The Donald White/Mandla A. Ndwanya Memorial Fund was informally established in 2012 to honor Donald White, a career educator in the United States of America and father of Dr. Takiyah White Ndwanya.
Mandla Andrew Ndwanya, husband of Takiyah and a local native of Nyanga, Cape Town, passed away in April 2016. To honor both men, the White family included Mandla's legacy to provide support to learners from his neighborhood in the Nyanga/Gugulethu townships.
The Donald White/Mandla A. Ndwanya Memorial Fund registered as a non-profit organization in the United States in May of 2017. Through this incorporation, a Board was formed to make decisions about the future.
The goal of the fund is to fundraise on behalf of students to benefit from charitable donations and to increase global awareness for American and South African students. Specifically, the Fund supports students at Mkhanyiseli Primary School and John Pama Primary School in the Nyanga township with uniforms and shoes biannually, scholarships for American students to pursue further education in colleges and universities, South African students to pursue tertiary education, and internship opportunities for current U.S. based college students in Cape Town, South Africa through a partnership with Volunteer Adventure Corps (VAC).
To provide exceptional and targeted educational support and exchange opportunities for students in the United States and South Africa in order to keep deserving students in school and promote cross-cultural learning and understanding
To be a consistent and reliable source of financial, logistical, and moral support for American students with an interest in Africa and for South African students who have a demonstrated desire and potential to advance their educational pursuits
To facilitate educational and volunteer exchange opportunities for Africans and Americans who come from communities that are underrepresented in traditional cultural exchange, international volunteer, and study abroad programs
Takiyah White Ndwanya, Ph.D., MPH
Founder and Director
Dr. Takiyah White Ndwanya, daughter of the late Donald White and spouse of the late Mandla A. Ndwanya is originally from Washington, D.C. Takiyah is a public health professional specializing in Infectious Diseases.
Although Takiyah enjoys working as a researcher and public health educator, she believes that it is important to be philanthropic. This desire lead to her to work with her mother to start an organization to assist and support students in her home country of the United States and adopted country of South Africa.
Takiyah hopes to use her time and talents to lead the Donald White/Mandla A. Ndwanya Memorial Fund, Inc. to be a beacon of hope to students with the desire to use educational opportunities to lead a positive, productive life.
Magurtha H. White, MA
Co-Founder and Board Member
Magurtha H. White is a retired educator and spouse of the late Donald White. Believing in achievement through support and nurturing of students, Magurtha has strived to be of service in her career in education for over 30 years.
After retirement, Magurtha traveled and realized a special connection to South Africa, not knowing that years later, her daughter would marry and relocate to South Africa. Upon visits back and forth from the States to Cape Town, Magurtha had many conversations with Takiyah and her late husband, Mandla, a local Capetonian about assisting students in their educational endeavors. The discussions led to the formation of the Donald White/Mandla A. Ndwanya Memorial Fund Inc.
Magurtha hopes to continue to be of service to the organization as a Board member and visionary in the many years to come.
Akilah Darden, MBA LEED BD+C
Akilah W. Darden, daughter of the late Donald White/Mandla A. Ndwanya Memorial Fund, is the CEO of The Darden Group, LLC. Her responsibilities include establishing project objectives and policies, maintaining liaisons with prime client contracts, monitoring construction and financial activities of multiple simultaneous projects of various sizes.
Akilah was the recipient of the 'Top 10 Powerful Women of 2021' by Yahoo Finance, Forbes Magazine, and nationally recognized 40 Under 40 by Building Design and Construction in 2015. Akilah graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a degree in Architectural Engineering with a concentration in Design and Construction. She has a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Marymount University with a concentration in Finance. She is the proud mother of four.
Brandi N. James, MA
Brandi James has over a decade of international experience in Africa, Europe, and South East Asia and broad expertise in shaping and implementing programs related to international development and economic, humanitarian, and labor policies in developing nations and emerging markets.
She joined the U.S. Department of State in 2006 as a Foreign Service Officer and has worked in Lagos (Nigeria), Paris (France), Nairobi (Kenya), Islamabad (Pakistan), and Johannesburg (South Africa). Ms. James is originally from the State of Georgia in the United States and a proud graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C. She received her Masters of Art in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Ivy P. Ndwanya
Ivy Ndwanya is the sister of the late Mandla Andrew Ndwanya. She obtained her Bachelors degree from the University of Western Cape in South Africa. Ivy is the proud owner of Ivy's Cafe, a South African traditional food eatery located in Cape Town.
Ivy will represent the Board in the capacity of the Ndwanya family and is looking forward to working with the organization to better the lives of students in South Africa.
Soje White is the son of the late Donald White and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the Founder and Owner of H.E.A.T Atlanta, a personal training facility in downtown Atlanta.
Soje has a degree in Kinesiology and a background in education and teaching. He firmly believes that education is the gateway to success, and having the strong foundation of excellence from his parents, he feels that the best way to give back is to become actively involved in the Donald White/Mandla A.Ndwanya, Inc. organization to assist in making educational opportunities equitable and fair domestically and internationally.
Mkhanyiseli Primary School Faculty Liaison Cape Town, South Africa
Maxwell Funo is an educator from Cape Town, South Africa. He completed his studies with an Advanced Certificate in Education at the University of Cape Town in Education Management and Leadership Development. He has been teaching at Mkhanyiseli primary school, a 'disadvantaged' school for 20 years and is still marching on. The school dates back to 1950, and its community has been facing the harsh realities of unemployment for years. He is very passionate about e-Learning and as a result he won a competition with his project on ‘Dumping Waste’ by taking first place on both ‘Collaboration and Innovation in a challenging context.' The competition was run by Microsoft Partners in Learning (MSPiL) and he went on to represent South Africa in the Middle East in Morocco. When he met Mrs. White and her daughter, Takiyah, and discussed the plight of learners in desperate need of school uniforms at the school, there was no turning back. He is collaborating with the White Family to reach out to those learners who don’t have the means to dress-up in a normal school uniform and ‘smile’ like other learners.
Project Leader, Cape Town, South Africa
Nomha Thyulu is a native Capetonian, born and raised in the Nyanga township. She has years of experience in non-profit organizations, as an office manager at Living through Learning and project coordinator for this organization since 2015. Knowing the language and culture in Nyanga, where the primary schools are located serves as an asset allowing her to work amicably and efficiently with corporate sponsors and the principals and faculty members at our respective sponsored schools. Nomha is excited to continue to work with the Donald White/Mandla A. Ndwanya Memorial Fund, as Mandla was like a brother to her. Her vibrant personality and attention to detail serve as vital to the execution of fund objectives and sustainability of the organization.