Five outstanding South Africans, working in fields as diverse as education and surfing, were last Thursday honoured for their contributions to sustainable social change at the tenth annual philanthropy awards of Inyathelo, The South African Institute for Advancement, in Cape Town. Nominations came from peers, members of the communities in which the philanthropists work, and the non-profit organisations (NPOs) that they support. The awardees are chosen by a panel of independent judges.

For those not in the know, Inyathelo is a (non-profit organisation) NPO that works to sustain and strengthen civil society organisations and grow local philanthropy in support of a vibrant democracy in South Africa. The three pillars of its work are strengthening civil society, building higher education and growing local giving.

Inyathelo acting executive director, Nomfundo Walaza, said that the awards are part of Inyathelo’s commitment to building a vibrant democracy in South Africa.

“Our awards seek to inspire others to give by recognising the incredible role models who live and work among us. Philanthropists pay a critical role in benefitting society through their interest, passion, generosity and foresight.

“At Inyathelo we hope that in acknowledging the individuals who commit their funds and resources to better the lives of others, we will encourage others to do the same.”

The guest speaker was Sangu Delle, a dynamic Ghanaian entrepreneur and social activist known for his non-profit work helping under-developed communities to access clean water, sanitation and basic human rights.

Katherine Brinks, the founder of the Cape Town not-for-profit organisation Little Brinks, received the community development award. Her organisation runs several projects, including a lunch programme at Buren High School in Ysterplaat for over 250 learners, a foster care programme and, most recently, a safe house for children aged from newborn to four years old.

Cape Town surfer and social entrepreneur Tim Conibear received the community sports development award. Waves 4 Change offers a surf therapy programme in Muizenberg for children from Lavender Hill, Khayelitsha and Masiphumelele.  Children aged 11-14, who have experienced trauma, acquire new coping skills and personal strength through surfing.

Attorney and CEO of the Dream Factory Foundation, Lusanda Gwayi, was the recipient of the philanthropy in education award. The Dream Factory Foundation works with young people to help them articulate their dreams and make practical plans to achieve them.  The foundation works with 10 Western Cape schools, focusing on grade nine and ten learners, who are making academic choices.

The award for philanthropy in youth development went to Gauteng activist and entrepreneur Neftaly Malatjie, the founder and CEO of The Southern Africa Youth Project. The organisation has branches in Atok, Daveyton and Diepsloot.  Typically, young people are enrolled in life skills and capacity-building short courses and then linked to a job or entrepreneurial opportunities.

The Yach family received the award for family philanthropy. Through The Mauerberger Foundation, the Yach family supports numerous education, community and cultural projects, many of which empower women and members of disadvantaged communities in South Africa.

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