Prof Gert van Zyl

Full name & surname

Prof Gert Jacobus Van Zyl


MBChB, MFamMed, MBA, PhD, PG Diploma in Health Administration, PG Diploma in Community Health, PG Diploma in Assessment in Learning in Higher Education.

Current Position

Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State


Family Medicine and Community Health

  • Associations & Affiliations

  • SAMA


  • Passion
  • Health Ethics and Mothers and Children’s Health

Inspirational Quote

“Act now, tomorrow is too late”

My Connection with MACAH Foundation

I am a founding Director, past Chair of the Board and a member of the Board. The vision, aim , objectives and actions of the Foundation is very close to those of the academic environment and as dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, it is an initiative that can improve also the working conditions of the academic clinicians and also link up with the mutual course to improve the health outcomes for mothers and children in South Africa. Being a member of the Board and the Foundation provides me the opportunity to live out my passion for mothers and children to the fullest.

More about me

Professor van Zyl, Dean in the Health Sciences Faculty at the University of the Free State, is an AMEE Inaugural Fellow and the Past President of SAAHE. Prof Van Zyl has served on several Medical and Dental Board committees and on the Health Professions Council of South Africa. He contributed also in teaching, research and service delivery on an academic level. Prof Van Zyl has been the recipient of several International and National awards. Prof van Zyl is a qualified Family Medicine Specialist with another five postgraduate qualifications.  Prof Van Zyl has recently been appointed as Deputy Chair of the Board of the Council of Health Services Accreditation of SA (COHSASA). Prof Van Zyl contributions to the Foundation lies within his experience and expertise in management and leadership, knowledge in functioning of Boards and his passion mother and child health care.

Prof André Venter

Full Name

Prof Andre Venter 


Current Position

Neurodevelopmental Paediatrician (Private Practice) since November 2019 MACAH FOUNDATION: Chairman of the Board of Directors 


Retired Professor and Academic Head of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at Universitas Hospital and the University of the Free State Prof Andrè Venter was the Academic Head of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of the Free State for more than 20 years. He has recently retired but remains an emeritus professor at the UFS and is still in private practice. He is a Neurodevelopmental Paediatrician with a passion for children with developmental delays and other handicaps. Prof Venter is fascinated by the way the brain works and factors that influence how we learn, think and concentrate. He was very fortunate to be awarded the Katherine Swallow Fellowship, which enabled him to do a PhD in Child Development at the University of Alberta in Canada in the early 90’s.   Prof Venter enjoys teaching, making complex neurological concepts easy for undergraduate and postgraduate students. He also has an entrepreneurial spirit, which has led him to be the project leader of many successful projects, like the Beds of Hope campaign, the Children Wing campaign and currently the MACAH foundation and the establishment of a Mother and Child Academic Hospital in the Free State. He is the founder, chairman and immediate past president of the Paediatric Association for Neurology and Development in South Africa (PANDA SA) and was also the founder president of the African Neurology and Developmental Association (ACNA). He was awarded for his work by being elected Bloemfonteiner of the year in 2008 and a National Management Award from the Kovsie Alumni in 2008. He received a lifetime award for teaching Paediatric Neurology in 2012 and a Panda SA lifetime achievement award for his contribution to Neurosciences in South Africa.  


Postgraduate supervision

i. Clinical Masters - 113 successful MMEDs completed.   

ii. Research Masters - 3 

iii. PhD supervised (completed) – 7 

iv. PhD (current) - 3 

Conferences: 73

Papers Read/ Posters - 64 

Invited Lectures / Talks - 366 

Awards - 19 


i.  Refereed Journals - 44  

ii.  Other - 27  

iii. Books and Chapters – 6

Dr Riana van Zyl

Full name & surname

Riana van Zyl


MMed.Paed.; MBChB; Dip HIV Man

Current position

Senior Paediatric consultant and lecturer (UFS)


Paediatric HIV infection


I am a paediatrician with a passion for not only HIV infected but also affected children.  I have a particular interest in adolescents living with HIV. I also have a passion for paediatric specific research:  I want to improve outcomes for our children by enabling ethical, innovative, collaborative research.

Inspirational quote

"I can't help every child, but I can make a difference for the one right in front of me." ~ Ruth Soukuop ~

Connection with MACAH Foundation

Being one of the founding directors of the MACAH Foundation is an honour and a true privilege. The opportunity to make a sustainable difference in the lives of mothers, infants and children inspire me to dream bigger and work harder.  Through the different projects under the Foundation's umbrella, we can improve the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable of our community on all levels of care – from primary to tertiary.  The impact we can have now will influence a whole generation.


Mr David Abbey

David Abbey is a Senior Investment Banker in Corporate Solutions at Investec. Previously a Senior Investment Banker and Transactor in the Acquisition and Leveraged Finance Division at Rand Merchant Bank. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant who qualified concurrently as a Certified Information Systems Auditor.

David Abbey has been widely recognised for his professional output. His accolades include being a recipient of the Old Rhodian Award (Rhodes University), Distinguished Alumni Award (UFS), Special Services Distinction (RMB) as well as SAICA’s Top 35 under 35. 

David Abbey has a burning passion for healthcare and education outside of investment banking. He lives these passions by serving on the boards of the Association of Black Accountants in Southern Africa, being a member of the council of the University of the Free State, sitting on the Advisory Board of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences of the University of the Free State, being a Director of the MACAH Foundation.

The MACAH foundation’s objective of ensuring a healthier foundation is laid for a better future for mothers, infants, and children resonate heavily with David Abbey. He plays an active role in realising this objective through MACAH’s three main priority initiatives; the Children’s Wing project, the First 1000 days Campaign and the establishment of the Free State MACAH.

David Abbey is also a health and fitness enthusiast and embraces his family.

Prof Millard Arnold

Millard Arnold is Senior Advisor to Bowmans, South Africa’s leading firm of attorneys; Chairman of Rhodes University Business School Advisory Board and Senior Advisor to the International Law Institute South African Center of Excellence. Arnold is a non-executive director of Generator Plant Hire and the Mother and Child Academic Hospital (MACAH), and a member of the Council of the University of the Free State.  He is the former Honorary Business Representative for the Government of Singapore in South Africa and formerly the Chief Executive Officer of the South African Business Schools Association.  Prof Arnold served as the Executive Chairman of Black & Veatch Africa, the Executive Director and Group Legal Counsel of Murray & Roberts. He was the first-ever U.S. Minister-Counsellor for Commercial Affairs for South and Southern Africa.  Prof Arnold has also served as the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.  He was a professor of law at Touro University and adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law School and held a Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame and began his legal career at Sherman & Sterling in New York. He was a journalist for the Washington Post newspaper and a Senior Fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 

Dr Anchen Laubscher

Current Position

Group Medical Director at Netcare Limited


As Group Medical Director Netcare Ltd, Anchen is the executive responsible for the strategic oversight of all clinical and quality-related matters across the different divisions of the Netcare Group (Hospital Division, Akeso, Primary Care Division, Oncology, National Renal Care, Netcare 911). Leading a team of subject matter experts, Anchen oversees the Quality Management System and ISO 9001:2015 accreditation, is accountable for strategic and operational oversight of Patient Safety and Quality Improvement initiatives and pioneers the clinical quality side of Digitisation, Data and Reporting.

On a national, policy-making level, Anchen is a member of the Hospital Association of South Africa (HASA) subcommittee for Clinical Quality, and the South African Committee of Medical Deans (SACOMD) initiative constituted to look at addressing the human resource dilemma specifically related to doctor training in South Africa. She is a member of the University Council of the University of the Free State, where she also serves on the Institutional Forum (IF) and holds Director appointments for the Mother and Child Academic Hospital Foundation (MACAHF), the My Walk With Soul collaborate between Netcare and Adcock – Ingham and the University of Cape Town Medical Centre Ltd.

Anchen graduated (MB.ChB) from the University of the Free State (UFS) in 2004. During her studies, she was awarded various academic scholarships & awards and was the first female to be elected President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS. Anchen’s post-graduate qualifications include a Diploma in Child Health (DCH) and a Diploma in Primary Emergency Care (DipPEC), both through the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA); a Post Graduate Diploma in General Management (PG Dip GM) from the University of Pretoria (UP) Graduate School of Business (GIBS) and an MBA (cum laude) from the same institution. She is a member of the Examining Board of the College of Emergency Medicine of South Africa (DipPEC). 


Company Name: Netcare 

Total Duration: 13 yrs 2 mos 

o Group Medical Director  – Jul 2018 – Present 

o Medical Director Hospital Division  - Jul 2012 – Jun 2018 

o Medical Director Netcare 911  - Mar 2010 – Aug 2013 

o General Manager Medical Division Netcare 911  -  Nov 2009 – Mar 2010 

o Principal Medical Officer Netcare 911  –  Feb 2009 – Nov 2009 


Non Executive Director

My Walk Made with Soul NPC  - Jul 2019 – Present 

Non Executive Director

Mother and Child Academic Hospital Foundation  -  Jan 2019 – Present 

Non Executive Director 

University of Cape Town Medical Centre Ltd  -  Sep 2018 – Present 


GIBS Business School (Gordon Institute of Business Science)

MBA (cum laude) 

Business Administration and Management, General 

 Cum Laude 

2016 – 2017 

GIBS Business School (Gordon Institute of Business Science)

Post Graduate Diploma in General Management (PGDipGM) 

Business Administration and Management, General 

2016 – 2016 



DipPEC (Diploma in Primary Emergency Care) 

Emergency Medicine 

2007 – 2007 


Degree Name DCH (Diploma in Child Health) 


2006 – 2006 

University of the Free State/Universiteit van die Vrystaat

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) 

1999 – 2004

Me Ruth Lewin

Head: Corporate Sustainability, Discovery

Ruth Lewin has worked in South Africa within the non-governmental, government and corporate sectors for 40 years. Her expertise lies in specialist advice in Corporate Social Investment and has a broad knowledge and understanding of developmental issues in South Africa. Over the span of her career, she has held various positions in community organisations, which include work in a public health NGO working in rural areas, the appointment as the Western Cape Head of Administration for the first democratic election in 1994 and Western and Northern Cape Regional Manager for the Truth & Reconciliation Commission in 1996. Lewin has also previously worked for the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and since 2004 heads up Corporate Sustainability at Discovery. She serves as trustee on the Discovery Fund and the MACAH Foundation and is World President of the International Association for Volunteer Effort.

Dr Noluthando Nematswerani

Head: Corporate Sustainability, Discovery

Dr Noluthando Nematswerani is the Head of the Clinical Policy Unit at Discovery Health. She is also a media spokesperson for Discovery Health on clinical issues. 

She is Medical Doctor with 20 years healthcare experience. She holds Masters Degrees in Clinical Pharmacology and an MSc in Biostatistics and Clinical Epidemiology. 

In her current role she oversees Health Technology Assessments (HTA), Health Economics, Surgical Risk Management, Clinical Policy Development, Medicines Unit including Drug Risk Management and the Clinical Research Unit. Her unit is also responsible for the overall clinical strategy for Discovery Health and related businesses. 

 Since joining Discovery in 2006, she has been involved in various strategic roles including HIV and mental health strategy. She offers clinical advisory services to various Discovery Health Clinical units. 

In 2014 she joined Discovery Vitality, Wellness division where she was responsible for guiding the wellness strategy around preventative health and health promotion.  

Prior to joining Discovery, she was a full-time senior lecturer in the Department of Pharmacology, at the University of Pretoria where she continues to offer her services as a part-time lecturer to date.  

She was appointed by the Minister of Health in 2014 to the Adult Expert Review Committee for the Hospital Level Essential Medicines List. 

She has also worked in both the public and private health sectors in South Africa as a Medical Officer /General practitioner. 

Me Khumo Selebano

Full Name

Khumo Selebano


B.Tech Hospitality Management

Current position

Managing Director at XL Astra Travel (PTY) Ltd


Hospitality, Tourism and Marketing 


Empowering others to reach their full potential and improve their situations.

Inspirational quote

 “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelo

My Connection with MACAH Foundation

It is an honour and privilege to be a board member of the MACAH Foundation because I can meaningfully influence the care of mothers and children. As a mother to a remarkable son, I have previously suffered some motherhood challenges and a loss of a child. The foundation is close to my heart because it aims to provide highly specialized healthcare and focused facilities for mothers and children, ensuring a smooth transition to motherhood and care for children. The team's commitment ensures that families don’t suffer any preventable pain. 

Dr Rolene Strauss

Raised in a small town called Volksrust in South Africa, Rolene Strauss stays true to her roots.  She thanks her family for playing an enormous role in who she is today. Her passion for health, education and women are at the core of her being and motivate her to live a purpose-driven life.

Rolene knew that to obtain the ability to reach her goals and become a role model, she had to lead a balanced life. Since a young age, she has had an interest in academics, sport, and leadership and was determined to do her best in everything she put her mind to. Rolene was chosen as head girl of Volksrust High School, she was also part of the South African Bokkie netball team who travelled to New  Zealand in her final year of high school, and she still loves playing golf with her loved ones.

Rolene had the opportunity to embark on a modelling career at 14 when she won Elite Model Look, South Africa. After that, she travelled to Prague, Paris, Hamburg and Mauritius for modelling when she was 16 years old. Through this experience, Rolene realised that she would rather pursue the journey of becoming a role model instead of the definition of a model in the fashion industry. 

She decided to commence her medical studies and enter Miss South Africa when the time ought to be correct. Medicine has always been her career choice, and her final high school result average of 92% enabled her to study medicine at the University of the Free State.

During Rolene's medical studies, she could partake in the Miss South Africa competition. This was the perfect opportunity to become a role model and give back on a greater scale. Rolene achieved her goal and became Miss South Africa in 2014. She also represented her beautiful country internationally and achieved another dream of hers when she was crowned Miss World 2014.

Rolene's passion would always be health. Therefore, she was determined to complete her medical studies after two years of travelling as Miss South Africa and Miss World. Dr Rolene Strauss graduated in December 2017 and now has a medical (MBChB) degree, which brings her closer to her lifelong dream of positively influencing women's health in South Africa.

Rolene believes in a balanced lifestyle and appreciates all the blessings life has to offer. One of those is family; Rolene and her husband have had two miracle additions to their family since January 2017 and couldn't be happier. Being a mother, wife, medical doctor, and women's health advocate ensures that Rolene will be well on her way to reaching her goals, making a difference and living a purpose-driven life.

She joined RevitaHealth, which is a health-orientated organisation with aesthetic integrative, anti-ageing and regenerative medical services. ”Just as the brain, heart and lungs are vitally important organs, the mind plays an integral role in the wellbeing of an individual. The benefit of psychological being and staying motivated is priceless when it comes to health and working towards the best version of oneself.”

Rolene has embarked on a new journey to empower women to grow and reach their full potential. She also hosts an Instagram talk, “Time out Tuesday”. This talk focuses on highlighting the most relevant topics to women. 

One of Rolene’s latest endeavours was pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business Management at the Stellenbosch Business School. She completed her MBA in 2021 and is now a Transformative Self-Confidence Coach, author, businesswoman and entrepreneur.

Kesa Molotsane

As a person, I spend a lot of time exercising and running to succeed in my athletics career. I have learned that success comes from hard work and grows resilience in life. Because I feel passionate about making a difference in the Free State and even on a national level, I want to motivate young girls to work hard and be resilient to flourish in life.

As a Road, Cross Country and track athlete, Kesa Molotsane, I have been acknowledged as a finalist for the 2018 Sports Awards and a winner of the Public Choice Award for GSports, an online initiative launched in August 2006 to recognise women excelling in various sporting codes in South Africa. This exposure enabled me to help raise the profile of women excelling in sport and encourage corporate entities to support female athletes.

Within the University of the Free State (UFS), I was honoured for my hard work and performance, which motivated me to encourage other young girls and young women to believe in themselves and accelerate their studies and careers.

As the Winner of the SPAR Women’s Challenge 10km, they came to strengthen the platform for making a difference. They have sponsored many sanitary pads, which I could distribute in Mangaung and surrounding areas. I like to focus on new mothers with premature babies in the Universitas and Pelonomi hospitals, as they may feel lost and alone away from their families.

#WomenofKovsies: Kesa praises the most important woman in her life

Most of my athletic track and road achievements can be attributed to the tireless support of my mother.  

It might sound like a cliché, but my mother has taught me so much, and I have learnt enough from her to survive anything. She had played the most prominent role in my career and made it a priority in her life even before it (her athletics career) blossomed. 

‘My mother invested in me’

My mother, Shani, has invested so much. She was present at the start, and to this day, she is still there for me, and she is the most important woman in my life.

Because my mother is very health orientated, she has invested a lot into my life since her pregnancy with me. Since birth, she continued investing in my health, my intellectual and social development. Her goal was to give my sister and me the best start to life, as far as it was possible. That is why I am very passionate about the first 1000 days of life. Therefore, one of my primary objectives is to raise awareness about this very critical matter.

Improving and growing are motivating me big time, and I can inspire young girls and women in abundance! I want to leave a legacy for years to come, and I want to touch lives using my God-given talent and gift.

Lüther van Zyl

Full Name

Mr Lüther Van Zyl


BSocSc, Certified Life Coach, Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioner.

Current position

Assistant Project Coordinator, Mother and Child Academic Hospital Foundation


Mental Health


Developmental Psychology, Critical Health Psychology, Person-centered Therapy, Counselling, Mental Health awareness, Mother and Child Mental Health, Maternal and Child Health. 

Inspirational quote

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.” – Benjamin Disraeli 

My Connection with MACAH Foundation

I am the Assistant Project Coordinator for the MACAH Foundation. The projects run by the MACAH Foundation aim to improve the health and well-being of mothers and children in South Africa and, consequently, improve the state of our entire nation because of the preventative nature of addressing developmental issues. By ensuring healthy physical development of the child, we can secure a sound basis from which mental health and well-being challenges can be addressed, and by addressing the mental health and well-being of the mother, we can promote healthy physical development of the child, further contributing to an excellent first 1000 days. There exists an inextricable relationship between physical health and mental health, and I believe that addressing this during the early stages of life is imperative if we want to improve the state of our nation.