From the desk of the Director – December 2020

from the desk of the director

From the desk of the Director – December 2020


from the desk of the director

As we end what proved to be a year filled with much uncertainty, not all is doom and gloom. There are rays of hope in the medical field. Verified news reports confirm that there are more than 100 vaccine candidates that are currently undergoing development for COVID 19 across the world, twelve of which are at the large scale phase 111 clinical trials to assess their efficacy and safety. Furthermore, three of these developed by BioNtech/Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford university have been reported to be highly effective. Help is on the way.


What we know however is that a ‘new normal’ has been developed and new ways of living our lives have taken root. Certainly going forward, we have no choice but to build hybrids between the old and the new. This is certainly how we see things and the future at CAPSI. While we have learnt that the new tools of work create new levels of efficiency, we have seen that these don’t necessarily legitimize the outcomes. With this as a lesson learnt, we will strive to blend new tools around our research, academic and outreach programmes but still strive to enable the human touch on issues that require validation, inclusion and participation.


As the year ends, we feel propelled to do more in 2021. But to prepare for this, we need to ask ourselves a few critical questions. What have we achieved this year? What challenges did we face? How did we manage them?


Academic matters

After 3 years of hard work by our staff and partners, I’m excited to share that our Masters in African Philanthropy Degree is now an accredited programme by the Council on Higher Education!  We will spend the coming year developing the systems and logistics required to ensure that the programme delivers on its commitments and provides students with a one-of-a-kind experience. Additionally, we will dedicate time and resources towards popularizing the Degree as well as also on student recruitment for 2022 academic year. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who was involved from the beginning to the end. We look forward to welcoming some of you in 2022 as you journey towards a new world in philanthropy and social investment.


Staying with academic matters, CAPSI and Wits Business School will be offering a Postgraduate Diploma in Philanthropy and Resource Mobilization in July 2021. This will pave the way for vertical articulation into the Masters programme in 2022 and beyond. We rolled out the first six masterclasses this year and we are excited that the interest was high and that we attracted students from across Africa. For the coming year, you can look forward to a further revised offering that is based on the reflections and experiences of the first cohort of students. This will ensure that the 2021 cohort of masterclass and academic programme students can look forward to an even better experience.


We are excited about the growth potential of our student intake, especially into our doctoral programme. As we end the year, we had fourteen doctoral students and our first PhD graduate, Noathemba Memela, receiving her doctorate at a graduation ceremony held on the 14th December.


We are also ending the year with a video that takes a retrospective look at what the Centre has been able to achieve since its inception. Establishing a Centre of this nature required several consultations, strategic insights, financial support, political support and social capital among others. It also required sequencing of interventions and frontloading some in order to build a footprint. From the video, it is clear that we prioritized systems and processes in the beginning so as to get the foundation right. Then, we developed programmes and frontloaded research and curriculum development and complimented these with dialogues and meetings. As a result, we now have an academic programme, a research programme and convenings as flagships of the Centre. And recently we added the Journal. Next, we will begin focusing on the fourth initiative around the measurement of philanthropy.



As the Centre continues to grow, there are demands and contextual shifts that have an impact on us and on our work. New skills sets are required especially in such areas as data mining, digital technologies, and knowledge management among others. The Centre has been proactive in responding to these requirements so as to remain relevant. One of our responses includes welcoming a Digital Publisher to our team, who is responsible for coordinating all our publications.


I want to thank our donors who include Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Reckitt Benckiser, Gilead and Wits University for putting their faith in a new initiative and with their support, we have been able to achieve our goals. Secondly, our strategic partners have weathered the pandemic storm with us. We held several events jointly with the African Union Development Agency-Nepad, Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS), Southern Africa Trust, Graça Machel Trust, International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR), Association for Research on Civil Society in Africa (AROCSA), Harvard Centre on African Studies, African Philanthropy Forum, African Philanthropy Network, East Africa Philanthropy Network and Higher Life Foundation, among others. I also want to extend our sincere gratitude to our advisory and editorial boards that have offered us valuable support as we navigated new terrains.


I wish to end the letter by wishing everyone a very safe festive season. The pandemic is still with us. Please exercise caution, adhere to WHO Guidelines. We are looking forward to reconnecting with you next year as we consolidate our work.


Festive season greetings


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The Carnegie corporation of new york

Established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie, the Carnegie Corporation of New York is one of America’s oldest grantmaking foundations and promotes the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.

Their work focuses on international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy.

The corporation supports CAPSI with research and development of a new cohort of scholars.

The Charles mott foundation

An automotive pioneer, philanthropist, and leader in the community, Charles Stewart Mott cared about innovation, fairness, and communities.

By working toward a world where each individual’s quality of life is connected to the well-being of the community, both locally and globally, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation continues this legacy.

A founding funder of the Centre, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation supported the establishment of the Chair and continues to support our programmes.

The Ford Foundation

As an investor in transformative ideas, individuals and institutions, the Ford Foundations is one of the founding funders of CAPSI.

They have supported the planning and establishment of the centre and continue to support our programmes and operations.

Their invaluable work includes providing grants, investing in individuals through fellowships, and challenging inequalities through civic engagement, creativity, free expression and more.

The southern africa trust

Established in 2005 to respond to high levels of poverty and inequality, the Southern Africa Trust aims to increase the voices and agency of the poor.

This is in the hopes that it enables them to reach the necessary audiences and influence regional public policies as unrepresented stakeholders.

They are a founding partner of CAPSI and acted as a fiscal sponsor for Mott and Ford grants in the establishment of the Chair.

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Susan Maposa

With 22 years of professional experience in Africa and Asia, Susan Maposa has developed a wide range of skills and expertise in the fields of philanthropy and social development.

This has established her as a leader in her work with multilateral and bilateral agencies, non-governmental organizations, research institutes and universities as well as consultancy firms. Her experience includes programme conceptualisation, design, management, implementation, evaluation and documentation.

She describes herself as a “pracademic”, and is passionate about working across the field of theory and development practice building one into the other. Read Susan’s complete bio and an excerpt from her research project.

Wycliffe Nduga Ouma

Wycliffe Nduga Ouma is a PhD candidate and a Research Assistant at the Wits Business School in Johannesburg.

Mr. Nduga has worked as a Research Associate with the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, a Central Bank of Kenya Research Institute mainly concerned with the Monetary Policy, Exchange Rates Movements, and Balance of Payments. He has also consulted and conducted training on Financial Markets and Investments for Organizations such as Knight Frank Commercial and Residential Properties in Kenya. He was part of the broad team that conducted research and wrote the Integrated Economic and Development Plan (Document) for Turkana County, a regional government authority in Kenya.

For the better part of 2017, Mr. Nduga consulted in the Finance and Accounts Department for the Italian Chamber of Trade and Industry, Johannesburg. Currently, alongside the PhD dissertation, Mr. Nduga assists in Teaching and Facilitation of the Financial Investments Decisions for the MBA students, Finance and Accounting, Financial Risk Management, Research on the Connection Between Finance and Corporate Philanthropy, and advising on research and classwork for MBA and Master students at the Wits Business.

He has a passion for research and consultancy in the areas of Financial Markets, Financial Risk Modelling, Investments and International Trade.

Keratiloe Mogotsi

Pan Africanist, pracademic, researcher, lean six sigma coach, project management professional and African Philanthropy Lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand — Keratiloe Mogotsi does it all.

She is currently a lecturer here at the Centre on African Philanthropy and Social Investment at the Wits Business School. Her research areas include disaster philanthropy in Africa, venture philanthropy, African philanthropy and philanthro-capitalism in Africa.

As someone who is passionate about the continent and its people, she uses her skills as an educator and coach to excel in everything that she does.

Alan Fowler

As a co-founder and long-time associate of INTRAC, Alan Fowler’s professional life has seen many changes. From being an Organisational Development Advisor, Foundation Programme Officer and Researcher, he is now an academic as he serves as an honorary professor and Chair in African Philanthropy, a role the first of its kind, at the Wits Business School. 

A career spanning some forty years devoted to civic agencies and NGOs has produced eleven books and dozens of papers about their role in international development, as well as numerous capacity building materials, conference presentations, lectures, and seminars. Combining theory and practice as a ‘pracademic’ continues as the thread in his contribution to citizen-driven social justice.

Bhekinkosi Moyo

Dr Bheki Moyo is a writer, author, researcher and thought-leader with keen interest in questions of African resources, democracy and governance.

In addition to championing the African discourse on philanthropy, he has contributed to the growth of many African civil society formations and participated in most African processes of development and governance.

Over the course of his career, he has written extensively about African philanthropy, civil society, and governance. Additionally, he has extensive experience in leadership, management, and strategic roles.

Xolani Dlamini

As an experienced Digital Publisher specialising in academic/scholarly publishing, particularly Open Access journals, Xolani Dlamini has been involved in managing and publishing various academic journals in different fields of study.

Thandi Makhubele

Thandi Makhubele, the current Programme Manager (Acting) at CAPSI, joined us from the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) where she worked for twelve years in various departments, including TV News and Current Affairs and Supply Chain and Legal services.

She holds an Honours Degree in International Relations and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Security at the Wits School of Governance with a focus on Philanthropy and Women’s development.

In addition to volunteering with Hand of Compassion, providing help to young pregnant women and displaced women, she hopes to bring her passion for human development, security, and creativity to the Centre.