About Us

Isandla Institute is a key role player in the local governance sector, an important analytical voice on urban development issues, a convener of spaces of dialogue on urban citizenship, a producer of quality research, and a thought leader on issues such as informal settlements upgrading, urban governance and local level planning systems. In several instances, it has either directly ensured the uptake of progressive ideas in government policy or contributed (with others) to a shift towards more progressive solutions in policy and practice, aimed at addressing urban poverty, inequality and vulnerability. The organisation is also acknowledged for its role in building networks and partnership approaches to development.

While we are ambitious about the change we want to contribute to, and meticulous about the quality of our work and the relationships we nurture, the team at Isandla Institute is quite small. This requires us to be smart about how we invest our effort and who we work with to ensure greater impact. Our team is also a relatively young, in line with the organisation’s commitment to support the professional development of young – primarily black – professionals.


Ashoek Adhikari
Ashoek AdhikariDirector
Ashoek Adhikari is a lawyer by training and has extensive work experience in the legal profession, in the public sector and in the private sector. Ashoek also serves on the boards of the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, Accelerate Cape Town and chairs the Audit Committee of the Attorneys Fidelity Fund.
Anton Cartwright
Anton Cartwright Director
Anton Cartwright is an economist whose work focuses on the application of economics to Africa’s urban transition, infrastructure and services, green finance, environmental degradation and poverty alleviation. He is affiliated to the African Centre Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town where he has led work on the Just Urban Transition, the Coalition for Urban Transition (Tanzania and Ghana), infrastructure finance and the City of Cape Town's climate change citylab. He was a lead author on Chapter 4 of the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5°C of Warming released in 2018 and the subsequent Summary for Urban Policy Makers. He is the founding Director of Credible Carbon a South Africa carbon registry for informal sector and poverty alleviation projects and a candidate registry for the Department of Minerals and Energy’s Domestic Carbon Standard.
Yasmeen Dinath
Yasmeen DinathDirector
Yasmeen Dinath is an urban and regional planner with 17 years of working experience in urban planning across three sectors: Local Government, Higher Education and Research, and the Property Sector. Yasmeen is the Planning Manager of the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) (SoE), a company owned by the City of Johannesburg. She is responsible for strategic area-based planning that informs the capital implementation of urban upgrading projects across Johannesburg’s strategic priority areas. She has engaged in part –time research work for the National Research Foundation: South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning and by the Gauteng City Region Observatory. Yasmeen has also produced research on peripheral towns and centres of the Gauteng City-Region, on approaches to Inner City regeneration in Johannesburg, on the evolving socio-spatial footprint of Islam in Johannesburg and on urban mothers’ experiences of the city.
Tracy Jooste
Tracy JoosteDirector
Tracy Jooste is a social impact practitioner with extensive experience leading equity and accountability initiatives. She advocates for fair access to essential services such as health, housing, water, and sanitation while championing women’s and girls' rights. She is skilled in participatory governance, partnership-building, shaping public policy, and navigating budget processes using community-driven data. With leadership experience across academia, public, private, and non-profit sectors, she has successfully led teams to achieve impactful outcomes. She is a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity at the London School of Economics and served as an inaugural Leader in Residence for Policy Change at the Atlantic Institute.
Beryl ‘Nozipho’ Khanyile
Beryl ‘Nozipho’ KhanyileDirector
Beryl Khanyile has significant experience in managing executive and strategic programs portfolios across spatial planning, urban mobility, engineering infrastructure and human settlements as a Deputy City Manager and, prior to this, as Head of Department for Human Settlements, both in eThekwini. She has participated in and led various local, bilateral and international partnership programmes. From 2017 to 2023, Beryl was part of the SDG Leadership Cities Network convened by the Brookings Institute (Washington DC). She is currently leading the program management within Gauteng COGTA on the Old CBD Revitalisation Strategy across Gauteng City Regions. Beryl is a qualified Built Environment Professional, with a Bachelor of Technology degree in civil engineering. She is currently completing her master’s in business administration (MBA) and is also enrolled with the Gestalt Africa Leadership Program.
Allan Moolman
Allan MoolmanDirector
Allan Moolman is the Director of dala! Consulting Services – a consultancy focussed on organisational impact and performance. He currently is employed by Oxfam Great Britain as Interim Head of Partnerships and has worked previously as the Country Director for Oxfam in South Africa and Head of Programmes for Oxfam in Tanzania and as Programme Strategy and Design Lead for OGB. He is an experienced development practitioner who has a keen interest in organisational strengthening, leadership and strategy and increasingly, decolonisation in the not-for-profit sector.
Lindiwe Ndlela
Lindiwe NdlelaDirector
Lindiwe Ndlela has dedicated her career to supporting institutional and leadership development for elected and appointed government officials. She has worked with and for government for the last 28 years. She is the current Co-Director & Head of Programmes at PARI and before that, the Acting Head of Government Technical Advisory Centre in National Treasury where she was making a direct contribution to building state capacity and enabling government to function more effectively and efficiently. Her areas of specialisation include local government policy research and analysis, knowledge management, performance management, monitoring and evaluation, inter-governmental relations, strategic planning and capacity development in government. She has worked at all levels of government with organisations including South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) and Palmer Development Group (PDG).
Mirjam van Donk, Director
Mirjam van Donk, DirectorDirector
Mirjam van Donk is the Director of Isandla Institute and serves Ex Officio


Sennica Bacela
Sennica BacelaAdministrator
Sennica is an essential member of our team, providing vital logistical and administrative support to all our projects. With ten years of dedicated service and a Diploma in Public Administration, along with certificates in Secretarial Studies and Basic Bookkeeping Including Pastel Accounting, she brings a wealth of expertise to her role. Sennica's exceptional organisational skills and commitment to excellence ensure the seamless operation of our office.
Jens Horber
Jens HorberUrban Land Project Officer
He has diplomas in Industrial Design and Business Management, and a Master’s in City and Regional Planning, and experience in project management, design, and business management in the industrial design and public art fields. He is an experienced professional town planner, and is interested in urban policy (and how it addresses spatial transformation, urbanisation, housing, and governance), sustainable development, rural development, and heritage.
Thinam Mali
Thinam MaliIntern
Thinam Mali is a Master’s student at the University of the Western Cape. She has a keen interest in research centred around community participation, active citizenship and housing. She is a scholar of the Mellon Foundation with membership to its affiliated Social Science Research Council. She aims to use her skills to contribute towards scholarly and advocacy work that focuses on visions of development that include the voices of the marginalised.
Luzuko Matiso
Luzuko MatisoIntern
Luzuko is pursuing a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Science at Stellenbosch University (SU). He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science majoring in Environmental Geographical Science and Politics & Governance, and an Honours degree in Social Development, both obtained at University of Cape Town (UCT). He is deeply passionate about urban development and community empowerment, particularly in informal settlements. He is committed to fostering innovative solutions that address the pressing challenges faced by marginalized communities. With a focus on empowering residents and promoting participatory development.
Annette May
Annette MayUrban Land Policy Researcher
Her research interests include the socio-economic and service delivery obligations of local government. As such she has conducted research on the local government competences of municipal health services, housing, water and sanitation, as well as the duty of municipalities to facilitate public participation in the context of basic service delivery. In addition to authoring publications in these research areas, it also forms part of her doctoral studies conducted under the auspices of the SARChi Chair in Multilevel Government, Law and Policy at the Dullah Omar Institute, University of the Western Cape. She holds a LLB (UWC) and LLM (Master in Human rights and Democratisation in Africa) from the University of Pretoria and is an attorney of the High Court of South Africa.
Mirjam van Donk
Mirjam van DonkDirector
Mirjam is an urban land planner with a Master’s degree from the Development Planning Unit at University College London. She also holds a Master’s degree in Theology from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Mirjam has worked and written extensively on local government, urban governance, human settlements, development planning, gender and HIV/AIDS. She has expertise in managing complex projects and teams, programme design and institutional transformation.