Support. Hope. Advocacy. Research. Education.

Established in 2018, The Axial Spondyloarthritis Association of South Africa aims to create awareness, education and support of this disease in South Africa.


We aim to empower everyone with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) including ankylosing spondylitis (AS) to manage their treatment and to stay in control of their lives. We are driven to ensure that health professionals around the country deliver tailored and timely care to every patient, every time.
To be the primary resource for people diagnosed and living with axSpA & related diseases in South Africa. We want to ensure that every person with axial SpA (AS) receives timely diagnosis and effective treatment and care, is empowered to take decisions about their health, and feels part of a supportive axial SpA (AS) community.

Create awareness of & related diseases in order to ease the path to diagnosis.


Create awareness of Ankylosing Spondylitis & related diseases in order to ease the path to diagnosis.


Membership is free! Join forces with the many who are making a difference for AxSpa in South Africa.

Our members are contributing to the impact of our organization in terrific ways, don’t miss out on being involved in our organization. If you’re living with AxSpA or have a loved one who is, or have an interest in AxspA, become a member today.

Collective voice: By becoming a member you add to our collective voice in advocating for those living with Spondyloarthritis. You will also join a community of people who know and understand your condition. The understanding, community and connectivity that you receive in being a part of a community that feels your struggles and pain along side you, has benefits that cannot be measured.

Membership to this association is FREE of charge

Reasons to Join

You can also join our Facebook group:

Our Team

Maranda van Dam - Chairperson

Maranda is the current chairperson and has overall responsibility for the management of ASASS.

She was diagnosed with AxSpa in 2016, after walking the frustrating path of a delay in her diagnosis of almost 6 years. At the time of her diagnosis, she tried to reach out to a support group, and then realised there is a huge void to fill. She has since become an advocate for this disease.

Not only is she a business owner, but also a single parent of two boys. In her spare time, she likes riding adventure bikes. She has recently completed a gruelling trip with her motorbike for 3 weeks in the Himalayas. She enjoys an active lifestyle that includes riding her mountain bike, playing tennis and pilates.

Lauren Angelil - Vice Chairperson

Lauren Kim Angelil is a registered physiotherapist, and certified functional health coach. She is the current vice-chairperson of ASASS.

About 7 years ago, her husband was diagnosed with AS. She watched him go through joint pain, stress and anxiety, exhaustion and loss of appetite. Her once life-of-the-party partner was retreating from social events and stopped doing the things he enjoyed.

They quickly noticed the benefits of making lifestyle changes in partnership with his medication: his energy improved, he was able to exercise without pain, his insomnia disappeared and, finally, felt refreshed each morning.

Fast forward 4 years, he is now in remission, off his chronic meds and they are back to doing the sport they love, trail running!


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Tseleng Peggy Ramoroko

Tseleng Peggy Ramoroko I am Public Relations Practitioner by profession, with Banking experience and Administrations. I was diagnosed for more or less than 10/15yrs firstly being diagnosed with fibromyalgia that’s when it all started where I had to undergo a procedure of decompression of the hips which made it difficult for me to walk at times, thinking that it was i hope the end of my struggle, which was not.
In 2016 another procedure was done on my knee (meniscus surgery to repair the tear), and another one on the right shoulder, all that struggle made it difficult to cope, as the pain was creeping any time it wanted to. Until 2020 October where I meet Dr Z who check my MRI at my first consultation, I got my diagnosis as Spondyloarthritis and that blew my mind asking what know? already I’m on a lifestyle change of fitness and on medication and recently started with biologics. I am still adjusting being on Biologics and my walks and the support system, And Im also 100% involved with my New Business Chillimama

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Matthew Fah

A father, a fitness professional and a self-proclaimed adrenalin junkie

Having being diagnosed at 7 with JIA, chronic pain has always been a part of my life. Fast forward to 2014, after experiencing more symptoms I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. Keeping active and always having a positive outlook helped me manage my AS and all that is associated with it.

Seeing our support network grow and the formation of ASASA has given me a place to feel safe and it has given me the support to know that I am not alone. The world is my oyster and I won’t let AS stop me from exploring it.

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Our Medical Advisors


Prof. Riette du Toit

I am Head of the Division of Rheumatology at Tygerberg Academic Hospital and Stellenbosch University where I completed both my under and post graduate studies.
I am fascinated by the disease processes involved in the rheumatic diseases and challenged by the complexities of both diagnosing and managing patients with these conditions. I remain inspired by the patients we treat and aim to limit the impact of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) in all our patients, irrespective of their background. This I strive to do through my involvement in relevant research within our division, but also through collaborations within Africa as well as internationally. I am passionate about education, promoting rheumatology knowledge among our graduates.
I love chocolates and red wine, my husband and two teenage sons. I enjoy Marvel movies, listening to electrical guitar and trumpet practice and spending my Saturdays next to the rugby field.

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Dr Kavita Makan

Dr. Kavita Makan is a rheumatologist and specialist physician practicing in the department of internal medicine at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH). She is the immediate past president of SARAA, the South African Rheumatism and Arthritis Association and continues to serve on the executive committee. She is passionate about establishing real-world evidence for the rheumatic diseases in South Africa through the development and strengthening of registries and disease-specific databases.

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Dr Gareth Tarr - Physician Rheumatologist

Following the completion of my undergraduate training at the University of Witwatersrand (WITS), I completed my internship at GF Jooste in Cape Town, and then my community service year working at a rural hospital in Mpumalanga.
While away from the majors cities I was also able to follow my other passions in life, birding and the outdoors.
I returned to WITS between 2008 and 2013, and qualified in internal medicine as a physician, then as a rheumatologist and graduated with a Masters in Internal medicine.
Since 2014 I have been part of Winelands Rheumatology Centre and working as a specialist physician for Stellenbosch Medi-Clinic.
Currently involved in my PhD research through the University of Stellenbosch focusing on Biologic medication in the South African setting.

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Prof Chris Scott - Associate Professor Paediatric Rheumatologist

Developing ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis, as a child piqued Christiaan Scott’s interest in paediatrics. After studying medicine at the University of the Free State and graduating at the University of Cape Town, he worked in paediatrics in Guildford and other London hospitals and then came back to complete his training at the Red Cross Hospital in Cape Town.
There was no training programme for paediatric rheumatology in South Africa and no registered paediatric rheumatologists, so he spent a year in Leuven, Belgium, on a Discovery Foundation scholarship in 2008 and time in Genoa, Italy, supported by funding from the Arthritis Foundation and the South African Rheumatism and Arthritis Foundation. When he returned to South Africa, the Red Cross Hospital created a post for him with a dedicated paediatric rheumatology component.
Scott is now one of only 10 paediatric rheumatologists in South Africa, with a special interest in juvenile arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosis. He teaches paediatrics and rheumatology to medical students and advocates children’s rights and equal access to healthcare. He has trained 6 Paedatric Rheumatologists since 2009 and is the current co-chair of the PReS Global Health Task Force.
He is also part of a research team that collaborates with a number of universities across the world and studies various types of rheumatic diseases and their management in Africa, with a special focus on how they affect children in South Africa. He has a special interest in Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva. And if his small patients are looking for proof that juvenile arthritis can be contained, he’s climbed Kilimanjaro, cycled from Brussels to Paris (and Copenhagen) and goes in for long distance trail running.
Assoc Prof. Chris Scott. Christiaan Scott is a Paediatric Rheumatologist at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital

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Dr Cathy Spargo - Rheumatologist

Qualifications: MBChB, FCP, Cert Rheumatology.
Dr Catherine Spargo studied medicine at the University of Cape Town before qualifying as a specialist rheumatologist at the College of Medicine South Africa.

Dr Spargo has worked at a number of hospitals both locally and internationally, including Ernest Oppenheimer in Welkom, Derriford Hospital in England, and Groote Schuur in Cape Town. She currently works as a rheumatologist and physician in Pinelands, Cape Town.

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Dr Ajesh Maharaj - Consultant Physician / Consultant Rheumatologist

 MB.BS,(Varanasi); H.Dip.Int.Med.(SA); FCP(SA);Cert in Rheum(SA);  Ph.D (Univ of Amsterdam)

Ajesh Maharaj is a rheumatologist practicing at Westville Hospital in Durban, South Africa. He is a past-president of the Kwa-Zulu Natal branch of the Arthritis Foundation of South Africa and on the Advisory Boards of Pfizer, AbbVie, and Novartis South Africa on their biologics division.

He is widely published in international peer-reviewed journals. He has presented at numerous local and international conferences.

Dr Maharaj obtained his PhD in psoriatic arthritis (PsA) through the Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and is a leading expert in PsA in South Africa and on the African continent. He is a fellow of the College of Physicians of South Africa. 

He is on the following International committees:

  • Group for Research and Assessment for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis (GRAPPA);(Delete “International “)
  • American College of Rheumatology (ACR)/EULAR guideline committee on polymyalgia rheumatica;
  • International League of Associations of Rheumatology (ILAR) committee on drawing up recommendations for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis in resource-poor settings;
  • Assessment of Spondyloarthritis International Society (ASAS);
  • Member of International Psoriasis and Arthritis Research Team (iPART); and
  • Fellow of the ACR.

Dr Maharaj has the following awards:            

  • United Nations Scholarship (UNESCO) to study Medicine in 1981;
  • Y K SEEDAT Medal of The College of Physicians of South Africa for the best candidate in The Higher Diploma in Internal Medicine in 1998;
  • Pharmacia/Pfizer Rheumatology Travel Scholarship for South Africa for 2002; and
  • Recipient of the Uttar Pradesh Pravasi Bharatiya Ratna Award 2017, Government of Uttar Pradesh, India (Highest civilian award in the state).
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Corne van Eck - Physiotherapist

BPhysT. (Physiotherapy) (Cum Laude), 1996
B Admin (International Relations), 1992

Corne has her own practice in the Garden Route. Gaining international experience in the US for many years. She has written a number of publications and is the author of many educational courses. Through the years she been a guest speaker in areas covering Lymphedema, The Lumbar Spine, The Cervical Spine and Peripheral Edema.

Corne is furthermore a member of SASP Committee member Southern Cape Branch, South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP), Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT) , Lymphedema Association of South Africa (LAOSA), APTA 2005-2008

Corne has hands-on experience with AxSpa patients.

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Prof Bridget Hodkinson - Associate Professor Paediatric Rheumatologist

Professor Bridget Hodkinson is the head of Rheumatology at Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town. This busy rheumatology unit, together with Tygerberg Hospital, services the Western Cape, dealing with a wide range of conditions including inflammatory arthritis, SLE, gout, osteoarthritis and HIV- associated conditions. The unit is active in teaching undergraduate students, family physicians and primary healthcare practitioners, and trains rheumatology fellows from all over Africa. Her research interests in gout, systemic lupus erythematosus and inflammatory arthritis include health related quality of life, comorbidities- particularly TB and HIV, management strategies where limited access to biologic therapies are available, and patient activation and patient advocacy. She has a strong interest in implementing evidence- based approaches to patient care within a resource constrained environment. Prof Hodkinson serves on the South African Arthritis and Rheumatology Association SARAA Executive Committee.

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Dr Joyce Ziki - Rheumatologist

MBChB 2004; FCP (SA) 2012; Cert Rheumatology (SA) 2018

Dr. Joyce Ziki is a specialist Rheumatologist whose career began in Zimbabwe where she obtained her MBChB degree, completed internship and community service. In 2012 she obtained her specialist qualifications from the University of Witwatersrand and the College of medicine SA. She subsequently joined Tembisa hospital in, South Africa as a specialist physician from where she returned to Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg hospital for further training in rheumatic diseases. In 2018 she qualified as a Rheumatologist. She is currently an honorary lecturer in the department of Rheumatology at the University of Witwatersrand where she is pursuing her PHD and is an active member of SARAA. Dr Ziki is competent in the diagnosis and management of various rheumatic diseases. Her areas of interest include – Systemic lupus erythromatosis, Systemic sclerosis, Inflammatory myositis, Precision medicine in inflammatory arthritis (gout, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis) The use technology in the management of rheumatic conditions.    

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Become a Member


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ASIF is an international membership organisation representing patient associations around the globe specialising in the support of patients with Axial Spondyloarthritis (axSpA)

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SARAA is the national medical society for specialist rheumatologists and other health professionals involved in the care of patients with rheumatic diseases. It is a public benefit organisation, registered as a non-profit organisation which represents the rheumatology profession of South Africa.

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The Arthritis Foundation of South Africa is the only body in our country providing non-medical support for arthritis patients, their families and carers. To do this we are involved in a wide range of education and support programmes, in providing access to information about these diseases, and by advocating the interests of people with arthritis in government, medical and media circles.

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The SASP is a voluntary professional membership organisation committed to equal opportunities and inclusivity, and striving to support the demographic profile of South Africa in terms of race and gender.

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Arthritis Kids SA is a registered non-profit company aimed at ensuring no South African child suffers preventable pain from undiagnosed or untreated juvenile arthritis.

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