The Foundation

Retina South Africa is a registered Non-Profit Organisation and Public Benefit organisation with B:BBEE status. Sponsorship of certain aspects of our work are tax deductible under Section 18a of the Income Revenue Act.

Retina South Africa is a patient-driven action group that has offices or groups in all the major centres in South Africa.  Our major focus is:

  • Support of the Retinal Degeneration Research project at the University of Cape Town to find the genetic mutations in South African families
  • Facilitation of genetic testing to identify those patients who will benefit from clinical trials and imminent therapy
  • Public Awareness of retinal degeneration
  • Patient support including education, referral and intervention
  • Collaboration with local and international agencies and researchers
  • Fund raising to support this work

We are founding members of Retina International with headquarters in Ireland.

Membership is open to all patients, family members and persons who wish to support our quest to find treatments for Retinal blinding conditions.

Our Vision

To ensure that all South Africans with retinal conditions have access to appropriate treatments

Our Mission

  • To empower people with low vision to be productive members of society through information-sharing, training, counselling and other services.
  • To support research into retinal conditions and to ensure that this benefits all South Africans
  • To market Retina South Africa, to raise awareness and to raise funds

National Management Committee

Picture of Manny Moodley (Chairman)

Manny Moodley (National Chairman)

Manny has an LLB Degree and is a practicing lawyer in Cape Town.  In 2019 Manny was elected as Deputy Chair of Western Cape Provincial Executive Committee of the South African National Council of the Blind.

Manny was Chairman of the Western Cape branch of Retina South Africa until their incorporation into the new national structure. 

Manny has served on the National Management Committee of Retina South Africa since 2014. Manny has Stargardts Disease.

Picture of Marzia Jurgens (Vice Chair)

Mariza Jurgens (Vice Chair)

Mariza has a BA (Hons) in International Politics from Nelson Mandela University in 1991, she is a prominent figure in the disability community of South Africa. She has held various leadership roles, including being the past chairperson of Retina South Africa Northern Gauteng and a former National Vice-Chairperson of Retina South Africa. Her contributions extend to advocacy and policy work, such as serving as Chairperson of the Working Group on Affordable and Accessible ICT for Persons with Disabilities and convening the Subcommittee on Taxation Matters for Persons with Disabilities.

Currently, Mariza is actively involved in several committees and panels related to disability rights:

She serves on the Technical Committee on ICT Equipment for Persons with Disabilities of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).

She is a member of the Consumer Advisory Panel of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), where she represents persons with disabilities.

Picture of Anton van Rooyen

Anton van Rooyen 

Anton van Rooyen is the owner of Sight seekers, Consultants & Suppliers of assistive Solutions for the Visually Impaired. He is affected by Stargardts Dystrophy, a form of Macular Dystrophy.

Anton served on the Management Committee of Retina South Africa as Vice Chairman.

His musical career started at the age of 7 when he studied classical cello and went on from there to become a professional musician, playing at venues in all the major South African cities as well as in neighbouring Southern African countries.

Picture of Jean Bowler (Treasurer)

Jean Bowler (Treasurer)

Jean has been Treasurer of Retina South Africa since 1990. She is Financial Director and Financial manager of various Companies. She volunteers her sparse free time to keep close financial check on the finances of Retina South Africa.

She is meticulous and her fiscal control is exemplary. Her contribution to Retina South Africa over the last 30 years is beyond measure as neither her nor her family have a retinal condition.  

Picture of Claudette Medefindt

Claudette Medefindt

Claudette Medefindt has been a fulltime volunteer with Retina South Africa since 1980. She is the National Secretary and Head of Science and Patient Services. She is Deputy President of Retina International and lectures extensively both locally and internationally. She is secretary to Retina South Africa’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board. Claudette writes and edits the quarterly E-News. Claudette is a trained peer counsellor and counsels newly diagnosed patients.  Claudette has Retinitis Pigmentosa.

Picture of Sonya Lee Mahabeer

Sonya Lee Mahabeer

Sonya Lee has been a member of Retina South Africa since 2015. Sonya has an LLB Degree, she has also completed a Conveyancing Course and a Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning. Sonya has Macular Dystrophy.

Picture of Caryl Baum

Caryl Baum

Caryl has been a member since 2020 and is currently serving on our Advocacy sub-committee.

Caryl is a retired Legal Advisor, having been involved in law for over 40 years.  Caryl has late onset AMD (Dry) which has progressed over the last 8 years. She has central vision atrophy in both eyes.   Caryl is married and has 2 amazing children and their spouses and 3 adorable grandchildren who reside in Australia.  Caryl’s hobbies include collecting of antique and miniature perfume bottles, art (painting and drawing) and scrapbooking and she has a special interest in crystals.   Caryl enjoys baking and listening to E-Books and exercises every day.  Caryl also volunteers to contact residents in old age homes (especially those that have no family in South Africa).

Picture of Renesh Singh

Renesh Singh

Is a technologist with experience across the various IT sectors including IT architecture, development and security. 

He also has a passion for assisting, educating and advocating for change in the technology sector, thus enabling people with vision loss live their best lives. 

Renesh has had a retinal condition since he was 8 as such, he has a wealth of  experience in the issues that people with vision loss suffer with in their daily lives, and he has seen the amazing ability that they have to overcome these issues with their creativity, ingenuity and the support of the community.  

He continues to study and research ways through technology, processes and tools that visually impaired persons can use to make their lives better, while working with charities and employers to advocates for the change that is needed to make their lives better.  

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