Ten exceptional people have been honoured for their philanthropic efforts and contributions to social change in South Africa at the prestigious 5th annual Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards held at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town on the evening of 15 November 2011.
The awardees include PEP stores founder Renier Van Rooyen; international writer Bronwen Jones who started Children of Fire; Kanchana Moodliar, the founder of the Saris for Good Karma Project; Royal Zulu princess and founder of the charitable Qolothani Makhosiazi Social and Cultural Services, Dr Gcwalisile Kabanyane; Asset Management entrepreneur Dr Allan Gray and leading financier Mark Schwartz; founder of the Kronendal Music Academy of Hout Bay, Dwyn Griesel; Cornelis and Marion Cloete who started Botshabelo village northwest of Johannesburg; and Bridgette Mamugubudi, who quit her job and cashed in her pension to set up the Litshani Vhana Vhade Foundation in Limpopo.
The Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards were established by the South African Institute for Advancement in 2007 to acknowledge, celebrate and profile those who have committed their personal resources towards broader social development in South Africa. Philanthropists are nominated by their peers and members of the communities in which they work or by the non-profit organisations that they support. The awardees are chosen according to specific criteria by a panel of 10 highly respected judges, including Dr Milford Soko, Associate Professor at the UCT Graduate School of Business and Chair of the Inyathelo Board; and Dr Iqbal Surve, Founder and Chairman of the Sekunjalo Group and an Inyathelo Trustee.
Inyathelo Executive Director Shelagh Gastrow says this year they received almost double the number of previous nominations, and from all over the country and all sections of society. “The great variety of nominations reflects the many different ways in which ordinary South Africans are working to actively improve our country – be it through the arts, education, health, research, or the provision of basic services. Philanthropy is dependent on the interest, passion, commitment, generosity and foresight of individuals wanting to make a difference, and our Awards seek to recognise and commend these people publically,” explains Gastrow.
The annual Awards form part of Inyathelo’s on-going efforts to build a sustainable civil society in South Africa. Gastrow says it is critical that individual South Africans begin to support the organisations that form the backbone of our democracy and social welfare system. “We need to become more self-reliant. South Africa is now regarded as a middle-income country and international funding is being channelled elsewhere. Already, many of our non profits have been forced to scale down their work or close their doors. Individual giving is now the biggest source donor money in South Africa and philanthropists can play a critical role in providing services to people that the government has not reached; providing a voice to those who have not yet been heard; and providing innovative solutions to social problems without always insisting on profit,” says Gastrow.
Tonight’s awardees received recognition in the following categories:
RENIER VAN ROOYEN, one of South Africa’s foremost entrepreneurs and philanthropists, received the 2011 Inyathelo Award for Lifetime Philanthropy. As the founder of Pep Stores, he has not only created one of the largest retail businesses in the country, but Renier has also demonstrated unwavering compassion and financial generosity throughout his life to poor and vulnerable communities, particularly in the Northern and Western Cape. Third generation philanthropists CORNELIS and MARION CLOETE received the 2011 Inyathelo Award for Family Philanthropy. The Cloete family’s history dates back to 1652 when Jacob Cloete accompanied Jan Van Riebeck to the Cape. The family has enjoyed wealth and privilege ever since but in 1990, Con and Marion and their three daughters gave up an affluent lifestyle to start Botshabelo Village – a haven for poor, sick and displaced adults and children in the rural grasslands northwest of Johannesburg. Their vision was to alleviate poverty by creating a self-sustaining community that would offer a place of safety and healing for anyone in need of help, including 250 Aids orphans. International writer and geologist BRONWEN JONES received the 2011 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in Health for her remarkable work with children disfigured and orphaned by fire. Using her own money and savings, she founded the charity Children of Fire after meeting a little girl called Dorah Mokoena who was badly burnt in a shack fire. Bronwen raised the funds for her reconstructive surgery and 15 years later, Dorah is now a happy teenager and a permanent member of Bronwen’s family. KANCHANA MOODLIAR, Managing Director of Fashion Channel and founder of the Saris for Good Karma Project, received the 2011 Inyathelo Award for Youth in Philanthropy. She initiated what she calls a consciousness movement to inspire women from poor communities with little education to develop skills to make money. Kanchana’s aim was to create a self-employed sewing community of women in Chatsworth using old saris donated from the Indian community to make pillow cases, table clothes and other designer items. Founder of the Kronendal Music Academy of Hout Bay, DWYN GRIESEL, received the 2011 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in the Arts. Using her inheritance from her father, she started the music centre 4 years ago in an effort to bring together the divided community of Hout Bay in Cape Town. Starting from scratch, Dwyn initiated individual music tuition, group activities, ensembles, workshops and community events, as well as a Youth Choir. All of the activities are aimed at integrating and uniting, through music, the three diverse communities in the area. Leading international financier MARK SCHWARTZ received the 2011 Inyathelo Award for International Philanthropy to South Africa for his active support of the fight against the HIV/Aids pandemic. Former senior Managing Director of Goldman Sachs and former advisor to George Soros and President of Soros Fund Management, Mark managed to persuade a group of top US institutions to invest more than R2 billion over the past 8 years into various South African hospitals, clinics, research centres and laboratories as part of his efforts to raise awareness of HIV/Aids, reduce infection and ultimately find a cure. BRIDGETTE MAMUGUBUDI, who quit her job and cashed in her pension to set up the Litshani Vhana Vhade Foundation for disadvantaged children in rural Limpopo, received one of two Inyathelo Awards for Community Philanthropy. Armed with her R50,000 pension payout and a burning desire to give poor children the chance of a better life, Bridgette has opened her home in Venda to orphans, toddlers of teenage parents and kids who have no-one to care for them after school. Over the past two years, she has managed to build a children’s home and a hospice, and with the help of other volunteers, Bridgette looks after 150 children every day. Royal Zulu princess and founder of the charitable Qolothani Makhosiazi Social and Cultural Services, DR GCWALISILE KABANYANE, also received an Inyathelo Award for Community Philanthropy. Established two years ago in the impoverished Mbekweni township in Paarl, Gcwalisile’s organisation has made a meaningful difference to the lives of many poor and vulnerable people. Her projects include the building of a community kitchen where those in need can get a nutritious meal and advice on health issues affecting their lives. Gcwalisile also provides meals for children attending the local Sunday school and supports many of the child-headed families in the community by paying for their groceries and school uniforms. Asset Management entrepreneur DR ALLAN GRAY, who has donated more than a billion rand over 33 years to education and other causes in South Africa, received the 2011 Inyathelo Award for Lifetime Philanthropy. He set up a charitable foundation with his wife Gill that supports projects such as the World Wildlife Fund, Cape Mental Health and the adult literacy project Iziko lo Lwazi. Allan has donated more than R1 billion from his personal funds to the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation which provides scholarships for Grade 12 high school learners and university students. This post was written by:
Alan - who has written 879 posts on My Cape Town.