Brian Zungu- instructor
Brian has been with Funda Nenja since 2011. He started off as a a translator for Bronwen Bickerton, the usual instructor of the Puppy Class and now takes this class himself when Bronwen is unable to attend. Brian doesn’t have a dog of his own, but he enjoys teaching the children how to care for their young puppies.
Bonukwenza (Kwenza) Zungu- instructor
Kwenza started at Funda Nenja this year. He enjoys watching people learn to treat their dogs as they do other people. His favourite command to teach is the ‘sit’ and ‘down’ command. Although Kwenza doesn’t have a dog, he still decided to join Funda Nenja after his friend Alex, a fellow instructor, told him how much he enjoys it.
Winnie Sangcosi- Committee member, gate keeper and general assistant
Winnie has been with Funda Nenja since its inception in 2009. She has the nickname ‘Sergeant Major’ for her strict but loving motherly role. Initially she was an instructor for six months but then changed to her now well-known position as gate keeper. This is an important role as she makes sure the dogs are in good condition and gets to know all the children. As she says, ‘I check the collars on the dogs, dogs that are not well. If kids have a problem, I talk to their mother and tell them at home’. Winnie loves the dogs; she says the dogs are her passion, they are ‘my sport’. Winnie says the most important thing she wants at Funda Nenja training sessions is happy people; ‘It doesn’t matter if something is wrong at home, leave it, come here. Get help. Speak about it’. She doesn’t like people who hurt dogs.
Doreen Zondi- helper and cleaner
Doreen has been at Funda Nenja since it started in 2009. She cleans the office and packs dog food. for the weekly training sessions as well as for the children to take home for daily homework with their dogs. Laughing she says, ‘Work here is very nice’. At the moment Doreen doesn’t have a dog but she would like to get one. Her favourite part of Funda Nenja is helping others.
Israel Silevu-Committee member and instructor
Israel works at Free Me KZN and heard about Funda Nenja from Ros Marais of FreeMe who spoke to Yvonne Spain, a Funda Nenja committee member. He was interested in joining and started as an instructor in June 2013. He instructs about 20 children in Adult 2A which is the first class up from the Beginner Classes. He enjoys the work and in particular working with the children. He says his favourite part is ‘socializing with the kids and helping them develop a relationship with their animals.’ In his lessons, Israel says he teaches the children how ‘to handle their dog properly’. He also emphasises naming a dog and calling it by its name and ‘to treat their dogs like themselves at home’. He says the children must love their dogs and ‘practise a good relationship’. He also says it is very important that they talk to their animals.
Siphiwe (aka Voda) Zondi- instructor and translator
Siphiwe joined Funda Nenja in 2013. He teaches the children to teach their dogs to ‘sit’, ‘down’ and jump over obstacles. He says dogs find it difficult to jump over a series of obstacles but he helps the children to encourage them. He joined Funda Nenja because he once had a pet dog that was his ‘favourite pet’ and he loved it. When it died, he wanted to help other dogs.
Thobani Gasa- instructor
Thobani joined Funda Nenja in 2009 because he heard that Funda Nenja was teaching people how to train their dogs and how to look after them so he decided to join. Thobani rose to become part of the Demo Team and performed successfully with his dog, Haley, at many dog agility shows including the World of Dogs and Cats expo in Durban. Unfortunately, Haley was hit and killed by a car in 2013. Since then, Thobani has become an instructor for the demo team. He enjoys learning more about dogs but he says is a challenge to get the children to talk to their dogs. At the end of 2013, Thobani received a new puppy from a Funda Nenja supporter which he named Haley.
Vusimuzi (Vusi) Maphumulo- instructor and translator
Vusi started at Funda Nenja in October 2013. He teaches the ‘sit’ and ‘down’ command. He enjoys teaching the children how to communicate with their dogs.
Alex Zuma- instructor
Alex joined Funda Nenja in 2012. He first took the Puppy Class before moving to the adult beginner classes. He enjoys teaching the children but finds it frustrating when the children don’t practise at home what he teaches. He teaches the children the ‘sit’, ‘down’, ‘stay’ commands and to call or name their dog.
Victoria Kwali- packer
Victoria joined Funda Nenja in 2009 and, together with Winnie Sangcosi, was one of the first volunteers from the Mpophomeni community. She started as a teacher at Puppy 2 but today helps to pack dog food into the waist bags for the children to use as rewards in the classes and the packets of dog food for children to take home for their dogs at the end of class. Victoria enjoys working at Funda Nenja because she loves children and dogs but she said that, as a teacher, she used to get annoyed with the children when they didn’t listen and when she saw they were not caring for their dog.
Moira Bath- volunteer: admin
Moira joined Funda Nenja in 2014. She first learnt of Funda Nenja when she attended the Funda Nenja fundraiser concert with local pianist, Christopher Duigan in December 2013. The work of Funda Nenja with children and animals appealed to her and she offered to volunteer. Moira manages the collection tins, membership and thank you letters and also hands out the snacks to the children at the training sessions.
Thandeka Zondi- helper and packer
Thandeka joined Funda Nenja in 2009 after her twin sister, Doreen, who was already helping at Funda Nenja, invited her to come too. Thandeka likes work at Funda Nenja because she enjoys helping children and doesn’t want people to hit their dogs . She adds that she also likes dogs.
Nomonde Dlungwane- assistant instructor
Nomonde started at Funda Nenja in 2014 after her Aunt, Auxilary Social Worker, Nonny Duma, suggested she come as Funda Nenja was looking for translators. Funda Nenja is a large part of her family as her brother, Voda, is also a translator at Funda Nenja. She enjoys teaching the children and dogs but finds it irritating when the children don’t listen.
Heather Somerville- instructor
Heather Somerville was one of the founder members of Funda Nenja, committed to the Township Dog Training initiative from the very first day’s training when trainers and helpers way outnumbered the participants. Heather comes from an animal orientated background – dog training throughout her life as well as a passion for horses. She gained experience with farm animals when she and her husband Ian went into dairy and sheep farming before retiring to Howick, KZN. Heather has been heavily committed to the uMngeni SPCA, Howick, as a volunteer and Committee Member since 1996. The whole concept of kind and gentle dog training methods combined with the message of care and compassion for all sentient beings is at the core of her dedication.
Kwanelle Shezi-assistant instructor
Kwanelle joined Funda Nenja in 2009. He was a member of the orginal demo team and still participates in demos with his dog, Slap, and has also progressed to be an assistant instructor with the puppy classes. Kwanelle says he joined Funda Nenja because he wanted to help animals and make dogs happy. When dogs are happy, he is happy.
Dogs give him ‘heart’ and he loves them. He gets upset when he sees people hitting their dogs.
Andile Skhakhane-assistant instructor
Andile joined Funda Nenja in 2009 and has risen to the senior team where he now is an assitant instructor. Andile says that he likes that people at home say he has changed since he joined Funda Nenja. He used to misbehave but at Funda Nenja, he learnt ‘everything’ and ‘things became right’.
He has learnt to treat dogs and people with respect.
Wonderboy Nkabinde- general assistant
Wonderboy joined Funda Nenja in August 2014 after Bheko Ngcobo, a long standing member of the senior team and a relative, invited him to Funda Nenja.
Wonderboy helps with packing dog food and handing out snacks to the children. He says he loves animals and loves seeing the similarities between dogs and people.
Nqobile Zondi- translator
Nqobile joined Funda Nenja in July 2014. She is a translator for Heather Somerville in the Intermediate class.
She enjoys learning about Funda Nenja and learning about dog training and teaching. Nqobile heard of Funda Nenja when Israel Silevu, another instructor, invited her to visit.
Tom Vilakazi-assistant instructor
Tom joined Funda Nenja in 2011. He had a dog and wanted to learn how to care for it and so joined Funda Nenja. Tom was a member of the orginal demo team and now is an assistant instructor for the puppy classes to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of Funda Nenja children.
He enjoys learning about how to care for dogs and having fun with the dogs and children.
Sam Wills- volunteer: animal health and stand-in instructor
Sam started helping out at Funda Nenja in 2013 as community service for Mandela Day and says she has found it difficult to stop herself from going back every Friday. Sam assists with checking the dogs’ health, helping deworm the puppies each week and treating those with minor injuries, fleas or ticks. She also is a stand-in instructor if any of the instructors are absent. She says, ‘Seeing the kids develop a relationship with their dog and caring for their dog is such an awesome experience as well as seeing the kids becoming more confident and happy just makes my week, every week!’
Kristen Williams- volunteer: website
Kristen joined Funda Nenja in 2013 when she heard about Funda Nenja and how it teaches children to care for animals. Kristen was the volunteer coordinator and today helps with the website.