Mphatheleni Makaulule

Non-Executive Director

Mpatheleni is the founder and Executive Director of the Mupo Foundation

In 1999, Mpatheleni built the Luvhola Cultural Village with the help of community members, and in 2007 she founded the Mupo Foundation.

“Mupo” is a Venda word meaning “all of creation – the natural world”. According to Mpatheleni, “Mupo is life” and people cannot be healthy if Mupo is not healthy. The Mupo Foundation was founded with several goals in mind: to protect seed diversity and ensure food sovereignty; to restore the traditional power of Venda women; to empower youths by reconnecting them with their elders and heritage; and to protect Mupo by strengthening the Indigenous Venda knowledge system in which spirituality is rooted in ecology. Mpatheleni emphasizes the importance of trying to return to this value system, even if government officials and mining interests may not move to do so any time soon.