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Ruth First

Ruth First came from an immigrant background but went on to lead an extraordinary life as a South African. An outstanding writer, intellectual and political thinker, this brave and unconventional woman shunned a comfortable and privileged life to become a formidable leader in the anti-apartheid struggle.

Read more about Ruth here in her daughter, Shawn Slovo's own words.

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The Team Behind the Trust

Robyn Hill (Manager)

Robyn Hill, a Jeppe old girl (2000), succeeded Kevin Tait as Trust Manager after Kevin’s retirement in March 2023. Robyn, the school’s social worker, had been involved in the scholarship programme since the inception of the mentorship programme.

Robyn had also been working one day a week for the scholarship from 2019, in her capacity as social worker, with a focus on providing the holistic support that would ensure that the recipients were able to take advantage of the opportunities provided to them.  She is also a mentor on the mentor programme.  Read more here.

Robyn has 13 years management experience and holds a Master of Social Work degree. Her dissertation, “The Effect of the Ruth First Jeppe Memorial Trust Multidisciplinary Psychosocial Support Programme on the Resilience of Female Adolescent Recipients” has been accepted for publishing. She also had the privilege of attending the Adaptive Leadership module, presented by Prof. Ronald Heifetz, at the Harvard Kennedy School in 2023. This was a transformative educational experience, that aimed to encourage students to become insightful and adaptive leaders.

Lauren Dicks (Administrator)


Lauren Dicks, a Jeppe Old Girl, is a dedicated professional with a wealth of experience in the realm of education and scholarship administration.

Currently serving as the Funder and Administrator of the Ruth First Scholarship Trust, Lauren brings her passion for education and her exceptional ability to engage with stakeholders to the forefront.

Her ability to build relationships with stakeholders contributes significantly to the success of the Trust. 



Kevin Tait (Founder)

Mr. Kevin Tait attended Jeppe High School for Boys in Johannesburg.


He pursued a B Com at Wits and a Higher Teacher’s Diploma at Johannesburg College of Education. Mr Tait taught, then lectured at Pretoria College of Education, earning distinctions in both his Teacher’s Diploma and M Ed.


He later became Vice Rector at JCE (now Wits School of Education) before serving as Headmaster at Jeppe High School for Boys.

Kevin transitioned to Business Manager at Jeppe High School for Girls and in 2010 he conceptualized and pioneered the founding of the Ruth First Jeppe Memorial Trust.


He's conducted quality assurance evaluations for over 40 independent schools and was the first South African to co-present a paper at an International Boys’ Schools Coalition Conference in Washington DC.  He has extensive experience of policy development, leadership training and youth work.


He's a proud member of the Jeppe family, with multiple generations being members of the Jeppe Family. Kevin greatly enjoys traveling and outdoor adventures.

Carolyn Steyn

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A Jeppe Old Girl, Carolyn is a philanthropist, actress and patron to the arts. She is well known as a radio host particularly of classical music and is the founder of the 67 blankets for Mandela Day initiative.


Carolyn is the 2021 recipient of the Global Impact Award and launched the Carolyn Steyn Performing Arts Centre at Jeppe Girls in May 2021. She has been a strong supporter of the trust since inception. Read more here from July 18,  Sept 18 , July 19  and May 22.

Dr Emmanuel Taban

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A Jeppe Old Boy, Emmanuel was named by the New African Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans in 2020. A leading South African pulmonologist, he pioneered a mucus extraction technique on Covid-19 patients which is internationally recognized.


His autobiography, “The Boy who never gave up” tells the story of a son of Sudan who has risen above extreme poverty, racism and xenophobia to become a South African legend. He is a strong advocate for girls’ education.  Read more here, from April 21 and June 21.


Tumi Loate

Jeppe Head Girl in 2006, Tumi qualified as a CA(SA) at KPMG and completed her MBA at Oxford and M Com at Wits.

She was selected as one of the Top 50 Powerful Women 2020 as part of the Mail & Guardian
Power of Woman Business category, and also made Saica's Top 35-under-35 list.

An investment management specialist, her passion is using advanced teaching techniques to inspire and motivate learners for higher level qualifications and employment. Tumi was a mentor on the programme for two years.

Pelonomi Moiloa


As Head Girl in 2010, Pelonomi was involved with the launch of the trust. A Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South African 2019 , Pelonomi has a BEngSc in Biomedical Engineering, BSc Eng in Electrical Engineering and an MSc Biomedical Engineering completed while on scholarship in Japan with a specific focus on deep learning for a neurophysiology application.

Pelonomi is currently a Data Scientist and Use Case Lead at Nedbank working on machine learning solutions within the Data Driven Intelligence team. She spends her spare time advocating for responsible AI, running the Code Kamoso coding academy, writing music and getting involved with community initiatives as a director of The Ungovernable NPC.

She is the CEO of Lelapa AI, an entity dedicated to advancing AI research and products by Africans, for Africans.  Read more here.


She has been a mentor for six years and is a role model for all our girls.

Read more here.

Bongani Mshibe

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Deputy Head Boy at Jeppe Boys in 1999, Bongani is an experienced Corporate Affairs and Government Relations Director with experience in the FMCG and automotive industries.


Father of two children, his interests include collecting all genres of music, golf, and Formula 1 racing.

Christina Notununu

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A former Jeppe parent and governor, Christina is a Director for Education Support at the Gauteng Department of Education.


She has thirty years of experience in primary and secondary school teaching and management.


Justice Albie Sachs

Justice Albie Sachs is the Patron of the Trust. He was appointed to the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 1994 by Nelson Mandela and retired in October 2009.

“Ruth First was a wonderful friend, a brilliant thinker and writer and remarkably courageous in her pursuit of freedom. I will do everything I can to honour her memory. I am delighted that Jeppe High School for Girls has taken this initiative which I support wholeheartedly. I commend it

to all who value Ruth’s profound contribution to the establishment of democracy in South Africa and respect the sacrifice she made. It will be wonderful for many young women of diverse backgrounds to be given the opportunity

to obtain top quality education at Ruth’s old school

and thus follow in her footsteps.”

Address to the Annual Function, 2011.

Trust Details

The Ruth First Trust

The Ruth First Jeppe High School for Girls Memorial Trust, Registration Number IT2123/2010, is registered in terms of the South African Trust Property Control Act, 1988 (Act 57 of 1988.)

The Honorary Auditors of the Trust are KPMG Inc.

The Bankers of the Trust are ABSA.

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