Bernard Dipo Toyambi (Director) is from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He was born in 1975 in DRC and obtained his LLB degree in Law from the Free University of Kinshasa (Universite Libre de Kinshasa) in 2001. Bernard worked as a human rights activist and lawyer in Kinshasa before the worsening political crisis forced him to move to South Africa in 2005. He has attended several human rights training ( Africa university: public policy and leadership, international human rights clinic: clinic pedagogy on human rights, lawyer for human rights: identifying and assisting stateless person in south Africa; ICC in Africa; and public interest law gathering: public interest litigation and advocacy within a Democratic dispensation, human rights defender and regional solidarity etc In 2009 he was admitted as an LLM Masters student in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the University of the Western Cape. He graduated with an LLM Degree in September 2011. Bernard joined PASSOP in June 2011 and works as a full-time paralegal officer. He believes there is an acute need for more integration and communication between refugee communities from different countries living in South Africa, because the struggle for the full realisation of our rights will only be achieved if we speak with one unified voice.
Sylva Ntumba Batshi (Legal Advisor) obtained his LLB degree in Law from the University of Lubumbashi (UNILU), DR Congo in 2003 and graduated last September 2012 with LLM degree in International Law from the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Cape Town with specialisation in International environment, human right and trade law.
Sylva is currently working as a Paralegal Officer at PASSOP (People Against Suffering Oppression & Poverty), non-profit human Rights organisation devoted to fighting for the rights of asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants in South Africa .
Sylva has previously worked as Policy, Advocacy and Research Assistant at Sonke Gender Justice.; and resource person to the conflict intervention and peacebuilding support (CIPS) project at the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR). Before this he worked and volunteered in other many organisations: IPACC (Indigenous People of Africa Co-ordinating Committee) as Personal Assistant; Natural Justice: lawyer for communities and environment, as Administration Officer. Sylva is also an environmental human rights activist/volunteer for Greenpeace Africa.
Tendai Bhiza (Office Administrator) is a Zimbabwean refugee who fled the political instability in Zimbabwe in 2004. She then proceeded to find a way to support her family in South Africa. She is a single mother of a 12-year-old son. Before joining PASSOP she worked as a self-employed African curios salesperson at Greenmarket square. She joined PASSOP as an activist after being introduced to the organisation at several protest actions at Parliament and the Home Affairs Office. Finally, after years of attending dozens of workshops and meeting with PASSOP, she joined the staff and has now established herself as the “mother of PASSOP staff”.
Volunteers and Interns are relied on heavily at PASSOP due to a lack of resources. At any given time there are between 5 and 20 volunteers and interns working for PASSOP. They come from a wide range of different backgrounds and bring a variety of different expertises. Some are immigrants from different parts of Africa who want to join the mission that PASSOP has in defending the rights of marginalized immigrants; many others are students from some of the top Universities in the United States and Europe. If you are interested in volunteering at PASSOP, please contact David von Burgsdorff (firstname.lastname@example.org).