Shifting The System

Date: 01 August 2019

Time: 17.30 - 19.30

Venue: Impact Hub, 9 Walters St, Rosebank, Johannesburg, 2196



Tired of hearing negative news about the state of the world and the country? Join us on the 1st of August as The UCT Graduate School of Business' Alumni Relations in partnership with the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship host an inspiring event to hear from South African system changers and to input into their work in a meaningful way.  

Shifting the System  brings together Johannesburg alumni from the Bertha Centre Systems Change and Social Impact course, Impact Investing Executive Education courses and Bertha Scholars who are applying different knowledge sets to shift systems in areas such as education, health, finance, and more.

We invite you to discuss new approaches to problem-solving, explore practical interventions for developing a future-ready system, share insights and take part in this collaborative and interactive session. Bring your own experiences to input into existing challenges and help shift the system.



Aunnie is the founder of Intelligent Impact, an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, an Associate Fellow at the University of Oxford's Saïd Business School, a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics’ Marshall Institute and an advisor to the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Cape Town's (UCT) Graduate School of Business.A reformed M&A investment banker, she began her impact career in 2010 with Unitus Capital in Bangalore and has since worked with start-ups, intermediaries, funds, family offices, foundations, corporates and governments across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Aunnie has designed millions of dollars’ worth of innovative financing instruments including the first social impact bonds in Africa.


As the Social Systems Innovation Lead, Ncedisa convenes the Bertha Centre’s Systems Change and Social Impact Executive Education course. She also curates the Africa regional hub of the global Systems Play team- a support and resource node for change-agents aspiring to position their innovations at systems’ tipping points. She teaches Systems Change on the Graduate School of Business’s (GSB) MBA and MPhil programmes, and partners locally and globally with leading academics and practitioners to facilitate systems innovation capacity-building, case generation and exchange all over the world. Currently reading for a Masters in Philosophy in Inclusive Innovation at the GSB, her research question is around the relationship between collective embedded agency and institutional change. 


Thato started his career at Deloitte and Touche Woodmead in the financial services department and gained exposure across various sub sectors such as long-term insurance, credit providers and banking institutions, and furthermore spent a period in the Deloitte Los Angeles office. Subsequently Thato joined a boutique management consulting firm called Step Advisory where he gained significant experience in strategy development which involved developing a strong competence in competitor, value proposition and customer segmentation analysis and development. In his time at Step Advisory he specialized in impact investing and assisted a number of clients along their journey to incorporate investing for impact as a part of their investment philosophy.


Catherine is an international climate activist, human rights defender, trailblazer and agent of change. A 2013 Archbishop Tutu African Oxford Fellow and 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, Catherine’s commitment and passion for social change takes her to the smallest of communities in South Africa, as well as global platforms including the UN, where she currently works as a human rights defender actively engaging in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Council for the world’s most marginalised and vulnerable. Catherine remains active in Generation Earth, a UN Environment endorsed platform that she co-founded which targets the youth of Southern Africa and uses issues of environmental impact, climate change, water and waste as key focus areas to drive sustainable change. 


Shamillah is founder of Project Ignition which provides leadership training to disadvantaged youngsters between the ages of 16 and 22 in the Western Cape. Her programme aims to help unleash the passion, potential and power of young people who live with the daily realities of hunger, drugs, gangsterism, poverty and violence.  Shamillah is also a Bertha Scholar, life coach, and a founding Board Member of the Youth Against AIDS Network, Founding Chairperson of Sonke Gender Justice Network and has been an Advisor to the Global Fund for Women and the African Women’s Development Fund for almost 10 years. In 2015 she was the recipient of the Inyathelo Award for Women in Philanthropy.


Elvis is founder of Founders@work - a digital marketing, communications and Public Relations agency working mostly with entrepreneurship institutions looking to access entrepreneurs and brands active in black markets, entrepreneurial markets and township markets. Within this company he has worked with the likes of City of Joburg, The National Youth Development Agency, and Western Cape Economic Development and Tourism department, just to name a few. Founders@work later established eKasi Entrepreneurs - an NPC (PBO) dedicated to shaping the state of townships and rural areas through the development of township entrepreneurs, specifically focusing on skills development, public-private collaborations, Social Innovation and access to markets. Elvis is passionate about Economic Development through Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Finance, Marketing, and Information Technology.


Merhawi is an urban development professional with extensive experience in supporting community-centred transformation of informal settlements in sub-Saharan African cities. He was the Director of Projects at Slum Dwellers International (SDI) – a transnational network of community-based organisations of the urban poor in 32 countries and hundreds of cities across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Merhawi is highly motivated, driven and passionate about leveraging technology and social capital to scale up grass-roots/community innovations, in the rapidly urbanizing African context. He is an experienced project manager with a proven record in managing complex informal settlement upgrading, housing and infrastructure development projects working with communities, local government, civil society and the private sector. Merhawi is also a Bertha Scholar. 


Sithembiso is Director of the Growth Catalyst Fund SA. His previous experience includes working at the National Department of Arts and Culture as Head of the Cultural and Creative Industries Fund. He was also a member of Operation Phakisa which acted as an economic advisory team to the Ministry of Arts and Culture in conceptualizing and fast tracking the implementation of key sector initiatives in the arts. Sithembiso has served as a Director at Africa Empowered since 2009- an EMPOWERDEX think-tank that designs and implements empowerment initiatives within the BBB-EE framework. He also serves as Non-Executive Director of the Global Dignity Fund that provides high school learners with entrepreneurial support and finance. 

Important Information:

  • Please RSVP for catering purposes.
  • Parking is available at the venue and on the street.





Studying at the GSB is a career-making move. From our top-ranked MBA to our suite of executive education short courses, the GSB caters to leaders and managers at every stage of their learning journey.

Bertha Centre Brochure

View our latest brochure here

Bertha Scholarships

Calling all social innovators, changemakers, creators, interested in an MPhil or MBA with UCT GSB. You could quality for a Bertha Scholarship.