The new coronavirus has wreaked destruction on a massive scale in South Africa, as in the rest of the world. As one of a group of philanthropic institutions in South Africa, our Foundation has had to keep up with the immense need in our country, ever mindful of the challenges and resource limitations.
It is hard to believe that little more than a year has passed since I first joined OSF-SA. I smile when I think of all the plans that I had for my first few months at the helm of the foundation, including easing into my role, buffered by a year-long induction period. That plan went the way of most plans scuppered by 2020.
Earlier this year, when we first began discussing the development of our 2021-2024 strategy, we realised that during this period, South Africa would hold local government elections and a General Election and would mark 30 years of democracy. The main goal of OSF-SA’s current strategy cycle, which concludes at the end of the year, is to protect the pillars of democracy.
I started writing this letter last month, but was unable to complete it as my team and I had to multi-task on many different fronts, one of which was to bring our strategy process to a close. I’m happy to report that we have now completed our strategy and will move to its implementation over the next four years. I want to thank all of you who sent inputs and gave us insights that helped us to formulate our game-changing, high-impact areas of investment over the next four years.
The Communities of the Kalahari Photography Showcase launches the blog, kalaharicommunities.tumblr.com, which includes an accompanying virtual and community-based programme that presents the photography of Luce Steenkamp and Tommy Busakhwe.
Death, arrest and attack, these are some of the challenges facing journalists on the continent and around the world. In South Africa, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the closure of several media houses and left hundreds of journalists without jobs. We need to protect the rights and livelihoods of journalists given their critical role on the frontline.
Heading up a philanthropic foundation during the toxic brew of COVID-19, which has brought a health, humanitarian and economic crisis and a fundamental shakeup of civil society has been both a deeply challenging ordeal, as well as an opportunity to reset and grab opportunities that promise a long-term ability to build back better.
As Covid-19 diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics become available, we must ensure equal, and affordable access for not only citizens, but for everyone in South Africa, including refugees, asylum seekers and migrants (irrespective of legal status and documentation).
When my team and I first began tracking the new coronavirus as it spread across the globe, we thought about it in abstract terms: a problem to be solved. We focused specifically on how the virus would impact South Africa, given the particular challenges we face, such as glaring inequality coupled with high rates of TB, HIV/Aids and noncommunicable diseases.
As South Africa puts in place measures to curtail the spread of Covid-19, the direct relationship between a pandemic and rising levels of gender-based violence cannot be overlooked.