How Ubuntu Inspired This South African Foundation to Empower Others
The Motsepe Foundation is keeping the spirit of Ubuntu alive by fighting extreme poverty.
Even though poverty levels around the world have decreased in the past 30 years, 40% of people in sub-Saharan Africa live in abject poverty. A majority of people living in poverty are women who serve as primary caregivers to their families and shoulder the burden of providing for the young, sick, and elderly in their communities.
Dr Patrice Motsepe and Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe established the Motsepe Foundation in 1999, recognising their moral obligation to better the lives of all South Africans, in a united objective of nation building. Dr Motsepe and Dr Moloi-Motsepe were fortunate to have received support and guidance along their journey, which has led them to where they are today.
A legacy rooted in Ubuntu
The wisdom of Ubuntu teaches the philosophy of interconnectedness — that our success and wellbeing is intricately intertwined with the success and wellbeing of others. This spirit of Ubuntu, which respects everyone’s humanity and inspires the act of giving, is the guiding principle of the Motsepe Foundation. It is also the reason behind the Motsepe family's pledge to give away their wealth through philanthropic endeavours that support Global Goals.
“There is a huge obligation on those of us who are in a position to make a humble contribution to give those who are less fortunate a brighter future,” Patrice Motsepe declared at the 16th Nelson Mandela Lecture. The lecture was delivered in partnership with the Motsepe Foundation.
Quality education is an empowering equaliser and the Foundation’s investments in quality education extends into funding infrastructure development and upgrade projects. To date, the Motsepe Foundation has assisted in the development of 297 schools and churches, affecting 12 million people.
The Motsepe Foundation increased its contribution to education in 2013 when it launched a bursary programme to accelerate the growth of the next generation of South Africa’s leaders and innovators. Every year the Bursary Unit commits 320 university bursaries for allocation. In 2018, 54% of the bursaries were allocated to women. Since 2014, the Foundation has supported 2,200 learners in their pursuit for higher education.
Gender equality and empowerment
Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe is a medical practitioner who has specialised in women’s health. The Women’s Unit within the Motsepe Foundation promotes gender equality, and good health and wellbeing amongst women.
“Philanthropy in Africa is not about taking control of the narrative, aligning ourselves as the heroines of the story. It is about using our power to assist communities with conceiving their vision of equitable change, where they are the main characters and warriors of their own fate,” Dr Moloi-Motsepe proclaimed at the recent Maverick Collective gathering in New York.
Dr Moloi-Motsepe has taken over as co-chair — a position previously held by Melinda Gates — of the global women philanthropic organisation.
This year the Women’s Unit has sponsored initiatives to encourage young girls to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, and advanced the #CountMeIn campaign through summits and dialogues to raise awareness. The #CountMeIn campaign holds society accountable for alleviating workplace harassment and promotes the rise of women leaders in all spheres of society to achieve equal representation.
The Motsepe Foundation builds partnerships, locally and internationally, to maximise the impact of their projects. Partnerships with the Department of Basic Education and Sports and Recreation, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and Harvard Kennedy Business School aligns with the Foundation’s projects which promote skills development, training and knowledge sharing, and access to information.
Local partnerships with religious and traditional leaders unite South Africans regardless of beliefs or race toward a shared objective to end poverty, unemployment, inequality and violence against women.
The Motsepe Foundation is committed to a partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to combat climate change in its support for global projects that reverse the effects of environmental damage.
Upholding the legacy of struggle heroes
2018 marks the centenary of liberation activists Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu. Both struggle icons fought against unjust discrimination and worked toward achieving equality through their selfless deeds. The Motsepe Foundation is inspired by their legacy and aims to extend this ambition to all South Africans.
Global Citizen’s year-long #BeTheGeneration campaign is dedicated to changing the world for the better. The capstone event of the campaign is the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 on 2 December. It will bring together an incredible line-up of artists — including Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Chris Martin, Sho Madjozi, and more — alongside activists and world leaders.
An activist in all of us
Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 is presented and hosted in proud partnership with the Motsepe Foundation. Global Citizens who take action on specific issues earn points, which are used to enter the draw to earn tickets to the festival.
The Motsepe Foundation is using the festival as an opportunity to recognise its stakeholders for their academic excellence and dedication. The School Incentivisation campaign has allocated 1,200 tickets to the Foundation’s anchor schools awarding children who have achieved academic, sports and music excellence. A further 500 have been awarded to our bursary recipients for their academic excellence.
Mandela was passionate about children and their education. To ensure his legacy lives on, the foundation acknowledges and celebrates our learner’s academic dedication.
As Nelson Mandela declared: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.