As the nominations for the 2014 Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards come in, perhaps now is a good time to reflect on the opportunities they present to the awardees and to South African civil society.
Most obviously, the awards give a platform and a voice to the causes the awardees represent, and the amazing work they do. Sometimes though, the immediate benefits are not so obvious, but are profound nonetheless.
For instance, a chance meeting at the Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards last November led to a unique collaboration between two environmental activists. Kindred spirits it would seem: eight-year-old Afeefah Patel received the award for Children in Philanthropy for her efforts to raise money to fight rhino poaching; Patrick Mashanda won the award for Youth in Philanthropy for his work at the Hope Warriors Children’s Centre.
Mashanda was so moved by Patel’s acceptance speech that he felt he had to mobilise the children in his centre to help in the fight to save the rhino. The collaboration resulted in Afeefah Patel and the Children of the Hope Warriors Centre marching on the streets of Soshanguve in January to raise awareness about rhino poaching.
"This march was for the children to find out more about the rhinos. Also, for them to get involved because it is they who will not get the opportunity to see a rhino in a few years if they are all killed now. During the march it was shocking that even parents were ignorant of what is going on around them. I'm glad the march helped to inform them," said Mashanda.
The Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards gala is an annual event that showcases South Africa philanthropy and philanthropists, a worthy end in and of itself. However, just bringing people and causes together in one place for one night can yield unpredictably positive outcomes.