2021 symposium speakers

Ellence Mokaba

Wednesday 5 May 2021
Topic: Message to the midwives: Lead where you are!

Ellence Mokaba is Director of Maternal and Neonatal Health at the National Department of Health. She was born at Mokopane in Limpopo. She is blessed with three lovely children, two girls and one boy, and has two grandchildren. She attended primary school in the rural area and fer secondary schooling in the urban area. She started with general nursing in 1980 followed by Midwifery and Psychiatry Nursing Science. She got her basic degree in BAcur with UNISA as well as Health system management and Honors degree. She furthered her studies and did a post graduate diploma in Advanced Midwifery and Neonatal Nursing Science as well as a post graduate diploma in Public Management with Regenessis. She did her Master degree in Nursing science with UNILIM. She has vast experience as a midwife and held various leadership positions such as: clinical instructor for midwives and other nurses, head for the Health Center, area manager for maternity at the Regional hospital, Manager Nursing at Provincial office, District Clinical Specialist Team member and Advanced Midwife.

Sanele Lukhele

Wednesday 5 May 2021
Topic: Equity in midwifery – personal, professional and for all people in our care

Sanele Lukhele is a Lecturer in the Nursing Department at the University of Johannesburg. She holds a Masters degree in Midwifery and Neonatal Nursing Science. Her areas of interest are maternal and child health as well as indigenous knowledge systems. So passionate is she about nursing scholarship that she co-founded the South African Nursing Students Association (SANSA). This is a non-profit organisation aimed at uniting nursing students across the country in order to improve the image of nursing in the country. In 2017, the international community recognised her, as she was invited to be Africa’s sole representative in the Sigma Nursing Next Generation Leaders eight-member task force. In 2018, Sanele made it on to the Mail and Guardian 200 Young South Africans list, an honour that she has dedicated to all nurses who have made it their mandate to restore the image of nursing in South Africa. In 2019, she was awarded the premier’s excellence awarded in the health category.

Sanele is a passionate midwife who always advocates for midwifery led care for all low risk women especially those in the private sector. She has made it her mission to educate those within her reach about midwifery led care. Sanele was honoured this year when she had the privilege of birthing her own baby with a midwife. This experience made her even more determined to advocate for midwifery led care.

Ms Joyce Muswede

Wednesday 5 May 2021
Topic: South African Nursing Council on litigation & CPD update

Ms Joyce Muswede resumed her duties as the Senior Manager – Professional Practice at the South African Nursing Council (SANC) on the 1st of June 2019. Before serving in this portfolio, she served as an Acting Director: Nursing Practice in the National Department of Health at the Office of the Chief Nursing Officer from January 2018 to May 2019 and represented NDOH in various platforms.  She was the Deputy Director: Nursing Practice in the same Office from 2015 to 2017. Before her tenure in NDOH she was the Assistant Director for compliance inspections in the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC) from 2013 to July 2015 where her primary role was to inspect all health establishments from PHC clinics to Tertiary and Central Hospitals for compliance with Regulated Standards for Health Establishments.

Due to her extensive experience in Primary Health Care she was instrumental at OHSC in inspecting the first cohort of PHC clinics that achieved the ideal clinic status in the introduction of the IDEAL clinic realization programme.  Ms Muswede is an experienced midwife who has worked in PHC at various clinics in Limpopo Department of Health, i.e. Tshilwavhusiku Health Centre, Madombidzha clinic, Kutama clinic. She is a seasoned Primary Health Care Practitioner who also worked at Kutama Sithumule Maximum Security Prison where she spent a total of 9 years rendering Primary Health care to inmates.

Dr Elgonda Bekker

Wednesday 5 May 2021
Topic: Task shifting in maternity care – the changing face of scope of practice

Elgonda Bekker’s clinical midwifery experience of more than 25 years was gained in normal low risk care, high risk care and as an independent midwife. She is a regular speaker at national and international conferences and her research interests include: Midwifery Competence, Midwifery education, Human Rights Based Approach to care, and Safe Motherhood Appreciative Inquiry. Elgonda is a founder member and President (since 2015) of the Society of Midwives of South Africa (SOMSA). With her long-standing role in the executive committee of SOMSA, she was a member of the Organising and Scientific Committees for the 29th Triennial International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) congress in 2011. Elgonda completed the first Young Midwifery Leadership Programme (ICM). Her international work and work in Africa includes: Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) project to establish Masters Programmes in Midwifery in Kenya and DRC. She was a Faculty member of the STTI Maternal Child Health Leadership Academy. She is a member of CONAMA task force to establish regional African Midwifery association and represented Africa on the Education Standing Committee of ICM 2014-2017, and also serves as a member of the National Committee on Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths.

Colleen Pedersen

Wednesday 5 May 2021
Workshop: The Simplicity-Quality-Quotient in practice – three indisputable ways to change birthing outcomes for the better – Labour and birth environment and aids

When Colleen trained as a midwife many years ago she was absolutely enthralled by the miracle, the power and the beauty of birth. On a personal level, giving birth to her own four children was a most inspiring experience for her as a woman. It felt as if she was doing what she was born to do. She had such a sense of achievement and looks back on these births as real highlights in her life. This brought about a strong desire in her to see other women experience birth in this way. As a midwife she has had the opportunity to share birth experiences with many couples, and always counts it a great privilege to be a part of this most sacred and intimate event in their lives. In 2013 Colleen decided to train as a doula with WOMBS. She so appreciated what she learnt in how to support a couple emotionally and practically through their birth experience, that this has led her to train doulas in Port Elizabeth. Her dream and vision is to see a natural birthing home (The Aloe Tree Birth House) become a reality in Port Elizabeth.

Nelisa Ngwenze

Wednesday 5 May 2021
Workshop: The Simplicity-Quality-Quotient in practice – three indisputable ways to change birthing outcomes for the better – Pain relief

Nelisa Ngwenze is an Advance Midwife who is currently working in a Midwife-led Unit in the Public Sector, Pretoria. She is passionate about midwifery and enjoys and cherish assisting birthing women to bring to life their gifts of joy.

Evashnee Naidoo

Wednesday 5 May 2021
Workshop: The Simplicity-Quality-Quotient in practice – three indisputable ways to change birthing outcomes for the better – Perineal protection

Evashnee has been a passionate midwife since 2008 and currently works at St Mary’s hospital, Marianhill. She holds a Diploma in General Nursing, Psychiatry, Community and Midwifery and a Bachelor of Nursing Advanced Practice degree with nursing education as her major. Evashnee has experience in caring for expectant mothers in the antenatal wards at various institutions; women in labour and postpartum care of women post vaginal births and caesarean deliveries as well as care of sick neonates in High Care nursery. She was a Daisy Award nominee in 2011 at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Saudi Arabia; compiled a CTG interpretation programme for the training of midwives and medical officers at St Mary’s hospital in 2013 and expanded the training to Osindisweni Hospital in 2014; presented a paper at the SOMSA congress in Cape Town 2013, entitled ‘CTG interpretation in relation to the clinical picture of a woman’; received a ‘Florence Nightingale Award in 2015 at St Mary’s Hospital; and is a ESMOE (essential steps in management of obstetric emergencies) master trainer at St Mary’s Hospital. She continually seek ways of improving practice and ultimately create best birthing experiences and outcomes for moms and babies in a birthing space, such as introducing the Sensitive Midwifery birthing stool to St Marys Labour ward. In her spare time she enjoys painting and or hiking on the beach.

Christel Jordaan

Wednesday 5 May 2021
Topic: Independent midwifery on the rise – a viable all-sector solution for South Africa

When asked I always say that I didn’t find midwifery, it found me. During the midwifery part of my nursing training I never wanted to leave and basically never did. I finished my BCur in 2004 at the University of Pretoria and stayed on at Steve Biko Academic Hospital for four years. During this time I completed my Advanced Midwifery diploma through University of Johannesburg. My time in this public hospital was invaluable and I will forever remain grateful for the experience I gained there. After leaving Steve Biko I worked in Special Care Nursery (NICU) in Perth, Australia for a year and then Femina hospital labour ward for a year and a half. During this time I was exposed to independent midwifery through Midwives Exclusive. The practice has had a birth unit on the premises of Femina Hospital for years. After seeing how birth could be I officially joined the practice in April 2012. I have never looked back. I completed my MCur in 2015 by conducting research on the outcomes of births attended by Gauteng private midwives during 2012 & 2013.

“I am passionate about woman-centered maternity care. A woman and her family should be in control of her own pregnancy and birth. The aim should be for good outcomes but also positive birth experiences. I strongly believe that midwifery is a calling. It is one of the most challenging but most rewarding professions out there.”

Samala Kriedemann

Wednesday 5 May 2021
Topic: Bereavement Doula’s leading the way in pregnancy and infant loss

Samala Kriedemann is a wife and the mother of four beautiful children, a qualified Social Worker and the owner and heart of Mama Nurture.
She is also an Internationally Accredited Birth, Bereavement and Adoption Doula with SBD (StillBirthDay) University and a member of PLIDA (Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance). Samala is a trained TIR (Traumatic Incident Reduction) therapist and offers counselling to mothers and couples going through the traumatic and heart-breaking journey of grief. She also offers birth debriefing for any mother who has experienced a traumatic birth. In addition, she is a member of PATCH SA (Palliative Treatment for Children South Africa).

Dr Tshidi Masala-Chokwe

Wednesday 5 May 2021
Topic: Story of an older midwife leading the way

Dr. Tshidi Masala-Chokwe is the lecturer of Midwifery in Tshwane University of Technology. Her nursing career started at Ga-Rankuwa College of nursing in 1984, qualified as a general nurse and a midwife, and worked at the same hospital maternity department for 16 years. During that time, she studied part time at the University of South Africa for a B Cur Nursing degree, specialized in Nursing education and Administration and graduated in 1999. She further specialized and acquired the Diploma in Midwifery and Neonatal nursing Science. She then studied completed M Tech Nursing Science and has completed her D Tech Nursing degree in 2018 and graduated on the 24th October. She has contributed profoundly to the midwifery profession though her extensive research, publications in accredited journals and speaking at national and international conferences. She is passionate about teaching the next generation of midwives and is a powerful leader in her field.

Dr Margreet Wibbelink

Thursday 6 May 2021
Topic 1: How to unify and professionalise midwifery
Topic 2: Do unto others as you would do unto yourself

Dr Margreet Wibbelink is a passionate South African born, Belgian-trained midwife who co-founded and directed the Healthy Mom and Baby Clinic (HMBC) in Jeffreys Bay, a non-profit organisation committed to delivering professional private care to the most vulnerable and underprivileged women of the community. She achieved registration as a Midwife from SANC on her return to South Africa and also studied Advanced Midwifery, followed by a Masters degree at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. Margreet continued her work at HMBC until the end of 2018, while simultaneously integrating into Sensitive Midwifery’s various activities, working as an independent midwife (known as ‘The Surfing Midwife’), and industriously pursuing her postgraduate studies as a PhD candidate and assisting as a student mentor for advanced midwife students, also at the Nelson Mandela University. Margreet has now completed all work towards her PhD, and commenced as the new Midwife Specialist and General Manager of the Sister Lilian Centre (and Sensitive Midwifery) in March 2019.

Mr Benjamin Grobler

Thursday 6 May 2021
Topic: South African Nursing Council on litigation & CPD update

Mr Grobler resumed his duties as a Manager – Legal Affairs at the South African Nursing Council in 2014. He was then promoted to the Senior Managerial position in September 2019. Mr Grobler is a qualified Attorney (RSA), registered and in good standing with the Law Society of the Northern Province of South Africa. He has 11 years of experience in the field of Law including the positions held at the SANC, he has dealt with a large variety of Nursing and related business issues. Inter alia, he has been managing the Professional Conduct Hearings for the SANC, thus gives him valuable insight and experience pertaining to the scope of practice of Nursing and the quality of care that is expected of the Nursing Profession and the role of the Regulator.

Mr Grobler has further been involved in the statutory compliance of the SANC and served on various committees of the procurement processes, vetting and drafting of all business contracts for the SANC. In doing this he has gained a valuable understanding of all relevant legislation regarding the SANC especially the Nursing Act 33 of 2005 and its regulations.

Dr Mariatha Yazbek

Thursday 6 May 2021
Topic: FEAR – facing and overcoming this ‘dystocia’ of maternity care

Dr Mariatha Yazbek is a senior lecturer in Midwifery at the University of Pretoria. She currently teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate midwifery students. In addition to her teaching obligations, she is involved in supervision of postgraduate research, moderation of other universities, curriculum development, is the head of the departmental Women and Child publication group, is the Gauteng representative for SOMSA, and arranged the 2019 SOMSA congress. She has published widely in peer-reviewed journals, non-refereed magazines and textbooks, some currently prescribed for Midwifery curriculums. She has also been a guest speaker at national Midwifery symposiums, presented research at various international congresses, and is a Master ESMOE trainer for the MRC. Mariatha is a peer reviewer for national and international journals, reviews grants, and is frequently consulted as expert legal witness. She is a leading expert in water births and serves as mentor and consultant for independent midwives in Pretoria. Her interests are to promote natural and normal birth and empower as many midwives as possible.

Dr Howard Manyonga

Thursday 6 May 2021
Topic: Innovative collaboration in maternity care

Dr Howard Manyonga is an Obstetrician with extensive local and overseas experience in public, NGO and private sector. He has led the development of the Maternity Product and roll out of The Birthing Team (TBT), a multi-disciplinary, mid-wife led maternity service delivery model created and managed by PPO Serve. TBT offers value-based maternity care, based on the PPO Serve methodology. Established in 2017, TBT is now available in 4 cities across South Africa and 800 babies have been born through its affordable Maternity Product. He left his executive role at the beginning of 2021 to focus on building a primary care maternity network, which complements emerging hospital-based team approaches. He is committed to building a viable primary maternity ecosystem, a safety net in the first mile from the patient’s point of view.

Interesting fact, his grandmother was a traditional midwife!

Prof Mfundo Mabenge

Thursday 6 May 2021
Topic: Eclampsia – the full picture

Professor Mfundo Mabenge is the Clinical Head of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a head of Gynae Oncology unit at Dora Nginza Hospital (WSU-training platform), where he is involved with training of specialist in Obstetrics & Gynecology as well as Advanced Midwives He did his BSC degree at UWC which he completed in 1990 majoring in Biochemistry and Physiology. He went to Medunsa and completed MBChB degree in 1995 with the distinction in Pediatrics and General surgery. He did the Diploma in Obstetrics with the College of Medicine of South Africa. He went further to do a diploma in practical labour law at NMU. In 2007 April he graduated his specialist degree (FCOG) with the College of Medicine of South Africa and again graduated a Master of Medicine specializing in Obstetrics & Gynecology with the University of Pretoria September 2007. He continued and did a Master of Arts in Health and Welfare Management at NMU. He trained as a superspecialist in Gynae Oncologist with the Oncology department of the University of Pretoria and finished his subspecialty Training (Certificate in Gynae Oncology) from the College of Medicine of South Africa and qualified as a Gynae Oncologist in October 2016. He took this further by doing a Master of Philosophy at the University of Pretoria. In March 2018 he graduated his post graduate studies in Theology with the Adventist International Institute of Advanced studies (AIIAS) in Philippines. He was appointed a professor in January 2016 by Walter Sisulu University. He is currently a registered student and studying towards a PhD in Obstetrics with the University of Witwatersrand. He is married to Advocate Ntuthu Mabenge and are blessed with 4 children.

Else Vooijs

Thursday 6 May 2021
Workshop: Time tested ways of improving the quality of ante- and postnatal care – Group antenatal and postnatal care

Else Vooijs is a midwife from Holland, the heart of midwifery-supported physiological birth. She graduated in 2009 and has worked in various practises in the Netherlands. Besides working as a midwife, Else has held the position of Clinical Director in a midwifery practise and has worked for the association of midwives in Holland.  Else loves to coach and train women and midwives to liberate an even better version of themselves. She is passionate about midwifery and stands for ‘for every pregnant woman a midwife’.  In November 2018 she moved with her whole family (husband and three children) to Jeffreys Bay, South Africa to help the Healthy Mom and Baby Clinic team fulfil their important antenatal and postnatal community work, and to become involved in inspiring and teaching midwives based on the Dutch model so respected in the rest of the midwifery world.

Hettie Grove

Thursday 6 May 2021
Workshop: Time tested ways of improving the quality of ante- and postnatal care – The Mother and baby dyad

Hettie Grove is a wife, mother of 2 and grandmother of four beautiful, healthy grandchildren, where she had the privileged to be the second midwife with all four.

Being a Registered Nurse, Hettie did the 3 year diploma in nursing and pursued her dream, passion, and calling. Completed Midwifery, Community Health, a degree in Nursing education and administration, Advanced Diploma in midwifery and neonatology, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant, South African Certified Perinatal Educator, Co-developer of the South African Certified Lactation Consultant accredited by Wits.

Hettie thought this was it but went on doing an aromatherapy course, Certified Sensitive Midwife Course (a must for every midwife), currently busy with accreditation to become an Emotional Intelligence Coach to help clients revisit their weaknesses and strengths that may hinder their approach to birth and reaching breastfeeding goals.

Hettie has been an Independent Practitioner for the last 24 years, strengthening her beliefs and goals to help moms believe that our default setting is to become pregnant, have normal births and breastfeed. Through this journey, she believes in informed choice based on the knowledge of alternatives, holistically with western medicine, and various other options.

Being passionate about helping mothers believe in their bodies and thank the Lord that she is free to live her dream, passion and calling to empower mothers, couples and children to become the very best person they can be. As an independent practitioner, she loves it to stay in the scope but be there for the moms, hands-off and let them be. They know what to do best if they can make their choices and know there are alternatives. It’s not always an easy road, but who said it would be. The most rewarding experience in life is when a mom looks at her after an hours struggle with the dyad and partner, trying to fix problems with breastfeeding, which is the most natural thing to do, but because of problems created by institutions, look up at her tears in their eyes, and a baby latched perfectly showing her gratitude. She loves her passion and calling and cannot call it an occupation or a work.

Lydia Monnane

Thursday 6 May 2021
Workshop: Time tested ways of improving the quality of ante- and postnatal care – Breastfeeding

Gabotloge Lydia Monnane is a Midwife Specialist and Sexual And Reproductive Health Care practitioner. She is a wife and a mother and the proud founder of ‘SR Gabo Women’s Health and Wellness Centre’.

Her journey started when she obtained Nursing and Midwifery degree in 2000 and started working as a community health nurse in Limpopo. After she relocated to the Free State in 2003, she worked in a well-known tertiary hospital in Free State in a very busy maternity ward. This is where her passion for midwifery was ignited and she never looked back. She continued to empower herself to be a voice for women regarding their sexual health issues and enrolled in a Sexual and Reproductive Health Course with University of the Free State in 2012. She was then chosen to open a Sexual Reproductive Health Clinic as part of Campaigning for the Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMA) requirements, which she successfully launched and managed, taking care of all the contraceptive needs of all women admitted at the hospital that needed follow up.

She furthered her studies and graduated in 2018 for Advanced Midwifery and Neonatal Nursing Science at the University of the Free State. Following she practiced as a Specialist Midwife and Neonatology practitioner at Pelonomi Tertiary Hospital.

Her burning desire to see women treated with dignity and respect and to make them part of informed decision making towards their sexual health issues taking into consideration their cultural diversity, their religious beliefs, social and economic status has driven her to open her own ‘Women and Health Wellness Centre’.

Michelle van der Westhuizen

Thursday 6 May 2021
Topic: Hypnobirthing – learn the techniques

Michelle van der Westhuizen is born in the Eastern Cape and trained locally at the same Nursing college as her granny, trained in the same local provincial hospital and found a deep love for Midwifery. Her first employment in an MOU in the Eastern Cape was wonderful for experience. Thereafter, she went to work in the private sector. While she missed the set-up of the government, she realised she needed a bit of polish before she could go into private practise.  Simultaneously her husband accepted the position as SOS Children Village Director where they embarked on an amazing, yet exhausting journey of parenthood! She started her own practise to fit in with the busy schedule and never looked back. In order to keep empowering herself and to grow as a person she did several courses including International Childbirth Educators Course (ICEC), Baby Dunstan Educators Course, Infant Massage, Sensitive Midwifery Course and Marie Mongan Hypnobirthing course. Last mentioned course came just after her Internship as a Registered Counsellor after completion of a Honours in Psychology and appear to be a good match. She will be giving the delegates a glimpse into some of the extraordinary births it has provided many with.

Michelle describes herself as being one of the quiet trees in the forest: “I am happy and content to do my little bit for as long as it takes… all the while believing in big things and a change for midwives in this country and basically everywhere in the world. Changing birth back to a sacred thing, a holy ground were we should tread with care, speak softly and touch with a gentle awe. The way it was before humanity even understood the connection between conception and birth. Back when humans saw the power of a woman creating life!”

Vanessa Booysen

Thursday 6 May 2021
Topic: Implementing holistic care of the premature baby – lead the way

Vanessa Booysen is passionate about empowering and motivating mothers and health care professionals on Newborn Care, Prematurity, Breastfeeding and Skin-to-Skin, Kangaroo Mother Care. She advocates for these important matters in the capacity of a Trainer of Trainees for the 20 hour UNICEF, WHO, NDoH Mother and Baby Friendly Initiative and the 80 hour Infant and Young Child feeding and PMTCT Course. She was the National Neonatal Lead Facilitator for Newborn Care in South Africa, supporting the NDoH and UNICEF. She capacitates Master Trainers in life saving Neonatal strategies, Helping Babies Breathe (HBB), and Management of Sick and Small Newborns, throughout all provinces in South Africa. Furthermore, she is a part time lecturer at the School of Nursing at the University of the Free State for the undergraduate Midwifery and postgraduate Advanced Midwifery courses.

Sebabatso Tsaoane

Thursday 6 May 2021
Topic: Story of a young midwife leading the way

Sebabatso Tsaoane obtained a BSocSC: Nursing degree at the University of the Free-State in 2016, where she is currently pursuing a Masters degree. She is the founder of Black Woman Arise Women’s Health Foundation which promotes women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights by empowering them with information that enables them to be in charge of their bodies and to access quality reproductive healthcare. Sebabatso is one of 10 young Midwives selected globally for the International Confederation of Midwives’ Young Midwifery Leaders program. She has also been featured by Ignited Woman magazine for her work with women’s sexual reproductive health. Sebabatso is currently semi-finalist for Tammy Taylor Mrs SA beauty pageant.