You don't have to be rich to be a philanthropist

Today's trend in philanthropy is to think less about the size of the gift and more about the impact. Since 2007 the Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards has been putting a spotlight on South Africans who have worked to better their communities with their targeted, thoughtful philanthropic efforts.

You don't have to be rich to be a philanthropist

Caroline Fiennes, director of the UK organization, Giving Evidence, says that today’s effective philanthropy is "not about what you give, but the way that you give it.” The size of the gift is far less important than what you actually do with those resources.

We could not agree more. So many of past Inyathelo Philanthropy Awardees are not traditional philanthropists in the Warren Buffett, Mark Shuttlesworth mould. Rather, they are South Africans of ordinary means who gifted their time, talents, and treasure to causes and communities they care about.

Some notable examples:

Lindela Mjenxane. 2007 Inyathelo Award for Youth in Philanthropy. Lindela started the Beyond Expectation Environmental Project (BEEP) to utilize natural environments, particularly Table Mountain, as a workshop “venue” for school learners, to help them to escape the trap of poverty, educate them about the environment and teach them about using water wisely. Apart from using his own funds to support the organization, Lindela has exemplified leadership and excellence in philanthropy, and repeatedly shown his ability to encourage and motivate others to give.

Lukozi Bulimwengo: 2012 Inyathelo Award for Social Justice Philanthropy and founder of the Self Help Christian Refugees Association. Lukozi is a former car-guard and Congolese refugee . Using the small amount of money he had saved, Lukozi bought a few second-hand computers and began training other refugees on how to use them. Amongst other initiatives, he also organised English lessons to help refugees integrate themselves into South African society. Lukozi believes his work has helped to break down the barriers of fear that often exist between local communities and refugees in South Africa.

Mmatsatsi Mokgohloa: 2013 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in Community Development. A social worker by training, Mmatsatsi started her community development initiative in Winterveldt outside of Pretoria with money taken from her and her husband’s pensions. This brave step led to a dynamic philanthropic initiative, The Care-Net Development and Support Centre for vulnerable children.

Afeefah Patel: 2013 Inyathelo Award for Children in Philanthropy. At eight years old, Afeefah is the youngest recipient of an Inyathelo Philanthropy Award. She is also the youngest person to be awarded the prestigious SANParks Kudu Award. In early 2013, Afeefah wrote a letter to The Times newspaper asking President Zuma to “look after the rhinos.” Her letter prompted a response from President Zuma and gave impetus to a national anti-poaching campaign to protect South Africa’s dwindling population of rhinos. Afeefah donated part of the funds she received from SANParks to the Unite Against Poaching Fund.

The 2014 Inyathelo Awards banquet will be held on 6 November 2014 at the Zip-Zap Circus Dome, Cape Town. 

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