+27-21-511 1679

This year, the Open Society Foundation for South Africa (OSF-SA) celebrates 25 years of grant making in South Africa

This year, the Open Society Foundation for South Africa (OSF-SA) celebrates 25 years of grant making in South Africa #OpenSocietySA25

OSF-SA is a part of the Open Society Foundations. The Open Society Foundations are a family of offices and foundations created by philanthropist George Soros. The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. For more information about OSF watch:


OSF-SA opened offices in South Africa in 1993, just before the historical 1994 democratic elections. In the past 25 years we have promoted human rights and constitutionalism to support a democratic and open society in South Africa. We continue to do so. OSF-SA is committed to promoting the values, institutions, and practices of an open, non-racial and non-sexist, democratic, civil society. OSF-SA supports a vigorous and autonomous civil society in which the rule of law and divergent opinions are respected.

To commemorate 25 years of grant making in South Africa, and in keeping with race and gender transformation objectives, we will be featuring the important work of our grantees over the last 25 years. We will also celebrate young and emerging civil society voices and leaders as we look to the next 25 years of our democracy.

We will be sharing more information about our events for #OpenSocietySA25 on all our social media platforms.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and regularly check our website to learn more about our plans, including:

1. #OpenSocietySA25 Grantee Spotlight

OSF-SA has been supporting South African civil society and an independent media since 1993. Our #OpenSocietySA25 Grantee Spotlight will feature at least 25 grantee organisations that we have worked with and funded over the past 25 years.

Every month this year we will feature the work of at least two grantee organisations per month on our social media platforms.

  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn about our grantees and their important work in South Africa.
  • In our birthday month, we will feature grantees every day of the month.
  • We will also be having an Instagram takeover by some of our grantees from mid-2018.

2. #OpenSocietySA25 Design Competition

We will be launching a competition for young (under 35 years of age) design students of colour during February 2018 and inviting them to conceptualise and design the various design elements of our 25-year celebrations.

The winner and runner ups of the competition will be chosen by April and announced on our website, and the winning design and logos will be showcased and used across our social media and other platforms for 2018.

3. We are moving to the city centre in Cape Town in 2018! #OpenSocietySA25

After many years in the suburbs, during 2018 we will be moving our offices to the heart of SA’s democratic centre, near the South African Parliament to keep in line with our mission to be a responsive and available donor. At our new offices we will also be showcasing local talent and design materials and:

  • Commissioning some of Cape Town’s award winning young graffiti artists of colour to install a commemorative 25-year installation at our new offices.
  • Showcasing the work of our country’s formidable civil society and independent media over the last 25 years through free to view public exhibitions on thematic issues that they work on.
  • Our new offices will also provide ample free, safe, and secure spaces for our grantees to meet and convene.

4. #OpenSocietySA25 Lecture

During our birthday month in late 2018 we will be hosting a commemorative 25th Anniversary Open Society Lecture. The lecture will be held at the Cape Town City Hall, the place where Nelson Mandela spoke on his release from prison by the apartheid government on 11 February 1990.

The first Open Society Lecture in SA was delivered by George Soros in 1994, the year of our first democratic national elections. Until 2000, leading SA icons and figures delivered the Open Society Lecture, including President Nelson Mandela in 1999.

More details about our special guest speaker will be provided closer to the time.

5. #OpenSocietySA25 Commemorative Fellowships

In 1979 George Soros launched a scholarship programme for black South African students to study at the University of Cape Town (UCT). To commemorate 25 years of grant making and our work in South Africa, OSF-SA will be awarding 25 Commemorative Open Society Fellowships. The Fellowships will be awarded through an open application process to young grantees (under 35 years) nominated by their respective organisation, who have shown commitments to furthering the goals and values of OSF-SA. The Fellowships will be related to issues facing an Open Society and will be for one year of postgraduate tertiary study at a University or Technikon.

6. #OpenSocietySA25 Conversations with Grantees – the next 25 years

In our birthday month, and at our new offices, we will be hosting a Meet and Greet with grantees from multiple provinces and the leadership of OSF.

We will also examine key sector priorities and issues through two high level conversations with grantee representatives and expert analysts. Some of SA’s leading and pioneering civil society leaders will be with us to share their views on the trajectory of SA’s democracy for the next 25 years.

7. #OpenSocietySA25 Film: ‘Looking Back to Look Forward’

In our birthday month, we will be releasing a short film for OSF to reflect on 25 years of grant making in South Africa and our contribution to building a resilient and independent civil society and media, as well as the historical role that OSF played in supporting the dismantling of apartheid and building a post-apartheid democracy premised on constitutionalism.

 8. #OpenSocietySA25 Young Leadership Showcase

We will be partnering with the Mail and Guardian to celebrate and showcase 25 years of civil society leadership in South Africa with an emphasis on a new generation of civil society leaders that we fund and support. This will be part of the annual Mail and Guardian celebration of Young South Africans who are showing exceptional leadership in their respective areas of work.

9. #OpenSocietySA25 Impact Assessment

We will be conducting a 25-year impact assessment of our work in SA, detailing inter alia our previous and current partnerships with a democratic post-apartheid government, civil society, media, donors, and other key stakeholders. We will release the findings in our birthday month.

Remember to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or search #OpenSocietySA25

  • Important contact details

    Grant Support
    All other queries
  • Recent Tweets

  • Newsletter