BirdLife South Africa is one of South Africa’s largest non–governmental, non-profit conservation organisations. The organisation is membership-based with more than 30 bird clubs nationwide. Essentially, bird clubs run recreational birding programmes with central elements being outings, indoor meetings and newsletters. Many bird clubs have conservation and education programmes. The BirdLife South Africa secretariat provides administration for membership and national conservation programmes, fundraising, public relations and management of publications and formal meetings.


BirdLife South Africa’s current management structure


Philip Calinikos
Appointed May 2019
Chairperson, BirdLife South Africa
Philip is a Chartered Accountant by profession and advises on accounting and financial matters. He
has previously served as Treasurer and Chairman of the Audit Committee of BirdLife South Africa. He
is a passionate birder and citizen scientist. He served as Chairman and Treasurer of his local bird club
BirdLife Northern Gauteng for many years. He has also served as Treasurer on the Council of the
Hellenic Community of Pretoria for a number of years.

Mark D. Anderson
Appointed October 2008
Chief Executive Officer
Mark has an MSc (cum laude) from the University of Pretoria. He was employed as a Specialist Nature
Conservation Scientist with the Northern Cape Department of Environment and Nature Conservation
for 18 years. Mark’s main responsibility as CEO is to grow BirdLife South Africa into a leading
conservation organisation, and one in which all aspects of the organisation’s work is done
scientifically and professionally.

Manuela Krog
Appointed May 2019
BirdLife South Africa Honorary Treasurer
Manuela is a Chartered Accountant, was a partner at Deloitte & Touche and the Chief Financial
Officer at Reunert. At present she acts as a consultant and is a proud mother to two teenage boys.
She is a keen nature photographer, and loves spending time in the bush with her family.

Ismail Bhorat
Appointed August 2015
Ismail is the Executive Director of Melomed Hospital Holdings. After completing his schooling at Diocesan
College (Bishops) in 2001, Ismail pursued a Business Science degree at the University of Cape Town,
majoring in Finance and Accounting. Ismail then joined the Melomed Group where he has been
instrumental in growing the group over the past 12 years. Ismail also serves as a Director and Vice-
Chairman of the National Hospital Network, which represents a group of 214 independent healthcare
facilities in South Africa and he is on the FNB Islamic Banking advisory board. Ismail is an avid birder and

Dr Mark Brown
Appointed April 2016
Mark is the Programme Director of the Natures’ Valley Trust and also an Honorary Research Fellow of
the School of Life Sciences of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has been the recipient of various
awards and academic prizes and has a long list of academic publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Mark is also an Associate Editor of Ostrich.

David Chamberlain
Appointed April 2015
David is a born and bred Pretorianer. After five years at Hilton College, a year in the Air Force
Gymnasium and four years at UCT (B. Comm., BA (Hons.) Econ.), he moved back to Pretoria and has
worked in the family hardware business ever since. He has served on the boards of the St Mary’s
Diocesan School for Girls and the Waterkloof House Preparatory School. David has published several
bird books. He has undertaken many forays to the wild parts of Africa and other continents, to follow
his birding passion. He has seen more than 2000 bird species in Africa. He is also a road runner, fly
fisherman and opera singer.

Peter Divall
Appointed March 2017
Peter is the retired Deputy-Director Medical Technology, Universitas Hospital, Bloemfontein. Peter is
an avid birdwatcher, and was Chairman of BirdLife Free State from 2007-2009. He currently resides in
Howick and from 2010 onwards has been part of the BirdLife KZN Midlands committee, and was
elected Chairman of Club in 2016.

Xolani Nicholus Funda
Appointed September 2018
Nicholus or Nic (as he is commonly known in conservation circles) was born in the Eastern Cape. His
home language is IsiXhosa. He grew-up as a herd-boy in the rural areas of Transkei, where he trapped
mice and birds and hunted small game. During this time he became aware of the natural environment
and developed an interest in nature conservation. He has Diploma (Fort Cox College) and B. Tech.
(Port Elizabeth Technikon) in Nature Conservation and a Masters in Environmental Management
(University of Free State). Nic has worked for various organisations including Transkei Nature
Conservation, Eastern Cape Nature Conservation, Department of Forestry, Tshwane University of
Technology and South African National Parks at different levels. He is presently a Chief Ranger based
in Kruger National Park working for South African National Park.

Linda Hart
Appointed June 2015
Linda holds an MBA in Business Administration and is currently exploring development opportunities
within the leadership and behavioural economics fields. Aside from being a skilled developmental
facilitator for entrepreneurs and a SETA accredited assessor, Linda is also an inspirational speaker, a
personal development facilitator, business mentor, world traveller, nature lover and avid wild- and
birdlife photographer. She is an insightful linguist and provocateur. Linda ran her first marathon on
the Great Wall of China in 2012 and used this platform to draw attention to the plight of rhinos.

Vernon Head
Appointed April 2016
Vernon is an architect, and a recipient of various prestigious awards such as the N.I.A.E. Merit Award
in New York in 1991. He is also an acclaimed author. The Search for the Rarest Bird in the World
achieved ‘best seller” status and was translated into several other languages. His novel A Tree for the
Birds was nominated for three different prizes, amongst which the Dayton International Prize for
Literature in the USA. Aside from his many achievements, Vernon also serves on the Advisory Board
of the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology and is an International Fellow of the Explorers Club,
New York. He remains an inquiring birdwatcher!

Galeboe Modisapodi
Appointed November 2017
Galeboe was born in Parys. He is a law graduate from the then University of Natal, Durban, having
obtained B. Proc. LLB. He also obtained a Management Development Programme and Strategic HR
Certificate from the Gordon Institute of Business Science. He has been employed as an HR
professional for the past 20 years. He is a keen conservationist with a love for birding, and wildlife and
nature photography. He is passionate about building a sustainable future his children and the other
people of South Africa.

Yvonne Pennington
Appointed July 2015
Yvonne is an independent consultant in the field of corporate social investment, with specialist
expertise in community development strategy and implementation. Yvonne is a citizen scientist and
contributes information to the University of Cape Town’s biodiversity database. She has been
cooking for Meals on Wheels for the past 30 years. Yvonne has travelled extensively to wild and
remote places and has been birding in Africa, south, central and north America, Europe, Australia and

*With effect from 27 April 2017, the BirdLife South Africa governance structure consists of a Board of Directors which meets on a regular basis. The composition is as follows:

  • Chairman: Philip Calinikos
  • Honorary Treasurer: Manuela Krog
  • Chief Executive Officer: Mark D. Anderson
  • Forum representative (Northern Areas): Yvonne Pennington
  • Forum representative (KwaZulu-Natal): Peter Divall
  • Forum representative (Western Cape): Dr Mark Brown
  • Co-opted member: Ismail Bhorat
  • Co-opted member: David Chamberlain
  • Co-opted member: Nicholus Funda
  • Co-opted member: Linda Hart
  • Co-opted member: Galeboe Modisapodi

Conservation is the primary reason for BirdLife South Africa’s existence. While we engage in, promote and support other activities, such as birding and tourism, community-based conservation, and our education work, everything is geared towards achieving bird conservation goals.