The Mogalakwena Research Centre Team:

Dr Elbe Coetsee – Director of Mogalakwena Craft Art and Research Centre

In 1994 Elbé Coetsee established the Mogalakwena Craft Art Development Foundation and in 1998 obtained a PhD in Social Entrepreneurship. The University of Pretoria in South Africa awarded her academic honorary colours for this research. She conducts research on contemporary oral culture in the Blouberg area in Limpopo Province and writes extensively on Craft Art in South Africa. Coetsee established the Research Centre for ecology, anthropology and social entrepeneurship in Africa during 2006. In 2008 she launched the Mogalakwena Gallery in Cape Town.

Dr Tanja van de Ven – Research Manager

Tanja completed her BSc at the HAS Den Bosch, the Netherlands in 2007. During her 3rd year internship of the HAS she worked with cheetahs at the Cango Wildlife Ranch in Oudtshoorn, South Africa. This is when she fell in love with African wildlife and culture and consequently returned to South Africa in 2008 to complete a BSc Hons and a MSc at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. In 2012, she moved to the Kalahari to study the reproductive success of hornbills as part of her doctoral studies with the University of Cape Town. Tanja’s interests include the behavioural and physiological capacities of species to persist while facing the challenges of climate change. She loves working in the African bush and is very keen to share her enthusiasm with young scientists from all over the world.

Portia Phokela – Research Assistant

Portia, from the nearby Simson village, became a member of the Research Centre team in June 2010. Portia has taken up the position of Research Assistant, helping with field and laboratory work for different research projects undertaken by the Research Centre. She assists with Cultural Research and Craft Art projects and provides assistance to visiting independent researchers, volunteers and students. Portia participates in birding activities with the Research Centre and is passionate about increasing her knowledge on the variety of species frequenting Mogalakwena Reserves.

Grietjie Stander – Research Assistant & Field Guide

Growing up on a South African farm, Grietjie has always had a passion for the African bush. She completed her BSc Hons in Environmental Sciences at North West University, South Africa, in 2015. After a year abroad, she decided to return to South Africa and completed her Field Guide training in 2017. She worked at lodges as a field guide and project/event coordinator. After a research internship at North West University in 2018, Grietjie joined the team at Mogalakwena Research Centre in 2019. She assists students in their research projects, field work as well as laboratory work. Grietjie enjoys taking students on walks/drives and sharing her knowledge of the African bush. She is passionate about wildlife research and has a keen interest in the small and unusual creatures of the African bush.