About the NSCF

The NSCF is a virtual Facility, comprised of a network of institutions that hold natural science collections that are accessible to external researchers. 

The NSCF was established as part of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI)’s Research Infrastructure Roadmap and co-ordinated by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).

More information about the NSCF is provided in the brochure, overview and plan documents.

NSCF Overview and Plan

An overview of the structure, purpose, principles and 3 year plan is provided here

View the Document by clicking here or on it below

NSCF Overview and Plan

NSCF TEAM

Prof. Michelle Hamer

NSCF Lead
012 843 5017
michelle@nscf.org.za

 

Michelle is currently the Lead for the NSCF and a second project under the Department of Science & Innovation’s South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR), the Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa. Prior to joining SANBI in 2009 she was Associate Professor in the School of Life Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and from 1994 to 1999 she was a curator at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum. Michelle has researched and published on a range of fields including fairy shrimp and millipede taxonomy, and terrestrial invertebrate diversity and conservation. She co-authored an assessment of museum collections in 2001, carried out an assessment of the zoological collections as part of the NRF-commissioned assessment in 2011, and has led the development and implementation of the NSCF since 2014.
 


Ms Usisipho Sotshangane

Administrative Officer
012 843 5183
usisipho@nscf.org.za

Usisipho graduated with a B-Tech Degree in Office Management and Technology from the Durban University of Technology and has more than 4 years’ experience in the field of Administration.

She has fallen in love with the frogs – which she was terrified of in the beginning when she joined the NSCF. She loves nature and the outdoors. If she could no longer be part of the network for whatever reason, she will live in water permanently.
 


Ms Audrey Ndaba

Collections Management Coordinator
012 843 5194

audrey@nscf.org.za 

Audrey manages the Collections Management and Conservation working group with representatives from thirteen of the sixteen participating institutions. Due to the number of staff in some of the institutions, not all the institutions are represented in the working group, something we try to correct by having regional working groups.

She has previously worked in two of the network institutions and knows first-hand, the challenges of collection care and the lack of training resources countrywide. She also taught a Heritage and Museum Studies (MKD 703) course at the University of Pretoria. She is passionate about museum science and collection care and has visited a few international collections, studying their collections and their collection care standards.
 


Ms Margaret Bartkowiak

Museum Specimen Photographer
margaret@nscf.org.za

Margaret has been working as a photographer since 2002. Born and educated in Pretoria, she lived and worked in London for over 5 years and there completed an HNC in Photography at South Thames College. Her main interests are in documentary photography and film work with a focus on conveying real-life stories about nature conservation, social issues and environmental education.

Before joining the NSCF, Margaret worked with various NGO’s, publishers and corporate companies in Gauteng, Cape Town and London. She also loves sushi, travelling, camping, hiking and is slightly obsessed with bird watching.
 


Ms Bronwynne Petersen

Data Quality Specialist
012 843 8194
bronwynne@nscf.org.za

With over 10 years’ experience in working with and managing data and data systems, Bronwynne offers a unique blend of leadership, vision as well as knowledge in research, writing and plant taxonomy, which encompasses her love for data and learning of new data systems. Bronwynne has graduated from the University of the Western Cape with a Bachelors in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology and then continued to earn an honours degree in Plant Taxonomy at the University of Pretoria. She has been involved in various important taxonomic projects and data outputs working with different research scientists who specialise in different plant families.

In her spare time there is nothing that makes her happier than spending time with her husband and kids.
 


Adriaan Jordaan

Curation Technician
adriaan@nscf.org.za

Adriaan was born and raised in Nelspruit. Since early childhood, Adriaan has always had a keen interest in animals, especially for the less appreciated ones such as reptiles and amphibians. After finishing his primary and secondary education he went on to further his tertiary education at the University of the Free State where he obtained an undergraduate degree (B.Sc) in Environmental Geography and postgraduate degrees (B.Sc honors and M.Sc) in Zoology.
Adriaan is currently employed by the Natural Science Collections Facility (NSCF) as a herpetology curation technician. His main responsibilities in this position are the identification and databasing of reptile and amphibian specimens housed in the museum collections of the various NSCF partner institutions.
 


Ms Shanelle Ribeiro

Project Manager
012 843 5183
shanelle@nscf.org.za

Shanelle has been involved in project coordination and management in the environmental sector for over 10 years, and has been part of the Foundational Biodiversity Science Directorate at SANBI for 12 years. She holds a degree in International Relations and APMG certification in project management. As the NSCF Project Manager she is responsible for the development and implementation of various project policies and standards, management of partner collaboration agreements and service provider contracts, staff management and mentoring and budget management. Through the NSCF project she has discovered a new found love and curiosity for all things pressed and preserved, and is always looking to expand her knowledge about the old and peculiar specimens in the collections.
 


Ms Fulufhelo Tambani

Science Communication Officer
fulufhelo@nscf.org.za

 

 

Fulufhelo is a rural Muvenda who believes in learning from everyone she comes across and enjoys engaging with people from all walks of life. Fulufhelo obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology at the University of Venda and then completed two short courses: Science Communication at Stellenbosch University and Community Journalism at UNISA. She joined the NSCF Hub Team on 1 July 2019. She considers her science communication career as an accidental dream come true.

What she loves most about her job is establishing genuine relationships with the people in the network and working towards having the NSCF and collections known and understood throughout South Africa. Fulufhelo has experience in outreach, media liaison, social media management, science and general communication and administration, which she gained during her time with her previous employer, National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF).
 


Dr Ian Engelbrecht

Data Coordinator
012 843 5194
ian@nscf.org.za

 

Ian is in the NSCF is to assist museums and herbaria with digitizing their collections and mobilizing their data and specimen images online. This includes developing standards, policies, protocols and workflows as well as small software tools. He has also long been involved in museums, first working on specimen collections at Ditsong (then Transvaal) Museum during his undergraduate studies. He has an MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of the Witwatersrand and a PhD in Zoology from the University of Pretoria. He can code in Javascript, HTML/CSS, C#, R, and PHP and has worked with a range of database systems including MySQL, SQL Server, and Firebase.

His special passion though is for scorpions and mygalomorph spiders where he conducts research on diversity, systematics and distributions.
 


Ms Ilse van der Merwe

Museum Specimen Photographer
ilse@nscf.org.za

 

 

Ilse joined the NSCF team in June 2019 as museum specimen’s photographer, entrusted to photograph type specimens for the use in a virtual online museum. Ilse has been working as a professional photographer for more than 16 years and holds a B-tech degree in Photography obtained from Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). She predominantly worked as a freelance photographer specializing in, portraiture, corporate, documentary, industrial and aerial photography, as well as working as an adult photographic educator in the NGO and cooperate sectors. She has always had an interest in all things pertaining to the environment, and even attempted a degree in Environmental Management.

She has long searched for a way to join her two greatest passions and joining the NSCF family has truly given her that opportunity.
 


Mr Mahlatse Kgatla

Data Quality Specialist
012 843 5196
mahlatse@nscf.org.za

Mahlatse just joined the NSCF as a Data Quality Specialist working with museums. He did his BSc Environmental Science at University of Pretoria and BSc (Hon) Environmental Management at UNISA. He got introduced to biodiversity data management as a Groen Sebenza intern. He later joined the invasive alien sector as a project officer, with the main task of coordinating, integrating and mobilizing invasive alien plant species data. He then moved to the Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP) where he was responsible for the data from funded projects. One of his main responsibilities was to ensure the data sets coming in met the FBIP and international data standards.

Mahlatse enjoys playing a supporting role to others wherever possible. He also enjoys outdoor activities and from time to time likes doing something unexpected.

 


Christiaan Steenkamp

Curation Technician
christiaan@nscf.org.za

 

 

Christiaan is a Curation Technician at the Natural Science Collections Facility specialising in the curation and identification of herpetofauna specimens. He has worked in various industries including conservation, tourism and risk management as an applied herpetologist. He is currently completing his masters in environmental science and aims to shed more light on the effect future climate change will have on the endemic common crag lizard.

When he seemingly has nothing to do he likes to indulge in a bit of R programming where he is developing an online analysis tool in Shiny.
 


NSCF Data Technician Team:

Ms Given Leballo

given@nscf.org.za

Given holds a Bachelor of Science Honours in Environmental Management. Before joining the NSCF, she spent two years as a Geo-refencer for the Bio-gaps project, this is where she gained skills in working with biodiversity data. As a data technician, she is assigned to transcribing, capturing, and cleaning data from historical documents to make it digitally accessible for scientific research. She also works with various databases such as BRAHMS and SPECIFY to store and manage data.
 


Ms Fezile Mathenjwa

fezile@nscf.org.za

Fezile holds a Master’s Degree in Environment, Society and Sustainability from the University of Cape Town. As Biodiversity Data Technician, her role is to ensure that there is readily available good quality digital biodiversity data. She is fascinated by how reading some of the specimen records can be an exciting mystery and a challenge at the same time. For her, being part of the NSCF team is an opportunity to live through the lens of some of the most exciting evolutionary events in the wonderful World of Natural Collections. She knows she is where she should be.
 


Ms Maxine Manickum

maxine@nscf.org.za

Maxine holds a BSc degree Honours in Biological Science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Westville) and is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Botany. Before being employed by the NSCF, she worked for SANBI KwaZulu-Natal Herbarium for five years as a Project Administrator. Through her five years at the herbarium, she also data-captured, quality controlled, verified and georeferenced plant specimens on the BRAHMS database. As a Biodiversity Data Technician, her role is to Data capture and quality control plant specimens from labels, georeference localities and assist NSCF partner institutions with data cleaning and upgrading.

When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, giving back to the community and indulging in delicious foods.


Ms Ketelo Dinala

ketelo@nscf.org.za

Ketelo is a highly motivated individual and always eager to learn. She holds a BSc Degree Honours in Geology from the University of Limpopo and a BSc Life and Environmental Sciences from the University of Johannesburg. She enjoys working in a group, because she always has an opportunity to pick the other team member’s brains. Working for the NSCF has opened many opportunities for her and has taught her self and work discipline, not being afraid to make mistakes, to learn faster and to improve focus.

Apart from work, she is a mother and a wife and enjoys spending quality time with family.
 


Ms Ayanda Mnikathi

ayandam@nscf.org.za

Ayanda‘s work entails capturing type and hand written specimen labels into Brahms database and Digivol Trancribe, data quality control as well georeferencing localities on specimen labels. This position teaches a lot about the value of preserving research data. Ayanda holds a BSC. Honours Grassland Science and almost at the end of her Masters degree with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) research looking at the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) in assessing the impacts of alien infestations on veld grazing capacity. When not devoted to work or school work, she enjoys taking her daughters out to a park or to the mall.