in low-income environments throughout the Southern African context.

Depending on project demands he performs project-, implementation- and/or programme management duties. He is married to Lorraine, an asset manager for a leading South African property fund. They have a daughter, Améli.

Lindiwe Mokhwelepa

Call Center Manager

Lindiwe MokhwelepaIn 2010 Lindiwe Mokhwelepa started to work in her current position as the Call Centre Manager of the Nova Institute. Apart from managing the Call Centre, Lindiwe also assists with admin of Nova projects, reception and telephone services, financial admin, assistance with back-ups, archiving, filling and retrieving and assistance to Exco members with their admin.

Lindiwe was born on 10 May 1974. She grew up in Pretoria and graduated at Bonginsimbi High School. After High School, Lindiwe did a Diploma Course in Marketing at the Technicon of Pretoria with Marketing, Communication in English, Economics, Consumer Behaviour, Accounting for Marketers, Personal Selling, End User Computer, Law for Marketers and Quantitative Techniques as some of the most important subjects. She started working at Mohwiti Technologies after the Diploma Course.

Lindiwe got married to Convoy Mokhwelepa in 2005 and has three children.

In July 2008 Lindiwe started working as contractor at the Nova Institute as Data Capturer. In November 2008 she joined the Nova team where she first worked as Office Manager and was subsequently appointed as Call Centre Manager- a position that she still holds today.

In her spare time Lindiwe spends her time reading, listening to music and enjoying sports.

Thembi Tsotetsi

Area Leader Lekwa and Seme

Thembi TsotetsiThembi started working for the Nova Institute in 2007, interacting with the stakeholders of both municipalities- Lekwa and Seme. She is currently working on two projects; Basa Magogo and the Improved Cooking Stove. She manages the operation of both projects in above specified areas as well as supervising the work of the fieldworkers.

  • Basa Magogo: This method of fire making is well received and accepted by both communities
  • Improved Cooking Stove: This project started at the beginning of 2010 in Sakhile (Standerton), they are still conducting surveys to gather information on the people's way of living and the tools they use for cooking as well different kind of stoves they use for making fire before implementation takes place. This project is also well accepted by the community of Standerton, they are looking forward to the implementation.
  • From 2013 to date involved in the Offset projects SslqoL EOP- Kwadela and Kwazamokuhle(Msukalikwa and Steve Tshwete municipalities).

If you ask her about herself, Thembi will tell you: "I love GOD, I am a Christian, I belong to the group of movers/people who are eager to learn and be exposed to new adventures, I am a go-getter and enjoy challenges, I don't give up easily, I am very persistent, I like to be given a chance to show case my capabilities. I like music especially gospel and jazz, I enjoy dinning out and travelling the world. THAT IS ME!!!"

Obed Nelovholwe

Fieldwork Manager

Obed NelovholweIn 2004 Obed joined Mayibuye Holdings (Pty) Ltd on an energy and water cleaning project. He held a position of fieldwork manager in the roll-out Basa njengo Magogo until 2010 when he joined the Nova Institute- again as a fieldwork manager.

For him the enlighten time was in 1989 when he was working for Stocks and Stocks Civil in the Engineering department of Quantity Surveyors and Soil Sciences. This contract was for three years. During this time he registered with the College of Finyazwanda and achieved his N4 certificate in Electrical Engineering.

In year 1993 he worked for Osmium Corporation as a Grignard's reagent chemist and production of thimerosal. This position lasted for three years where-after he joined Next Project Management owned by M.O. Albers on Precious Metals conversion to catalysts. He was promoted to a supervisory position from 1996 to 2003, but then was retrenched when Next Chimica, a subsidiary Next Management, was bought by Engelhardt.

In his spare time he runs Madzanga Resources (Pty) Ltd an organisation whose business is the extraction of essential oils from indigenous plants for use in perfumes and aromatherapy.

Tshediso Alfred Pudumo

Area Leader and Researcher Assistant

Tshediso Alfred PudumoTshediso Alfred Pudumo joined NOVA Institute during June 2010. He Holds a Bachelor of Theology and is currently doing Honours Bachelor of Theology in Christian Leadership with UNISA (in collaboration with URCSA-Northern Theological Seminary)

His involvement with NOVA has improved his interpersonal skills and Interaction with various communities and households in and around South Africa.

His engagement in NOVA's vision and mission of researching and developing channels towards cultivating a healthy household culture by promoting beneficial, desirable and acceptable possible solutions to alleviate poverty through practise research has helped him to further promote the Setswana idiom of Motho ke motho ka batho ba bangwe which means people are interdependent. He enjoys doing community work with the notion of "working for the community with the community", helping households give meaning to a healthy quality of life.

He has been involved with Quality Control interviews, stakeholder consultation, recruiting and training of fieldworkers, implementation and demonstrations for Basa Magogo project, and assistant researcher in HHRA (Human Health Risk Assessment) project as well as assisting in other various NOVA projects such as the Retrofit and Offset studies in various communities.

Sunday Mashinini

Area Leader Msukaligwa

Sunday MashininiSunday Mashinini joined the Nova Institute as an Area Leader in the Msukaligwa Municiplaity which includes areas such as Breyten, Kwazanele, Ermelo and Wesselton.

Here he oversees the implementation of Nova's flagship Basa Magogo Project implementation.

Moodi Matsotso

Area Leader in Maluti-A-Phofung

Moodi MatsotsoMoodi Matsotso's responsibility is of being the Area Leader for Basa Magogo in Maluti-A-Phofung. Her duty is to see to it that the project runs smoothly and to control and evaluate the work done by Field Workers. She recruits Field Workers, inform the traditional leaders and ward councillors about the project and recruit them to become steering committee members.

Apart from her Nova work she is also a Community Engagement & Staff Wellness coordinator at the University of the Free State's QwaQwa campus.

She is a mother of three children- two girls and a boy as well as a grandmother of two granddaughters. She likes engaging with the community, helping others and also like baking.

Maria Nyathi

Area Leader

Maria NyathiMaria Nyathi's current involvement with Nova is as an Area Leader in Molati. Her understanding of different languages (Tsonga, Afrikaans and English), makes her a pivotal role-player in the current ICS project in that community.

Mrs Nyathi serves on a local committee with the traditional leaders of five surrounding villages. This committee governs the local energy and water issues. Maria's specific role is to represent the women of the local villages and to communicate the opinions of the local women and of the local traditional leaders to one another.

Mrs Nyathi completed her school education in 1967 at Rita Secondary School in Giyani. She married (Rev.) David Nyathi and they both did theological studies. In 1975, they both got involved in the local church (Uniting Reformed Church) in Molati and in its various community initiatives. Involved at Nova as a business strategy and energy consultant since 2005.

Henry Murray

Consultant Management & Energy

Henry MurrayHenry Murray is a Principal Consultant and assists Nova since 2005 with Strategic- and Programme Management.

He is a keen squash player and occasional skin diver.

Catherine Senyolo

CHICS Program Manager

Catherine SenyoloCatherine Senyolo is the Programme Manager for the chics programme.

She is an introvert that likes singing and decorating.