The future

is online

Expanding access to quality higher education.

Taking universities online.

Creating the future, today.


HEPSA’s mission is to increase access to top quality and affordable higher education through the online delivery of instruction in sub-Saharan Africa and help online students succeed.

We are investing significantly to achieve this mission, focusing initially on helping South African universities increase the country’s tertiary participation from the current 19% to 30% by 2030.

Increase the country’s tertiary participation


HEPSA provides a suite of comprehensive, university-centric services for its partner institutions:

Our team works in collaboration with universities to develop customised plans for successful programme implementation and launch. We provide step-by-step support and guidance to efficiently align systems, processes, technology and teams to deliver an exceptional online student experience.

Our team supports university faculty and instructional design teams with evidence-based best practices in online teaching and learning from online programme design and planning, assistance in module mapping and development, module delivery, quality reviews, and utilization of learning tools and technologies, all to ensure a successful student experience. We customise our approach to each partner’s needs, focusing on capacity-building and equipping faculty with information, tools and resources to help them design and deliver successful online programmes.

We take a comprehensive, customised and data-driven approach to marketing each university brand and integrate all efforts across a proprietary omni-channel marketing mix (online and offline) most appropriate to each degree category. Our objective is to identify the potential student audience with the highest proclivity for enrolment and persistence.

Our digital expertise includes search engine marketing, content marketing, search engine optimisation, email marketing, and video and social media marketing across multiple user platforms including mobile, tablet and desktop. We work with Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Bing, as well as additional affiliates.

Our offline capability includes face-to-face field-based marketing, where applicable, and public relations as well as traditional marketing channels including radio, direct mail, newspaper, magazine and outdoor advertising.

Our team of university-designated Enrolment Specialists works as brand ambassadors for each institution and helps prospective students make informed decisions about programme selection. Each Specialist guides each inquiring student from initial engagement through the recruitment and enrolment journey, all the way to the beginning of class.

Student success is what ultimately defines our university partnerships. Assigned to each institution, our Student Success Coordinators support each enroled online student from the beginning to the end of his/her degree programme. They consistently and diligently support online students with the knowledge, resources, intervention techniques, encouragement and confidence to help them successfully complete their higher education journey.


University of the Western Cape (UWC)

UWC is entrenched in its South African context but prides itself on its global vision. UWC strives to be a place of quality education and ongoing growth and development and is committed to excellence in teaching, learning and research while embracing and nurtures the cultural diversity of its students. UWC is focused on responding in critical and creative ways to the needs of a society in transition, through superior and progressive education and knowledge sharing.

Nelson Mandela University (Mandela)

Nelson Mandela University is a new generation university whose mission is to offer a diverse range of quality educational opportunities that will make a critical and constructive contribution to regional, national and global sustainability. Mandela is driven by its core values of diversity, excellence, Ubuntu, social justice and equality, integrity and environmental stewardship. These values inform and define the institutional ethos and distinctive educational purpose and philosophy.

University of the Free State (UFS)

UFS’ vision is to provide opportunities for open and lifelong learning. UFS broadens access to higher education and provides continuing higher education programmes with the goal of harnessing open and lifelong learning principles and methods that will broaden growth and opportunity for all. UFS offers students expert support ensuring they are exposed to superior tertiary education.

University of Johannesburg (UJ)

UJ strives to be an international university of choice that is anchored in Africa and focuses on dynamically shaping the future. UJ’s mission is focused on inspiring communities that will help transform and serve humanity through the innovative and collaborative pursuit of knowledge.

University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)

Wits is internationally renowned for its excellence in research, superior academic standards and a firm commitment to social justice. Wits prides itself in its partners, networks and relationships which serve as catalysts for the great ideas that help it make the impossible, possible.

University of Pretoria (UP)

UP is future-focused and strives to make quality education accessible to a wide student audience. UP offers students a unique opportunity to advance and sculpt their careers in an ever-evolving education landscape that embraces technology and the rise of exciting online learning opportunities which will continue to grow and evolve.

Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)

TUT is the top University of Technology in Africa, priding itself in its ability to be a pioneering, enterprising and transformative . TUT strives to support its students to achieving the highest potential in a safe, enabling, and conducive environment, fostered through a teaching and learning experience that is relevant, competitive. TUT offers academic qualifications which promote research, innovation, engagement and social enterprise.

Durban University of Technology (DUT)

The Durban University of Technology (DUT) is a higher learning establishment of choice and one of only five technical institutions in Africa to offer Doctoral degrees. DUT has seven campuses across Durban and Pietermaritzburg, and takes pride in its high-calibre academic staff.

Durban University of Technology (DUT)

The Durban University of Technology (DUT) is a higher learning establishment of choice and one of only five technical institutions in Africa to offer Doctoral degrees. DUT has seven campuses across Durban and Pietermaritzburg, and takes pride in its high-calibre academic staff.

Durban University of Technology (DUT)

The Durban University of Technology (DUT) is a higher learning establishment of choice and one of only five technical institutions in Africa to offer Doctoral degrees. DUT has seven campuses across Durban and Pietermaritzburg, and takes pride in its high-calibre academic staff.


Card image cap

Nicholas Kendall

President & CEO

Nicholas is the CEO of HEPSA and leads the Johannesburg-based team. He holds an Honours degree in Economics from Durham University in the UK and is a Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Prior to joining HEPSA, Nicholas was Chief Operating Officer at Henley Business School Africa; COO and Chief Financial Officer of Dermalogica, founder and partner of Capability Group; and an executive managing finance, operations and logistics at DHL. His enthusiasm for education and involvement with academic institutions over the years led Nicholas to join HEPSA, compelled by its commitment to accessibility and affordability of higher education.
Card image cap

Varaidzo Mhangami

Director of University Partnerships

Varaidzo is a custodian of HEPSA’s relationship with its university partners responsible for the launch, management and growth of their online programmes. She holds an Honours degree in Marketing and Industrial Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Business Leadership from the University of South Africa. Before joining HEPSA, Varaidzo was the Chief Operating Officer of the South African Institute of Management (SAIM), the longest-standing professional body in South Africa. She was uniquely placed to lead the professional body, manage the SAIM College, head the SAIM Foundation and assist the board of directors during the period of Institute’s significant growth and development. Varaidzo is a founder and member of SAIM Women in Management, a group that encourages professional women to develop networks. She is a recipient of the Women Economic Forum (WEF) Sisterhood Award and she has worked with the Reach For A Dream Foundation for over 15 years, volunteering with fundraisers to fulfil the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses. Varaidzo mentors and coaches with The Dreamgirls Foundation and Alan Gray Foundation.
Card image cap

Nico Baird, Ph.D.

Director of Academic Services and Products

Nico is responsible for assistance in online module conversion, instructional design and technology, and professional development for faculty members at partner universities. Nico holds a National Diploma in Language Practice and a B Tech degree in Language Practice from the Central University of Technology (CUT); a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Professions Education; a Master’s in Health Professions Education; and a Ph.D. in Health Profession Education at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State. Prior to joining HEPSA, Nico taught Video Theory and Practice at CUT and was Director of Multimedia at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State; instructional designer at CUT; Head of eLearning and Deputy Director of the Centre for Learning, Teaching and Development at the University of the Witwatersrand. Nico has been involved in the field of education throughout his career, focusing on changing communities through education.
Card image cap

Sarietjie Musgrave

Director of Academic Services and Products

Sarietjie supports partner universities’ faculty and instructional design teams with best practices in the design, development and optimisation of their online programmes and modules. She holds an Honours degree in Education, specialising in Curriculum Design, and is currently enroled in a Master of Business Administration programme. Her experience includes 25 years of teaching across the education spectrum. Prior to joining HEPSA, she was director of the IDEAS Lab at the University of the Free State and has been a member of the international advisory board for the New Horizon K-12 report, Microsoft Global Education ; and conducted research for UNESCO’s Institute for Information Technologies in Education, focusing on information and communication technology in primary schools. Sarietjie’s excitement for education sees her developing the highest quality courses and study paths for students across South Africa.
Card image cap

Tony Lopes

Marketing Director

Tony oversees the lead generation and student acquisition of online students through various digital marketing strategies and tactics. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Marketing specialising in strategic management, consumer psychology and digital marketing. He also holds numerous Google certifications in advertising and analytics, and a diploma in advertising. He has worked in digital marketing since 2002 and is highly experienced in customer lifecycle management in competitive industries including gaming, insurance and education. Tony is passionate about using data and consumer insights to inform his daily business decisions.
Card image cap

Neal Jephtha

Director of Contact Centre

Neal is responsible for HEPSA’s contact center operations, including its student recruitment and retention efforts on behalf of its partner institutions. He is a qualified Microsoft Certified Professional and holds National Diplomas in both Call Centre Management and Customer Relationship Management from the University of South Africa and the University of Pretoria (GIBS) respectively. He also completed the Senior Leadership and the Executive Leadership development programmes at the Standard Bank School of Business and the University of Stellenbosch. Neal has spent over 20 years in the contact centre industry, having built and managed teams and operations for some of the largest insurance and medical companies in South Africa.
Card image cap

Keamo Segwagwe

Technology Operations Manager

Keamo Segwagwe is the Technology Operations Manager for Higher Ed Partners South Africa. He holds an undergraduate degree from Rhodes University and a honors degree from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Keamo leads the technology implementations of Higher Ed Partners South Africa, with responsibility for new partner onboardings and the maintenance of existing partner institutions technology landscapes. He is responsible for working with the relevant technology stakeholders at various partner institutions to deliver efficient, and stable technology solutions that drive and deliver operational excellence.

His honors dissertation titled ‘Township Schools and Curriculum’ assessed the conceptual definition of curriculum in South Africa’s educational content. It is through his passion for education and belief in broadening access to higher education that led Keamo to join the organization in 2018.
Card image cap

Wendy Deane

Senior Project Manager

Wendy has more than 15 years of experience in the training and e-learning industries. Wendy is responsible for working with the HEPSA Partner Support Team to produce online programmes that equip and prepare students for the opportunities of tomorrow. With a commitment to delivering high-quality learning solutions, Wendy’s role is to manage and monitor the development of innovative and sustainable online programmes. Managing communication with key stakeholders is central to her work of ensuring that deliverables are aligned with business imperatives. In her current role, Wendy also works closely with the HEPSA Academic Services team, university executives and administrators to support students from the point of enrollment to graduation.


Card image cap

Sizwe Nxasana

Chairman of the Board

Mr. Nxasana is a South African social entrepreneur and education philanthropist, and founder of Sifiso Learning Group focused on education initiatives. He is a former Chairman of South Africa’s National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and former CEO of Telkom South Africa Group and FirstRand Banking Group as well as former Vice-Chairman of the South African Revenue Services Board. He currently serves as Chairman of National Education Collaboration Trust, Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP) and Future Nation Schools, a chain of affordable private schools in South Africa. He is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and one of the first ten African Chartered Accountants.
Card image cap

Justyna Dymerska, Ph.D.

Board Member

Dr. Dymerska is Chairman and Managing Partner of Best Merchant Partners (BMP), a Dallas-based non-fund sponsor of a family of global higher education businesses across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, and is a Board member of the constituent companies. She has previously served on the boards of directors of Universidad del Istmo in Panama; Universidade Veiga de Almeida in Brazil; Instituto Professional Providencia in Chile;Institución Universitaria Politécnico Grancolombiano in Colombia; U.S.-based Instructional Connections and Academic Partnerships Foundation.
Card image cap

Hendrick Jordaan

Board Member

Mr. Jordaan is a South African and President and Chief Executive Officer of One Thousand & One Voices (1K1V), a private family capital fund backed by industry-leading families from around the globe. 1K1V targets high-growth regions and industries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Mr. Jordaan oversees a team of private equity executives with offices in South Africa, England, Mauritius and the United States.
Card image cap

Frank Thompson

Board Member

Until his retirement, Mr. Thompson was a former Chief Executive Officer of ADvTECH, a publicly listed education company in South Africa and Africa’s largest private education provider whose education brands include Vega School, Capsicum Culinary Studio, Abbotts Colleges, Varsity College, Rosebank College, The Business School at Varsity College and The University of Africa in Zambia. Mr. Thompson has extensive experience in finance, turnarounds and general management.

Did you know these exciting facts about online learning?

Read an assortment of interesting facts about online education.

How does HEPSA help universities?

Find out more about the benefits of partnering with Higher Ed Partners to launch and market online programmes.

A day in the life of Tshilidzi Nevhufumba, HEPSA Student Success Coordinator

Behind the scenes at HEPSA

We caught up with Tshilidzi who works with students to guide them to success.

Maxwell Mtombeni − University of Johannesburg student, enrolled in a HEPSA hosted program

Q&A with Maxwell Mtombeni

Sub-Saharan Africa has many socio-economic challenges, and access to quality, affordable tertiary education is a key factor in reducing poverty, improving the living standards and providing opportunities for many people across the continent. South Africa is in desperate need for an online education solution as there is a significant shortage of tertiary education infrastructure in the country. For every three students who have the necessary qualifications and requisite funding available to study at one of South Africa’s tertiary education institutions, there is only one seat available. The other two potential students have the qualifications and funding but nowhere to go.

Ten Questions with Neal Jephtha, HEPSA Director – Enrolment and Retention

Behind the scenes at HEPSA

We caught up with Neal Jeptha, Director of Enrolment and Retention at HEPSA, and asked him 10 questions.

UJ’s MBA goes fully online

HEPSA helps JBS launch "the MBA like no other"

The Johannesburg Business School (JBS) has taken its first MBA fully online, with the first intake of candidates to start their online journey in January 2021.

Higher Education has changed forever - and it's a brave new online world

We explore how the pandemic has accelerated changes in higher education

COVID 19 has changed the world as we know it. Higher education is probably the one sector that will be the most affected. Nick Kendall, President and CEO of Higher Education Partners South Africa, explorers the brave new world of online learning.