Meet The Team

Board Members

Moroba Nkawe

Moroba Nkawe

Moroba Nkawe is the founder and Managing Director of Maru Film Services, a risk management company in the film and entertainment industry. Maru Film Services provides Film and Commercial Producers’ Indemnity insurance, Events Liability and Cancellation, Completion Guarantees and Production Monitoring & Supervision services. With over 15 years experience in the film and television industry, Moroba has worked as a Production Executive in the film guarantee business for over 5 years. She has produced and line produced feature films, television series, commercials and music videos. She has filmed across the African continent and worked with all major funding institutions in South Africa. Moroba serves on the boards of the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival and the South African Film Academy.

Moroba Nkawe

Karen Meiring

Karen Meiring was the Director of M-Net kykNET channels, a position she’d held since 2013. She joined M-Net in 2009 as the head of Afrikaans channels and brought an extensive knowledge of the South African entertainment industry to her position. She has cemented kykNET as the leading producer of Afrikaans film and television content and ushered in successful projects under kykNET such as the Fiëstas, Ghoemas and the Silwerskerm Film Festival. She has also been honoured with numerous awards for her contribution to the arts and entertainment landscape in South Africa. Karen also founded the first ever Afrikaans Arts festival, the KKNK, and was later appointed as the CEO of the festival. She is also one of the founding members of Cutt Glas, an internationally renowned Afrikaans acappella band. 
Moroba Nkawe

Toni Monty

Toni Monty is a recognized practitioner in the African film sector, with 20 years of leadership in industry development. Formerly at the helm of the Durban Film Office for 17 years, she orchestrated the Durban FilmMart for 11 years, elevating African cinema through global partnerships. She has spearheaded several successful strategies and programs for African filmmaker growth, and has served on the board of the KZN Film Commission and the KZN Music Cluster. A law graduate with specialisation in intellectual property law, she contributes a vast set of skills, including strategy development, corporate governance and financial management. Monty’s impact spans 200+ African projects, several achieving global recognition, while her current role at A.M. Afrika continues her dedication to industry advancement.
Moroba Nkawe

Steven Markovitz

Steven Markovitz has over 25 years’ experience in feature films, documentaries, short films, distribution and festivals. He has produced in more than 25 African countries with films that have screened in Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, Toronto and Venice. Steven co-founded the production company Big World Cinema in 1994 as well as Encounters South African International Documentary Festival in 1999.

Moroba Nkawe

Tiny Mungwe

Tiny Mungwe is a filmmaker and arts manager. She works at STEPS, where she produced mainly Generation Africa, a collection of 25 documentary films from 16 African countries.

Core Team

Moroba Nkawe

Mandisa Zitha - Festival Director

Mandisa Zitha, who is currently Festival Director of the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, completed her BA in Film and Media Studies at UCT in 2005, majoring in Documentary. In 2007, she assumed the reins of Encounters until 2012, when the pressures of a growing family dictated more regular hours. After a 5-year stint at UCT, as Alumni Officer, she joined WESGRO as a Manager (Strategic Projects). But Encounters’ purpose and her love of the documentary genre saw her return to the position of Festival Director in 2019. Zitha is an ambassador for the SA film industry, she was one of the Mail and Guardian’s 2011 Top 100 Women for the Arts and Culture Sector in 2020 Zitha was a panellist at GZDOC (China) for “How International film festivals and markets plan their post pandemic returns”. In 2020, Mandisa also received the Mbokodo Award for ‘Women in Media’. Mandisa was instrumental in building Encounters’ partnerships with Sichuan TV Festival in China, which took seven local films and two filmmakers to a festival in China, the French Embassy on the first Africadoc SA writing residency designed to develop African documentary cinema, and the 2012 partnership with Al Jazeera English, which saw 20 African documentaries pitch to the global broadcaster.

Moroba Nkawe

Tarha McKenzie - Festival Manager

Tarha McKenzie has over 12 years experience in the film industry, focusing on Programme and Distribution Management. She currently manages Africa’s premiere documentary festival, Encounters, and programme manages the Doc Society supported Climate Story Lab Southern Africa. Her other career highlights include managing content distribution for both Big World Cinema and Electric South, coordinating the Black Women Disrupt competition, and managing Techrow’s educational catalogue. Tarha has an aptitude to tinker and the dedication to make her team’s dream a reality.

Joy-Sapieka

Joy Sapieka - Publicist and Programmer

Joy Sapieka is a publicist who has worked in Film and Television for over twenty-five years. Her extensive, distinguished international credits include over forty feature films and thirty television films and series, including Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe award-winning productions such as AMERICAN BEAUTY, ROAD TO PERDITION, EAST IS EAST, TSOTSI, QUEER AS FOLK, DISTRICT 9, THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY and THE PRISONER. Joy was Sam Mendes’ personal publicist for six years and also worked with many acclaimed directors, including Stephen Daldry, Paul Greengrass, Paul Webb, Joe Wright, Anthony Minghella, Gavin Hood and Mira Nair. A keen promoter of the indigenous film industry, Joy’s African slate as a publicist includes DISTRICT 9, WHITE WEDDING, QUEEN OF KATWE, DEMOCRATS, BEATS OF THE ANTONOV and RAFIKI, amongst others. For the past ten years, Joy has been part of the Encounters South Africa International Documentary Festival team and has been involved in the promotion of the African Screen Network since its inception. Joy has promoted a variety of films at the Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Sundance, Deauville, New York, London, Sydney, Galway and Edinburgh Film Festivals. She was Senior Publicist (Africa) for Al Jazeera TV Network from 2012 – 2017. She has been invited to run Marketing, Distribution and Producing Masteclasses and Workshops at AFDA, UCT Film School, City Varsity, SAE and KZN Film Commission and has acted as an adviser to numerous local film initiatives.

Moroba Nkawe

Taryn Joffe - Festival Programmer and Industry Coordinator

Taryn Joffe has honed her skills in film programming, curation, writing and distribution. She currently serves as Festival Programmer and Industry Coordinator at Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, Distribution Manager at Electric South and as a Board Member for the DFA. Her past roles include Distribution Coordinator at Big World Cinema and Programmer at the Shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival. Taryn’s expertise is enhanced by participation in programmes such as SALIA, in partnership with Realness Institute, Talents Durban Press and Berlinale Talents.

Moroba Nkawe

Fanney Tsimong - JHB Festival Coordinator

Fanney Tsimong started his career in the Film & TV space for both Out In Africa Film Festival and Encounters SA Int’l Doc Fest. Under mentorship from Underdog, Fanney received the “Raw Talent Award” for his PSA in 2003’s DSTV/MNET Vuka Awards, which awarded him a scholarship to AFDA. He was nominated by Mail and Guardian, Vodacom and Umsobomvu Youth Fund as one of 100 young South African To Know, was selected as part of a panel of judges at the Berlinale Film Festival and was nominated for South African Traditional Awards (SATMA) for Best Cultural Electronic Media Journalist. He continues to break new grounds with film projects in development under Doti Productions, a company he founded in 2002. Recently Fanney joined the Joburg Film Festival curating team, film trafficker and Youth and Audience programme manager.

Moroba Nkawe

Carol de Vos - Financial Officer

Financial Administrator for the Encounters Training & Development Institute since 2008.

Jade Simpson - Technical Manager

Nhlanhla Ndaba - JHB Festival Coordinator