Nika Foundation

Dr. Charles Cannan – Director

M.B.Ch.B – University of Cape Town, 1986
Fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, 1995
Interventional Fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease, Brown University, RI, 1996

Charles is a highly respected Cardiologist with more than 25 years of experience and currently practices at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Charles grew up in Cape Town and attended SACS. He was a member of Detention Treatment Team (DTT) in the ‘80’s in South Africa and was active in student led anti-apartheid activities.

Charles is married to Laurie, has two children (Georgia 23 and Henry 21) and lives in Scottsdale, AZ.

Haiko Alfeld – Director

B Soc Sci – University of Cape Town, 1987

Haiko Alfeld served in the South African foreign service, with diplomatic postings in Berne, Switzerland, the first democratically elected Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa and the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

He subsequently served as Director, Head of Africa at the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, where he was responsible for engaging African corporations in global corporate citizenship programs.

Returning to South Africa, Haiko worked as Head of Public Affairs for Sasol and is currently leading a project team that is building a memorial center and School of Public Governance to honor the legacy of the late President Nelson Mandela in Cape Town, South Africa.

Haiko is married to Jean – they have two children (Emma 26 and Tim 25) and live in Cape Town.

Jean Alfeld – Director

BA HDE – University of Cape Town, 1989
MA Counseling Psychology – Webster University Geneva, 2004

Jean is a Career Development professional with a relentless commitment to empowering and developing youth.

She began her career as a high school educator and has worked for over 30 years in roles that support personal and professional development.

Jean is actively involved in the development sector in Cape Town; she recently worked for the University of Cape Town and the Mastercard Foundation’s scholarship program; she is also on the board of The Friends of Khayelitsha District Hospital.

Jean is married to Haiko – they have two children (Emma 26 and Tim 25) and live in Cape Town.

John Saunders – Director

Bachelor of Commerce (University of Cape Town) 1985

John emigrated to the USA in 1986 during South Africa’s state of emergency and was a founding shareholder and CEO of USA Shade and FabriTec Structures, Inc. until its sale to PlayPower, Inc. in 2014. Post transaction, John was appointed President and continued to run the business, with the support of Littlejohn & Co (private equity partners), until he retired in 2021.

John is passionate about South Africa and human rights having grown up in Cape Town in an anti-apartheid family during some dark days in South African history. His mother, Noreen Saunders, was one of the founders (with Margaret Elsworth) of the African Scholars Fund in Cape Town in the early 1970’s. John’s father, Dr. Stuart Saunders, was the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town (1981 – 1996) and an outspoken critic and opponent of the racist policies of the apartheid government.

John founded the Nika Foundation in 2023.

John is married to Elizabeth,  has two children (Emma 23 and Ryan 21) and lives on Whidbey Island in Washington State.