Mission Statement

The Human Rights Media Center advances an awareness and activism about human rights through the documentation and disseminating oral histories through a variety of media forms and social interventions.



Founded by Shirley Gunn (Executive Director) from humble beginnings in 2000 when the office was based in Athlone, it was fully registered in 2001 and secured seed funding extended to five and a half years from the Ford Foundation, Southern African office. The early team included Shehaam Apolles (Administration and Finance manager, 2001–2005), Vanessa Witbooi, co-ordinator of the Child Maintenance Project (2001-2002), Mary Tal (co-ordinator of Survival Stories project, 2002–2006) and Imke Gooskens (co-ordinator of Survival Stories project, 2008–2009) with Liliane Limenyande as the projects' assistant. Emily Vining (project assistant of Out of Darkness project in 2009). Connor Ralphs (media officer, 2008–2009) Irma Titus (project coordinator of Cape Flats Youth project, (November 2009–November 2010). We moved to our current office in Kenilworth in 2002.



Human Rights Media Centre 2 Haven House
2 Mains Avenue
Cape Town

PO Box 53168

Full-time staff

  • Shirley Gunn (executive director)
  • Zukiswa Puwana (programme assistant)
  • Thando Chule (administration and finance officer)
  • Vinkosi Sigwegwe (albanism awareness project co-ordinator)
  • Cara-Lee Arendse (Cape Flats Youth project co-ordinator)

Part-time staff

  • Haroon Gunn-Salie (media officer)
  • Mayra Melo (Out of Darkness project editorial assistant)
  • Chris Colvin (Out of Darkness project editorial assistant)


  • Dr Joy Papier: HRMC director and Director of the Further Education and Training Institute UWC (2000– )
  • Ms Shirley Gunn: HRMC executive director (2000– )
  • Dr Leslie Witz: History Lecturer, UWC (2000– )
  • Ms Maureen Mazibuko: former Khulumani executive member (2002– )
  • Mr Karam Singh: Human Rights Lawyer for National Prosecuting Authority (2004– )
  • Ms Matilda Smith: Attorney, UCT Law Clinic (2007– )
  • Mr Malcolm Campbell: Architect and artist (2009-)
  • Ms Fazilet Bell: History Educator, Alexander Sinton High School (2010– )
  • Dr Sean Field: Director of the Centre for Popular Memory, UCT (2000 until 2010)
  • Mr John Tindall: Trainer Community Video Education Trust (2000 until 2010)
  • Dr Teresa Barnes: Education Policy Unit UWC (2003 until 2008)
  • Adv Taswel Papier: Advocate in private practice (2000 until 2004)


The HRMC is a not-for-profit organization (NPO) and relies on donor funding for its projects.

Our funders: