About us


The Zenex Foundation has an eight-member Board of Trustees which oversees the governance of the organisation. Five of the trustees are based in South Africa, four of whom perform an executive trustee role with additional board functions, while the other members are based in the United Kingdom.

The full board meets twice a year: in June when the trustees review the strategy of the Zenex Foundation, examine developments in the South African educational landscape, and review the performance of Foundation projects; and in October, when the focus also includes site visits to selected projects across the country. In this way the trustees are exposed to the lived realities of government, service providers and school communities, and are able to better understand the challenges faced by the Foundation and its various projects.

In addition to the two board meetings where all eight of the trustees are present, the executive members of the board meet four times a year. The executive members are responsible for the approval of all of the projects, their evaluations and research reports, and provide direction at crucial points in the evolution of the projects.

thandiThandi Orleyn
(Chairperson, based in South Africa)

Thandi is a B Juris graduate from Fort Hare. She was expelled in 1980 for students’ politics while doing her LLB final year. She subsequently completed both her B Proc and LLB degrees through Unisa.

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Thandi's legal and business career of over 30 years spans the Legal Resources Centre, National Director of both the Independent Mediation Service of SA (IMSSA) and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and senior partner at the commercial law firm, Routledge Modise (presently known as Hogan Lovells).

She is currently an Executive Director and Shareholder at Peotona Group Holdings, and is involved in various community initiatives, including chairing the Legal Resources Trust, Zenex Foundation, Ceramic Foundation, De Beers Fund and the Fort Hare University Council. She also sits on the South African National AIDS Council Trust (SANAC).

Thandi chairs the Board of BP Southern Africa and Tokiso Dispute Settlement, and serves as a non-executive director for a number of other companies.

sizweSizwe Nxasana
(Executive member, based in South Africa)

Sizwe holds a BCom, BCompt (Hons), and CA (SA) qualifications. He started his career at Unilever, and in 1989 established Sizwe & Co, the first black-owned audit practice in Kwazulu-Natal.

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In 1996 he became the founding partner of Nkonki Sizwe Ntsaluba, which is now called SizweNtsaluba Gobodo and is the fifth largest audit firm in South Africa. In 1998 he joined Telkom SA as Chief Executive Officer and was responsible for its listing on the JSE and New York Stock exchanges.

Sizwe was the CEO of FirstRand Banking Group since 2005 until he retired in September 2015. He serves as Chairman on various Foundations and Trusts, including the Zenex Foundation, which he Chaired from 1995 to 2016, and continues to serve as Trustee. He is the founder and Chairman of the National Education Collaboration Trust. He was appointed Chairman of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in August 2015.

Sizwe is now a social entrepreneur who recently founded the Sifiso Learning Group, which is establishing private schools in South Africa and is also involved in edtech, academic publishing and real estate. He has been conferred with honorary doctorates by the University of Fort Hare, the Durban University of Technology, the University of Johannesburg and the Walter Sisulu University.

Michael RichardsonMichael Richardson
(Trustee, based in the United Kingdom)

Michael is a partner and Executive Chairman at Bedell Trust, an independent trust company providing service in the areas of private wealth management, family office, international finance, fund administration, and employee benefits.

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He also has an extensive international private client practice, advising families on the structuring of their affairs offshore. Michael serves as a non-executive director on numerous companies, with particular reference to mutual funds, fund management companies and several listed companies.

Michael studied at the College of Law, Guilford and then obtained a Diplome d’Etudes Françaises at the University of Caen in 1974 and a L.L.B Honours from Exeter University in 1977. He has also served as an advocate of the Royal Court of Jersey and a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

Michael has been involved in the Zenex Trust and the operations of the Zenex Foundation since their inception.

MaLle PeTjeMaLlele PeTje
(Executive member, based in South Africa)

MaLlele is currently pursuing business interests through Borofa Consulting, focusing on strategic business partnerships in education, real estate, infrastructure development, road and transport systems, and business consulting.

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He has a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Cape Town and has completed two Senior Executive Programmes through Wits/Insead and Wits/Harvard Business School.

MaLlele has over 25 years’ experience in the education sector. He has held directorships and served on the boards of a number of organisations, including NBI Gauteng EQUIP, Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, Matthew Goniwe School of Leadership and Governance and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.

MaLlele has served in the capacity of District Director, Deputy Director General and Head of Department in the Gauteng Department of Education. Prior to joining the Department, he worked as a lecturer and Head of Department in various higher education institutions.

sindiSindi Mabaso-Koyana 

(Executive member, based in South Africa)

A Chartered Accountant by training, Sindi Mabaso-Koyana is an entrepreneur, corporate leader and champion of transformation who is held in high regard both in South Africa & internationally.

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She is the Executive Chairperson of Advanced Capital, a diversified Mining Services company she co-founded. Sindi began her career with a B.Com degree and Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting from UKZN. She qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte 18 years ago before embarking on a very exciting, but challenging working career. Her illustrious career includes being Group CFO of Transnet at the tender age of 32, being an executive Partner at Ernst & Young and being part of the leadership that drove the Africa integration of the global firm and being Group CFO of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa leading the modernization of the country’s passenger railway network. She has served on boards of South Africa’s premium corporates including MTN, Armscor, South African Airways, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, Toyota SA, Altech, Adcorp and many others. She has been named one of the country’s 20 most powerful business women by the Financial Mail and was a finalist of the 2004 Business Woman of the Year Award.

grant babourGrant Barbour
(Trustee, based in the United Kingdom)

Grant is a Jersey advocate, a non-practicing English Solicitor and South African attorney. Grant is also a director of Bedell Trust and deals with ultra-high net worth private individuals and structures as well as large corporate clients. He also has particular expertise in employee benefit trusts and heads the employee benefits team at Bedell Trust.

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He has also advised major banks, corporate and international trust companies on all aspects of trust and corporate law in relation to complex international trust structures.

Grant has been acknowledged in the "Honours List" in the "Leading Trustees" category in the 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 Citywealth Leaders List and in the "Honours List" in the "Leading Lawyers" category in the 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 Citywealth Leaders List.

Professional: Advocate - Jersey, Solicitor* - England & Wales, Attorney - South Africa, Member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners
(STEP). * non-practising