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Aleph Team

South Africa

 

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REHGERT VAN ZYL – Founder & President

With a desire to serve  GOD, his nation and his people, Rehgert moved back home after studying at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.  Receiving his Bachelors in Sociology and Anthropology, he wanted to use his degree to influence the youth of the nation.   In 2005, he began work for an NGO as a houseparent to street kids in George, South Africa.  After spending 6 months with these street kids, Rehgert saw that the main problem in South African society was that the “father figure” was missing amongst most households.  The kids had already been set in their destructive ways of living.  In order to have an  opportunity to speak truth and wisdom into their lives he needed to capture their attention at a young and influential age.  Rehgert saw the need and looked at what he had – three surfboards, a car, and time.  He began offering street kids surf lessons in townships of Borcherds & Parkdene.  The kids jumped on the opportunity to learn to surf and swim.  With a group of 12 kids between the ages of 10-15, Rehgert discipled, mentored, tutored and loved on these youth.   This mission developed into Aleph Surf International.  ALEPH means “beginning or foundation” in hebrew,  Rehgert’s vision and hope is to see every child in every nation have a foundation set in Jesus Christ and to know they were created for a great purpose.

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VANESSA VAN ZYL – Creative Director & Designer

Vanessa is originally from Fresno, California. She has always had a love for people and design. Desiring to move to Los Angeles and study fashion design, Vanessa left to receive a degree in Apparel Manufacturing Management & Design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. After two years of working in the fashion industry in LA, Vanessa was given the opportunity to start a handbag project with Invisible Children called MEND. Mend was designed to help rehabilitate women who had been abused, raped, and abducted by the LRA in Northern Uganda through making handbags. With four years of experience on the ground in East Africa developing products, Vanessa could not return back to the US and continue working in the fashion industry. It was in East Africa, that she developed a life calling to design products that uplift people through the fashion industry. Her hearts desire is now – “to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor through the fashion industry”. With experience in micro-business, contemporary women’s clothing, jewelry, leather goods, & handbag design, Vanessa helped her husband Rehgert start the Aleph Surf Brand. She has currently trained 6 seamstresses in tailoring and now they produce a number of high fashion street wear products.

 

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PARIS MZWANDILE MTUMKULU aka ZWAI – Surf Coach & Facilitator
South Africa

Zwai is his nickname. He grew up in Jeffreys Bay and attended Lungiso High. A child of divorced parents, Zwai lived between his mother and father. Wandering into Victory Centre in JBay, Zwai met Jesus in 2009 & his life changed. Soon after he attended a gap year leadership program called LXP or Leadership Experience. His year with LXP was the most fruitful year of his life. Through LXP his worldview of everything changed. Before he had never had a stable family and didn’t know how a family structure worked, but the Lord gave him one through LXP. Zwai is man of his word and has a heart of gold. His heart for the community in Jeffreys Bay is to see it transformed. He wants to see the youth loving the Lord wholeheartedly, families reunited and under privileged rising above their circumstances. We are blessed to have Zwai on our team. Someone that came from the same culture & language and could relate practically and spiritually to our students lifestyles.

 

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RUSCHKA DU TOIT – Illustrator & Graphic Designer

Ruschka du Toit is a Cape Town based illustrator and graphic designer.
“I have always been creating. It started with writing and then the words somehow turned into pictures. In high school I took art, purely because I had to choose between that and science, and the latter wasn’t an option. That was the first time I really started painting and exploring it as a form of expression. While at varsity, again, as a means of escaping the computer, I took to paper instead. I had a great lecturer who really encouraged my illustration. So I basically graduated from a multimedia design course wanting to be an artist. I have a great love for things that are handmade with attention to detail “. Ruschka is the designer behind the Aleph brand and t-shirt range and is currently volunteering with Aleph for three months as our full time designer and Aleph Creatives art teacher. “putting a personality and voice to the faces I have seen and edited in so many pictures has been an incredible experience. Seeing the fruits of the program in the lives of these kids has been the greatest encourager and motivator.” “The VeeZees and I somehow found each other on the dance floor at a mutual friends wedding. Only later did we discover our shared love for the arts and Gods kingdom. Working with them on developing their brand has given me the amazing opportunity to use the gifts God has given me to help them accomplish more for the kingdom. No talent or skill is too small for him to use. Some of us cannot be in the field, but our hands and feet can still harvest, and in a way which brings us fulfillment and joy too.” Ruschka loves drawing people, she is inspired by stories and has a thing for whales. She prefers coffee over tea, and dogs over cats and cannot imagine living anywhere but next to the ocean (unless its Paris).

 

CALIFORNIA

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LANE HOFFBECK –  Business Consultant

Lane graduated from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a B.A. in Business Finance. In search of adventure, Lane, traveled to Ecuador and Spain with a desire to learn the language and broaden his cultural awareness. He has worked in banking, finance, marketing, retail, and visionary/creative development. Lane always has had the personal mission of doing purposeful work. In mid-2012, Lane started his own business Incandesce, a candle company that gave away a solar-lantern for every candle sold. Its sole purpose was to aid those living without electricity around the globe and to provide a substitute for kerosene and its negative consequences. Lane traveled to Gulu, Uganda to deliver and fulfill the committed lanterns only to learn firsthand of the many deficiencies and ethical dilemmas that his own company contained. Driven by his ethical convictions to not be a band-aid on an underlying systemic problem while also respecting human dignity, Lane dissolved Incandesce. Now with his love for surfing and desire for long-term investment in communities, Lane has joined Aleph to work on our business strategies to help keep Alephs programs running strong and the mission growing!

 

 

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BRITTANY BUCHANAN – Sales Representative & Film Editor

Although I have lived many places, Long Beach, CA will always be home. I earned a Public Relations and Art degree at the University of Idaho, which is located in a tiny town that is home to the world’s best peanut butter coffee. Over the years, I have been blessed with many wonderful and adventurous jobs from being a cashier at Del Taco to marketing for smartwater. In my free time, I would mentor youth, work at summer camps, shoot wedding videos, teach swim lessons & lifeguard.
As I was about to transition out of my current marketing job, my roommate and friend told me about the mission at ALEPH. ALEPH is a crossroads for all of the things that bring my heart alive, spreading the love Christ has shown me through creativity, surfing and community. I went to South Africa for almost three months and found a family among the people there. I am excited to see the impact on all of our hearts as we continue to give back what we have been given, teaching others to do the same.

 

 

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Aleph Surf International
501 C(3) Non - Profit Company

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Aleph Surfing Foundation
South Africa
NPO 071-434

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