The Otto family
The Otto Foundation is the philanthropic trust of Chris Otto (our founder), and the Otto family.
Chris Otto graduated with a BComm LLB from the University of Stellenbosch. He is an entrepreneur and was a founding director of PSG Group, Capitec Bank and Zeder Investments and still serves on these and other boards. He is involved in various community projects and currently also serves as chairman of the Stellenbosch Law Faculty Trust.
Chris believes that a well educated youth is the future of South Africa. The Otto's support the Foundation through word and deed in order to address the challenges and inequalities in our country's schools and education system.
For Chris and his family, the foundation is a lifelong commitment, and they hope that future generations will reap the benefits of a prosperous country.
Chief Executive Officer
Zephne Ladbrook holds a BA (Hons) (Stell) in Philosophy, with the co-operation of the Catholic University of Leuven, and a BA (Hons) (Wits) in Psychology. She also trained as a VCT Counsellor (Graduating from SACAP).
She spent time working in the areas of graduate recruitment and skills development (on Bankseta & Fasset learnerships).
Zephne's skills and experience prepared her to head up the Otto family’s philanthropic endeavours. She has been spearheading the Otto Foundation's strategy development and project implementation since its inception in 2017.
As the Foundation continues to grow, Zephne’s interests in the fields of education, literacy and harnessing the strength of community collaboration has helped to shape the direction of our philanthropic investments.
Nonikiwe has been in the early literacy field for over a decade having worked with organisations such as Centre for the Book (on the First Words in Print project), PUKU children’s literacy foundation, Biblionef, Room to Read and Nal’ibali.
She has fulfilled roles as project manager, editor, facilitator, translator and reviewer.
Noni is a previous Chairperson for IBBY SA, and currently serves on the board of Nal'ibali.
In 2014 Noni was celebrated as one of 12 women in South Africa who is working to drive literacy change and is passionate about getting South African books and stories to children across the country.
Chief Operating Officer
Frouwien has a background in political science, conflict studies and public policy. She has worked as an empowerment and sustainability consultant, a lecturer in development studies and in various policy research and development teams. She has been working in a management capacity for philanthropic foundations since 2017.
Frouwien has a doctorate in Political Science. Her doctoral research focussed on economic transformation in South Africa, and specifically the manner in which South Africa's incomplete socio-economic transition continues to impact on social cohesion.
Frouwien is passionate about books and stories, and believes that reading is a foundational skill for individual advancement and societal change.
The Otto Foundation team
The Otto Foundation is led and managed by a team of three women who are all passionate about South Africa, about education, about literacy, and about the transformative power of books and stories.