Fresh Faces Providing Success Stories in Philanthropy in South Africa

Anew generation of South African philanthropists has emerged to reenergise philanthropy in the country. With innovative ideas, unique solutions and diverse areas of interest, these four philanthropists are setting an example for young and old alike.

Some of South Africa’s most ground-breaking philanthropists are showcased in Avance Media’s latest list of Top 100 Most Influential Young South Africans. Young philanthropists today show a commitment to transformation and none shy away from tackling complex causes, says president of the Ford Foundation Darren Walker. “When younger donors [act], they show a commitment [to] the thorniest issues of all time, hoping to address existing imbalances so that there may finally be equity.”

Nthabiseng Mosia is one such success story philanthropist, who strives to equalise access to electricity across African.  Her company, Easy Solar, focuses on providing people with affordable energy. “Easy Solar [makes] clean energy affordable to low-income, off-grid households,” says the company in a statement. Easy Solar is based in Sierra Leone where only 10% of the population has access to electricity. Mosia first became interested in alleviating Africa’s electricity crisis after experiencing load-shedding in South Africa, which led her to the realisation that energy needs in other African countries, like Sierra Leone, were far direr.

Avance Media’s list features many innovators who focus their energies on education. One such philanthropist with a success story is Emmanuel Bonoko, founder of the Ebonoko Foundation, which empowers youth through mentorship and education. One of the Foundation’s greatest achievements is its book collection drive, which has donated more than 10 000 books to underprivileged schools and scholars. The Ebonoko Foundation also inspires and guides scholars through its series of seminars and mentorship structures.

South African success stories abound, another young philanthropist targeting education is Mabutho Mthembu. Mthembu co-founded the Youth Managers Foundation (YMF), which targets scholars who have been disadvantaged due to their race, gender or economic background. YMF aids youth in mastering management and leadership skills and is driven to instil confidence in scholars from rural communities so that they too can realise their full potential, regardless of their vulnerable background.

Technology forms an integral factor in the way young philanthropists are making a difference, says CIO and deputy director of operations at the Walton Family Foundation, Sam Caplan. “Younger philanthropists [are] transforming how foundations work, and specifically creating a need for collaboration through technology.”  Sisters Sophie and Louise Kanza, founders of the Sophie A Kanza Foundation, are perfect examples of the expertise with which young philanthropists are using technology to successfully drive their causes forward.

Another South African success story is the The sisters’ short film, called #Singabantu, won international awards and recognition for its powerful messages of unity and anti-xenophobia. The sisters view their win as a victory for migrant youth who are affected by xenophobia, saying: “we will continue using all platforms afforded to us to highlight people that contribute positively to society, uplifting integration and using Pan-Africanism to spread love, peace, and tolerance.”


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