Meet the team

Dr Clova Mabin

Education Centre manager

Originally from Scotland, Clova became fascinated by sharks while working as a diving aquarist in an aquarium that housed ragged-tooth sharks. She came to South Africa in 2005 to work with tiger sharks on the east coast before joining the White Shark Trust in Gansbaai as a research assistant. While in South Africa, she became involved in the wildlife film industry, where she learned the basics of communicating science to a wider audience. Keen to further her education, she went on to complete an MSc in conservation biology and then a PhD focusing on the status and management options for marine species that have invaded South African shores. This applied research made her realise how inaccessible most science is to the general public and how this contributes to the many conservation issues we face today.

Clova loves to travel, but when in South Africa she spends her free time outdoors on the water or in the mountains. She is a certified PADI dive master and South African commercial diver. As a volunteer for several organisations that focus on environmental education and the mother of a nature-loving daughter, she enjoys teaching children about ecology and sustainable lifestyle choices. She is passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of the marine environment, as she believes this is the only way we can change our future.

Tom Campbell


Tom graduated from the University of Cape Town with a BSc degree, majoring in zoology and geography, and then completed a Bachelor of Education degree at Rhodes University in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. He spent his working years teaching natural science and mathematics at primary schools in Grahamstown and Cape Town.

A passionate educator, Tom took as much interest in his learners as he did in their surroundings and enjoyed creating innovative lesson material. His interactive, hands-on investigative lessons in his classroom laboratory and his numerous excursions and camps in the outdoors inspired generations of children to develop an interest in nature and conservation. He co-wrote several series of natural science textbooks for schools and developed a particular interest and knowledge about the seashore ecosystem.

Tom is married with four adult children and four grandchildren. Recently retired, he enjoys family time and spends his spare time gardening, cycling, cooking and hiking.

Ntombizanele Mayiya

Assistant educator

Zanele was born in the northern part of South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Even as a young girl she enjoyed cooking very much, so when she completed her matric she decided to make hotel and catering management her career. In March 2008 she started working for SOSF as a housekeeper.
By reading SOSF books and watching videos about the ocean environment, Zanele became interested in marine life. In June 2009 she joined Alison Kock on the research boat to Seal Island in False Bay and there she saw a great white shark for the first time in her life. By the end of that trip she had fallen in love with the sea and decided to become an educator so that she can pass her enthusiasm on to the young generations of South Africa.

‘The more “no”s you get, the closer you get to a yes.’ Chinese proverb

METCALF Clair-Frances Final

Claire Metcalfe

Facilities Administrator

Raised in various small West Coast fishing and mining towns of South Africa and Namibia, with parents whose free-range approach to parenting meant lots of time outside exploring beaches, Claire is a firm believer in the power of experiential education in moulding future generations to become effective conservationists.  Claire joined the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Education Centre in May 2016 after almost eight years with Liberty Life Financial Services as a franchise business support administrator. With a diploma in administration and legal studies from Montrose Business College in Cape Town, in her role as the facilities administrator she brings a high level of organisation and structure to the dynamic working environment that is the Shark Education Centre. She is enjoying every minute of the varied opportunities this role brings and, in addition to seeing to facilities maintenance and administration, she has become a vital part of the team, joining school groups as they learn about, explore and appreciate the ocean. She has also made it her personal mission to convince the education centre’s resident puffadder shysharks to eat their food. With a family that has earned – and continues to earn – its income almost entirely from the sea, Claire has a vested interest in the conservation of the oceans for current and future generations. She believes that she is in exactly the right place to be able to contribute to this.

Lauren de Vos

Researcher in residence

Read about Lauren and what she does on her project page.