In our view

Public acts of philanthropy will help foster a culture of giving - 08 Feb 2013 - Cape Times

Alfred Thutloa

INDIGENOUS African sayings and culture are not always easy to translate. Storytelling for example is a widely documented means of knowledge being transferred across generations. These stories were always meant to convey a deeper message, to cultivate values of honesty, integrity and humility.

It was about fostering a sense of relational harmony, of caring for your fellow human beings. The powerful isiZulu saying "izandla ziyagezana", meaning "one good turn deserves another", is what comes to mind when I read about self-made billionaire Patrice Motsepe's pledge to donate half the money generated by his family assets to marginalised communities.

This government is determined to close down civil society space - Cape Times, 12 Nov 2012

By Inyathelo Programme Director Gabrielle Ritchie

HOW serious are the current threats to civil society to our freedom of expression, to our freedom to hold government to account - vigorously and vocally? I don't know about you, but from where I sit, it's looking serious. A number of things have happened over the past few weeks that are alarmingly threatening to South Africa's civil society space - and in ways more fundamental than a lack of funding.

South Africa's democratic teachers' union, Sadtu, appears particularly challenged by the notion of democracy, saying that it will "go after" non-profit organisations working in education who they describe as "imperialist neoliberal forces" and accusing them of having "an agenda".

Civil society should act, unapologetically

An opinion piece by Shelagh Gastrow, Executive Director of Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement and Melanie Judge, a human rights activist and an Inyathelo Associate

There is currently a ‘citizens’ partnership’ campaign underway to develop a public participation framework for parliament. Judging by the extensive advertising involved, there is obviously significant funding available for this campaign.

On parliament’s website it explains that the campaign is about parliament’s desire to make public participation “an integral part of parliament and the legislatures’ lawmaking and oversight functions”. It goes on to say that this will be done by ensuring that adequate avenues are provided for people to participate in the business of parliament and the legislatures; that public inputs are integrated into and inform parliamentary and legislative processes; and that mechanisms and standards are developed to achieve meaningful and broader public participation. All well and good!

“Build your philanthropy while the going’s good.” - 18 Dec 2012, Salzburg Global Seminar

Words of advice from Fellow Shelagh Gastrow to others working in philanthropy in countries in transition.

Shelagh Gastrow, executive director of Inyathelo: The South Africa Institute for Advancement at the session ‘Philanthropy in Times of Crisis and Transition: Catalyzing Forces of Change’

Interview by: Louise Hallman  Transcript by: Katharina Schwarz

Since the times of great crisis running up to and the subsequent political upheaval that came with the end of apartheid in 1990 and the election of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, in 1994, Africa’s richest nation has yet to truly emerge from this period of transition, and continues to suffer from great social inequalities, poor levels of education and high unemployment, coupled with political inertia. 

ANC MP takes a swipe at civil society - Queery, 7 December 2012

By Inyathelo Associate, Melanie Judge.

Last week saw the launch of the book Striking the Rights Chord: Perspectives on Advancement from Human Rights Organisations in South Africa. Published by Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement, and edited by myself and Sean Jones, it is a candid anthology of views and experiences from some of South Africa’s leading human rights activists and organisations, such as the Legal Resources Centre and the Black Sash, engaging with pressing contextual and sustainability issues in the civil society sector.

At the launch, in my capacity as co-editor, I highlighted aspects that impact on civil society organisations’ prospects for future sustainability.

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