The IMISA Board of Directors

Our board of directors is formed to maintain alignment with the core vision of IMISA, to ensure that whatever we do is in service of our purpose, and that we are orientated towards our community and the people who are interested in mindfulness in South Africa. Additionally the board of directors is here to establish financial viability for IMISA by managing resources and raising funds.

Simon Whitesman (MBChB)

IMISA Chairman | Medical Practitioner

Simon practices medical psychotherapy at Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town. He is the coordinator of the post-graduate certificate training in Mindfulness-Based Interventions at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

He is a Director and Chairperson of the Institute for Mindfulness South Africa (IMISA) and co-directs the first Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme offered in South Africa. Simon has received certification as a teacher in MBSR from the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness and in psychoanalytic psychotherapy from the South African Institute for Psychotherapy.

Craig Henen (M.A. Prof. Dev. Coaching)


Craig is an internationally accredited executive and supervising coach and facilitator specializing in Corporate Leadership and Executive Performance. He is the Managing Director of The EQ Institute and a partner in The Mindful Company. Craig has worked both locally and overseas over the last 14 years particularly in the fields of leadership and team development, mindfulness and emotional intelligence, individual and organizational change programmes.

Craig has a Masters in Professional Development from Middlesex University, UK; and he has trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at The Centre for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts.

Françoise Gallet (B.Journ)

Coach & Facilitator

Peace activist, mindfulness-based facilitator, coach and writer, Françoise grew up in Apartheid South Africa to a family with a strong passion for challenging inequality. It gifted Françoise with an enormous social conscience and so the early part of her career was spent in newsrooms and organisations fighting for media freedom. But after several years of working in the media, it was her own journey into motherhood that taught her that the most profound way to effect change lay in the capacity to be with herself, and those around her, by paying attention non-judgmentally and with an attitude of curiosity and compassion. It is her daily mindfulness practice that nourishes this way of being. And, it’s altered her path to peace activism. Now Françoise works to seed mindfulness, as a way of nourishing the innate wellspring of peace and wellbeing within each individual, and within South African groups, teams and especially schools.

She has completed the post-graduate certificate training in Mindfulness-Based Interventions through Faculty of Medicine at Stellenbosch University, the Mindful School’s Educator Essentials training and co-ordinates a working group for the application of mindfulness in education and families and is exploring ways to make the practice and teaching of mindfulness accessible to South Africa’s culturally and socio-economically diverse groups.

Julie Deane-Williams (B.Sc. Diet. Hons)


Julie Deane-Williams (was McIntosh) is a registered dietician and has worked in the field of eating disorders in the private sector since 1991.

In 2015 she completed a 2-year postgraduate training in Mindfulness -Based Interventions through the Faculty of Medicine at Stellenbosch University.

From the platform “Minding the Food Space”, Julie offers individual consultations, courses, retreats and workshops to help people create healthier relationships with their bodies, food, eating and themselves. She facilitates an 8 week Mindfulness-based Group Intervention programme called “What am I truly hungering for?”

With clinical psychologist, Janet Earl, she also offers a 6 module CPD-accredited online course for dietitians entitled ”Treating the Emotional Eater”. She has presented her working perspective on disordered eating and eating disorders at numerous congresses and symposia.

Her current practice is situated in Constantia Rd, Plumstead, Cape Town.

Kate Leinberger (PhD)


Kate was first drawn to meditation 18 years ago when working in an acute in-patient psychiatric facility in San Francisco. She found the stillness similar to that experienced during her competitive swimming career. Later, at Texas A&M University, her thesis examined mindfulness in meditators and how aspects of meditation practice affect overall mindfulness. The results allow a practical view to understanding how to apply mindfulness and meditation training in a clinical context.

Today, Kate has her practice at The White Lotus in Cape Town where she offers individual psychotherapy and a course introducing mindfulness and meditation. She strives to live each day with light-hearted kindness.

Luke Younge BA(FA)


Luke is a Mindfulness Instructor, Coach, Appreciative Inquiry Trainer and Filmmaker. He is currently training as a supervisor with Coaching Development London.

Luke has taught meditation, mindfulness and Buddhism since 2004. He is a consultant on the University of Stellenbosch Mindfulness certificate training and former consultant to the Samye Ling / University of Aberdeen Masters in Mindfulness. He has served as a director at IMISA since 2009 and is a fellow of Mindfulness Africa.

In his other life, he runs a media business that produces documentary films for television, NGOs and corporates. His work can be seen on BBC, Al Jazeera, SABC, eNCA and ETV.

Matthew Watkin M.A. (Clin. Psych)


Matthew is a registered clinical psychologist and mindfulness teacher based in Cape Town. Matthew has been professionally involved with mindfulness since 2001. In 2003, he completed an internship in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at the Centre for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre.

Since then he has facilitated Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programs for stress, mood and anxiety disorders. He has adapted the standard 8-week programmes for use in government, corporate and sport settings.

He is a founding member and director of the South African Institute for Mindfulness (IMISA).

Fathima Bux (M.Nutr.)


Fathima Bux is a Registered Dietician with a Masters in Nutrition and a Certificate in Mindfulness-Based Interventions through the Division of Family Medicine & Primary Care at Stellenbosch University. Fathima is also certified with the Institute of Functional Medicine. She has been in private practice for over 15 years, and practises from the Advanced Integrative Medical Centre in Houghton, Johannesburg.

Fathima runs mindfulness-based Corporate Wellness Programs, and has a special interest in the field of Mindful Leadership. She facilitates workshops and retreats in Mindful Eating.

Fathima has also conducted numerous radio and television interviews and has appeared on eTV, ITV and SABC. Fathima features on a health slot on ITV twice a week.

Janine Kirby (MBChB)

Family Practitioner

Janine is an integrative medical practitioner and mindfulness teacher based in East London. After graduating as a medical doctor, she obtained a Diploma in Child Health, a Diploma in Obstetrics and a Masters in Family Medicine. She worked in the public sector for many years before starting her own integrative medical practice and acquiring professional qualifications in Homeopathy. She has a passion for helping her patients understand the importance of the intimate connection between the body, thoughts and emotions in healing.

Janine enjoys teaching having facilitated both under- and post-graduate Family Medicine training. She has been teaching the 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Programme (MBSR) with psychologist Barbara Gerber since 2010.

Join Us in March 2019

How do we uncover our common humanity and enrich our healing as a nation?

The challenges of our inherited past mean that navigating diversity, inequality and multi-layered trauma are foregrounded in the development and healing of our country.

Join us at the second International Mindfulness Conference in South Africa as we work to uncover our common humanity and enrich our healing as a nation.