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.
Yasmeen Dinath
Yasmeen DinathDirector
Philip Harrison
Philip HarrisonDirector
Philip Harrison is the South African research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Philip has worked in the field of urban planning for around 25 years, in the public, private and academic sectors. He has served on South Africa’s National Planning Commission and has been closely involved in the preparation of a National Development Plan for South Africa
Tracy Jooste
Tracy JoosteDirector
Tracy Jooste is the Senior Advocacy Offer at International Budget Partnership’s South Africa office. Here she supports grassroots organisations to advocate for inclusive budgeting for services to informal settlements in the metros. Her sectoral interests include housing, health and urban development and her prior experience includes holding senior positions in government and the private sector.
Sibonile Khoza
Sibonile KhozaDirector
Sibonile Khoza is an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa Member of the Cape Bar. Sibonile’s previous positions include Senior Policy Analyst/Director in the Department of Premier (Western Cape Government) and Coordinator of the Socio Economic Rights Projects at the Community Law Centre, UWC.
Shanaaz Majiet
Shanaaz MajietDirector
Shanaaz Majiet is a qualified Master coach with extensive experience in the public sector, particularly in the fields of human settlements and local government. She was the former Head of Department for the Western Cape Provincial Department of Local Government and Housing and Deputy Director General: Provincial and Municipal Government Support at the Department of Cooperative Governance until August 2015.
Nisa Mammon
Nisa MammonDirector
Nisa Mammon is the Managing Director and Principal Planner of NM & Associates Planners and Designers. She practices as a professional planner in private practice and has over 25 years of experience across a range of scales and projects in spatial planning focusing on urban spatial transformation and promoting the public realm. Nisa’s planning and design practice focuses mainly on making the public realm accessible to the majority of people to help create an inclusive urban environment and integrated city. She holds a PhD and Masters degree in city and regional planning from the University of Cape Town. Her PhD focused on urban land access and management for the urban poor in South African cities. Apart from her extensive involvement in human settlement planning, airport planning, urban transport and land use projects as well as urban research, Nisa’s experience includes academic involvement at Cape Peninsula University of Technology and University of Cape Town.
Allan Moolman
Allan MoolmanDirector
Allan Moolman is the Director of dala! Consulting Services – a consultancy focussed on organisational impact and performance,. Allan has worked previously as the Country Director for Oxfam in South Africa and Head of Programmes for Oxfam in Tanzania amongst other role in his 11 years of employment with Oxfam. He is an experienced development practitioner who has a keen interest in organisational strengthening, leadership and strategy.
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 provides logistical and administrative support to all our work and projects. She holds a Secretarial Studies Certificate from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Ragi Bashonga
Ragi BashongaUrban Land Policy Researcher
Ragi Bashonga joined Isandla Institute in October 2019 as the Policy Researcher in the Urban Land Programme. She is a PhD candidate in Sociology, and holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Sociology and Labour Studies. Her research interests are in the intersection of identities and citizenship.
Rebecca Matsie
Rebecca MatsieUrban Land Project Officer
Rebecca started in January 2018 as the Research Intern in the Urban Land Programme, Rebecca was subsequently promoted to become our Urban Land Project officer shortly after completing her Masters in Sociology at UCT.
Ian Miller
Ian MillerFinance and Administration Manager
Ian has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Business Management from UCT Graduate School of Business. He has worked in financial and administration management in the non-profit and corporate sectors for over 15 years.
Mirjam van Donk, Director
Mirjam van Donk, DirectorDirector
Director Mirjam is an urban land planner with a Master degree from the Development Planning Unit at University College London. She also holds a Masters 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.