Core Partners

Dorcas Wepukhulu

Dorcas is an experienced, passionate educationist, creative professional with a deep understanding of inter-ethnic work, marginalized and different age-range learners, and experienced in humanitarian assessment and educational program development.

For 16 years (1990-2009), Dorcas taught in different Kenyan high schools and for three years (2012-2014) taught at Tangaza University College, a constituent College of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) Nairobi, Kenya.

Dorcas is a Ford Foundation Scholar with an MA in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University, USA, with a focus on educational and humanitarian issues, in particular early literacy and completion rates of learners. She also holds a B. Ed Phil from the University of Warwick, a B. Ed in Literature and English from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) and a Diploma in Education from Siriba College.

Dorcas is the East and West Africa Partner Development Coordinator for Saide’s African Storybook (ASb) early literacy initiative. Her role involves identifying and engaging with other early literacy development partners working in east and west Africa as well as keeping an active relationship with global initiatives to develop collaboration with ASb, supporting them to effectively use the ASb website, its storybooks and apps; manage the story development processes; support the M&E process and participate in the day-to-day administrative and planning aspects of the initiative. The ASb has the Reader and Maker Apps that enable offline storybook reading and publishing respectively.

Peter Msaka

Peter Kondwani Msaka is a language expert and lecturer in the African Languages and Linguistics Department at the University of Malawi. Peter has a PhD and MA in General Linguistics from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, a Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science and Bachelor of Education Humanities from the University of Malawi. He teaches courses in Bantu morphosyntax, corpus linguistics, translation and literature in Malawian languages. Besides his academic pursuit in linguistics, Peter is passionate about empowering local languages through technological localisation, terminology development and community engagement. Some of his efforts have a digital footprint here: http://unima-cls.org/terminology-dictionary/home/. He is also a commentator and promoter of literature and literary craftsmanship in Malawian local languages. Since 2021, he is the representative for Saide’s African Storybook (ASb) Early Literacy Initiative in Malawi. He is actively engaged in the production and promotion of children’s literature that depicts the African context. He desires to read the many untold Malawian stories.

Annika Slabbert

Annika works as an early childhood consultant on projects for governmental, academic and civil society organisations. She holds degrees in both education and sustainable development. Her focus on early childhood includes studies in RIE, Reggio Emilia inspired and Montessori pedagogies. Her work is focused in Namibia and Southern African more broadly.

Mezemir Girma

Mezemir Girma teaches English Literature at Debre Berhan University, Ethiopia. He is the founder and owner of Ras Abebe Aregay Library, which is a privately-owned library that gives public service free of charge. In addition to this initiative which is new to the country, Mezemir works as the Ethiopian representative of the Africa Storybook Initiative and the Advancing Library Visibility in Africa projects. He is also highly interested in innovative and educational endeavors that change the lives of Ethiopians and Africans. He has published three books in Amharic. The first one is a translation of a book on the Rwandan Holocaust and the reconciliation process. The second one is on the health benefits of fasting. His memoir which covers stories of his literacy activities and his travel accounts is the recent one.

Theresa Giorza

Theresa Giorza is a lecturer in Foundation Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Education in Johannesburg, South Africa. She combines her considerable experience and expertise in the arts with an interest in early years education. An important element of her practice at all levels and ages is Philosophy with Children (P4C) –often using picture storybooks – foregrounding the power of stories and images to inspire and enhance learning-with both ‘word’ and ‘world’. Theresa’s research focuses on creative, multimodal and enquiry-based approaches to early learning that establish the foundations and motivations for literacy and learning more broadly. She completed her PhD in 2018 and Springer published her monograph entitled:  Learning with Damaged Colonial Places: Posthumanist pedagogies from a Joburg Preschool, in 2021. Theresa is part of a growing international community of Feminist New materialist scholars who refuse to separate education and knowledge-production from the political and ethical choices we face in a world plagued by inequality and eco-cide.

Jayne Osgood

Jayne Osgood is Professor of Childhood Studies at the Centre for Education Research & Scholarship, Middlesex University. Her work addresses issues of social justice through critical engagement with policy, curricular frameworks, and pedagogical approaches in ECEC. She is committed to extending understandings of the workforce, families, gender and sexualities, ‘the child’, and ‘childhood’ in early years contexts through creative, affective methodologies. She has published extensively within the post- modernist paradigm with over 100 publications in the form of books, chapters and journal papers, her most recent books include Feminists Researching Gendered Childhoods (Bloomsbury, 2019) and Postdevelopmental Approaches to Childhood Art (Bloomsbury, 2019). She has served on the editorial boards of various journals and is a long-standing board member at Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. She is currently editor at Gender & Education Journal and Reconceptualising Education Research Methodology Journal. She is also Book Series Editor for both Bloomsbury (Feminist Thought in Childhood Research) and (Keythinkers in Education) Springer.

Rose-Anne Reynolds

Rose-Anne Reynolds has a PhD in Education from the University of Cape Town (UCT). Rose-Anne is a Foundation Phase/ Early Childhood Education lecturer in the School of Education, at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She is primarily involved in initial teacher education with postgraduate students. Rose-Anne’s PhD thesis is entitled, A posthuman reconfiguring of philosophy with children in a government primary school in South Africa. Her research interests include Philosophy with Children (P4wC), the Philosophy of Child and Childhood, Pedagogies of Enquiry, Early Childhood Education, Postqualitative Research and Inclusive Education including Disability Studies. Rose-Anne is a Level 1 Philosophy with Children trainer and co-ordinates the Southern African P4wC network. Some of Rose- Anne’s publications can be found here: http://www.education.uct.ac.za/rose-anne-reynolds

Karin Murris

Karin Murris is Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Oulu (Finland) and Emerita Professor of Pedagogy and Philosophy, University of Cape Town (South Africa). She is a teacher educator, grounded in academic philosophy and a postqualitative research paradigm. Her main interests are in posthuman child studies, philosophy in education, digital play, ethics and democratic pedagogies.

Jenny Glennie

Jenny was appointed by the Minister in 2013 to oversee the establishment of Sol Plaatje University through chairing the five person Interim Council set up for this purpose. She has received honorary awards from both Commonwealth of Learning (CoL) for her significant contribution to distance education and the University of Pretoria for her contribution to education in South Africa.

Kerryn Dixon

Kerryn Dixon is affiliated to the University of Queensland and is a visiting scholar at the University of the Witwatersrand. Kerryn does research in Primary Education with a focus on language and literacy education. Her interests are in Critical Literacy in the early years, childhood literacies and the impact of space and time in educational contexts. Her work is framed by her interest in the ways in which histories of regulation, power, oppression, and resistance shape literacy and schooling.