Our people


William Bird

MMA Director


William studied at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg where he obtained his BA and Honours degree in Drama and Film. He worked in television after completing his studies. Unable to resist the lure of media monitoring, William started with some part time monitoring for the Media Monitoring Project, now Media Monitoring Africa (MMA)  in 1995 and after leaving television joined the MMA as a researcher. At MMA William has overseen or been directly involved in over 100 media monitoring projects on subjects ranging from gender based violence, HIV, and racism to children and the media. William has also completed overseeing the data analysis of the biggest civil society media monitoring exercise in the world – the Global Media Monitoring Project. For this project over 100 countries monitored gender around the world. William has also overseen the name change of the MMP to Media Monitoring Africa in 2008. William was appointed an Ashoka fellow in 2009 and also a Linc Fellow in 2010 for his work focused on children’s participation in the media.  He is regularly accessed in the media on a range of media focused issues.  In his twelve years as director of MMA William has helped MMA grow from a small 3 people driven organisation to a committed team of 16 people, with a clear vision and dedicated programme areas.  William’s knowledge of media monitoring and commitment to deepening democracy in South Africa and the continent has ensured his expertise is internationally recognised    In his spare time William likes to monitor the media when not otherwise distracted by his young sons.


Nicky Mokoena

Finance & Operations Manager


Nicky joined Media Monitoring Africa in November 2015 as Finance & Operations Manager. He studied for National Diploma in Accounting at former Wits Technikon and has over 10 years experience in the finance sector. He attended the Laser Leadership Academy for 3 years, to be trained as a great leader which he is hoping to become.  He describes himself as a cool, calm & collected caring guy who grew up in a kasi called Daveyton maboneng. He likes reading the newspaper, watching TV news, movies & sports.


Girlie Sibanda



Girlie joined Media Monitoring Africa in November 2011 as a part time Media Monitor and was later promoted to the position of Administration and Projects Officer (APO). She is mostly responsible for the administrative tasks associated with the MMA offices and its projects, including office and equipment maintenance. She loves organising mini office parties and is always down for a game of craze8. Girlie is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Social Work through Unisa.


George Kalu

Head of Regional Projects


George was born and grew up in Kenya before moving to South Africa in 1995.He attained his BA Degree from Rhodes University Grahamstown majoring in Journalism & Media Studies and Political Science. In 2002 he graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma in International Studies also from Rhodes University. George joined the Media Monitoring Project late 2003 as a seasonal worker, but in 2004 he became full-time staff member at MMA. At MMA, George monitors and analyses news content, he has also been involved in administrating and overseeing various monitoring projects. He gives limited technical support and does all the electronic media recording and archiving.


Thandi Smith

Head of Policy Programme


Thandi Smith has worked for Media Monitoring Africa for about seven years and has headed the Policy & Quality Programme for the last three years. The programme focuses on a range of issues including media policy, regulation and quality journalism. She holds a Masters degree in Media Studies, obtained from the University of the Witswatersrand. Her dissertation examined issues of universal access in South Africa’s digital migration. She also obtained an Honours degree in Media Studies from the same institution. Thandi has a keen interest in research around new media, internet governance and media law. She also has a passion for horses, reading and music.


Ayabulela Poro

Head of Children’s Programme


Ayabulela Poro shows just what’s possible, when potential, skill and MMA meet! In 2016, he completed an Honours degree in Journalism at the University of Witwatersrand focusing on Reporting on Children, Feature Writing, Radio Journalism and Journalism Research. He was also involved in the founding of MMA’s Youth and Children’s News Agencies and in 2017 was appointed as the Head of the Head of the Children’s Programme at the organisaion. His journey at MMA started in 2009 when he was appointed as an intern as part of a diploma in Journalism at the Walter Sisulu University which he obtained the following year. After completing his internship he worked as Junior Projects Officer and impressed with his analytical and writing skills was appointed as the Children Project’s Editor.  Around the office Ayabulela is affectionately known as “Big Boy” or simply Aya. And if anyone’s celebrating a birthday in the office he’s probably the one getting the cake.


Musa Rikhotso

Project Coordinator – Children’s Programme


Musa obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies and Sociology from University of Witwatersrand (Wits). He started working at Media Monitoring Africa in 2008. Since then, he has worked as a Media Monitor on different projects. He is currently working as the Children’s Project Coordinator. His roles in this position include training and supervising Media Monitors and Data Capturers. He also does quality control of monitored and captured work, database management and writes media monitoring reports. Musa is interested in books and is an avid local soccer supporter but occasional follows other sporting activities.


Phakamile Khumalo

Project Coordinator (Web Rangers) – Children’s Programme


Phakamile Khumalo joined Media Monitoring Africa in July 2016 and is experienced in Media monitoring & analysis, customer service, project coordination and facilitation. She describes herself as a loud, fun-loving ‘Kasi girl’ with a passion for youth development.  She joins the team with the hopes of contributing to African youth development plans that will see her serving her community and Africa at large. She strongly believes and is committed to the kind of development that empowers communities to be at the forefront of their own growth. Phakamile has a Honors degree in Development Studies from Wits University as well as a post-graduate certificate in Public Policy & Analysis for Africa’s Development from the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute.


Sarah Findlay

Project Coordinator – Policy Programme


Sarah is an ecologist by training but her work has always focused on the intersection of social justice and environmental sustainability. She completed her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees through Wits University where her Masters research examined the roles of local traditional and democratic leaders in regulating firewood harvesting in rural communities in South Africa. Before joining MMA, she worked for SA National Biodiversity Institute at Kirstenbosch as well as consulted for a multi-year project based near Kruger National Park where she provided research support into land claims on protected conservation areas in the region. She is now a Programme Coordinator (Researcher) in MMA’s Policy Unit and has loved sinking her teeth into this new field of media research and analysis. Sarah is also an unashamed data nerd, a fiery afro-optimist and occasional jogger with a distinct partiality towards a glass (or two) of wine.


Lister Rikhotso

Project Coordinator (MADOAT) – Children’s Programme


Lister is an experienced project management coordinator with a demonstrated history of working in the Children’s Rights Advocacy, Research, Media and Communication fields. She is also skilled in Social Media, Community Outreach and Development, Capacity Building, Marketing and Fundraising. Lister has been championing children’s rights and best practices in the media for over 10 years. She believes how the media portrays children in their reporting has a direct influence on how society will begin to view and treat them. Lister has a Post Graduate Diploma in Project Management from Cavendish University in Zambia. She was born and raised in Zambia and relocated to South Africa in 2014. In her spare time, Lister enjoys writing and reading.  Some of her stories are enjoying a great readership on social media.


Jacques Ndong

Researcher – Policy Programme


Jacques holds a bachelors degree in Business Administration and a Diploma in Marketing Management. Jacques is also a social activist, involved in different topics involving human rights and social justice in Africa. Jacques describes himself as a good man with a good heart.  He joined the MMA team during our monitoring of the South Africa Local Elections in  2016 and become a full time member of our Policy Programme. Jacques conducts various pieces of research and analysis within the Policy Programme. Jacques is interested in sport, loves Parkrun and tennis and travelling is also a passion.


Ntsako Manganyi

Researcher  – Policy Programme

Ntsako holds a BA Degree in international and Political sciences from the University of the Witwatersrand. He is passionate about media policy and regulation. He first joined media monitoring Africa in 2011 as media monitor. Since then, he has worked as a Media Monitor on different projects.  He then joined MMA Policy Unit on full time basis as a research in 2016 where he focuses on media policy and regulation. He has interests in media diversity, human rights, gender, new media, current affairs and South African politics. He is interested South African history book and a loyal fan of South African national sports teams of rugby, soccer and cricket.


Motshabi Hoaeane

Social Media Editor


Motshabi Hoaeane holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies and African Literature degree from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).She is passionate about the Africa rising narrative, and has a keen sense of hard news & experience in the online publishing industry.Currently working as social media editor for Media Monitoring Africa, she undertakes the daily updating of and management of organisation’s social media platforms, continuous promotion of the organisation’s press releases, featured media appearances, events & reports.Her work with MMA has also seen her get involved with Shika-Moto reader groups, under the Policy Programme, where she was also responsible for implementing project activities across the reader group thematic areas- where provision of  key critical analysis, monitoring and digital literacy skills were implemented.


Msizi Mzolo

Monitoring Quality Control


Msizi Mzolo holds a certificate in Public Relations from Unisa and is currently studying towards a Diploma in Public Relations Management at the same institution. He has experience in data capturing, monitoring media coverage on children, national and local elections. Msizi has supervised and quality checked media monitors in Zambia and Lesotho during their general elections. At MMA, he is responsible for overseeing data collection, monitoring and quality checking of all data captured on Dexter (our monitoring tool). Msizi also loves art, reading, soccer and listening to reggae music.


Taryn Hinton

Legal Consultant


Is a practising attorney who obtained her Law Degree (BA LLB cum laude) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has 13 years’ work experience in many fields including children’s rights and media law; PBO and NPO Creation and Administration; BBBEE Trust Establishment and advice; general Trust Law, management and administration; Mentorship and the creation and administration of Educational Trusts to benefit High School and University level beneficiaries.Taryn is a people-oriented attorney, who has a passion for Media Freedom; Child Participation in the Media and in society in general; Social Justice and Social Entrepreneurship. From a young age, she has had a heart for Africa and social transformation in Africa and studied to become an attorney so that she could make a difference in the lives of others.Taryn has worked closely with Media Monitoring Africa for the past 9 years and her roles at MMA include being the general legal advisor to MMA, a dedicated member of the children’s team as well the Coordinator of the Reporting on Children in the Media Course, a Wits Honours Level Journalism certificate Course that has been running for the past 8 years.She has been married to Michael for almost 10 years; has 2 children (David 3 years and Kelly 4 years) and lives in Emmarentia. When Taryn is not working, playing or raising 2 future leaders of South Africa, she keeps fit by doing Pilates and walking.